Mixology Monday Feb 2008 — Variations: Rum, Gum & Lime (+Mint)

February 11th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Mixology Monday February 2008 — VariationsAfter missing last month’s MxMo due to the Death Flu, I’m damned determined to get back in the saddle and on the horse and other metaphors as well. This month is “Variations” hosted by the indefatigable Jimmy Patrick over at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour. Thanks for hosting, Jimmy!

The Caribbean Rim & trade area presents a great puzzle to armchair historians, specifically those who tipple. I’ve been fascinated not only with the classic Tiki Cocktails, but their common history in Rum production and dispersion. For this Mixology Monday, I present variations on Rum, Gum & Lime (+Mint).
Mixology Monday Feb 2008: Variations
From left to right: Grog, Caipirinha(fore), Daiquiri(back), Julep, and Mojito.

Limes came to the Caribbean (florida) in the 1500s. Rum (and aguardiente) production soon followed in the middle of the 1500s. In 1655, William Penn took Jamaica for the British. Rum soon replaced beer for British ships due to their newly opened Jamaican market.

Ships would carry beer and water for their long voyages. First they used the beer until it turned sour – at that point the men would turn to the water: stale and slimy from algae. The leftover beer would be used make the water a bit more palatable. Limes were also sometimes used to de-dankify the water supply. After 1655, however, rum replaced beer. by the 1750s, The entire British navy ran on rum. They watered down to 1:4 ratio, with lime juice added for better taste. Admiral Vernon is the man behind the order here, called “old Grog.” The popular history involves him and his cape creating the name for the beverage. Nonsense. Grog predates him in literature for at least a few decades. His title of “old Grog,” is after his use of the drink, not the other-way-round. My version is 1:2 – I guess you’re the Captain here.

Grog (1700s: Caribbean Seas)
1 oz Rum
2 oz Water
1 oz Lime
½ oz Simple Syrup

Mix all together without ice and serve in a copper cup.

The Portuguese came to what would become Brazil in the 1500s and brought their distilling skills with them. By 1650, they shipped their aguardiente for trade to Africa, used as ballast. We now know this rum-like product as the Brazilian Cachaça: Fiery, smoky, delicious. Slaves and peasants alike throughout the region were taking their rum, gum, and lime: Cane juice served as the sweetener. It may have been the 90′s that brought the Caipirinha to our shores, but it’s been around for a few centuries.

Caipirinha (1700s, Brazil)
1 lime, cut into eight wedges
1 tbsp evaporated cane sugar
3 oz Cachaça

Muddle the lime and sugar in a double rocks glass until the sugar has dissolved. Fill the glass with crushed ice, pour the Cachaça and stir.

Leave it to us humans to take something that already exists, re-brand it and pretend it a novel invention. Cubans had been drinking rum, gum & lime for a few hundred years before the War for Cuban independence brought the U.S. into Cuba. The war won the U.S. a source for natural resources. When Admiral Lucius W. Johnson brought back mine engineer Jennings Cox‘s version, named after the nearby port of Daiquiri, Grog got fancy. When Prohibition hit, It’s no wonder Cuba became a popular travel destination.

Daiquiri (1905, Cuba)
2 oz light rum
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz simple syrup

Shake with cracked ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

The first mention of Julep is in a 1803 travel book by John Davis as a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.” Eleven years later in 1814, William Wirt quotes a 25-year-old book in The Old Batchelor “… A man in this line rises about six o’clock; ” He then drinks a Julip, made of rum, water and sugar.” Note the lack of mint.

Julep comes from the Arabic Julab, a sweet drink to which medicine is added. One history has it spreading through Europe in the 1700s, then to the colonies. Others have it coming from Spanish refugees traveling to Louisiana in the late 1700s. Both used Rum. European and Caribbean ships unloaded their ships and men at the Virginian port of Jamestown as well as New Orleans. They also unloaded their rum and recipes.

Julep (1803, Virgina/New Orleans)
8 Mint leaves
1 tbsp evaporated cane sugar
3 oz light rum

Muddle sugar into mint leaves in mixing glass until you have a nice slurry. Add crushed ice to lip of glass. Add rum and swizzle mixture until glass frosts. Garnish with mint sprig.

Legend has it that in the late 1500s, Richard Drake, first cousin of Sir Francis Drake invented a drink called “The Draque.” It consisted of aguardiente, sugar, lime and mint. What a load of rubbish. Never mind the Aguardiente of the area started shipping in the 1650s, and that Richard Drake died in 1603. It’s a nice marketing story. I’ve read that some Cubans claim Ernest Hemingway invented the drink in the 1930s as a Caribbean Julep. Further primary research is needed, but I’m guessing the locals have been drinking their rum, gum and lime with mint since the 1800s.

Mojito (1800s/1930s, Cuba)
8 Mint leaves
1 tbsp evaporated cane sugar
1 lime, cut into eight wedges
2 oz light rum
1 oz charged water

Muddle lime, mint and sugar until you’re sick of muddling. Add 6 oz of crushed ice and rum. Shake and pour into Collins glass, top with charged water and stir to combine. Garnish with mint sprig.

Mojito & Julep with Cachaca in the background

I’ll come back to these and other drinks, such as bumboo, corn & oil, Rum & coke in later posts and as research allows. I might even have a flowchart.

Cheers!

-=C

p.s. Great thanks to Tikimama for her photography skills and to Trader Tiki for the on-location use of Reynoles’ Galley.