Tag - Rum

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Tiki Drinks in Craft Bars—Example: Mytoi Gardens
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Tiki Drink: Tropical Morn
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A Heartfelt Plea
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A Tiki Month SubRoundup of MxMo: Sours

Tiki Drinks in Craft Bars—Example: Mytoi Gardens

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Over the years of doing Tiki Month, I’ve tended to focus most of my drinking evaluation on the older Tiki drinks, mostly those from the 30’s and 40’s. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First, I’m an historian at heart. I like old stuff. It is why I love Beachbum Berry so much. His ability to uncover so much about this interesting little slice of American culture is amazing. Mmore importantly, the Tiki drinks from the decades of the Tiki era tend to be sweet, boring, and insipid, in keeping with American tastes in drinking at that time. (There are exceptions, but this is a pretty good rule of thumb.)

I was asked Wednesday night by a visiting Cincinnati bartender who is just getting into Tiki exploration why the delicious Mai Tai I’d just served her had devolved in modern days to the sweet, fruity mess most everyone thinks of now. The reason is those changing tastes of American drinking. To an experienced cocktail palate, one used to multiple spirits and the profound ways that sometimes just a change in ratios can alter flavors, a Vic Bergeron Mai Tai is a fantastic drinking adventure. The strong, discordant yet somehow perfectly harmonious flavors demand the attention of the serious drinker.

Well, they demand the attention of the casual Vodka and Soda or Cosmopolitan drinker, too…. but not in the same way. To them, the reaction is more like, “Whoa! What the Hell? This is tasty, I guess, but really… what the Hell?” The food world equivalent would be just wanting a quick, good hamburger, but being asked instead to sit down for a four-course meal featuring Osso Buco. In the 70’s, as you needed to medicate yourself to tamp down the knowledge that your President was named Nixon or Carter, you were stressed enough at being thought square for drinking cocktails at all, instead of doing lines of coke like all the cool people. You did not need or want to be challenged by your damn drink. In today’s world, where even self-medication isn’t enough, people are moving back to food and drink that they want to pay attention to. And thus, the older style of thought- and palate-provoking tropical drinks are rising once again.

So recently I’ve been looking more and more at truly modern Tiki drinks, those invented during the current revival of the genre. A lot have been inventions of A Mountain of Crushed Ice or Rated-R Cocktails, two of the best full-time Tiki blogs out there. You should visit and subscribe to both. Go on. I’ll wait.

More encouragingly to the likes of me is that there are also a lot of excellent modern Tiki-style drinks being concocted in non-Tiki bars today as well. In olden days, when Don and Vic rode their triceratopses to work every day, really good Tiki drinks were restricted to specialty bars. The overhead of fresh juices and exotic syrups was too much for normal pubs. But in today’s Craft environment, arrays of juices and syrups (and cocktails with lots of ingredients in small amounts) are par for the course. There is no reason that Tiki drinks should not nestle in among the other marvelous offerings in any top flight bar.
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To illustrate my point, here’s a delicious concoction by the hardest working blogger in the cocktail business, Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut and the current Guardian of Mixology Monday™. (Scheduled for release as a major motion picture by Marvel in 2023.) For his sins, Fred works a bit at the Russell House Tavern in Boston. His Tiki drink, the Mytoi Gardens sits proudly on the Russell’s extensive Craft menu, among Algonquins and modern bitter bombs like something called a Sottobosco. Here’s my take on it. Read Fred’s post for his slightly more price-friendly version.

MYTOI GARDENS

  • 1 1/2 El Dorado 12
  • 1 fresh pineapple juice
  • 3/4 fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 Allspice dram
  • 1/4 simple syrup
  • 5 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and chill thoroughly. Strain into a transparent vessel (not a Tiki mug!) filled with crushed ice. Float 3 dashes more of Angostura on top and garnish with pineapple in one or more forms.

As I told Fred as soon as I tried my first shot at the Mytoi Gardens, this is one big-time, old school Tiki drink. Sweet though it may be, the undeniably exotic notes of the vanilla and the allspice, along with the redolent… demeraraness… of the El Dorado combine to provide that uniquely Tiki experience: a slightly disorienting, slightly transporting melange of flavors that provides a unique escape hatch all its own.

Tiki Drink: Tropical Morn

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Tropical Morn comes from a drink called simply the Coffee-Pineapple Daiquiri by Tiare of A Mountain of Crushed Ice, and modified to fit my available ingredients and my wife’s tastes. Tiare dashed this little ditty off as part of her review of St. Aubin rums, which I (of course) can’t get here, in this case their coffee-flavored rum. But since I have managed to acquire a bottle of Brinely Gold’s Shipwreck Coffee, which is the only such rum currently available in the US, I thought this would be a good starting spot for experimenting.

Taking her recipe and simply substituting the Shipwreck and my very strong demerara syrup resulted in a drink with a great profile, but one that was a bit too sweet for my tastes. I personally don’t like coffee, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is not a coffee bomb. In fact, it is not immediately obvious it is a coffee drink at all. The java and the pineapple sorta merge together to result in the elusively undefinable flavors of a good Tiki drink, in this case a sort of soft, novel spice. It is similar in character but not flavor to vanilla.

But the sweetness detracted from the concoction, so I backed off the quarter ounce of syrup still further, and punched up the lime just a bit to make the citrus element a little more identifiable. Then I gave it a name, since Tiare neglected to do so. The result is a difficult balancing act to make, but a worthwhile drink that is distinct from the crowd while still undeniably Tiki.

TROPICAL MORN

  • 2 oz. Shipwreck Coffee Rum
  • 1 oz. fresh pressed pineapple juice, unstrained
  • 3.4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • splash of 2:1 demerara syrup

Combine ingredients and shake with small ice. Pour unstrained in a small Tiki mug or lowball glass. Top with fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf construct.

(This post was edited after publication because it had the wrong frigging picture!)

A Heartfelt Plea


Ron Jeremy just doesn’t get any respect. This auteur is one of the most prolific actors and directors working in the cinema today. Not to mention the fact that his entire career is one huge blow after another to the pernicious “Lookism” so rampant in the Business. (And by The Business, I do mean The Industry!)

Yet, despite these impeccable credentials as film master and social justice icon, and the fact that the evidence of his Jewish upbringing is both enormous and well-documented, the Canadian Powers That Be relentlessly refuse to allow his films to be shown at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival! The video above is Ron’s heartfelt and subtle appeal for this ban to end, expressed in a short film, as befitting this heir to Orson Wells.

Oh, and I continue to believe that Ron’s ron, er, rum is under-appreciated as well. I’m actually serious here. Ron de Jeremy is not at all an all-purpose rum, but it honestly, no shit, makes a wonderful Rum Old Fashioned. And it has one of the more brilliant ad campaigns out there. I can’t recommend visiting the website and exploring its offerings enough… especially once you are two or more drinks in.

(H/T: Sploid)

A Tiki Month SubRoundup of MxMo: Sours

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For those of you following Tiki Month, but who may have missed this month’s Mixology Monday, I want to present a sub-roundup of the entries which are either explicitly or can just be shoehorned into a Tiki concept. With this month’s MxMo theme being Sours, the basic form of most Tiki drinks, it was a target-rich environment.
Without further ado, here are whole bunch of great looking drinks with a Tiki theme or Tiki elements, most of which I won’t have time to try this month, alas. But I’ll get to a bunch of them… oh yes, my precious.

Blue MargaritaBartending Notes offered a simple Margarita, but the picture came out blue. Tiki Rule 4 says that If it’s Blue, it’s Tiki True, so here it is. I just posted about this entry separately here.

Rhubarb Rum FizzAndrea, this month’s taskmistress, ended up with a Rhubarb Rum Fizz. I’m not sure if rhubarb is Tiki-compliant or not, but it looks tasty, she’s our host, and I’m glad I’m not as old as she is and can still take two ounces of lemon juice in one night. (Cough, Fog Cutters, Cough!)

Sol Volcanique from Rated-R CocktailsJFL of Rated-R Cocktails is about the most prolific Tiki blogger out there currently. He produces all sorts of delicious and gorgeous original cocktails regularly. Read him. For this MxMo, he rolls out the Sol Volcanique, which employs the rarely used tangerine.

Sloppy Joe form Nihil UtopiaMy buddy Dagreb takes the opportunity this MxMo to tell the familiar cocktail blogger story of the One Drink That Really Made Me A Cocktailian™. In his case it is the Sloppy Joe. I’m not sure it is really a Tiki drink, but it has rum and citrus and syrup. And I’ve already gotten into how vermouth can be a Tiki ingredient, so here I shoehorn it in.

Eden Sour from DrinksburghMike from Drinksburgh somehow gets away with putting grenadine in a Trader Vic-style Mai Tai without a horde of angry grass-skirted villagers burning down his house. (Though come to think of it, I haven’t heard from him in the last day or so….) Anyway, his Eden Sour would not be any more Tiki if you served it with a plane ticket to Tahiti.

008Caipirinhas aren’t usually considered Tiki, but I’m not sure why. When we think of Brazil we think of volcanic upthrusts, scary natives, and barely clad women in the sand. It is sort of a giant, continent-sized Bora Bora. Anyway, the Ginger Kumquat Caipirinha that Mike of Grow. Eat. Mix. Drink. offers is sure Tiki enough for me.

BalsouricaTwitter god Joel DiPippa quotes some authority as saying “When you have homemade limoncello everything looks like a Sour.” His Balsourica is another drink that teeters on the edge of being had in a Tiki bar, but I want to remember to try it, so I’m including it here.

5 Spice Ti' Punch from Stir and StrainElana at Stir and Strain went with a 5 Spice Ti’ Punch. She employs the traditional 5 Spice blend through an infused syrup that I think would be useful for all manner of Tiki drinks beyond her intended use.

Hanalei Sour from Putney FarmThe folks at Putney Farm worked up something they call a Hanalei Sour. It looks gorgeous, delicious, and Tiki as all get out. And if I can figure out coconut sugar by this evening, it is what I’m making tonight.

Polynesian Sour from Shake Strain & SipLastly, we have the Polynesian Sour, from Scott at Shake Strain & Sip. I won’t trying this delectable-looking treat since it calls for Hawaii’s own spirit, Okolehao. You’ll be shocked, shocked to hear it isn’t available in Ohio…. Oh, and the picture will show you that there is no better garnish to announce you have a Tiki Sour on your hands than a giant half a lime.

There are lots more great Sours on offer in Andrea’s roundup, but these are the ones I think belong in the Tiki category. Remember to swing back by Ginhound to check out all the rest!

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