Mixology Monday April 2008 — Fruit Liqueurs

April 14th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

mxmo-fruit.jpgSometimes moving has its benefits. Discovering a three-year-old jar of brandied blackberries in time for this month’s Mixology Monday may not be wholly offset carting my entire household from one end of Portland to another, but it certainly sweetened the deal. 2005′s harvest was a particularly brambly year. Rich and woody, the jeweled mixture was just the perfect ingredient for Anna’s theme ingredient of fruit Liqueurs.

Brandied Blackberries topBrandied Blackberries

I strained the blackberries first through a metal sieve and then through cheesecloth to produce a smooth and gorgeous base. I added house-made vanilla syrup and added some additional calvados to finish a bright, flavorful blackberry brandy that I fear will not last long. Luckily, I have a few more jars put up for future use.

On recommendation from Trader Tiki, I used as a base the Roffignac from Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix em. The Roffignac paralells the Sazerac as a symbolic New Orleans cocktail, though it has not seen the contemporary success of Peychaud’s credited tipple.

Here I use the Brambleberry Brandy in place of the raspberry sirop in the original recipe. I pair the shiny flavor with the spice and grass notes of rye whiskey. I also add a dash of flavorful Herbsaint to bring the specific notes of each spirit to the fore.

Mixology Monday: Fruit Liqeuer, April 2008

Brambleberry Roffignac
1½ oz Blackberry Brandy
2 oz Rye
6 drops Herbsaint
splash Soda

Stir spirits with 5 oz crushed ice and pour into double rocks glass. Splash soda, stir and serve.

Flavor profiles: Falernum #4, phase I

April 10th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

It’s time again to make another batch of falernum. This makes my fourth batch to date. I am still tinkering with my own recipe, based upon the wonderful Paul Clarke.

At Tiki Central I run into those who seem to be afraid to experiment in creating their own concoctions of tinctures, liqueurs and juices. There’s no need to dread or disdain working in the kitchen. If you can make an omelet, you can make falernum. There is not a time commitment needed: I spent a scant 25 minutes from start to finish below, and I was taking pictures.

Falernum Mise en Place

Falernum #4
9 limes, zest from
¼ cup diced fresh ginger
45 cloves
2 cardamom pods
½ cup slivered almonds, dry-roasted
750ml Cruzan 120 Clipper Rum

A picture essay follows after the cut. I hope this inspires the previously kitchen-adverse to start tinkering.
More »

Rum Barrels and Rumination

February 5th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I have a particular personal philosophy concerning functional art. In this specific case, the collecting of Tiki Mugs. I deeply feel that when functional art ceases being used, it ceases having relevance. It becomes less powerful; it becomes a memory. The idea of keeping a mug (no matter how ‘priceless’) that was made to be drunk from behind glass and unused is anathema to me. To me It’s perverting the item for one’s own personal fears (of it breaking, of it losing value) in favor of its spirit.

This is not a judgement against others who may differ: It’s your mug, do with it what you will. It’s my philosophy and there is no concrete aesthetic. My mugs, however, will be used. If it becomes damaged? If it breaks? Good. The Mug is already broken. All things are impermanent and eventually end: Such is the beauty of existence. I would rather celebrate these tokens full of the drinks they were made to hold than look at it with worry on the shelf, supposedly out of harm’s way.

I bring this up because when I make Rum Barrels, I use our two Rum Barrel mugs. One of which happens to be the Aku Aku Rum Barrel. It was made by Otagiri for the Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas. Heather found it at the Goodwill for 85¢. Ooga-Mooga has the value at $90. Ebay’s average is around $125. Do I care? Not a whit. I use it because it is a rum barrel, meant to hold the liquid art of the Rum Barrel cocktail.

Rum Barrel Ingredients
Don’s Rum Barrel

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz honey mix
1 oz Puerto Rican light Rum
1 oz Jamaican gold Rum
2 oz Demerara Rum
tsp falernum
tsp pimento dram
6 drops Pernod
6 drops grenadine
dash Angostura bitters
6 oz Ice

That’s the version in Sippin’ Safari. It’s a great recipe. However, to my taste, it turns out a bit subtle. So here’s my personal variation on the recipe. I’ve replaced the Pernod with Herbsaint, as I feel it more closely better supports the other flavors with a woody, earthy tone (I’ll use Absinthe when next I have some on hand). Pernod is too “pointy” and singular for my tastes in these recipes. I increase the falernum & pimento dram from 1/6 oz to 1/4 oz to better balance their role in the flavor. I use Fee’s brother’s old fashioned bitters for a hint of more spice. I don’t have any decent Puerto Rican rums, so I substitute Cruzan (a Virgin Islands rum).

Rum Barrel Still life

The Monkey Hut Rum Barrel (based on Donn Beach’s recipe)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz honey mix
1 oz Cruzan light Rum
1 oz Appleton Special gold Rum
2 oz Lemon Hart Demerara Rum
¼ oz house falernum
¼ oz house pimento dram
6 drops Herbsaint
6 drops grenadine
dash Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters
6 oz Crushed Ice

You can also see my other Rum Barrel, the Mai-Kai reproduction from Tiki Farm. I picked that one up at the Mai-Kai gift shop during Hukilau 2006. They sit next to each other in the Monkey Hut. They come down when it’s time to drink from them.

Here are some more shots of this gorgeous functioning art in action:
Rum Barrel Still Life
Aku Aku Rum Barrel
Aku Aku Rum Barrel

Cheers!

-=C

Liqueurs, Oh My!

January 4th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

A few months ago, my lovely Wife found a nifty little book, Classic Liqueurs: The Art of Making & Cooking with Liqueurs by Cheryl Long and Heather Kibbey. It’s full of fun and interesting recipes on mock-creations of your favorite liqueurs.

Taken from the book, my 2 latest endeavors are below:

Orange curaçao tincture

Orange Curaçao

1 cup dried (bitter) orange peel
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 cups cognac

¾ cups ea. sugar and water

Combine cognac, orange juice, orange peel, and coriander in aging container (mason jar works well). Shake daily and keep in cool, dark place for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, drain using sieve, cheesecloth or other fine mesh strainer. Make 1:1 simple syrup and combine with tincture when cool. Age at least 3 months.

I adjusted the recipe in book to suit my tastes: the book has you use a grain-neutral spirit. I wanted to use cognac in my first test. I just put it up a few days ago and I did test the flavor: Delicious, but incredibly bitter. I’m hoping the aging will take the edge off that bitterness (as I assume the aging will do). I’ll let you know in April how it tastes.

The next little guy I made yesterday. Blair made this last month and I was lucky enough to get a bottle for Christmas. It is an attempt to re-make the now lost Forbidden Fruits liqueur.Pumelo I know Blair was disappointed with the recipe and only afterwards learned that the main fruit used was the pomelo (pumelo, pumello) or “Shaddock Grapefruit.” it is not the grapefruit we all know and see half-cut on on plate or pushed into Mae Clark’s face. Apparently, our grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo and an orange (much like our lime is a hybrid of a lemon and a key lime). Look at the pith on a pomelo (right)! Also that is my hand so you can see the size (it’s the size of a baby’s head). I decided to give the old recipe a try with my own changes to see if I could get it closer. Cocktail DB lists the flavour profiles as citrus, honey, brandy.Forbidden Fruit Liqueur I used a pomelo instead of grapefruit, and replaced the lemon rind with pomelo rind. I also replaced the sugar in the recipe with honey. I also replaced the vodka/brandy mix with a cognac/brandy mix. Because I love Donn’s Spices so much, I added one stick of Ceylon cinnamon to marry with the Vanilla. You first create a syrup of the citrus rinds, juices, spices and honey. Bring this to a boil, then simmer. This is then added to the aging container with the brandy and cognac for 3 weeks. The last week is spent straining and clarifying. The recipe I used is roughly:

Forbidden Fruits Liqueur (approximation)

2 Pomelos, rind of 2 and juice of 1
3 Oranges, rind of 1 and juice of 3
1 Lemon, rind and juice
1 Vanilla pod, split lengthwise
1 Ceylon Cinnamon stick, crushed
2 Cups honey

1 Cup Cognac
1 Cup Brandy

I think I’ll have a winner here. The pomelo and honey together were a combination that was instant alchemy. The simmering pot of syrup had such a magical, forbidden scent I wish I could explain it more. Similar to donn’s spices, yet with a character fresh and enticing. I can’t wait for February on this one.

Coming next? Results of the Simple Syrup experiment, announcement of the Falernum experiment (making falernum with the cold- and hot-method simple syrups), and the canning-processed falernum experiment. Of course, more cocktail recipes, liqueur recipes and trials, and as always the witty banter you’ve come to dread.

-=C

p.s. Falernum #3, just out of batch is the best I’ve made yet. I’ll divulge the secret ingredient if the Wife doesn’t kill me (it was her idea).

Post Holiday Humdrums

December 31st, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

It’s so hard to be back at a day job after holiday festivities.

The simple syrup project already has some results: The hot and cold process syrups have been created. The volume and hue turned out exactly the same, no need for adjusting. Last night Heather and I blind tasted them and recorded our results. I’m not going to report just yet, as we have a few more local tasters who will be testing; I wouldn’t want to skew their results with any early reports.

The Holiday was lovely, with much drinking and mixing going on. There were Tom & Jerrys, Navy Grogs, 3 Dots & a Dashes, Nui Nuis, Corspe Revivers #2, Manhattans, Mah Jonngs, Cesar Rum Punches, Flippin’ Flips, and plenty of highballs to go around. I also treated our merry gathering with 2 growlers of Bridgeport’s Ebeneezer Ale, hand-pulled and cask conditioned.

We were also productive with tinctures and infusions: We made a Creme de Menthe with our house-grown peppermint, Falernum and Pimento Dram, Pomegranate Liqueur, & my most anticipated — Orange Curaçao.

Blair was nice enough to bring over some of his home-made goodies: Rum Shrub, Orgeat, Ginger Beer, Cola Tonic & Taboo Liqueur.

Cigars were smoked, video games played (guitars make heroes), merriment and good cheer abounded.

Sure makes being here now that much worse in contrast. Ah, but tonight shall see more celebration.

Happy New Year everybody!

Falernum #1

December 17th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

I’ve luckily had Falernum around since 2003 thanks to Martin Cate (who introduced me to John D. Taylor’s) and Blair (who bought a case way back when). I’ve compared to the Fee Brother’s version. And thanks to Paul Clarke, I’ve done home-made. The below recipe is my first attempt to tweak Paul’s recipe to my own taste. It came out quite nicely. However, I’m almost out so it will soon be time for #2.

Falernum Tincture

Falernum #1

40 cloves, crushed
5 allspice berries, crushed
½ cup blanched almonds, dry-roasted
¼ cup diced fresh ginger
6 limes, zest of
750 ml 120 clipper Cruzan rum
½ tsp almond extract
750 ml 2:1 simple
375 ml lime juice

Add almonds, Cloves, Allspice, ginger and lime zest in mason jar with the rum. Let this macerate for at least 2 days. Strain macerated mixture through flour-sack dishcloth. Be sure to squeeze all that goodness out! Add tincture to equal amount of 2:1 simple syrup and ½ amount lime juice. Add almond extract. Pour into clean, sanitized 16 oz canning jars and hot-process for 5 minutes. Makes 7 jars of completely shelf stable falernum. You should be able to store this almost indefinitely.

I know that the original recipe calls for cold-processed simple syrup, but it is the opinion of this author that the difference is completely negligible. I plan to test that hypothesis with a double blind (and scientific as possible) taste test soon to be posted to this journal. We’ll see whether or not my hunch is full of it.

The idea to can the Falernum came out of my laziness. I regularly make batches of syrups, drams and other little tinctures. More often than not they will go bad before I’ve used them up. I’d find myself at a bottleneck with that choice ingredient non-existent. Tired of not being able to quickly whip up that Navy Grog or Nui Nui without first replenishing my supply, I thought if I could make a large batch and can it, I could have a back stock of syrups and concoctions ready to go at my whim: When the backs get low, another batch goes together.

Next Falernum, I’ll up the lime a bit, hit the ginger a tad, and use J. Wray for the spirit for extraction. Look out for Falernum #2 coming soon…

Mixology Monday – Gin

November 12th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

mixMo12112007This is my first entry for a Mixology Monday. Jay Hepburn over at Oh Gosh! is this month’s host and the theme is gin.

I adore gin. I am not overly fond of delicate gins, however. You can keep your Bombay Saphires and your Tanqueray Tens. I like my gin strong, botanical, and — dare I say it — harsh. I have a secret. I’m a sucker for good bad gin. I don’t mean bottom shelf dive bar well gins mind you: I’m talking about Seagram’s, Gordon’s, Gilbey’s. I do love Aviation and Boodles and Plymouth, but lately the wallet dictates a more modest investment. An aside: Notice how premium gins seem to drop the apostrophe before their final ‘s’? “Apostrophe s? How common.”

So, what’s a mixologist to do? Luckily a good hearty gin is a perfect component of vintage gin cocktails. It’s the harsh nature of the spirit (legal and illegal) that likely led to the numerous gin cocktails in the first place. At least that’s the common folk history I hear bandied about.

Here’s my lowbrow highbrow cocktail, The Madagascar Gin Sour. You could also call it a Vanilla Lemon Gimlet, which would be more descriptive. The lovely wife likes the combination of lemon and vanilla and I happened to have a bunch of vanilla syrup about for Tiki Drinks. I thought I’d try it as the sweet component of a sour mix for a gimlet-like cocktail. I didn’t expect it to balance so well on the first try. It’s gorgeous (if I do say so myself, and I do):

Madagascar Gin Sour low light - photo by Heather 'Tikimama' Gregg

Madgascar Gin Sour

2 oz Good Bad Gin
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Vanilla Syrup*
2 dashes Fees Brothers Lemon Bitters

Lemon peel garnish

Dissolve syrup in lemon juice in a mixing glass. Add 3 oz ice, gin, bitters and stir to mix. Pour into small cocktail glass, express lemon oil on drink and drop peel in the glass.

Be sure to hit up Oh Gosh! to see everyone else’s submission and make yourself a nice cocktail when you get home from work on Monday. Goodness knows you deserve it.

-=C

Vanilla Syrup*Vanilla Syrup

We keep vanilla sugar for baking. It’s easy – just drop a few spent vanilla pods into a container and fill with sugar. In two weeks time, the sugar will be infused with vanilla. You can replace the vanilla extract in your favourite baking recipe with the vanilla sugar. The longer it sits, the better it gets. Whenever you remove some sugar, add the same about of regular sugar to the container and you can keep it going for up to 2 years or so.

Make simple syrup out of this vanilla sugar (I do 2:1 sugar:water, bring softly and slowly to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as the mixture clears — be careful as the sugar will caramelize quickly) and viola: vanilla syrup.