Mixology Monday December 2008 – Spice

December 5th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Greetings everyone! This month’s Mixology Monday is popping up on December 15 – a little more than a week away. Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments has the honors of hosting this merry edition of our monthly fest and I’ve chose the theme to be Spice.

Spice should give you plenty of room to play – from the winter warmers of egg nog, wassail and mulled products to the strange and interesting infusions of pepper, ceubub, grains of paradise, nutmeg — what have you! I would like to stretch the traditional meanings of spice (as the bark, seed, nut or flowering part of a plant used for seasoning) to basically anything used for flavoring that isn’t an herb. Salt? Go for it. Paprika? I’d love to see you try. I hear that cardamom is hot right now.

So have your entries posted by 11:59pm on the night of the 15th and send me your links (and pics if you choose) in email to craig at nwtiki dot com (and/or comment to this post). Time to get crackin’!

Gruß vom Krampus — Card series IV

December 5th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

While Tomorrow night (and a replay of the party on Sunday Night) is our Krampus Nacht cocktail party, tonight is historically the night of Saint Nicholas. We Americans would more closely connect this night with our Christmas eve. Only the Christ-child brings you presents on Christmas day in Germany (or so my feeble research shows). Santa (St. Nicholas) comes on the night of December 5th to fill good children’s shoes with nuts, candies, fruits – perhaps a toy.

He also, as you know now, drags along with him the Krampus for the bad little girls and boys. I hope that the Krampus doesn’t come to bring me any lumps of coal or beat me for lagging behind on the cocktail posts, so below this next card in the series, I’ll hop-to-it.

krampus.hearts

Wer grausam im Leben Herzen bricht,
Nur Böses tat, der wundere sich nicht
wenn solches ihm zuletzt nicht frommt,
und er in Teufels Küche kommt.

Those who cruelly break hearts in life
Through evil deeds should not be surprised
When in the end it becomes no use
and they come to Satan’s Kitchen.

Now – if you drink too many of these below, you might find yourself feeling as if you’re in Satan’s Kitchen.

Krampus Swizzle1
2 oz goslings 151
1 oz Opal Nera
½ oz Herbsaint or absinthe
½ oz pineapple juice
½ oz Falernum
¼-½ oz simple syrup to taste
dash bitters (Fees old fashioned)

Shake all vigourously with cracked ice and pour into a chimney glass. Swizzle with a swizzle stick until the glass frosts. Garnish with a licorice whip.

Gruß vom Krampus!

  1. Switchel, Switch – get it? []

Gruß vom Krampus — Card series III

December 4th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Krampus Iconography1

Krampus is a satyr-figure with specific features. He has a long tongue and pronounced nose and ears. He is covered in fur and has one human leg matched with the cloven hoof goat-satyr leg. He carries (or rides) a black birch switch. He sometimes carries chains or a basket which he wears on his back. He also carries a pitchfork or trident.

The Krampus is also associated with hearts – he judges yours. Sometimes you see him represented with a scale, weighing your heart to see how black it is.

He also seems to be associated with justice for those spurned or forlorn in the matters of love and relationships, hence today’s card. I’m guessing this card would be sent tongue-in-cheek, to a lover during Saint Nicholas Nacht / Krampus Nacht:

779795

Hättest mir nicht mein herz gestohlen
Käme dich nicht der Krampus holen
Gruß vom Krampus!

If I didn’t have my heart stolen (by you)
The Krampus wouldn’t come to get you!
Greetings from the Krampus!

  1. note: all my research so far is conjecture lacking primary sources. If you have a lead on some good Krampus research I would be adore you forever for sharing information []

Gruß vom Krampus series, card II

December 3rd, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Ponder this – other than getting coal for Christmas1, Santa Claus just isn’t that scary. I know we all love to browse through the annual re-posting of the kids disturbed by the Jolly Old Elf, but he just doesn’t instill a palpable sense of dread2.

You’d better watch out, You’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.

That’s really not much of a threat. I think this factor leads to my love for the dual nature of the European old (St.) Nick. The Devil coming to get you with his switch and horns and chains and claws? Yes, that the stuff. That should definitely inspire more nightmares than a lump of old coal.

Consider that nugget in the card below, where we get a close approximation to Coots’s and Gillespie’s lyrics above:

312985

Sei nur brav und niemals keck
Dann der Krampus schaut um’s eck

Be only well-behaved and never saucy,
(for) the Krampus is looking around the corner.

He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. Gruß vom Krampus!

And Yes, I know – another post with no cocktails. Hey, this is the “indigo firmaments” part of the blog and it has been ingored a bit as of late. I do promise that by the end of the week I’ll have a new cocktail for you all: The Krampus Swizzle. 5 points for the first person to get the connection.

  1. who gets coal anymore? anyone still use Christmas to punish misbehaving kids in contemporary culture? []
  2. other than the aspect of reduced gift volume []

Gruß vom Krampus

November 17th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Every December Heather and I throw a Christmas cocktail party centered around the germanic tradition of The Krampus. Krampus is a devil figure who accompanies Saint Nicholas. While old St. Nick gives nuts, fruit and candies for the good little boys and girls, the Krampus doles out punishment for the bad girls and boys: A piece of coal for their black little hearts, a beating with a black birtch switchel, or perhaps he’ll dump you in the river. He might even steal you away and take you back to Hell with him.

The same cultural role of the Krampus can be seen in other Christmas-time heavy homologues such as Black Peter, Pelznickel & Knecht Ruprect. Here in the New World, he has diminished and multiplied into Santa’s helper elves. A shame.

There are a wonderful collection of German post cards that feature the Krampus – often warning the sender and recipient from evil and sinful behavior. Gruß vom Krampus (Greetins from the Krampus) reminds everyone that the all-knowing devil sees you when you’re sleeping.

I’ll eventually get to some cocktail recipies centered around the Krampus in the weeks to come but until then I will feature a series of these vintage post cards. Where I can, I will translate.

Here is the first:
KrampusChain18-9-6638

Gruß vom Krampus!

Warst nicht brav,
drum hoppla-hopp,
Kommt das Krampus
im Galopp.

Greetings from the Krampus!

If you were not well behaved
by hopping to it,1
Krampus will come
a-galloping.

This year Krampus Nacht2 is on Saturday 6th December with another night on Sunday 7th December for Service Industry friends who are busy pouring Saturday Nights.

Gruß vom Krampus!

  1. Hoppla-Hopp is an idom that translates roughly to “on the double, or hop to it!” []
  2. The Fifth(!!) annual []

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.”

MxMo October 2008 — Guilty Pleasures

October 13th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

After a month off, I’d best be back to Mixology Monday. The illustrious Stevi over at Two at the Most is October’s host with a most intriguing topic: Guilty Pleasures.

As Heather my wife likes to say, there is no guilt in pleasure. I myself find guilt (and for that matter regret) is a useless emotion. You should learn from your mistakes and not make them in the future, or accept yourself for who you are. However, who you are (no matter how healthfully introspective you are) can be quite embarrassing.

I might be a “Tiki Blogger.” but I really love whiskey. It’s usually Old Crow or Even Williams white label bourbon. But most often It’s the mixed whiskey Seagram puts out under the Seven Crown label. I top it with 7-UP. This is also the first drink I’ll go to when ordering from a bar where lets just say I won’t get something depeche mode.  When I’m at home and I don’t feel getting out a shaker or even a jigger, I make myself a delicious 7 & 7.

MxMo Guilty Pleasures 7&7

7&7
~2 oz Seagram’s Seven Crown Whiskey
7-UP to fill

Add whiskey to rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Fill with 7-UP and stir. You’re welcome.

Since I decided to not mess with the 7 & 7, I have another drink that I’ve given a bit of a do-over for this MxMo. While I adore a Mint Julep, there was no bourbon or rye in the first one I fell in love with. I grew up next to Disneyland and sometimes I think I actually grew up in Disneyland. Part of my ritual and routine for every visit was to drink a New Orleans Square Mint Julep and enjoy a tasty fritter. Through the wonders of the internet, I discovered the not-so-secret recipe for these faux mint juleps. I now make ’em slightly modified for an adult beverage, embarrassingly full of sugary Creme de Menthe.

MxMo Guilty Pleasures: New Orleans Square Mint Julep

New Orleans Square Mint Julep
1oz Creme de Menthe
1oz Silver Rum
½oz Lime Juice
½oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Fees Bros Mint Bitters
7-UP to fill

Add all but 7-up to 6oz crushed ice, shake and pour into Collins glass. Top with 7-UP and garnish with lime wheel

Guilt? None of this side of the browser.

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 []