Jordan Devereaux holds a special place in my heart because he is one of my most prolific commenters. He’s also an excellent blogger, one of many in the Portland, Oregon area. There is something in the water there… or maybe it’s something in the gin. I’m not sure.
At any rate, Jordan has put out several posts that are on board with Tiki Month. He offers two spice-laden drinks, the classic Test Pilot, and an original of his own, Tristan’s Trinidadian. He also gives the recipe for a delicious-sounding sour that is on the top of my list to try, the Big Bamboo, a drink once served exclusively to the Tiki-initiate at the mighty Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale. I’ve been there, Jordan, just last Summer. The Mai-Kai is worth the visit.
Today is the 14th of Tiki Month, I mean February, so I thought I’d look for a Valentine’s Tiki drink to give a whirl. Over at my new February lurking grounds, Tiki Central, I ran across this little offering, The Pink Wink.
THE PINK WINK
3 parts London Dry gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 part Cointreau
1 part coconut rum
Grenadine should be approximately 1 tsp per ounce in a part. Stir lovingly with ice until well chilled. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with pomegranate arils at the bottom of the glass, and drizzle more grenadine into the drink to settle among the arils.
I took a few liberties with WoofMutt’s recipe. First, I replaced his cherry garnish with the pomegranate arils because I think they are more Tiki-like, and more importantly so that whomever you offer them to will be yours forever!
Second, I guess the grenadine used in the original is the artificially colored stuff, because my natural grenadine made no impact on the color of this drink in the called for amount. I doubled it, and also drizzled a bit more to settle into the bottom of the glass among the pomegranate arils.
The result is an odd duck, but exotic. Contrary to the poster’s original comments, I don’t see this one wining over any gin-o-phobes. And and the frou-frou drink crowd won’t get it either. But if you are looking for a Tikified Martini, with some pleasant Valentine’s Day symbolism, the Pink Wink may be your destination.
And it has three different liquors. And smoke. And a skull. And wild garnishes. And magic. So I’m running it during Tiki Month anyway, just as a reminder of how magnificently (yet appropriately) over the top the craft bar school of bartending can get too.
Also, because Max is one of the first bartenders who read this blog back in the day and took the time to write to me about it.
Exit question: What the hell is the smoke, and is it a flavorant for the drink, or just a flourish?
Out in San Francisco, my friend and drinking companion Rowen trades in the usual fog of the City by the Bay for some redolent sun in the South Pacific. He has created an original Tiki drink he calls Beyond the Sea, a riot of spices, funky rum, and… oh, go read his post. I think you’ll need some deeper, richer exotica to listen to while enjoying this one. Perhaps some Kono’s Revenge.
Be sure in particular to check out the awesome piece of Tiki glassware he uses. I am jealous.
Over at A Mountain of Crushed Ice, Cocktailosphere legend Tiare is on board with Tiki Month. While I smile and am happy to take credit when any blogger joints the Tiki Month bandwagon, I must admit that I deserve no credit on this one. Every month is pretty much Tiki Month for Tiare. I view her as one of the very best pure drink bloggers out there. For years now, she has produced great content, and has done so in a constant stream of regular updates. Her posts are fun to read and always illustrated with appetizing photos of appetizingly garnished cocktails. And most (but not all) of her work is Tiki… no matter what the month.
She hops on the Tiki Month bandwagon this year with a reprise of her home-made nutmeg syrup. She comes up with two very different original cocktails to employ it too. While both drinks are quite Tiki in feel and appearance, they are quite different and illustrate how widely varied Tiki drinks really are. I want you to go read the post to find out about each, but I am going to steal one photo from it to show you here, because I am very jealous of this mug:
Among the Twitter types I interact with a lot is Joe Garcia, @JMGIII. We appear to have the same tastes in politics, bloggers, cars, and cocktails, and which of those roads led us to follow each other, I have no idea. Joe’s blog, Basic Civilization, is an amalgam of food blogging, drink (and Tiki) blogging, and even fashion blogging. And any blog with post titles like Rum, Bloggery, and the Lash is worth reading.
Joe’s post starts off about his Number One Son’s commitment to (his dad) throwing awesome parties for #1s’s birthday each year. He then goes on to explain how he is apparently building an entire Trader Vic’s or something to accommodate said massively spoilt offspring’s party. Finally, because he has the brains to invite parents to these parties….
See, here is where he makes his mistake. Every drink blogger has this moment in his life. It is the moment where he decided he is going to make Mai Tais. Joe doesn’t seem to realize how much the making of the best Mai Tai on Earth™ will consume the next year (including at least 5 posts) of his life. Look what happened to RumDood when he made an offhand comment one day in the Mixoloseum chat room about how Mai Tais were a lost art these days. I made Mai Tais and decided to do Tiki Month… that was three years ago. Look at this event now. All because I decided to make a Mai Tai properly. There are videos of my obsession.
I’d warn Joe to not go there, but it is too late for him. But for any young booze bloggers out there, don’t make Mai Tais! The life you save (socially speaking) may be your own!
It isn’t Tiki Month just at the Pegu Blog, you know. I expect we’ll see an increase in Tiki activity throughout February… the gods demand it.
Either that, or they want virgins!
Yeah, so get posting if you don’t want to explain to your wife why your daughter is emailing from Tomba Pago….
(At the very least, be sure you set a reminder for one Tiki post on Mixology Monday, the 20th.)
First up in joining the festivities is DJ Hawaiian Shirt. That’s his blog header above, where he is pictured about to spill his Mai Tai all over that expensive mixing board. The Shirt posts on an essential online Tiki resource, the Grogalizer, so I don’t have to.
I’ve found the Grogalizer handy in the past for when I want to release the Tiki and it isn’t February. When the Pegu Lounge is not fully stocked with the exotics, the Grogalizer helps me figure what drinks I am still able to make.
One of my Twitter buddies, Aaron, who blogs at The Gin is In (@TheGinIsIn) has done a couple of posts in the last day or so on the Pegu. His first post is part of his Cocktails by Consensus series, where he looks at older cocktails whose recipes have become… scattered with time as different people tweak them. He looks at Pegu recipes from various sources, including such world-famous cocktail writers as Dave Wondrich and, um, me.
Come on, player….
I didn’t say I was very world famous. Or world-respected. Or even regionally respected…
And those aren’t your recipes. The main one is Paul Harrington’s, and the egg white version is how Peter Dorelli made it for you.
Or even respected on my own blog, apparently.
Anyway, Aaron brings up some salient points that are good to keep in mind when working on your Pegus. The most important is that it is very important not to overdo the orange liqueur, whether it be Curaçao, Cointreau, or (shudder) triple sec. Read his post for a full rundown of where different “experts” are on the drink, and how their positions alter the flavor. His post also reminds me that I need to update the main recipe page here to discuss the use of orange bitters.
The second Pegu post, done as a followup, is a tasting of the drink with Oxley Dry Gin. I haven’t tried that one myself, but it has an old-school, juniper-forward formulation. Aaron is (obviously) a gin guy to begin with, and he enjoys the shading the Oxley gives. He also discusses various orange bitters possibilities, and provides the video I embedded above. As always, read the post for yourself. It is short and on point.
I haven’t done much with heavy juniper gins, at least in Pegus, for a while, but I’ll hearken back to my post on another rather on the nose gin, Broker’s. When I wrote that, my own love for gin was still in its infancy, and I didn’t particularly like what Broker’s did in a Pegu. I like it rather more now. That’s not important, but what we can learn from it is. Pegus are lovely cocktails with both juniper-forward London Drys, and more citrusy New Americans, but while the basic flavor remains largely the same with either type of gin, the character changes dramatically. A big, old-school London Dry style of gin makes for a much more assertive, manly drink. It’s bracing and stimulative. Lighter gin Pegus are a bit gentler.
I have long contended that Pegus, along with Aviations, are great cocktails to use when worming gin into the repertoire of the avowed non-gin drinker. In the case of both drinks, though, it is well to keep in mind that you should stick with the lighter products when you are ginvangelizing.
I recently got a tip from fellow cocktail blogger, Michael Dietsch, that several of our friends and fellows were nominated by Saveur magazine for their annual awards in the category of Best Cocktail Blog. You have to register to vote for your favorite, which is OK, but you also have to register just to see the list of nominees, which is kinda lame.
They also give no info on why they nominated each contestant, so I’ll do it for you. Cask Strength is in what I call the Pro-Blogger Category. Andrew Bohrer is a Seattle-area bartender and very funny fellow. He blogs on a wide variety of subjects and drink styles. My favorite of his work is his current series 10 Rules of Drinking Like a Man (now up to number six). Alcademics is the personal booze musings of professional writer Camper English. Camper gets to travel extensively around the country and world covering the liquor industry (this is why I hate him), and a lot of the peripheral stuff he’s not being paid to write about ends up on Alcademics. More importantly, he also is a an inveterate cocktail experimenter and the internet’s leading ice geek (and that is why I love him). Cocktailians is the cocktailian project of Sam Meyer, a.k.a. Vidiot. It’s an entertaining collection of anecdotes, drink recipes, and an eternal source of Rule 2linky goodness.
Another Pro-Blogger blog, Drink Dogma, is the project of Bobby Heugel. Bobby is one of my, and I suspect many cocktail bloggers’, personal heroes, in that he has gone from blogger to co-owner and creator of one of the country’s truly great craft cocktail bars, Anvil in Houston, Texas. During Anvil’s early stages of development, his blogging really fell off (I wonder why), but he has been writing much more lately, with great posts on the industry, drinks, and the bartending lifestyle. Jeffrey Morganthaler’s eponymous blog is one of the granddaddys of the Cocktailosphere. One of Oregon’s leading bartenders, Jeffrey writes one of the more professionally utilitarian blogs out there. Many of his posts (though not all) are little reference resources that remain useful indefinitely. One such post is his Ginger Beer Brewing instruction that I once called The Greatest Cocktail Blog Post Ever.
Last (but only on the list) is the inimitable Kaiser Penguin. I’m tempted to call him the one and only “Garnishblogger“, but Rick does a lot more than that. He also is great with housemade ingredients, has an unhealthy obsession with Fernet Branca, and does some very fun thought pieces as well.
That is the six. Who am I voting for? Not telling, except to say that I am voting, and so should you!
With Tiki Month 2011 now a fond memory, I want to kick off the return to classics with a reprise of this blog’s original mission: Promoting the Pegu!
My crack, multi-billion dollar, in-house research team (a.k.a. Google Alerts) continuously scours the internet for mentions of the World’s Greatest Cocktail™. It brought me these two very high quality links just yesterday morning, like a sign from the cocktail gods that it is time to return to the classic arena.
First is a post from the Drinks sector of Serious Eats. San Francisco: It’s Beyond Rangoon for the Pegu Cocktail is a quick hit post that notes the author’s discovery of said Pegu at the Comstock Saloon in San Francisco. I’ve never heard of the place, but I have all the evidence I need to declare it one of that city’s premiere establishments. Blogger Mariah Gardner refers to her Pegu as a “dandified limeade”, but I’ll forgive the sacrilege.
Second is a post from iSanté magazine. Blogger Helen Studley talks about bitters in general to entertaining effect in “Secret” Potions on the Backbar. Her example cocktail is, of course, the mighty Pegu. She offers it at the behest of David Wondrich, who “nominates The Pegu Club Cocktail as his choice for the hottest new/old drink.”
Much as I wholeheartedly support Wondrich’s sentiments, I’ll quibble with two assertions Studley makes in the same paragraph, one silly and one dead serious.
First, Audrey Saunders did not “create” the Pegu. She certainly has done more than anyone else to repopularize the cocktail, and has similarly done great work in establishing one of the more balanced and delicious modern versions. (Serving a 1920s classic today is not always as simple as just following the original recipe. Ingredients change.) But various versions were working their way back into use from the beginning of the modern cocktail renaissance well before Saunders opened Pegu Club in New York. See Paul Harrington’s seminal Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century for an example from way back in 1998.
Second, Studley refers to the Pegu’s brithplace, Burma, as “now Myanmar”.
It is still Burma. The name Myanmar was applied to that land by its current ruling junta as part of their campaign to legitimize themselves. Which name you use for Burma ends up being indicative of support or opposition to the regime. So unless you want to count yourself among the supporters of a bunch of generals who make Col. Gaddafi look like the mayor of Chico, CA, Burma is still the name of the country between India and Thailand.