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.

Gantt’s Caipirissima

September 21st, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

This week I was happily awarded runner-up status on one of the drinks I submitted to Forbidden Island‘s cocktail competition. The competition was open to Tiki Central members as well as recipients of Forbidden Island’s newsletter.

I along with the other winners will be on Forbidden Island‘s Fall specials menu. I’ll be enjoying having someone other than myself make it when the Mrs. and I attend Tiki Central‘s eighth annual Tiki Crawl, the crawl that started it all.

If however you are far from Alameda or Portland, I share the recipe with you below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

Gannt's Caipirissima

Gantt’s Caipirissima
¼ Grapefruit, cut into 3 or 4 pieces (White grapefruit if seasonally possible)
1 oz Cinnamon Syrup (or 2 Tbs Cinnamon Sugar)
2 oz rhum agricole (Clément VSOP preferred)

Muddle grapefruit and cinnamon syrup in a double old fashioned glass. Add 4oz of crushed ice and rhum. Stir to mix and garnish with cinnamon stick.

I name it thus because I’ve long noted the similarties in vegetal flavors (and methods) between cachaça and rhum agricole. Donn Beach had a warm spot for cinnamon and grapefruit — and with good reason: They love each other. Donn also liked the martinique paired with his Mix (Donn’s mix, 2:1 grapefruit juice to cinnamon syrup), so I thought all these separate points of information needed to come together in a cocktail. I name it a Caipirissima (a Caipirinha with rum instead of cachaça) because I’m pedantic. Rhum agricole may be simmilar to Cachaça, but not enough to pretend it warrants the position under the caipirinha umbrella.

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 []

MxMo August — Local Flavor

August 11th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I met the wonderful Kevin at Tales of the Cocktail, though I’ve been reading Save the drinkers for quite a while now.  I wish I had more of a chance to chat, but Tales is a hard mistress. He’s hosting this Month’s MxMo — Local flavor. We’re neighbors: Kevin’s over in Idaho and I’m here in Oregon.

Summer means many things in Portland: Block Parties, River boating, Festivals. It also means Berries. Though not botanically berries1 , I will not let semantics get in the way of the berry orgy of summer. Blackberries, Boysenberries, Blueberries, Marionberries. Yum.

Now this is not virgin ground I tread on. The common love of summer berries is wide in portland and naturally many more have gone before me. Yes, great minds think alike and fools seldom differ.

Sauvie Island. It sits in the Willamette mere yards from Portland proper. It’s a destination for nude beach sun worshipers, niche landscapers and fans of produce. Kruger farms has a gorgeous u-pick farm that Heather and I frequent as much as possible each summer. They have bands every Thursday, BBQ on the weekends and rows and rows of delicious summer berries.

Heather and I recently went picking. I for this month’s MxMo, she for jam and pickles. We’ve been Jamming for about eleven years since we lived in Petaluma where our house had an out-of-control Himalaya blackberry  bush that over produced. We have to put up jars of jam each year to satisfy the yearly appetite of our family and friends.

vineberry blueberry flat

Strolling through the vineyards at Kruger on a temperate Saturday is a summer Portland Experience. I have to admit an occasional taste test as we picked – I hope that’s not too frowned apon. With the standard Blackberry, we also picked the long compact Kotataberry (a blackberry varietal), and the upward-growing thorn-free Waldoberry (another blackberry varietal). Blueberries are also a must after the success of our Blueberry-lime jam. I think there might be angry villagers with torches if we fail to get that out for Christmas presents.

So, what’s a mixologist to do with these gorgeous berries? I get crap all the time from some people for the rum-heavy nature of my posts. I’ve also done rum and blackberry before. I wouldn’t dare to think of hiding the delicate flavors of these berries with rum. Vodka would be far too insipid for mixing. Gin? Yes, gin. Aviation Gin2 to be precice. Aviation has a citrus body that I feel mixes well with berries.3

blueberries kotataberries waldoberries

I’ve always loved the illustration for the Julep in Jerry Thomas’s Bon Vivant’s Companion. The bouquet of mint and berries dusted with powdered sugar delights me. You can take the rum out of the Tiki mixologist, but you can’t take the garnish lover out of the … never mind. I get enough crap out of my Rum fixation, I don’t need to give any more ammunition for the simpering anti-garnishers so they can poo-poo as they clutch their pearls.4

Summer Berry Smash

So I present to you the Summer Berry Smash. Berries, vanilla, mint, lemon and Gin: A taste of Portland in the Summer. A taste of my Summer. Close your eyes and enjoy. It will soon be raining again.

Summer Berry Smash

Summer Berry Smash

¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz vanilla syrup
8-10 Oregon Blackberries (I used Waldoberries & Kotataberries)
10-12 Oregon Blueberries
10 mint Leaves
2 oz Aviation Gin
Charged water

Muddle mint softly with small shot of charged water in mixing glass. Add slice lemon and berries and muddle again. Add ice, Gin, Syrup, and Lemon juice and shake. Strain into pint glass filled with crushed ice and top with Charged water and stir. Garnish with bouquet of mint, lemon wheel, orange wheel and whole berries. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar.

  1. Don’t get me started: tecnhically, the cane berries we’re fond of are actually aggregate drupes. Blueberries are false berries, similar to the pepo of cucumbers and bananas. This is style of fruit, not genetic family []
  2. also a local product of House Spirits []
  3. others agree []
  4. Notice the pursed mouths and the attitudes the next time one of them goes on their rants, as is their wont []

MxMo July 2008 — New Orleans

July 28th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I’ve been in a fog since returning from Tales of the Cocktail last Wednesday. Half my pictures are sitting on Blair‘s memory card at his house. The past days have been wonderful blurs of house guests, unpacking and a Teardrop Lounge anniversary party.1 It is taking all my effort to get my ass in gear to get out this Mixology Monday post.

I had a good number of drinks in New Orleans. From vieux carré to sazerac, from crap hurricane to french 75. Heck, I even mixed up Beachbum drinks with Rick and Blair a session. I ended up in the Tulane emergency room with Gout on account of the all the imbibing.2 However, I never did get around to ordering a Suissesse. Oh, I may have begged the odd taste from my drinking companions, but it just didn’t get together on a bartop for me.

Luckily, I picked up a hard copy of Stanley Clisby Arthur’s New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘em while in the crescent city. It’s a little volume I’ve loved for a while now in soft copy. Low and behold, therein lay a Suissesse recipe.

Suissesse before pouring

While some may poo-poo creme de menthe and/or standard maraschino cherries, I refrain from shirking. The very idea of pairing these ingredients with absinthe filled me with petulant glee. I even chose green over white. I quite enjoyed the outcome. Much like New Orleans: a mixture of the sacred and profane.

Suissesse

Suissesse
1 tsp Sugar
1 oz French vermouth3
2 oz absinthe
1 egg white
½ oz creme de menthe
2 oz charged water

Mix sugar, charged water, vermouth, absinthe, & egg white with hand egg beater (a la Jamie Boudreau). Fill shaker with cracked ice and shake until you want to cry. Strain into champagne4 glass in which there is a cherry with the creme de menthe poured over it.

Be on the lookout for wrap-up posts and further diatribes once I’ve had a few more Suissesses to clear the fog out.

  1. congratulations, Daniel & Ted []
  2. The fat and shellfish may have helped []
  3. I used Lillet Blanc []
  4. saucer please []

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 June 2008 — Bourbon

June 16th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Ah, Bourbon.

Summer means bourbon in our household. When I’m not making a home-made version of Southern Comfort (recipe courtesy of Martin Cate) or Stone Fences (courtesy David Wondrich), I’m drinking it straight, in Manhattans, as an improved cocktail, or as my current favorite featured in this very MxMo.

The Live Journaling mastermind(s) at Scofflaw’s Den are hosting this round of MxMo. It’s the last MxMo before the big bash in the big easy. I can’t wait.

Now, Trader Vic had a great recipe for the Honi Honi that you can find at my good friend Blair’s site. Apricot Brandy, Lemon and Rum mixes together as a gorgeous double Kiss (honi honi is kiss kiss in Hawaiian). However, as time went on, the Honi Honi that Trader Vic served in his restaurants changed recipes to be become a Mai Tai with bourbon.

Don’t let that seemingly lazy change fool you: this concoction is a masterpiece. This is far more than a bourbon Mai Tai. I thought this a perfect occasion to open my bottle of Trader Tiki’s Vanilla Cane Orgeat and it really shines. You see, when I make my domestic SoCo, I use vanilla syrup instead of Martin’s suggested Honey. The wife has a fondness for Vanilla (and bourbon), and I thought the Orange-vanilla aspect would suit the round sweet undertones of a decent sour mash. And it does. Oh, does it. I wanted to repeat that success in this Honi Honi with Trader Tiki’s specialty Orgeat and the Orange of the Clement Creole Shrub. I personally add Regan’s Orange bitters to round out the drink. Delicious.

Honi Honi

Honi Honi

2 oz Bourbon
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz orgeat (Trader Tiki’s Vanilla Cane Orgeat)
½ oz Orange Curaçao (Clement Creole Shrub)
dash Regan’s Bitters

shake with 4 oz crushed ice and pour into a double rocks glass.

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.

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.