A strange self-importance

May 7th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

There is an aspect of many contemporary blogs that troubles me. I suppose I am troubled and annoyed because (like most things) I dislike my own tendencies and therefore see these tendencies more clearly in others. So existentially, this rant is directed mostly to myself.

The trend I speak of is the (to me) feigned pretentiousness of the novel. Now, I am the first to admit the joy of intellectualizing my hobbies, it is the curse of the overly educated and the lingering disease of the post-modern. However, I do try to keep a healthy grip on perspective. Yes, there is artistry and craft and great deep involvement of the minutia of flavor profiles; the alchemy of taste! However, for crying out loud, It’s just food / drink.

There’s no reason it can’t be both: I’m comfortable and (candidly) revel in ambiguity and cognitive dissonance. Aristotle may be wrong; “a” can equal “not a.” And yes, below I’ll be generalizing and paint with wide strokes:

For instance, The slow food movement. While wonderful and aligned with my own tastes and political leanings, etc. As explained to my mother-in-law, she replied: “Oh, you mean food?” You know, like your grandparents used to eat before the 50′s tech marvel fads of highways, distribution, production, suburbs and supermarkets changed things?

Canning, preserving, smoking, curing, head-to-tail: What your great-grandmother used to call “Wednesday.”

etc.

I do not mean to malign the renaissance of foodcraft (or any craft, for that matter). Nor do I wish to marginalize the wonder of discovery of these lost arts. I do however have my fill of those who are so god-damned pretentious about them. I wish we could stop pretending to be so god damned expectant of external validation of our personal growth in discovery. That’s all.

I mean, I know our damn generation has to deign irony or some other handle to deal with the fact that we’re broke and our market system is imploding and so we’re drinking Pabst and making mac and cheese (with local non-hormone artisan cheese). But really? Really? You don’t get a god-damned gold star no matter how well you can use the macro setting on your new digital camera. I’ll thank you for the recipes, though. They’re super tasty.

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

I’m Alive!

January 22nd, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Well, that was an adventure! I still live!

About two weeks ago I went to Seattle with Tikimama. It was her semesterly residence at U-Dub and my excuse to go to Zig Zag. We’d been to Seattle for the Jet City Junket II in December of last year, but I was thwarted at any chance of getting some time at Zig Zag, so I jumped on this opportunity.

The next few entries will be about that wonderful trip – I hit up Zig Zag a few times, was blown away at Vessel, had a great time at Sun Liquor and was pampered at Licorous. It was outstanding, and I paid for it:

When I got home I was hit with the worst flu in nearly a decade. I lost nearly a week’s time in delirium, completely sleeping through Mixology Monday. I’m still coughing and weak. I did manage to spread the love with my friends and family, though. You’re Welcome.

What has kept me in spirits, so to speak? My current regular from Jeff Berry’s Sippin’ Safari: Three Dots and a Dash. You do have Sippin’ Safari, right? P1010019

Three Dots and a Dash (…- V)

½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce fresh orange juice
½ ounce honey mix
1½ ounces amber Martinique rum
½ ounce demerara rum
¼ ounce falernum
¼ ounce pimento dram
6 ounces crushed ice

P1010030This morse-code lovely is credited to Donn at the Las Vegas Beachcomber restaurant during WWII (V for victory). I assemble this fellow following my new method picked up from the Navy Grog. I add all ingredients to a mixing pitcher and stir to combine. I crush the ice finely, add to the glass and pour the mixture in. I hand-swizzle and aerate the drink with a bar spoon until the glass frosts and add the garnish.

Moving up in favor as a regular is the Honi Honi. Remind me to wax rhapsodical about that in a future post, won’t you? These libations have kept me human in my few weeks of viral stupor. I suppose I could have counted on a Corpse Reviver (#2) to pop me on my feet, but even I can’t be that clever-clever. I’m glad to be back and 200 proof.

Cheers!
-=C