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 []

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.

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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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

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…