MxMo LXIV : Tiki

February 20th, 2012 by Colonel Tiki

Is it Mixology Monday already again? I know it’s grapefruit season again. It’s a great beautiful season too. Here’s a little something tiki via Brazil: The Rio Tonga. Yes, the celery bitters are important.

Rio Tonga
1½ oz white grapefruit juice
½ oz unsweetened pineapple juice
¾ oz Allspice-Cinnamon-Vanilla infused rich simple1
1½ oz cachaça (I used Novo Fogo)
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 dash celery bitters
4 drops Herbsaint

Mix with 6 oz crushed ice in a top-down drinks mixer and pour into footed hurricane. Garnish lime twist.

 

  1. I use vanilla sugar with cracked allspice berries and shredded ceylon cinnamon. You can have just as good by using ½oz B.G.Reynolds Cinnamon Syrup and ¼ oz B.G.Reynolds Don’s Spices #2. []

The Cutting of the Grapefruit

May 4th, 2011 by Colonel Tiki

It’s no secret I adore grapefruit. I’ve even been caught, in public, saying quite embarrassing things about the depths of my love. It’s a love that cuts deep. Today I’ll show you just how deep you should cut and prepare your fruit.

I apologize, dear reader. We are at the very tail end of a glorious white grapefruit1 season, so you very likely won’t be able to get your hands on such a glorious globe as the one pictured here. Fear not! The prep advice offered below is even more appropriate when used on inferior yet widely available red varietals.

The Center Cannot Hold

The center of citrus fruit is roughly analogous to the umbilical cord; it is the highway for nourishment to reach the segments. This marvelous cell structure is responsible for the delicious contents of the fruit, yet it alone is horribly distasteful. The flavor is nearly only strong bitterness. It should be removed. It also imparts a bitter flavor outward into the fruit – the juice sacs adjacent should also be removed. You can see the area below in green on mouse-over:

How to Field-Strip a Grapefruit

So here’s how to do it:


1. Cut through the fruit at just below half, where the fruit bulges the most.


2. Cut each of these two pieces again in half, through the central column.


3. Cut these quarters in half again, carefully through the central column.


4. Here you can see the 1/8th of fruit with the column still attached.


5. Cut through the juice sacs and remove the bitter central column with adjacent sacs.


6. Each such prepared 1/8 of a normal-sized grapefruit should yield ¾oz of flavorful juice2.


And that’s how you do it! If in a hurry, only 4 cuts are needed to have a 1/8 segment, ready to juice. Grapefruit a la minute.

  1. and pomello/grapefruit []
  2. just enough for a Navy Grog! []

Drinks of Strong Contrast

April 29th, 2011 by Colonel Tiki

Everyone has a flavor profile that they adore. As I’ve talked about before, the lion’s share of us tiki mixologist folk are non-tasters. This means that we love strong and complex flavors because our tongues are myopic1. Blair is a fan of heavy spice and strong citrus epitomized by the Nui Nui, for example. I do love that profile, but my heart is in drinks of high contrast.

Tenebrism

I’m talking about elevated high notes right next to deep base and dark tones, such as the profile you’ll find in my Dark Magic. In that particular recipe, the lime and pineapple are highly contrasted against the Jamaican rum and coffee syrup. This realization led me to delving into the idea of making a drink that really pushes this idea. The art history geek in me made the name. It’s Tiki, so I hope you’ll not be daunted by the ingredient list.

Tenebrist

1 oz Coruba Jamaican Rum
½ oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
½ oz Cynar
1/8 oz Fernet Branca
¾ oz fresh white grapefruit juice
¾ oz fresh pineapple juice
½ oz Trader Tiki Cinnamon Syrup
dash aromatic bitters
8 drops herbsaint

Shake with crushed ice and serve in a double rocks glass, garnish with grapefruit peel and cinnamon stick

  1. If I can be allowed to mix metaphors []

The Trouble With Orange Juice – Part II

October 29th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki
This is the first in a series of articles on Citrus.

In Part I, I discussed how squeezing fresh juice from common oranges is a poor choice for orange juice, and suggested an easy (though seasonal) solution in a few good varietals suited for juice. We all need to be aware of the method of production of the processed orange juice product.

The Queasy Fix: Processed Orange Juice

orange_frankTo be candid, processed orange juice is Frankenstein’s monster. It doesn’t really matter if it is from concentrate (FCOJ) or not from concentrate (NFC).  The juice may have been freshly squeezed at one time, but the journey it takes to your jigger renders it far from “fresh squeezed.”

In her book, Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange JuiceAlissa Hamilton1, a recent Food and Society Fellow with the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy, describes the NFC process. Here’s the scoop:

Freshly squeezed juice is first centrifuged to remove the oils.2 Next, after pasteurization, the most production popular method de-oxygenates the juice for protection against spoilage. This is because all the excess Valencias (in Florida and Brazil) are processed and held in huge aseptic tanks for storage and use when not in season.

This volume keeps the NFC OJ available year-round. Since removing the oxygen destroys almost all organic-compound flavors in the juice, producers purchase flavor packs from fragrance and flavor companies. The product is re-flavored and shipped to you.

From concentrate orange juice doesn’t get de-oxygenated, but it does get superheated to remove excess water. This process destroys flavors so producers purchase flavor packs from fragrance and flavor companies.3 Sound familiar? The concentrate is frozen and stored to reconstitute and bottle, or sold directly to you in the add 3 cans of cold water containers we all grew up with.

So should you avoid processed orange juice products? It’s up to you. Personally, I do use it in certain circumstances. It all comes down to the taste: Some producers have a relatively decent flavor pack combination that mimics fresh Valencias enough to be a substitute. I call on Frankenstein when all I can find is out-of season or boring common oranges, or if you cannot find a local fresh4 juice in jugs at your Whole Joes, or if you only have convenience stores or mega-grocery-marts near you and you have an OJ emergency.5

Coming in the third and final part, I’ll go into fresh juice products and my own personal recommendation for the orange juice conundrum.

Edit: Please consider purchasing Squeezed:

  1. Who is a very nice person to email []
  2. which are sold to the same market where fragrance and flavor companies shop for raw natural ingredients []
  3. http://www.ultimatecitrus.com/oj.html []
  4. where fresh means sell-by-date ranges of 3 days or so []
  5. it happens more that I’d like to admit []

The Trouble With Orange Juice – Part I

October 25th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki
This is the first in a series of articles on Citrus.

oranges_and_orange_juiceWithin cocktail circles, ‘fresh squeezed’  (or a la minute if you will) is the rallying cry for citrus. While I am not one to go against this, with all rules there are exceptions. This particular exception is the eponymous orange.

Freshly squeezed orange juice is in most cases insipid and may well ruin your cocktail. Oh my, that’s a strong statement (even with the qualifying clause)! Let me explain why I find it to be true.

The Orange Scene

First, let us consider the fruit itself. Most of us would first reach for an orange for orange juice and hand squeeze it at the point of service. This can really bite you in the ass, and you should blame the produce industry. Modern produce propagation is mainly concerned with yield, ease of harvest, appearance, and shelf life. Please note that “flavor” is not amongst them. Not to say that flavor is unimportant; as long as the flavor is non-offensive it is acceptable.

The most popular use for whole orange is for eating directly or zesting; not juicing. The most common nonseasonal1 varietal is the “common sweet orange,” followed by the Bahia Navel. Both of these have good features for our use: They are pleasing to eat, the rind2 contains decent oils and produces flavorful zest. The juice is almost always insipid on each. Use these lovely looking fruit for garnish and oil expression but please don’t juice them for use in your drink.

The Easy Fix: Varietals

Now, I’m sure many reading would be quick to point out the well known varietal Valencia is chiefly for juicing and this truth is the start of our journey. Most things growing in the ground have a peak of their flavor at a certain time of the year even when they produce year round.3 Valencias are no different. Their season (in the most liberal range) is from the end of spring until the beginning of autumn: One third of a year at most. Yes, you can likely find Valencias year round but as with the Navel and generic above4, Off-season or shipped oranges are usually poor specimens for juicing.

Other varietals can help fill in the gaps in the year, and here are some to consider if they are available at your local Whole Joes:

800px-caracaranavelorangesCara Cara: California:
Season: Late Autumn – Spring

This cross between two Navel varietals5 shows dark orange color and complex juice flavor. Most available come from California or shipped from Venezuela. You should favor the closer locality: everywhere should now be declaring the source of produce. The rind is thin yet produces good oils, I would suggest zesting for culinary uses rather than twists or expression.

Hamlin OrangesHamlin: Florida & California
Season: Mid Autumn – Mid Winter

This lovely little orange made it through the great freeze of 1875-6 which destroyed most other orange crops and plants. It has a high juice yield of a light, flowery orange flavor with undertones of honey. I prefer these oranges for the Nui Nui. The rind is thin and of little use, though it does aid in pliability for good juicing.

valencia-orangesValencia: California & Florida
Season:
Late Spring – Early Autumn

Orange Juice products are produced from Valencia stock in season: While at the peak you cannot beat a good Valencia for the quintessential flavor of fresh juice. The rind is thinner than Navels yet still can yield good oil expression.

Note:

It isn’t impossible to find an accessible Navel or general sweet when in season from November to March. Your chances will improve greatly by looking for these characteristics: location, weight, color. The locality should be your closest coast line state: California or Florida. The weight should be heavy for its size – it should feel dense. The color should be as close to green as possible. All oranges are green in their native tropics: colder climes and senescence cause the process that lead to the reveal of the orange color. Yes. Oranges are green.

What are other options?

In Part II, orange juice products – both from concentrate or not from concentrate will be presented as possible replacements for fresh orange juice.6

  1. more like grown everywhere on earth in conventional or forced methods then shipped. []
  2. The proper term is ‘flavedo’ which I adore, but find twee to use in the common parlance. Footnotes are a place where my fancy flies free. []
  3. such as the first spring sprigs of mint []
  4. Both of these have the height of season in the winter. At their peak, the juice raises from insipid to ‘OK’ []
  5. Washington and Bahia []
  6. SHOCK HORROR []

A Grapefruit question:

October 6th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki

forbiddenfruit1750barbados

Does anyone out there have an earlier reference to grapefruit?

From The Natural History of Barbados, By the Reverend Mr. Griffith Hughes, A.M., Rector of St. Lucy’s Parish, Published 1750.

For those who have trouble with the out of fashion ‘long s,’ it reads:

The Trunk, Leaves and Flowers of this Tree, very much resemble those of the Orange-tree. The Fruit, when ripe, is something longer and larger than the largest Orange; and exceeds, in the Delicacy of its Taste, the Fruit of every Tree in this or any of our neighbouring Islands. It hath somewhat the Taste of a  Shaddock; but far exceeds that, as well as the best Orange, in its delicious Taste and Flavour. This is delineated in Plate VII.

“Shaddock” was the contemporary term for a Pomello.

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