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.

A strange self-importance

May 7th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

There is an aspect of many contemporary blogs that troubles me. I suppose I am troubled and annoyed because (like most things) I dislike my own tendencies and therefore see these tendencies more clearly in others. So existentially, this rant is directed mostly to myself.

The trend I speak of is the (to me) feigned pretentiousness of the novel. Now, I am the first to admit the joy of intellectualizing my hobbies, it is the curse of the overly educated and the lingering disease of the post-modern. However, I do try to keep a healthy grip on perspective. Yes, there is artistry and craft and great deep involvement of the minutia of flavor profiles; the alchemy of taste! However, for crying out loud, It’s just food / drink.

There’s no reason it can’t be both: I’m comfortable and (candidly) revel in ambiguity and cognitive dissonance. Aristotle may be wrong; “a” can equal “not a.” And yes, below I’ll be generalizing and paint with wide strokes:

For instance, The slow food movement. While wonderful and aligned with my own tastes and political leanings, etc. As explained to my mother-in-law, she replied: “Oh, you mean food?” You know, like your grandparents used to eat before the 50’s tech marvel fads of highways, distribution, production, suburbs and supermarkets changed things?

Canning, preserving, smoking, curing, head-to-tail: What your great-grandmother used to call “Wednesday.”

etc.

I do not mean to malign the renaissance of foodcraft (or any craft, for that matter). Nor do I wish to marginalize the wonder of discovery of these lost arts. I do however have my fill of those who are so god-damned pretentious about them. I wish we could stop pretending to be so god damned expectant of external validation of our personal growth in discovery. That’s all.

I mean, I know our damn generation has to deign irony or some other handle to deal with the fact that we’re broke and our market system is imploding and so we’re drinking Pabst and making mac and cheese (with local non-hormone artisan cheese). But really? Really? You don’t get a god-damned gold star no matter how well you can use the macro setting on your new digital camera. I’ll thank you for the recipes, though. They’re super tasty.

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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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.

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.
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Tales of the Blogtail

April 1st, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Tales of the Cocktail BlogI am proud to announce that I’ve been chosen to participate as a contributor at the Blogging tales of the Cocktail: 2008. I am humbled to be in such wise and warm company. Paul Clark is our ringleader and taskmaster. I hope he knows what he’s gotten himself into.

I know it’s early: Tales runs 16-20 July and it is currently April. We’re launching early because we’ll be covering pre-reviews of all the wonderful seminars and topics and events. Oh, Yeah: Tickets are now on sale. Get yours while the getting is good! If you happen to miss out on the actual event, just keep an eye on the RSS feed and let our experienced perceptionists bring Tales of the Cocktail to you.

“Darker Magic” sketch in the works

March 28th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Here’s a sketch of something I’m working on – I’d love notes, opinions and ideas about it!

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz coffee syrup
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
2 oz Coruba
1 oz 5-star Rhum Barbancourt
dash Herbsaint

Shake with crushed ice and pour into small goblet or large snifter glass. Garnish with lime and pineapple wedge.

It’s dark and mysterious with a hint of bright flavors. That’s the flavor profile I was going for, at least. I am intrigued with how the pineapple’s flavor is modified in the Penang Afrididi (Sippin’ Safari): All the middle round flavours are enhanced. I wanted to meld that middle aspect of the pineapple with the coffee notes of the Mai-Kai’s Dark Magic. Give ‘er a go, see what you think!

Mixology Monday March 2008 — Limit One (per customer)

March 17th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Limit one Is it Monday again so soon? With the upheaval and changes going on with this Monkey’s household and work schedules, I just barely squeaked out an entry for this Month’s MxMo. My workstation may still be unconnected and in a box, but the Liquor has been unpacked. Priorities, people.

Kaiser Penguin hosts this month and the topic is fantastic: Limit one per customer. The theme implies a drink so full of booze it warrants the management to limit the purchase. There is another aspect, however. Making a strong drink is easy. Making a balanced and tasty strong drink is more difficult. However, creating a concoction so delicious as to drive a drinker to order successive rounds (and being denied on the face of the menu)? Pure genius.

And for this month’s genius, I turn again to Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry. I’m a lover of the short hoist: a 4oz or less cocktail to be taken as a pick-me-up or before-meal refresher or in-between-meal constitutional. I’ve long been in love with the Von Tiki, The bum’s own original creation at the end of the Grog Log. I also continually sub- and consciously refer to it as the “Baron von Tiki.” I’m sure it’s because of the German honey liqueur Bärenjäger1 . Austria helps out this aristocratic drink with Stroh 80, a 160-proof rum. This is widely used in Austrian and German baking. I like it daintily sipped with a Coke Chaser2. The Barbados rum is there because at the heart, this is a modified Daiquiri. Rum, Gum, and Lime strikes again.

I change the recipe a bit for my own taste: I triple the Stroh and add Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters to balance. I’ve tried replacing the Lime for lemon, but it ends up tasting more like a cough-drop. Lime is perfect for the base, with a lemon hint to match the honey.

With great respect to the Bum, I present:

(baron) Von Tiki – limit one per customer, please
(Baron) Von Tiki

1 oz Bärenjäger
½ oz Stroh 80 160-proof Austrian Rum
1 oz Barbados Rum (I use Cockspur)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
3 dashes Fee Brothers lemon bitters

Shake with crushed ice and strain into 4-oz cocktail glass.

  1. A linguistic aside: Bear comes from the Germanic Beor or Beorn. This translates to Bee-Wolf, a kenning that in Old English translates as Beowulf. The kenning here relates to the bear’s love of honey. He is a bee wolf. A lovely self referential name for a honey liquor: the Bee-Wolf-Hunter []
  2. Cane Sugar only, not High-Fructose Corn Syrup, please []

Bored in Denver

March 12th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I find myself in Denver, Colorado on business.

Does anyone have any interesting bar recommendations? I haven’t had a bunch of luck on my own. Boulder or Aurora will do fine as well. I miss my dear old Portland.

I’m never moving again.

March 6th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I’m living in a world full of boxes. As soon as I can get the liquor, glasses, and mugs unpacked, I’ll get a nice article for you all.

cheers,

-=C