MxMo February 2009 – Hard Drinks for Hard Times

February 16th, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

mxmologoThere’s no two ways about it. It’s a hard time out there in the workaday world. Whether you’ve been laid-off, had your hours cut, or taken a pay decrease there’s less of the green to go around. Those hard facts are the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday. My esteemed friend Matt Rowley is hosting the grand sioree over at his whiskey forge. Please add it to your RSS feed if it isn’t already: He’s a good man — and thorough.1

Sebastian
I’ve been absent for a bit on the blog an MxMo front lately. There is good and wonderful reason for this however: The birth of my first Son, Sebastian Milton Felix.2 I was tempted to “pull a doug” and post Sebastian as my “broaden your horizons.” Because believe me, my horizons now are broad and far.

Babies as they say, however, ain’t cheap. Even more the reason for a hard times drink. The fabulous wife was also hard-up for a tipple for nine months.3 Hard times all around. I have a panacea to cure all these ills: Home-made Southern Comfort. This recipe is the #3 or #4 version and finally ready for release into the wild. Sebastian has another 17 years and 10.5 months till he gets to say the same. My friend Martin gave me this recipe back in … 2004? Time – where does it go? During Tiki Kon II, while we were chatting in the kitchen Heather mentioned how she loved southern comfort while I complained about the artificial flavors. He said something along the lines of “Really? Make your own. Easiest thing: just add orange rind, a bit of juice and vanilla syrup to cheap bourbon. It’s delicious.

Along the way, I’ve picked up a few extra ingredients and methods and it is cheap and delicious. This batch was made during the summer especially for Heather when she was out of labor (don’t tell anyone I sneaked a flask of it into the hospital)4

Home Comfort & Soda

Home Comfort Liqueur ($11.60)
1 750ml bottle Old Crow ($8.95)
2 peaches ($1)
1 orange ($0.50)
¼ cup vanilla sugar ($0.30)
¼ cup orange blossom honey ($0.75)

Cut the peaches into chunks, zest the orange and reserve the juice. Add the peaches, zest and juice into a mason jar with the bourbon. Let this infuse for at least a week (or two). Strain and blend with the sugar and honey and let sit for at least a month in a cool dark place, shaking regularly. Strain again and enjoy (in a cocktail below?)

Home Comfort & Soda
2oz Home Comfort (recipe above)
4oz Lemon Lime soda
ice

build a la highball in whatever glass that’s clean

Stop on by and Heather might let you have a sip.5

  1. He’s a good man, Jeffrey — and thorough. []
  2. Yes, Sebastian M.F. Hermann for those playing the home game. []
  3. Ask her about it for a lark. []
  4. I love posting ‘secrets’ on publicly available media. []
  5. You’d better bring her a gift. []

MxMo November 2008 — Made From Scratch!

November 10th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

It’s been a while, dear readers. It’s been crazy around Mathom House here. There will be a little monkey joining us in January so we’ve been busy getting a nursery together and of course the new basement temporary tiki bar, the “Monkey Hut in Exile.” It’s been hard to keep up with posting – I have about 3 or 4 posts in the queue. When I get more than about 30 minutes to myself, I’ll hope to put ‘em up.

This month, Doug at The Pegu Blog is hosting and the theme is “Made from Scratch!

While this must be the easiest MxMo to date for us Tiki cocktailians, it does offer the opportunity to make something new. I’m always making something in the kitchen: falernum, pimento dram, orgeat, forbidden fruits liqueur, orange curacao, bumbo, &c.

Hiram Walker was nice enough to provide some samples of their holiday line of liqueurs for sampling. I received them and I really can’t say much about them here and now. I was, however, moved to try my hand at making my own pumpkin liqueur. About two years ago I made a few batches of pumpkin syrup that were a hit. I wondered if my skills learned in the past year with infused liqueurs would yield something at least better than I could find on the shelf. The first version surpassed my expectations but needed a little tweaking to get the pumpkin flavor better represented. Here is the second version:

Pumpkin Liqueur

Pumpkin Liqueur ( this recipe makes over half a gallon, split accordingly)
2 Cups pumpkin, chunked and roasted
½ Cup ginger, sliced
½ Cup allspice berries, crushed
¼ Cup cloves, crushed
1 Nutmeg, ground
4 Sticks ceylon cinnamon, broken into pieces
1 Tbsp cassia cinnamon, ground
1 Tbsp mace, ground
2 pods vanilla, scraped
750ml LemonHart 151
8 cups sugar for syrup

Separate all spices and pumpkin into 2 equal parts. Infuse spices and pumpkin in 151 for at least one week. Combine the balance of the spices and pumpkin with the sugar and 4 cups of water. Bring to near boil and simmer for 30 minutes and pour into separate container for at least one week. After 1 week strain all solids from 151 infusion and syrup and combine. You can pour through a brita filter device, but I wait for the tiny solids to settle and I cart off the clear top liqueur.

I made this liqueur for a party benefiting the Portland Women’s Crisis Line. I featured it in a few cocktails. Here’s one of ‘em:

Harvest Old Fashioned
1 oz Pumpkin Liqueur
2 oz bourbon
Cherry and Orange wheel, muddled
Dash Fees bros bitters

Muddle fruit in mixing glass. Add ice, liquors, bitters and stir. Pour into rocks glass.

Yes, I not only include but also muddle the fruit in an old fashioned. It’s not an old fashioned old fashioned. Here is another just for MxMo:

Hot Rummin' Pumpkin

Hot Rummin’ Pumpkin
¾ oz Pumpkin Liqueur
¾ oz Jamaican dark rum
1½ oz demerara rum
4 oz cream, steaming hot
nutmeg, ground

Combine all ingredients in heated glass and top with ground nutmeg. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Another month and another MxMo. Next month, I’ll be hosting so I’ll see everyone on the flipside for December’s MxMo – “Spice.”

Martin Cate in the WSJ

October 4th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I try to make a habit of keeping my posts here primary content. I don’t want to fall in the hole of only talking about what others are talking about, echoing echoed content.

However, there are time when I have to break my habits, especially when a friend gets featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Eric Felton (of How’s Your Drink? ) and columnist at the WSJ today published a column covering The “good” tiki resurgence, tying it a bit into the escapism of troubled economic times.

It is a wonderful information piece — It is quite nice to read about Polynesian Pop where the author gets it Right. I might enjoy the drinks at Trad’r Sam’s more than he, but he is spot on.

Martin Cate and his Forbidden Island get a good mention in respect to their rightful lead of the properly done (hopeful) future of the Tiki Bar.

But don’t take my word for it! Go and read it yourself!

Congratulations, Martin! I can’t wait to see you this Thursday.

Recent Travels – Seattle

September 12th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

A few Saturdays ago, the wife and I drove up to Seattle to visit our friends Brian & Chris. It’s been forever since we last visited. We got to run into the Munats at the #101 liquor store, see the lovely Elicia & FrankTodd, eat at a bunch of great restaurants.

A shining moment of any trip, however, is visiting your ‘tender friends and watching them behind the stick. I’ve been an online-friend of Keith Waldbauer for bit now; I finally got to meet him in person at Tales of the Cocktail. He is a class act. I was sad that with so much going on, I didn’t get to spend enough time chewing the fat. So I visited him at Union.

Seeing him behind the bar was a joy: Smooth movements, quick action, congeniality. The drinks? Heaven. If you are headed to Seattle, you must visit Union. Keith let me sample his falernum (he’s posted recently over at slash food on the topic)1 and his pimento dram2. There are two drinks that stood out from the rest that night, and with Keith’s blessing I have been cleared to share them with you. I’ve just received these and cannot wait to get home and mix them up. I hope you’ll join me at your own home bars.

First is out of that wonderfully thick orange Jones tome3, “None but the Brave.” After complimenting Keith on his pimento dram, he asked “Have you had a None but the Brave?” Shaking my head put him into quick action. Pimento dram is usually used in quarter ounces and teaspoons due to the strength of the elixir; This drink uses a generous half-ounce and balances it out well. It’s a delight.

None but the Brave
2 oz brandy/cognac
½ oz pimento dram
¼ oz lemon juice
¼ oz Jamaican rum
dash simple syrup

shake, strain into cocktail glass

The next drink is Keith’s own, so even more kudos for releasing it into the wild. It is the “Silver Flower Sour,” a mix of a pisco sour-ish formula and some surprising and apt liquor choices. It is delicate at first and then opens into a melange of flavors, ending with a clean rye finish that almost made this imbiber cry. I’m almost tearing up now thinking of it.

Silver Flower Sour
1½ oz rye (high proof is best)
½ oz lemon juice
dash elderflower syrup*
dash orange bitters
½ egg white

shake like hell4, strain into cocktail glass. Flame orange twist atop foam.

*Keith has a German elderflower syrup that is amazing. You can sub St. Germain as Vessel does, or hit up IKEA’s food section for elderflower drink syrup.

After Union, We lumbered down the stairs to visit Murray at Zig Zag. As usual he was a pure joy to talk to and watch. We could only unfortunately stay for one drink and had to bid adieu.

Thanks to Keith for his generosity, and to Murray for his kindness.

Reminder to self: Visit Seattle more often. It is full of fabulous people.

  1. It was very good []
  2. delicious and much better than mine []
  3. and ZigZag’s menu []
  4. Keith did my newly-learned trick of dry shaking with the removed metal spring from a Hawthorne strainer before the iced regular shake []

The Rongo Bowl

September 7th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, which opened on June 23rd 1963. This was the first attraction to use audio-animatronics1. The Tiki room’s imagineering would become the seed that would later flower into the magic behind the Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

As a child (and still as an adult), I would spend most of my time in Adventureland and New Orleans Square; these locations drove my imagination more than any other aspect of the park. I often joke that Disneyland ruined me for my sense of decoration; I feel the over-fantastical theme and attention to detail to be the norm. You can see a basic example of this phenomenon the Monkey Hut and the Buccaneer’s Bathroom at the old house.2

Pele mugBut enough about that, we were talking tiki. For the 40th anniversary in 2003, artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily sculpted a number of mugs. You may remember Kevin from his “Miehana” mug (and accompanying beachbum recipe in “Grog Log”). I’m lucky enough to have a Pele mug from this run.

miehanaThe interesting thing is that one mug that was designed was not produced: The Rongo Bowl. Humuhumu wrote about this back in 2006. Well, lucky us. The 45th anniversary was another chance at a run of production and 500 Rongo Bowls were produced. On Monday, June 23 of this past June, Disneyland hosted a collectable event offering a grand selection of 45th anniversary merchandise. I was heartbroken that I could not make it down for the event. My good friend Brian did, however. He was unbelievably kind enough to get me a Rongo Bowl of my very own.

For this great occasion, I felt a new bowl drink creation was in order. This would be my first attempt at a bowl drink, which is very exciting. Since Rongo is the god of agriculture, I felt a strong fruit forward flavor was necessary, as well as a floral and fresh aroma. After three attempts I decided upon the recipe.3

Rongo
God of Agriculture
In Tropic Lands the Legends Tell
Astounding Pioneers Did Dwell
This Wise Fella Began All-Flight
For Rongo Flew the World’s First Kite!

This bowl is deviously deceptive – there are four ounces of 80-proof spirit within. To honor Rongo’s invention of the Kite, this Rongo Bowl will send you soaring!4
Rongo Bowl

Rongo Bowl
¾ oz orange blossom honey
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz fresh orange juice
¾ oz fresh white grapefruit juice
2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Demerara (Lemonhart 80)
1 oz Virgin Islands gold (Cruzan 2yr ‘dark’)
¼ oz orgeat
¼ oz passion fruit syrup
10 drops Herbsaint or other earthy absinthe (about 1/8th teaspoon)
3 dashes Fees Bros. old fashioned bitters

Heat honey to liquid and combine with all ingredients in mixing container. Fill Rongo bowl with crushed ice and pour into bowl. Stir with swizzle to cool and dilute. Garnish and serve.

Rongo Bowl Rongo Bowl Rongo Bowl Rongo Bowl

photo and photodesign credit: Heather ‘Tikimama’ Gregg

  1. Juan the “Barker Bird”, who was Jose’s cousin was originally outside, announcing the attraction. The crowds that would stand and watch him clogged the entry into Adventureland so he was removed []
  2. I feel these are now below what I wish to accomplish. Look soon for the plans, in-action shots, and creation stories for the new basement: “Colonel Tiki’s Cove” []
  3. Thanks to the help of Noel Henneman and the lovely Tikimama who were helpful in constructive criticism []
  4. Mary Poppins reference, “Let’s go Fly a Kite,” written by the Sherman Brothers who also wrote “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” as well as numerous other works of genius []

ROUX and the Backyard Revival

August 25th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

As you all know, I work at Thatch tiki bar in Portland. I’m lucky enough to work with Mr. Zorn Matson who (amongst other innumerable wonderful things) has enabled me to meet fabulous people.

One fine Wednesday evening a few months ago, I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of Molly Finnegan, who as well as being a close friend of Zorn, is the Bar Manager of ROUX. I was quite excited to meet Molly as I’d heard of her through her drink that Zorn makes, the “Joie de Pimms.”

ROUX (Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez) is an amazing restaurant in North Portland serving up Louisiana Style New Orleans cuisine. ROUX has been a lovely treat of mine. I recently returned from Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. I have to preface that I’m not an expert on Louisiana cooking (I’ll defer to my friend Chuck Taggart for that). However, I feel right back on Decatur Street at ROUX.

Molly and Zorn and company like to get together on Sunday and relax in a backyard of one of their friends. It was at one of these lucky gatherings that Zorn and Molly created the below drink, which has been come to be known as the Backyard Revival.

Taking chilies from her garden and fresh pineapple muddled, mixed with lime and Martin Miller’s Gin, Molly made me this one fine Thursday at ROUX. I got clearance to share it with you after asking (begging) politely with her: Enjoy the end of summer with the simple yet complex Backyard Revival.

The lime and pineapple mix with the lovely citrus aspect of the Miller’s – but before you can linger on that, the chili comes in at the finish to demand you take another sip. The fruit of the chili continues to underscore the other flavors as you finish your tipple. Unbelievably remarkable.

Backyard Revival

Martin Miler's Gin

~¼ cup fresh pineapple (6 pieces canned if you must)
1-2 slices Thai “Bird’s Eye” chili (add to your preferred heat level)
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
2 oz Martin Miller’s Gin

Muddle together the chili and pineapple in a mixing glass. Add the lime, syrup, gin, and 6 oz ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass rimmed with fine or confectioner’s sugar.

So that’s Bourbon Street

July 16th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

After surviving the banality of the Denver airport and 1 lost garment bag1 we’ve arrived in New Orleans. At the airport we met up with Trader Tiki, Chuck and Wes, & Jeff Morganthaler who happened to arrive at the same time we did. We split a cab with Trader2.

I had a Vieux carré at the Carousel bar3 and met up with Rick, Jay, My compatriot in naming Craig (the Good Dr. Bamboo), Trader, Paul Clarke, Mr. Morganthaler, and Seamus. We headed off for a bit at Coop’s place. Perfect Choice, Paul. A belly full of fried seafood, gumbo and jambalaya made a good ballast.

We hit Arnaud’s French 75 Bar where we met with more who’s-who of the blog and non-blog cocktail scene. Matt came along presently and after a french 754, a cigar5, a Negroni6, and Gabriel‘s arrival7 we headed to a location not to be discussed.8 We bumped into Ed Hamilton on the way out which was lovely.

Going via Bourbon street to the non-disclosed location, I couldn’t help notice that the block that most smelled sewer-like happened to be the block with the live sex act clubs, Larry Flint’s Barely Legal, and other assorted gentleman’s clubs. It was such a mix of wonderful and horrible: Gaudy, tawdry neon are contrast against shuttered 300-year old windows. The moist heat of the evening was interrupted by cool breezes escaping from the open doorways of the aforementioned establishments. Garbage binge drinkers surrounded the group of cocktail snobs in the birthplace of the cocktail. It is beautiful and shocking and hideous and profane and I love every single damn thing about it.

We finished off the evening back at the Carousel bar. We closed it. Martin Cate dropped by and it was good to play catch-up with him.

Now for today’s fun. I’ve already missed the blog breakfast event (9:00am? Are you serious?). We’ll be toasting the Sazerac at 2pm. Join us, won’t you? I want to find a Rum Swizzle today.

P.S. Anyone have an SD card reader? Just realized this laptop9 is free of one. The USB cable is resting comfortably back on the table at home.

  1. it has since been found and delivered to the hotel []
  2. with a perfect crazy/nice/ranting cab driver to boot []
  3. tasty – but as it was my first, I have no comparison []
  4. good but not great []
  5. Montecristo No.3 []
  6. fair []
  7. with the lovely Joana []
  8. Thanks, Gabe – now we’ve lost the blackmail ability. First rule of Drink Club, man. []
  9. thanks, TriMet []

Tiki Kon VI Drink Menu

June 25th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

This Saturday I am hosting Tiki Kon VI, a wild tour of two Portland Tiki bars and two Home Bars of Portland-area denizens.

At Thatch, I’ll be giving a short Tiki Mixology seminar and offering thirteen classic and new Tiki beverages on our menu. This is what is in store for our group of intrepid Tiki Adventurers:

Cobra’s Fang Mai Tai
Cuba Kula Miehana
Darker Magic Navy Grog
Fog Cutter Nui Nui
Happy Hoti Penang Afrididi #1
Jet Pilot QB Cooler
Lei Lani Volcano

The weather should be in the middle 90s and sunny. Our last stop will be a home bar with a pool. I think by that time, I will be just about ready to immediately jump in.

MxMo May 2008 — Rum

May 12th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Mixology Monday - RumRumbullion. Kyl Devyl. Screech. It’s the fire water dear to me and mine: Rum, Glorious Rum.

I keep reading that Rum is making a comeback; rum is getting respectable. Heck, the (embarrassing) marketing for 10 cane rum purports to be its redemption. Poppycock. The Kill-Devil will never be redeemed, for it hasn’t the need for it. Redemption! Preposterous.

Rum isn’t on the way back. It never left. The faithless left it, but Rum was always there in the oak casks, waiting faithfully. So instead of welcoming back rum to the liquorati, instead I say: “Welcome back to rum.

MxMo May 2008: Rum

This Month sees a new year and new logo for Mixology Monday. We also have a new host. I have been privileged to know him and call him my closest of friends for nigh on a decade now: Blair “Trader Tiki” Reynolds who holds the stick behind Reynoles Galley. Wish the old feller a happy birthday while you’re there, it was yesterday.

Bumbo Book


On to the Rum! I have previously lightly jabbered about the beginnings of Rum in the Caribbean and the growth of the grog-based rum, gum, and lime lines of cocktail development. This time, I will take the other path. While grog was the drink of the British Navy, there were other sailors who dwelt in the waters who didn’t need to pack down for months at sea. Yes, I speak of the currently popular Pirates. Their drink of choice was Bumbo (also Bumboo, Bumpo). They flavored their rum with cane syrup, nutmeg, allspice and any other local plentiful island spice. With easy access to a better balanced diet than their ocean-crossing targets, there was no need to add lime.

Bumbo was not only a pirate drink; it became very popular in the new colonies. Founding father George Washington himself used gallons of the stuff to buy off votes for his Virginia House of Burgesses campaigns (a contemporary popular ploy). Note the side illustration from a one-shilling London 1738 leaflet of “A letter from Captain Flip to Major Bumbo.” I have a feeling James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo was also familiar with the stuff.


Demerara sugar Nutmeg and rhubarb Allspice Rhubarb and Demerara

Spring in Portland means fresh Rhubarb. I’ve been meaning to make a rhubarb syrup — the languid tartness of rhubarb is a perfect counterpoint flavor to exploit. So to 750ml of Cockspur Barbados rum (Barbados is the home of rum), I added Demerara sugar, allspice and nutmeg. I candidly think the roots of both falernum and pimento dram grow in the soil of Bumbo. I let mine sit for a week (and increased the spices accordingly for the short infusion time). With a more restrained spice, you can (and should) let your bumbo rest for months.Using this lovely spiced spirit, I thought I’d see how it fared with a classic, Jerry Thomas style straight Cocktail treatment. As it so happens, it fares quite well. Liquor, red vermouth, bitters, stirred. The slow sour of the rhubarb and the bitter of the Punt e Mes contrast with the spice and spirit. The Orange oil adds to the nose and brings cohesiveness to the overall character of the drink.

MxMo May 2008: Bumbo Cocktail

Rhubarb Bumbo Cocktail
1 oz Punt e Mes
2 oz Rhubarb Bumbo
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Stir all with fresh cracked ice and strain into rounded small cocktail glass. Express oil from orange rind. I add mine to the drink for drama but it has already done its mixological job.

Flavor profiles: Falernum #4, phase II

April 16th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Finishing the Falernum

After more than three days of infusing the prior ingredients, it was time to strain, press, and complete Falernum #4.

Finishing the Falernum

Falernum #4 ingredients, cont.
3 cups simple syrup
1½ cups fresh lime juice

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