MxMo February 2009 – Hard Drinks for Hard Times

February 16th, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

mxmologoThere’s no two ways about it. It’s a hard time out there in the workaday world. Whether you’ve been laid-off, had your hours cut, or taken a pay decrease there’s less of the green to go around. Those hard facts are the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday. My esteemed friend Matt Rowley is hosting the grand sioree over at his whiskey forge. Please add it to your RSS feed if it isn’t already: He’s a good man — and thorough.1

Sebastian
I’ve been absent for a bit on the blog an MxMo front lately. There is good and wonderful reason for this however: The birth of my first Son, Sebastian Milton Felix.2 I was tempted to “pull a doug” and post Sebastian as my “broaden your horizons.” Because believe me, my horizons now are broad and far.

Babies as they say, however, ain’t cheap. Even more the reason for a hard times drink. The fabulous wife was also hard-up for a tipple for nine months.3 Hard times all around. I have a panacea to cure all these ills: Home-made Southern Comfort. This recipe is the #3 or #4 version and finally ready for release into the wild. Sebastian has another 17 years and 10.5 months till he gets to say the same. My friend Martin gave me this recipe back in … 2004? Time – where does it go? During Tiki Kon II, while we were chatting in the kitchen Heather mentioned how she loved southern comfort while I complained about the artificial flavors. He said something along the lines of “Really? Make your own. Easiest thing: just add orange rind, a bit of juice and vanilla syrup to cheap bourbon. It’s delicious.

Along the way, I’ve picked up a few extra ingredients and methods and it is cheap and delicious. This batch was made during the summer especially for Heather when she was out of labor (don’t tell anyone I sneaked a flask of it into the hospital)4

Home Comfort & Soda

Home Comfort Liqueur ($11.60)
1 750ml bottle Old Crow ($8.95)
2 peaches ($1)
1 orange ($0.50)
¼ cup vanilla sugar ($0.30)
¼ cup orange blossom honey ($0.75)

Cut the peaches into chunks, zest the orange and reserve the juice. Add the peaches, zest and juice into a mason jar with the bourbon. Let this infuse for at least a week (or two). Strain and blend with the sugar and honey and let sit for at least a month in a cool dark place, shaking regularly. Strain again and enjoy (in a cocktail below?)

Home Comfort & Soda
2oz Home Comfort (recipe above)
4oz Lemon Lime soda
ice

build a la highball in whatever glass that’s clean

Stop on by and Heather might let you have a sip.5

  1. He’s a good man, Jeffrey — and thorough. []
  2. Yes, Sebastian M.F. Hermann for those playing the home game. []
  3. Ask her about it for a lark. []
  4. I love posting ‘secrets’ on publicly available media. []
  5. You’d better bring her a gift. []

MxMo November 2008 — Made From Scratch!

November 10th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

It’s been a while, dear readers. It’s been crazy around Mathom House here. There will be a little monkey joining us in January so we’ve been busy getting a nursery together and of course the new basement temporary tiki bar, the “Monkey Hut in Exile.” It’s been hard to keep up with posting – I have about 3 or 4 posts in the queue. When I get more than about 30 minutes to myself, I’ll hope to put ‘em up.

This month, Doug at The Pegu Blog is hosting and the theme is “Made from Scratch!

While this must be the easiest MxMo to date for us Tiki cocktailians, it does offer the opportunity to make something new. I’m always making something in the kitchen: falernum, pimento dram, orgeat, forbidden fruits liqueur, orange curacao, bumbo, &c.

Hiram Walker was nice enough to provide some samples of their holiday line of liqueurs for sampling. I received them and I really can’t say much about them here and now. I was, however, moved to try my hand at making my own pumpkin liqueur. About two years ago I made a few batches of pumpkin syrup that were a hit. I wondered if my skills learned in the past year with infused liqueurs would yield something at least better than I could find on the shelf. The first version surpassed my expectations but needed a little tweaking to get the pumpkin flavor better represented. Here is the second version:

Pumpkin Liqueur

Pumpkin Liqueur ( this recipe makes over half a gallon, split accordingly)
2 Cups pumpkin, chunked and roasted
½ Cup ginger, sliced
½ Cup allspice berries, crushed
¼ Cup cloves, crushed
1 Nutmeg, ground
4 Sticks ceylon cinnamon, broken into pieces
1 Tbsp cassia cinnamon, ground
1 Tbsp mace, ground
2 pods vanilla, scraped
750ml LemonHart 151
8 cups sugar for syrup

Separate all spices and pumpkin into 2 equal parts. Infuse spices and pumpkin in 151 for at least one week. Combine the balance of the spices and pumpkin with the sugar and 4 cups of water. Bring to near boil and simmer for 30 minutes and pour into separate container for at least one week. After 1 week strain all solids from 151 infusion and syrup and combine. You can pour through a brita filter device, but I wait for the tiny solids to settle and I cart off the clear top liqueur.

I made this liqueur for a party benefiting the Portland Women’s Crisis Line. I featured it in a few cocktails. Here’s one of ‘em:

Harvest Old Fashioned
1 oz Pumpkin Liqueur
2 oz bourbon
Cherry and Orange wheel, muddled
Dash Fees bros bitters

Muddle fruit in mixing glass. Add ice, liquors, bitters and stir. Pour into rocks glass.

Yes, I not only include but also muddle the fruit in an old fashioned. It’s not an old fashioned old fashioned. Here is another just for MxMo:

Hot Rummin' Pumpkin

Hot Rummin’ Pumpkin
¾ oz Pumpkin Liqueur
¾ oz Jamaican dark rum
1½ oz demerara rum
4 oz cream, steaming hot
nutmeg, ground

Combine all ingredients in heated glass and top with ground nutmeg. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Another month and another MxMo. Next month, I’ll be hosting so I’ll see everyone on the flipside for December’s MxMo – “Spice.”

So that’s Bourbon Street

July 16th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

After surviving the banality of the Denver airport and 1 lost garment bag1 we’ve arrived in New Orleans. At the airport we met up with Trader Tiki, Chuck and Wes, & Jeff Morganthaler who happened to arrive at the same time we did. We split a cab with Trader2.

I had a Vieux carré at the Carousel bar3 and met up with Rick, Jay, My compatriot in naming Craig (the Good Dr. Bamboo), Trader, Paul Clarke, Mr. Morganthaler, and Seamus. We headed off for a bit at Coop’s place. Perfect Choice, Paul. A belly full of fried seafood, gumbo and jambalaya made a good ballast.

We hit Arnaud’s French 75 Bar where we met with more who’s-who of the blog and non-blog cocktail scene. Matt came along presently and after a french 754, a cigar5, a Negroni6, and Gabriel‘s arrival7 we headed to a location not to be discussed.8 We bumped into Ed Hamilton on the way out which was lovely.

Going via Bourbon street to the non-disclosed location, I couldn’t help notice that the block that most smelled sewer-like happened to be the block with the live sex act clubs, Larry Flint’s Barely Legal, and other assorted gentleman’s clubs. It was such a mix of wonderful and horrible: Gaudy, tawdry neon are contrast against shuttered 300-year old windows. The moist heat of the evening was interrupted by cool breezes escaping from the open doorways of the aforementioned establishments. Garbage binge drinkers surrounded the group of cocktail snobs in the birthplace of the cocktail. It is beautiful and shocking and hideous and profane and I love every single damn thing about it.

We finished off the evening back at the Carousel bar. We closed it. Martin Cate dropped by and it was good to play catch-up with him.

Now for today’s fun. I’ve already missed the blog breakfast event (9:00am? Are you serious?). We’ll be toasting the Sazerac at 2pm. Join us, won’t you? I want to find a Rum Swizzle today.

P.S. Anyone have an SD card reader? Just realized this laptop9 is free of one. The USB cable is resting comfortably back on the table at home.

  1. it has since been found and delivered to the hotel []
  2. with a perfect crazy/nice/ranting cab driver to boot []
  3. tasty – but as it was my first, I have no comparison []
  4. good but not great []
  5. Montecristo No.3 []
  6. fair []
  7. with the lovely Joana []
  8. Thanks, Gabe – now we’ve lost the blackmail ability. First rule of Drink Club, man. []
  9. thanks, TriMet []

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.

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).