A Mountain of Crushed Ice is Rum Blogger of the Year 2013 UK Rumfest Golden Rum Barrel Awards

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Check out my review of Latitude 29!

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How a Mai Tai should NOT be and how it should be

Demerara Rums from Guyana

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Demerara Rums Part Two

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Demerara Rums Part Three

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Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?

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CACHACA – Around Brazil in 40.000 Alembics

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Sugarcane!

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Tahitian Vanilla Syrup

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Hibiscus Grenadine

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Gomme syrup

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Learn how to easily open a coconut and mix up a tasty Coconaut.

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Rhumfest Paris 2016!

Rhumfest glass

Rum, Rhum and Ron…

The 2016 Rhumfest Paris took place on April 2, 3 & 4 th at Parc Floral, Paris. This event has become huge!!!

The venue was completely jam-packed with people! – So much rum….so much people!! on both days! and the day for the industry/professionals was on the the last day, the monday, and it would have been nice to have been there that day since the industry days are much less crowded, but unfortunately I had to travel back. Rhumfest Paris seem to me to have been completely sold out, around 8000 tickets were sold.

There were 119 participating brands and 40 exhibitors, plus 500 rums to try from as varied places as Thailand with Issan – agricole rum, and from La Rèunion island – Isautier, Savanna, Charette and Chatel….all very interesting rums! from Guyana one of my favorite brands, La Belle Cabresse and they also had various exotic rum punches and spices…

And represented for the first time at Rhumfest Paris – Tahiti! with the Mana`o rum – which – was a very interesting and tasty rhum agricole, it was surprisingly good for coming from such a small and far away place. What I especially liked with the Paris rumfest was that there were so much interesting and varied brands of rhum agricoles to try. I like to see at least as many agricoles as molasses based rums! and especially also smaller brands and here there was all of that in abundance.

But big brands were there too of course, among them Angostura who during a master class presented their new bottles for their classic rum range and had out for taste also their Amaro di Angostura.

Velier brought out their new Habitation Velier rums together with their Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums. I spent a lot of time at their booth…my favorites was the Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 and then the Caroni 17!

Ekte Spirits from Denmark had some interesting rums to try as well, my favorite there was the demerara expressions.

But we started already on the thursday with the judging of the rums for the Rhumfest Paris Awards at La Rhumerie, a very nice French Caribbean rum bar and restaurant which I can recommend, especially for their rums and food! And the results of the 2016 Paris Rhumfest Awards is here.

A rumfest with lots of rum sampling needs some good fuel and there was some really tasty food available on food trucks with food from Martinique and Venezuela among others. I had spicy accras with extra hotsauce (of course) and other things, all very tasty! but the food thing that left me a memory is the Baba au Rhum dessert from La Rhumerie! it was so good…melted in your mouth….and soooo rum soaked!

There were masterclasses too and here is a link to them – http://livestream.com/midjdeal/events/5101484

During the nights there were a lot of things to do, you could sample a really fantastic range of rums at Mabel, among them I tried were the new El Dorado Cask Strength rums…and then Caronis…and at Maria Loca there was the one and only Daniele Dalla Pola doing his fantastic drinks during his “Arcane Jungle Night” with Arcane rum tiki drinks and great show! the drinks were so good!! (visiting his Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna is a must do!) and there was also a night of cocktails with Ron Botran Añejo!

Here is some shaking and pouring:

 

Also at Maria Loca we tried the new Maca rum which was very interesting and for being a spiced rum it was good! the intent is to create a spiced rum that differs from most and shows that spiced rums can be good and does not have to be cloingly sweet or unbalanced and overspiced.

Maca spiced rum logo

Then we have the Dirty Dick Tiki bar where the exotic drinks were always flowing….don`t go to Paris without going to Dirty Dick!

Late nights in Paris during Rhumfest week and Paris Rhum Week is a recipe for exhaustion….but a LOT of fun! 🙂 but also during the days there´s interesting things to do for a rum fanatic, for example visiting Christian de Montaguère, the rumshop of sorts! with more than 900 different rums, and also rum and cocktail books, french caribbean rum and cook books and even spices and exotic perfumes! (among them amazing tiare and frangipani perfumes and banana oils…) on 20 Rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, and here is their website. This shop is a paradise….

I think the big win with this rum festival was the incredible diversity of rums, especially (and naturally) all the different agricole rums!

Here is my usual picture parade… – enjoy, a little piece of  Rhumfest Paris!

TI ARR 1

If there was a prize for most beautiful stand, or booth, it would surely have gone to “Ti Arrangès de Cèd” which was a fantastic display of colors and beautiful “rhum arrangès” made by Cèdric Brément. I have a few of those at home, among them the banane-cacao, these are some tasty little treasures!

Ti arranges booth 6   Ti arranges booth 8

The new one with hibiscus is on the left. Aren`t they just beautiful?

Ti arranges booth 3    CDM TI MACADAMIA

Macadamia nuts and vanilla…

ananas victoria 2   ananas victoria

The star of the show…Ananans victoria!!!! this is the pineapple that is used for Plantation rums pineapple rum the Stiggin`s Fancy. This little pineapple grows on La Rèunion island outside of Africa. The one in the picure is a bit special though…it looks like a double pineapple and it had 6 or 7 shots! it was the wildest pineapple I ever seen! later I saw Daniele Dalla Pola walking around with it… I think he found himself a little “pineapple baby” 😀

Ti arranges booth ananas victoria    Ti arranges booth lime

Fresh, colorful, tasty and beautiful! pineapple, lime and rum!

manao    Ti Punch vieux Clement

Mana`o rhum!! this rhum agricole came all the way from Tahiti and it tasted very good! great sugarcane flavor. This is the first 100% organic rhum agricole produced in Tahiti. The name in the Tahitian language means “to think”, “to remember” and is a tribute to ancestral varieties of sugar cane. This is a purely local creation, produced from sugar cane from Taha’a, the first rhum agricole from French Polynesia. It was very interesting to try this! Read more here.

Rhum Clèment from Martinique had a little ti punch bar where you could get this very tasty little ti punch vieux!

Ekte Guyana 17    Ekte Guyana 23    Ekte Jamaica 12

Ekte Spirits sinle cask rums from Denmark. These are interesting! and they are all very good but are expensive.Then again, these are one of a kind rums, the number 2, the Jamaican 12 was made in 270 bottles only. The no 5, Guyana 17 years is 250 bottles and the 23 year old Guyana is 300 bottles made. Their website is here.

Ekte Spirits

And here is Ekte Spirits regular line of rums, I love the names! “Light & Dry”, “Pungent & Geeky”, “Spiced & Rich”, “Dark & Aged” and “Aged & Geeky”. These I tasted for the first time at the UK Rumfest last year. Also I like the fact that there `s a transparency concerning what the bottle contains, it´s stated on the website.

Angostura 1919 new package    Angostura new package 7

Angostura rums is changing “clothes” – but not rum! their classic rums are unchanged and they released the new package during a masterclass which you can watch online here and even though the website is in french the masterclasses are in english and also translated to french.

Velier signs2

When you see this sign…it works like a magnet…

Velier rums

Rows of pure goodness….Habitation Velier, Caronis, Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums!

HV Foursquare 2013    HV Forsyths 151

Now…we are talking! this Foursquare 2013 Barbados Pure Single Rum was the best of the rums I tried at the Rhumfest, it´s just hands down outstanding. The Forsyths WP 151 proof is another gem and this one would be perfect for tiki drinks!

HV Muller3177    HB Forsyths 502

More from Habitation Velier, the bottles looks really interesting I think and they contain really good rums!

Velier caroni 17    Velier Rhum Rhum frog labels

The 17 year Caroni is a wonder of explosive flavors! I think this lovely Caroni was my second best from the Rhumfest. Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 comes in a bottle with a very interesting and fun label and it comes in two strengths, go for the stronger one, the “version integrale” (the red label) This rhum was “liberated” from its cask in 2015 after six years of tropical ageing, Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 Full Proof is at 58.4° % ABV with no water added before bottling.

The Rhum Rhum brand was created by Luca Gargano of Velier in collaboration with Gianni Capovilla on the little island of Marie Galante which belongs to Guadeloupe.

Velier Clairin    Velier Rhum Rhum2

Clairin rhums from Haiti, these are very different from the rest and all very flavorful! Sajous is the “mildest” of the three followed by Vaval and then comes the horsekick, the Casimir, a rum that will kick your butt to the moon…..

Arcane Cane Crush    Issan rum

From two different parts of the world….Arcane rum comes from Mauritius and has some very nice and a bit different expressions while Issan hails from Thailand, and is a rhum agricole! it tastes good too!

La Belle Cabresse sign    CDM CANNE GRISE

More rhum agricole, La Belle Cabresse comes from French Guyana and is one of my old favorites, it has a flavor of it´s own, I think it´s the Guyana “terrorir”, it makes a nice ti punch! and so does the “Canne Grise” from Rhum Bielle, Marie Galante. Canne grise – grey cane is a type of sugarcane that originated from Barbados and that works very well on the small island of Marie Galante because it´s very resistant to drought. The rhum Canne Grise is very nice and fruity in flavor with an abv of 59%.

St James Excellence    Dormoy sirop de Canne

St James Cuvee Excellence is a very smooth and elegant rhum agricole which won a gold at the Paris Rhumfest Awards. St James rhums are always very very solid.

CDM PLANTATION RUMS    Pusser´s

Plantation rums….always present at any rumfest! And as usual you will also encounter Pusser´s rums at any rumfest! 🙂

CDM RUMPUNCH COCO MADRAS    CDM RUMPUNCH MON PEI

And here comes the rhum punches! I so love these! Punch Coco on the left from Guadeloupe and on the right are punches from french Guyana.

CDM RUMPUNCH CACAO 2     CDM RUMPUNCH EROTIKA

Punch Cacao and Punch Erotika and whatever is it is in that it probably works… 🙂 And here comes a few pictures of drinks, party, rum tasting, rum and fun!

DDP drink    DDP and Marc Battais2

Arcane rum booth, tiki drinks by Daniele Dalla Pola and Marc Battais! refreshing after all neat rum sampling. Sometimes you need to clean your palate with a tiki drink!

maria loca - sexy colada (5)     maria loca - sexy colada (8)

And when Daniele comes to town it sure gonna be a Sexy Coladas and a party! this particular Sexy Colada was served on top of  a glass that contained fresh coconut water….a wonderful treat.

At Rhumfest Daniyel and Ian    The international judges of rhumfest Paris awards

No rumfest anywhere without these guys….and the International judges of rhumfest Paris awards, but there needs to be more women! I was the only one! maybe there´ll be some more next year?

DD menu cover    DD Marrero daiquiri

Time for tiki drinks at Dirty Dick! here is the Marrero daiquiri which is the Dirty Dick hommage to Ramon “Monchito” Marrero Pèrez, the creator of the original Pina Colada. (cirka 1954) It´s a fresh, light and sharp drink and I love the presentation…

DD drink 5    DD meny drink

Lovely drink! the “Mystic Fist of Ku” the drink that gives you unlimited power! and I love the garnish!

DD tiki handles    DD painkiller

Tiki tap handles and beautiful Painkiller.

ED CASK STRENGTH LINE

From Dirty Dick to Mabel…time for some serious rum tasting with the new El Dorado cask strength rums!

ED CS PM 1999     ED CASK STRENGTH PM

The 1999 Port Morant is just an explosion of flavors, it was my fav of the three, but that said, the Versialles was in it´s own way almost equally good, or at least it was more interesting because the flavors kinda kept growing on you….I would like to spend more time with it, with both! the Enmore I didn`t care so much about, not that it was not good, it was, but to me, it lacked something special…these two were for me the winners of the range.

MABEL MENU    Mabel - rum menu 2

This is a great place to go if you wanna try rums, they have an amazing collection!

la rhumerie baba au rhum    la rhumerie wall lamp

Baba au Rhum, a treat that waited for me until after the last part of the judging and it was so worth waiting for! what a dessert! and sooooo rum soaked….with wonderful flavorful rum and it melted in my mouth! if I had the time I would have tried more of the foods at la Rhumerie but I will simply have to return.

la rhumerie art    la rhumerie painting cane cutter

Beautiful art and sculptures on the walls and in the room at la Rhumerie!

CDM ATLAS BOOK    CDM Neisson

Rum books and rums at Christian de Montaguère, the “Atlas du Rhum” I hope to see in english soon!!

CDM LA FAVORITE    Off to Paris Rhumfest!

Unbelievable rhum from la Favorite! and my old Mixoloseum bag for booze is still going strong!

Rumfest bracelet 2

And that was all! hope to see Rhumfest again the next year! Cheers!

Mixology Monday 107: Burden Of Proof

mxmologo

MxMo CVII, March 21, 2016: Burden of Proof

Overproof rums 2

Mixology Monday lives on…..this is the 107th MxMo! This cult event is still going strong…since 2006 when it was first created by Paul Clarke, publisher of The Cocktail Chronicles, who ran the event for 6 years, and now as of August 2012, Frederic Yarm, one of the authors of the Cocktail Virgin blog, has taken over as moderator.

The theme is overproof and how you use overproof spirits whether it be as floats or as base spirit or something to flame up a cocktail with etc. This MxMo is hosted by Dagreb over at the Nihil Utopia blog.

I started to bring out anything I had that was above 50% since that`s the proof mentioned as criteria for what`s considered overproof in this MxMo event. I got quite a few overproof rums, I use them both as part of the drinks, as floats or as fuel for flaming drinks, that´s what I use my Stroh for…

A little about proof

The word overproof means “Containing a greater proportion of alcohol than proof spirit”

The term “proof” dates back to 16th century England, when spirits were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content. Spirits were tested by soaking a pellet of gunpowder in them. If the gunpowder could still burn, the spirits were rated above proof and taxed at a higher rate. Gunpowder would not burn in rum that contained less than 57.15% ABV.The gunpowder test was officially replaced by a specific-gravity test in 1816. The proof system in the United States was established around 1848 and was based on percent alcohol rather than specific gravity. 50% alcohol was defined as 100 proof.

So that`s what we are playing with, overproof spirits! in my case it gonna be overproof rum…

River Antoine

The first overproof rum I`m picking from my collection is Rivers Royale Rum from the River Antoine distillery, a very interesting rum from Grenada which is made in the a very old fashioned way, actually the River Antoine Estate distillery is unique on this planet and that´s what makes it so special.

They have produced their legendary high proof Rivers Rum since 1785 with unchanged age-old techniques and their antique equipment is still used today! for example their two potstills are both heated using locally cut hardwood and parts of the distillery´s machinery are over 200 years old…The crushing mill dates back to 1945 and is powered by water from the river.

And the the rum? – I just got a whooooole load of funky slightly grassy flavors in my mouth….Rivers rum…painstakingly handmade with ancient methods from fermented sugarcane syrup – a very special rum indeed. The flavor reminds about the more well known JWray overproof but more balanced and subtle. So it lends itself well in citrusy cocktails.

The one I have is the ” lower strength, export” version (69%) and there´s also one at 75% and yes there´s supposed to be even stronger local versions too…so strong it cannot be exported. The label of the 75% version is funny, it says “slightly overproof rum” 🙂 This rum is hard to come by…you can sub it with RumFire or JWray overproof, but the RumFire is closer to this.

I was thinking of Rivers and Ting, but right now I can`t find Ting anywhere so I settle for a daquiri instead, which is equally good!

Rivers Royale Rum Daquiri

River Antoine Daiquiri

1.5 oz Rivers Royale rum (or RumFire)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz cane syrup

That´s a nice starter! the rum is so smooth despite being overproof and this drink went down too easy….

Now let´s move on to tiki….

There´s a drink called the “Tasman Sea” in Remixed, it´s the Bum`s version of an old drink called the “Lady Love” which was served at various bars in Oahu in the late 60s. The Bums version uses 151 Lemon Hart. But the drink also uses another 151 proof Caribbean rum (of your choice) so I thought this drink would fit into this post.

Tasman Sea

Tasman Sea small

1 oz fresh lime juice

0.75 oz fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz orange curacao

1 oz demerara sugar syrup

1 oz amber 151 proof Caribbean rum (such as Cruzan or Bacardi, I used JackIron)

0.5 oz Lemon Hart 151

10 ounces crushed ice

Put everything in a blender and blend for up to 10 sec.

Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.

Next up is a version of Martin Cate´s 2070 Swizzle called the 2070 Swizzle Redux made by Tim “Swanky” Glazner. The cool thing about the Redux version is that is uses coffee….and I really do love tiki drinks with coffee!

2070 Swizzle Redux 2 small

1 oz Angostura 1919 or other quality Gold Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
1/2 oz Smith & Cross
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Infused Simple Syrup (If you use Trader Tiki/BG Reynold’s, you may need to cut it back. His syrup is extremely strong. Cut it in half)
1/2 oz Honey Mix
1/2 oz Strong Kona coffee (chilled of course)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4 drops Pernod
2 dash Angostura bitters
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg on top
Cinnamon Stick swizzle

Here is instructions from Swanky that i found on the Tiki Central:

Use about 1/2 cup crushed ice, flash blended for a few seconds. Lately I prefer to put everything in the blender but ice, set it to the lowest setting, on mine it is “Stir” and get all the ingredients mixed. Then I add the ice and hit it on high. I zap it for a second, let it stop and repeat. Do that maybe 3 or 4 times. Pour into the proper glass (collins/zombie, or the classic aluminum ones) and add ice to fill. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top. Add cinnamon stick as swizzle.

And oops…I forgot that cinnamon stick…. 🙂

Happy MxMo Monday!

All Hail Coffee and Pineapple!

Last post for the tiki month! Here is a cathegory of tiki drinks that I like very much, those that contains some amount of coffee, often paired with pineapple and white grapefruit juices. Pineapple and coffee is a match made in heaven, adding an intriguing flavor profile and who invented it I have no idea, but since many tiki recipes includes Kona coffee it must of been someone on Hawaii…

The coffee adds extra depth and flavor notes that gives the drinks a special flavor and kick and these ingredients goes especially well with dark Jamaican and Demerara rums…

When it comes to coffee flavored tiki drinks, there´s the cold ones and the hot ones, but it´s the cold ones i`m writing about here. Some using cold brewed strong coffee, others coffee liqueur or coffee syrup, or muddled coffee beans in the shaker. I prefer to use either cold brewed coffee or coffee syrup rather than a coffee liqueur which I think, in some drinks will be too cloying and sweet.The coffee flavor 

The three types of coffee I prefer to use are Kona coffee, Jamaican Blue Mountian or dark roast Community Coffee from Louisiana. They all have a very lush rounded flavor.. and lots of it! So what I wanna do here is put together what I think are some of the best coffee flavored tiki drinks in one place, plus adding updated versions of 2 of my own drinks.

But let´s start with the Atomic Grog´s Tribute to the Mai Kai`s Black Magic….

Tribute to the Mai Kai`s Black Magic

Tribute to Black Magic

3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce rich honey mix
(2:1 honey to water, mixed and cooled)
1 1/2 ounces strong Kona coffee,
freshly brewed, then chilled
1 1/2 ounces Coruba dark Jamaican rum
1 1/2 ounces Kohala Bay dark Jamaican rum
(substitution suggestion below)
1/2 ounce Don’s Mix
(2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup)
1 teaspoon Don’s Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup and pimento liqueur)
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Blend with up to 1 1/2 cups of crushed ice in a top-down mixer for around 5 seconds, or until frothy. Pour into a large snifter glass with more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Labor intensive for sure with all these ingredients, but you will get rewarded! my pro-tip is to make the vanilla and cinnamon syrups, the rich honey mix and Don`s Spices #2 a day ahead, then you don´t need to bother with that when you`re starting to mix the drink. Then start with making the Don`s mix and the coffee (to chill) and the fresh squeezed juices.

I don`t have any of the elusive Kohala Bay rum, so I sub with equal parts of Hamilton Jamaica Pot Still Black and El Dorado 15. Another tip is either Coruba or Blackwell rum, or equal parts El Dorado 12 year old (or 15) and Smith and Cross.

This drink is very coffee forward and well blended with the other ingredients. Of course the flavor will vary depending of which coffee is used, I used Community Dark Roast which is very full flavored and strong coffee.

The next is Atomic Grog´s Tribute to the Mutiny

Tribute to the Mutiny

3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce rich honey mix
(2:1 honey to water, mixed and cooled)
1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup
1 1/2 ounces strong Kona coffee,
freshly brewed, then chilled
1 1/2 ounces light Virgin Islands rum
1 1/2 ounces Kohala Bay dark Jamaican rum
1/4 ounce Don’s Mix
(2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 drops Pernod or Herbsaint

Blend with up to 1 1/2 cups of crushed ice in a top-down mixer for around 5 seconds, or until frothy. Pour into a large snifter glass with more crushed ice to fill.

This recipe was based heavily on Atomic Grog´s Black Magic tribute, adding a few elements of the rum barrel. Same rum substitution for Kohala Bay as with the Black Magic Tribute. This one is a bit lighter since there´s a light rum instead of two dark, and equally coffee flavored but less of Don`s mix and no spices #2 but instead an element of passionfruit is added as well as 2 drops of Herbsaint, adding that subtle lace of anise – something Donn Beach often used among his arsenal of secret weapons.

The Banda Islands

Next up is an updated version of my Banda Island Punch using freshly brewed coffee instead of coffee liqueur plus a nutmeg syrup not made from just grated nutmeg but a nutmeg syrup made in Grenada from boiled whole nutmegs with the fruit flesh and all. (Morne Delice)

But the drink got it´s name because of the connection of nutmeg syrup and the Banda islands in Indonesia which are seven volcanic tropical islands which have an interesting but sad history. The Bandanese had long used nutmeg as a currency, which they traded for food with people from other islands.

But when they were colonized by first the Portugese and then the Dutch who wanted to have all the control of the nutmeg trade – then most of the Bandanese were killed in the raids and it ended with the Dutch having to import farmers from the Netherlands to take over the nutmeg farms.

Today the beautiful Banda or Spice islands are quite unknown and their location is so isolated that they still do not appear on many present day maps. They are manly visited by sailors and smaller cruise ships. I`d like to see those islands…that´s a travel destination in my taste!

Banda Island Punch (updated recipe)

Banda Island Punch

1 oz Coruba dark rum
1 oz St James 12 aged rhum agricole (or similar)
1 oz El Dorado 15
0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz nutmeg syrup (Morne Delice brand from Grenada)
0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, freshly brewed, then chilled
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
Grated nutmeg on top
Garnish with a pineapple piece and tropical orchid

Blend in blender (or preferable a top-down mixer) at high speed for 5 sec and pour into a snifter, add more crushed ice if needed and garnish with a piece of pineapple and cherry or tropical orchid, finish with a little grated nutmeg on top.

Next up…a drink from Remixed that has the name of a volcano…

Krakatoa (from Jeff Berry`s Remixed)

Krakatoa2

1.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz fresh white grapefruit juice
1 oz apricot nectar
0.5 oz falernum
1 tsp coffee liqueur
1.5 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1.5 oz Demerara rum
Dash Angostura bitters
2 oz strong Kona coffee
1 cup crushed ice

Blend all ingredients except the coffee in blender at high speed for up to 10 sec and pour unstrained into a 36 oz snifter filled with ice cubes, float coffee.

And after the powerful Krakatoa – here´s my tribute recipe to one of my favorite drinks ( they are a few….) at the Latitude 29 – the Espresso Bongo! not that I have the recipe for it…I can only make a guess the proportions – but on the menu it says “Gold Jamaican rum bestirred by pineapple, coffee syrup, passionfruit, orange and lime” My guess is that the gold Jamaican rum is Appleton VX…I didn`t have it, so instead I used Appleton Extra and Coruba.

Then the orange might be orange juice…but I instead decided to use the fabulous Brazilian Zulu bitters which i wrote about a while ago, the Zulu orange bitters which has a very vibrant flavor. They contain exotic local ingredients from the rainforest….but to sub with I recommend Angostura orange which does just as well.

….and then I totally copy the awesome pineapple leaf garnish… 😀

Tribute to the Espresso Bongo – the Coffee Bongo

Coffee Bongo

1/2 oz coffee syrup
1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz pineapple Juice
1 oz Appleton Extra
1 oz Coruba
2 dashes Zulu orange bitters or Angostura orange

Add all ingredients and 8oz of ice into blender. Blend by 5 one second pulses. Pour into double rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf cut like a palmfrond….and 3 coffee beans!

And then we have this, apparently me and  Craig Hermann aka Colonel Tiki have made one Dark Magic each that are totally different 🙂 his version is the oldest and I wonder if this is the recipe that inspired the Espresso Bongo? or is the Black Magic?

Dark Magic (version by Craig Hermann)

Black Magic by Craig H

1/2 oz coffee syrup
1/2 oz Licor 43
1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Appleton V/X
1 oz Coruba
dash Herbsaint

Add all and 8oz of ice into blender. Blend by 5 one second pulses. Pour into double rocks glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and lime wheel. With compliments to Jeff “Beachbum’ Berry and The Mai-Kai’s Black Magic.

Now there´s a lot less ingredients than what was used in the previous Black Magic recipes, also I got no cherries for the moment so I made a different garnish. And then of course – I made my own version….and “bananaized” it a bit…

Dark Magic #2 (version by Tiare)

Dark Magic #2

0.75 oz each of orange juice, grapefruit juice, fresh lime and honey-mix
1  oz cold strong Kona coffee
0.5 oz homemade banana syrup*
1 oz Hamilton Guyana rum
1 oz Ancient Mariner Navy Rum (Caroni)

1.5 cups crushed ice, blended at high speed 5 sec and poured in snifter filled with more crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple leaf and tropical orchid.

Coffee and grapefruit sweetened with homemade banana syrup and made strong with potent rum! To make banana syrup* – either make a 1:1 simple syrup with dark sugar or use one readymade if you have, slice one ripe banana and with a fork mash it a bit in the pan. Then heat up to a slight boil, let boil for 10 sec while stirring and then take off heat and leave to sit for an hour, then strain and bottle.

And then….I found this recipe on Atomic Grog, the Pain Reliever, a drink made by Brian Miller.

Pain Reliever
(Adapted from a recipe by Brian Miller of Tiki Mondays with Miller)

Pain Reliever

* 1 ounce Myers’s dark Jamaican rum
* 1 ounce Ron Zacapa 23 aged rum
* 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
* 1 ounce fresh-squeezed pineapple juice
* 1 ounce coconut cream
* 1/2 ounce Don’s Spices #4 (cinnamon simple syrup)
* 1/4 ounce double-strength Kona coffee, chilled

Pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 6-8 seconds, then pour into a Tiki mug – in this picture is a mug from Wild Thing Creations. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and grated coffee bean.

I don`t have any Zacapa or Myer`s, so I used Jamaican and Demerara rums, works just fine! Also note that coconut cream is not the same thing as “cream of coconut” (Lopez and Real) it´s the top part in the cans of coconut milk which is thick and creamy, (in most cans anyway) there´s also cans of just coconut cream. It´s also possible to make your own.

Now that was my last post for this tiki month! but like I said every month is tiki month for me so no changes here….

Thanks for reading, I hope you will find some inspiration to make a few tiki cofee drinks!

Tiki Month 2016 – Mount Pegu Erupts, The Guyana Zombie and Colada Noir…

Mount Pegu Erupts 2

So here`s Tiki month again! you know february is tiki month right? at least it is on the Pegu blog which every february since 8 years, turns into a tiki blog for one month. And I always follow suit even though every month is tiki month for me 🙂

The other day I read his first post where he talks about the tiki-transformation of his basement bar where he have installed a freakin`VOLCANO! it erupts too….you can see it here in this video, I think this volcano is brilliant! and he built it himself. That`s pretty freakin`cool isn`t it?

So since we are in the tiki month that requires me to post up something…and I have a drink that seems to keep living on despite it was back in 2009 I made it for the Mixoloseum TDN (Thursday Drink Night) when the theme was Zombie, so I posted it and then forgot about it, until years later I heard it was served at the former PKNY in New York.

Then a couple years after that it was found in the book the “Zombie Horde” by the Professor Cocktail (David J Montgomery) a whole book dedicated ONLY to the Zombie drink with no less than 86 different Zombie and Zombie style recipes included, spanning from Don the Beachcombers 1934 Zombie Punch and over the years to more modern takes in 2013.

Now in 2016 a new version of it has emerged…a fabulous take on this drink elevating it to new levels of booze heights – or rather 2 new versions has emerged, because there´s also a version of the 2016 which transforms the focus from coconut to banana…

Yeah we are geeks here…

This is obviously a drink you can have fun and tinker with a lot! it`s not a traditional Zombie per se, not really, because ther isn`t much it has in common with say the 1934 Zombie Punch but it´s  more a “Zombie-like” drink and the name “Guyana Zombie” due to the demerara rum content has stuck with it.

The 2016 version is made by none other than Tacoma Cabanas tiki master and fire wizard, Jason Alexander and he has invented a fantastic thing called “Spiced Coconut Honey” which is crazy good! so what i`m gonna do for this tiki month is posting up these drinks including pics of Jason`s earlier takes on this drink which he made at the Tacoma because I think they look beautiful.

Then there´s another drink worth a mention, Jason`s Colada Noir…

Guyana Zombie (my origial version from 2009)

guyana-zombie1

2 oz demerara rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz honey-mix
1 tsp cream of coconut
0.5 oz fresh lime
A decent float of 151 demerara

Serve in goblet or other glass (or tiki mug) with crushed ice.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with a little pinch of sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.

It`s boozy and full flavored in that kinda way that makes you feel satisfied but you still want more…

Next up is Jason`s brilliantly updated version, and now the cream of coconut and honey-mix has given way to “spiced coconut honey” and a dash of falernum makes it`s way with some extra zest:

2016 Guyana Zombie

Guyana Zombie 2016 Jasons

A dash or two of Angostura bitters
3/4 oz lime
3/4 oz pineapple
1 oz Spiced Coconut Honey*
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz demerara rum
1 oz float of demerara 151

*Spiced Coconut Honey
9 oz Cream of Coconut (Lopez or Real)
9 oz Honey (not syrup!)
6 oz cinnamon syrup
3 oz Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup and allspice liqueur)

Blend at high speed 5 sek or shake with ice, Pour into a snifter or fancy tiki glass or mug.

It´s a very tasty drink, no doubt!

I also made a version of this with banana syrup switching the flavor focus from coconut to banana. It turned out great! coconut, banana and pineapple they go very well together….

Guyana Banana Zombie

Guyana Banana Zombie

Served in one of Wim Thieleman`s fantastic tiki mugs the Marquesan Coconut!

A dash or two of Angostura bitters
3/4 oz lime
3/4 oz pineapple
1 oz Banana syrup
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz Hamilton Guyana
1 oz float of Cruzan Blackstrap

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice and garnsih with a piece of pineapple and tropical orchid.

And here is two of Jason`s takes on the original Guyana Zombie, made at Tacoma where this drink was very appreciated and no wonder when not only does it taste good, he makes them so pretty!

Guyana Zombie at Tacoma 2

Guyana Zombie orig version by Jason

Colada Noir

Also at Tacoma Cabana, Jason created a stunning version of the Pina Colada calling it Colada Noir…it´s the darker side of the normally so innocent Pina Colada…

Colada Noir by Jason

Dash angostura
1/2 oz lime
3/4 oz Cream of Coconut
3/4 oz Swedish Punsch
2 oz Pineapple juice
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria (or Smith and Cross rum)

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki glass – and you may set it on fire too!

Which Jason did….and here´s a video in slow motion when Jason makes the flames filmed by Matt Pietrek aka Cocktailwonk. I`m totally mezmerized by this video…..it´s something hypnotic over fire filmed in slow motion and where the sound is like it´s coming from some mystic underworld…

And finally…I made a version of the Colada Noir but using banana syrup because I wanted to see how it tasted, i`m in love with banana syrup! I nowadays find myself “bananaize” a lot of drinks…good drinks to use banana syrup in are the Coladas, Boo Loo, Coconauts and drinks with citrus and tropical fruit juices as well as tiki drinks containing coffee which I shall post about soon.

Colada Noir Banane

Colada Noir #2

0.5 oz lime juice
0.75 oz Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz strong Kona coffee (or Blue Mountain (Jamaica) or Community Coffee (New Orleans) brewed then cooled.
0.5 oz banana syrup
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria (or Smith and Cross rum)
2 oz Pineapple juice

Blend in blender at high speed 5 sec with 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a snifter.

Fill up with more crushed ice if needed and garnish with a pineapple leaf and tropical orchid.

You can shake it too of course, but it gets more froothy with a blender.

Stay Tropical!

Monstera and orchid

Disclaimer – I may be the brand ambassador for Rational Spirits but this specific post is a post for the Tiki month as A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

Cent´Anni Spirit Syrups

Cent`Anni bottles

Here`s a couple of exotic spirit syrups, they are made by Cent´Anni Spirit Syrups, created by Victoria D’Amato-Moran who hails from San Fransisco. I first met her at the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans back in 2009 and now seven years later I hold her new syrups in my hand ready to try them out, see how Tales brings people together!

She`s the daughter of a local bartender and started her career in the restaurant business and her family, the D’Amato-Moran’s family owned D’Amato’s Bar on the historical Broadway strip, and with her grandparents – who were talented chefs themselves – making wine, grappa, liqueurs and vinegars.

Victoria managed her cousin’s bar, Tony Nik’s, in North Beach in 2000, where she knew classic bartending and cocktail design would be her art, along with creating innovative syrups to compliment.

She entered and won her first drink competition in 2003, and voted the Best Sidecar Cocktail in 2005 by San Francisco Magazine, and now 21 successful winning competitions later, which includes the most recent WSWA Las Vegas 2014, the Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Show’s, Battle of the Mixologists 2012 & 2013.

Victoria has created cocktail portfolios for a whole number of companies including Square One Spirits, Pur Spirits, Campari USA, Preiss Imports, Iconic Brands, Arta Tequila, and started from the ground up the bars and cocktail menus for among many more, the Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, Yountville, Gaston Acurios’  and La Mar Cebicheria San Francisco and currently working in Half Moon Bay at the historical San Benito Ale House.

Cent`Anni drink

She has been recognized for her work in many noteworthy magazines such as the Examiner, Gary Regans’ 2011 & 2012 Bartenders Guide, Tasting Panel Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Don Julio Recipe Book 2011, Natalie Bovis’ Garden Cocktails 2012, Pur Spirits Cocktail Book and many more and was assistant to Tim Federle’s Tequila Mockingbird.

Cent’Anni Spirit Syrups started in 2004 and were used in both cocktail menus and cocktail competitions. Getting these syrups to bottling has been a long journey and with the support of many fans, and 10 years in the making!

Cent’Anni Spirit Syrups will initially launch these three signature syrups: Lemon Spice, Pineapple Spice and Chocolate Chili Spice, offered in 750 ml. size bottles. Her syrups were created for ease of cocktail preparation behind the bar, for the home bartender, helping cocktail enthusiasts create delicious cocktails at home, and for culinary recipes. The syrups can be used with any base spirit as well as in cooking.

The complex flavor profiles will create innovative cocktails and enhance the classics as well as create wonderful non alcoholic beverages. These syrups are an exotic blend of spices, real juice, and pure cane sugar. The three new syrups are these:

Lemon Spice – Lemon juice and spices and tastes like concentrated lemon juice, very “zingy”!

Pineapple Spice – Pineappple juice, vanilla extract and lemon juice, has a mildly spicy pineapple flavor.

Chili-Chocolate Spice – Dark cocolate chips, orange juice, cocoa beans, cane sugar and dried cloves. It has a mild chili bite and hints of cloves and chocolate.

Here are three cocktails I made with these amazing syrups!

Saffron Sour (Recipe by Victoria D’Amato-Moran)

Saffron Sour

1 oz Cent’Anni Lemon Spice Syrup
1.5 oz Old Raj 92 Gin
1.5 oz Fresh Orange Juice
0.5 oz Velvet Falernum
4-5 Spanish Saffron Threads
Egg White from 1 Organic Egg
Add ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake hard 20 times. Add ice. Shake hard 20 more times. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish: Saffron threads

Well, I didn`t have saffron threads but I did have powdered saffron, it was still nice and added a lovely saffron flavor on the silky/creamy/foamy top of the drink…very rich and lush!

Rummy Way

Rummy Way

0.5 oz Cent´Anni Lemon Spice
0.5 oz Pineapple juice
0.5 oz Aperol
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 oz Aged Rhum Agricole
Dash Zulu Orange Bitters
Garnish Cinnamon dust and dried Pineapple slice
Glass: Daniel Gallardo

My take on Victorias “Rumway” which was named for the airport runway near the beach in Half Moon Bay. Well, this drink is named for the rum it contains which may lead you into the way of rum….

Chili-Chocolate Banana Daiquiri

Chili-Chocolate Banana Daiquiri 2

0.5 oz Cent’Anni Chocolate Chili Spice
0.5 oz Cent’Anni Pineapple Spice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Banana, well mature and thinly sliced
2 oz Appleton Extra Jamaican Rum
4 oz Crushed Ice

Blend in blender at high speed for 30 sec and pour unstrained into a fancy glass with ice.
Garnish banana slice cut diagonally.

Chili-Spice Coconut

Chili-Spice Coconut

1 oz Cent’Anni Chocolate Chili Spice
1.5 oz Ron Abuelo 12
2 oz Coconut Milk
Squirt of fresh lime
Add ingredients, to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until frothy. Pour into a glass with ice. Garnish with a tropical orchid.

This is a twist of Victorias Chili-Spice Cream Soda but i didn`t have half and half or cream soda (not available here) so instead I used coconut milk. The drink tastes creamy rummy and coconutty with a hint of spice.

Conclusion: These are well made organic syrups fit for everything from cocktails to tikidrinks to culinary adventures!

La Confrérie du Rhum – Habitation La Favorite – Cuveé Spèciale 1995

Confrerie la Fav 4

For those who doesn`t know, the Facebook group “La Confrérie du Rhum” is now counting over 12 000 members and it keeps growing! when I wrote about their first rum La Confrérie Barbados 2000 in about a year ago the membership was 3600, so it has more than tripled in a year!

As a member of this group since the beginning and a regular visitor I can easily say this is one of the most talkative rum groups around, and there´s a lot of rum knowledge there, with – naturally since the group is french, a lot of rhum agricoles being discussed (and in between there´s everything else)

But Velier and Silver Seal rums also has a very strong presence as well since those kinds of usually cask strength, full proof, no-additives, one of a kind demerara, caroni and agricole rums are not only some of the best you can get on this planet but they have always been solid in Europe. Personally they were my favorite rums since years back.

If you want to explore the wonderful and interesting rhum agricoles, this is place to be, I have learnt so MUCH during my time there!

In early 2014, Jerry Gitany and Benoit Bail started secretly working together with the distillery La Favorite in Martinique and they worked on a special bottling dedicated to the group. Now almost 2 years later this “cuvèe” dropped just before last Christmas, in 2015.

Confrerie la Fav 3

This collaboration finally brought to a wonderful 20 years old agricole rum which was bottled, waxed and labeled by hand and packaged in beautiful boxes together with 2 tasting glasses branded by the distillery and the group. The price is 205 euro.

This single cask agricole rum is issued from 4 different casks and each bottle shows the cask which it´s issued from and it´s degree of alcohol on the label. There´s a limited edition of 1000 cask strength bottles at 45% ABV. It´s a one of a kind rum.

So here´s my taste notes:

Confrerie la Fav glass

Appearance: very beautiful dark mahogany.

Nose: The nose is round and full, there´s mature tropical fruits like juicy banana mash and peels, sugarcane, hints of florals and herbals, apricots, mango, aromatic and sweet…

Mouth: Deep….this rum is deep and very balanced. Notes of the same fruits as in the nose, hints of wood, it`s a dry rum and it has very pleasant dry aftertaste and is mild and smooth, really caressing the palate. In overall a well balanced, elegant and very pleasant rum to sip. Medium long and dry finish.

Thats it folks! if you can, go get it….it won`t last long.

Confrerie la Fav

 

Confrerie du rhum logo

 

La Confrérie du Rhum Facebook Group page is here and you can buy this rum at Christian de Montaguére, in his shop in Paris or by contacting Christian.

Zulu Bitters – Bitters with Brazilian Heart and Soul

Zulu Bitters

Two years ago was the first time I tried the Zulu aromatic bitters made by Laèrcio Zulu, bartender and mixologist from Brazil. I was always so fascinated by all the things he did, especially with all the fruits, roots, tinctures etc he did experiment with and he did experiment a lot!

Brazil is a country that really has an abundance of interesting fruits, roots and herbs, a lot I have never even heard about much less tried.

Zulu worked in São Paulo as a bartender for six years and one of the bars where he worked at was the Noh Bar, developing their cocktails and learnt to use such techniques as carbonization, aging and smoking. He also won the best bartender in Brazil in 2014 in the Diageo World Class, at the time working at La Maison Est Tombée.

He is now working with cocktail consultation through his brand Custom Cocktails – Bar Marketing, throughout Brazil and also making his bitters – Zulu Bitters.

Zulu is a master in making amazing cocktails, very often with his own exotic house made ingredients. The bitters I tried back then, this was 2013, was his first aromatic bitters and which have developed unto what I now have in hand along with a 5 year commemorative bitters, a barrel aged and an orange bitters.

A lot have happened since then!

Here he tells his his own story:

Zulu

The first Brazilian bitter brand with Brazilian heart and soul took it`s first steps in September 2010, that`s when the Zulu Bitter brand was born and developed along with the career of its creator; Zulu Bartender. So, lets talk about this guy and his amazing journey.

Laércio Zulu, mixologist, was born in the state of Bahia (Brazil) and has been living in Sao Paulo now for 6 years. His work thrives on the values and appreciation for Brazilian ingredients, a reflection of his constant trips inside Brazil’s vast territory seeking for new flavors and sensations. This gives Zulu great knowledge about some ingredients that are unusual for the general public, but very common for the regular man in a small towns around his country.

Thinking about #valoresnacionais (national values), Zulu chases not only unusual ingredients, but also different ways to produce his cocktails, from using ants from the Amazon rainforest to shake cocktails in capoeira rhythm. Every detail designed to give classic cocktails a Brazilian twist.

He says: “My biggest goal is to show the real Brazilian flavors, not only by giving another direction for the use of tropical ingredients, that are, of course, very common in Brazil, but also going way further than that.”

This crazy guy got out of his small town in Bahia to be a bartender in Sao Paulo in 2009, taking American-style bartenders classes in schools like Bertones Bartenders and Flair Brazil, both already extinct, and started working in that same year.

From this point on, he got more and more passionate for mixology and immersed himself on self-learning and reading about it in every book or piece of information he could put his hand on. In the next year, things started getting bitter (LOL).

Zulu 2

Before even begin his research of national ingredients, he felt the need to understand more about the history of mixology, how it was developed and how to produce ingredients from scratch.

He dived into classic mixology books, such as Gary Regan’s “The Joy of Mixology”, Tony Abou-Ganim’s “The Modern Mixology; David Wondrich’s “Imbibe”, Dale Degroff’s “The Essential Cocktails” and, more important, the very first cocktails guide: Jerry Thomas’ “The Bartender’s Guide” 1862.

All these readings helped Zulu to make sense not only how the consumer behavior changed through the years and how each region had its characteristics for consumption of mixed drinks. Most of all, he made sense of the real value of mixology and became fascinated with evolution of the techniques and how the mixed drinks took a very interesting place in society.

That’s when the so acclaimed seasoning (Bitters) steps in.

During the beggining of mixology, to talk about “bitters” was to talk about a “bartender’s secret”. It was the “special touch” for cocktails, responsible for bartender’s authenticity and personality in each cocktail. This concept sounded very well with Zulu and the idea of creating and producing his own bitters was born.

In the following article, Zulu explains his process:

For the technical side of production, I started producing a series of known recipes to understand how the infusions of different ingredients worked. These recipes are still very famous, like Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters, Boker’s Bitters and Gaz Regan Orange Bitters. I did this for innumerous times to get sense of the balance of the ingredients.

For each sample of the first batches (back in 2011), I always shared with professional bartenders who had my respect and admiration like Marcio Silva, Marcelo Vasconcelos, Marcelo Serrano, James Guimarães and Talita Simões to have an orientation, mostly because, until then, I had not tried many different bitter’s brands. The positive feedbacks were a great motivation.

After that, I started to buy several bitters online, because, in Brazil, Angostura Bitters was the only brand you could find. So, everytime I could find a different one I restlessly tried it and ran to my kitchen to produce new recipes for my bitters.

By 2012, I gave up on any imported ingredients, focusing just on local ingredients.

Zulu bitters collage

During my experiences, I divided three groups of ingredients to get the recipe I believed to be the face of Brazilian spice: As I tried commercial bitters with amazing textures, I added Brazil Nuts to the body of ingredients of Zulu Bitters. That gives the viscosity and shine I wanted in the mixture.

For aromatic complexity, cinnamon, guarana seeds and amburana seeds stand out. For color, jurema preta and cashew were up to the task. I believe that these three pillars are the main factors to say that Zulu Bitters does have Brazilian heart and soul… because to explain the “Axe” and the “ginga” that goes inside that little bottle, one have to know Brazil.”

That`s a great story isn´t it? I had to ask Zulu what Axe and ginga means and a little about his use of ants in cocktails because I find that very interesting (especially after I first tried amazing foraged cocktails made by Marcello Biancaniello with ants beer in them) and he explains it like this;

“I used Amazon ants in a cocktail during a presentation at the World Class 2014 Finals, in London. My intention was to combine the citric touch of the ants with my recipe of Gold Label Reserve Whisky, umbu reduction (Umbu is tropical fruit from Bahia) Abatetuda molass (an Amazonic island) and Zulu Aromatic Bitters.

Axe represents energy, strength. The energy giving and receiving. It is directly connected with the lifestyle of Brazilian people who believes in spirituality from african religions. Ginga is a lifestyle, its the Brazilian “swag”. Its also the movement that preceeds the capoeira game. Very related with people from Bahia”

So on my table here I now have four of his bitters, the aromatic, the barrel aged, 5 year commemorative and orange bitters, i`m gonna try to describe their flavors:

Aromatic:

Zulu Bitters aromatic

Very much what the name says – aromatic! there´s a lot of roots flavors and what I´d call “dark spices” but the color is light brown, it´s earhty, aromatic and at the same time brilliant and lively. It has notes of roast cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, banana and dried spices.

A little bit bitter yes but not too much and well balanced, I  don`t feel any specific spice taking over.

I can also imagine these amazing bitters in cooking…not just cocktail making! some of these aromatics on meat before grilling…

Barrel aged:

Zulu bitters Barrel aged

Woody and spicy, but definetily woody, well “barrel aged” right? but there could be other woods and roots in it as well, interesting flavor and very aromatic, very nice bitters, it has some kinda coffee and raw cocoa notes too, at least to me. The color is light brown.

Orange:

Zulu Bitters orange

Brilliant! with a tingling on the tongue! very strong flavor of not only orange peel but theres a lot going on in this little bottle. Mainly composed of Bahia orange peel, guarana seeds, cumin and balsam bark but there´s more than that. The color is dark orange bordering to brown and there´s hints of wood and roots.

It´s very tasty bitters. Perfect for lighter cocktails and would be great in some desserts as well and with grilled seafood.

These bitters aromatics are intense!

5 Year Commemorative:

Zulu Bitters 5

Here´s astringency and very herbal flavor, my guess is that there´s some mimosa or chamomille in it. These bitters are aromatic and spicy and very very herbal, also the color, it´s light greenish-yellow.

I also have to mention his first aromatic bitters, they have a totally different flavor than the aromatics of today, it´s a different kind of woody flavor in them and they are still tasty after 2 years.

I must say that these bitters are all amazing and some of the best i`ve tried so far! he sure knows what he is doing….

Here´s a super cool cocktail from Zulu:

Boca de Lobo

Boca de Lobo collage

50 ml Cachaça Leblon
20 ml homemade Castanha-do-pará cordial (Brazil nut cordial)
15 ml lime juice
15 ml Catuaba (a Brazilian bark)
4 dash Zulu Orange Bitters

Shaken together and served in a tiki mug with crushed ice.

I haven`t tried it yet…because I don`t have the Brazil nut cordial or catuaba beverage, which is a drink made from extracts of a plant found in the Amazon forest which also is an aphrodisiac and a famous one too, and it`s sold in bark form, as tea or beverage.

And how do you make a Brazil nut cordial? (here´s for going out and google again… :-)) but the recipe can also be seen as inspiration for using these bitters and the bark can maybe be substituted with something else or be omitted if you cannot find it.

Brazil nut cordial can maybe be switched for a homemade Brazil nut orgeat instead? it would totally change the flavor but it´s easy to make and Brazil nuts are usually available and I believe it would still be a good drink. Just don´t forget to change the ratios too!

I`d maybe do 2 oz of cachaca, 0.5 oz Brazil nut orgeat, 0.5 oz lime juice, 2 dash Zulu orange bitters and instead of the catuaba bark tincture, 2 dashes of the barrel aged bitters.

So where can people get these bitters from? because they cannot also be substituted…and frankly I have never tried any other bitters that are anywhere close to the flavors of these and naturally so since these contains local Brazilian ingredients…

For now it´s possible to buy them online (in smaller amounts) on this website – the website is in Portugese but can easily be translated with any of the online translation pages 🙂 not sure if the online payment system works outside of Brazil but here´s the e-mail adress for inquiries: zuluheadbartender@gmail.com and here is his Facebook page.

And with these interesting and flavorful bitters I had to make a cocktail or two of my own to try them out:

Banana Daiquiri

Grilled Banana Daiquiri 2

2 oz aged Cachaca

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz banana syrup (made with grilled banana heated up with and then cooled in dark sugarcane syrup (you can sub with Giffard Banane de Brézil but check ratios if you do)

4 dashes Zulu orange bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Turns out rich and flavorful….

Zulu Coconaut

Zulu Coconaut 2

This is a classic Coconaut with the addition of  Zulu Aromatic Bitters.

2 oz Cream Of Coconut (Real or Lopez)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz  Jamaican dark rum

4 dashes Zulu Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coconut vessel or glass

with crushed ice.

Garnish with tropical orchid

Very very tasty!

Zulu Bitters aromatic new and old2

The old and the new aromatic bitters.

Compagnie des Indes

CDI rums

Compagnie des Indes is a French independent bottler which was founded by Florent Beuchet has a solid wine and spirits background since he comes from a family of wine makers in Burgundy in France, so he naturally started with wine education and tastings and then travelled to the US and worked for Banks Rum in NYC as their Brand Ambassador for 2 years before starting his own brand Compagnie des Indes in 2014.

The idea behind Compagnie des Indes is to bring authentic rum from many regions with both blends of different countries as well as one origins and single casks showing the genuine character of the rums from each region.

The name Compagnie des Indes pays hommage and bring memories from days past when merchants from the East India Companies travelled to bring back precious and exotic goods from far away places. And in like manner Florent brings rums distinct to each region to us.

There´s a commitment to transpareny clearly stating on each label exactly what the bottle contains as well as the name of the distillery, bottling date, number etc – I want to se more of this!

Recently there were two tastings here with rums from Compagnie des Indes, both mixed in cocktails and neat. The range was nine different rums whereof five were single casks. Some rums were also at cask strength. In cocktails the rums are really nice, they mix very well but they also sip very well so they are versatile.

These are generally drier style of rums with no sugar or anything added except for a very few which has a lower amount of sugar or caramel but Florian is all transparent about it and from this upcoming year there will be no more caramel added.

CDI rums2

The rums Florian brought to the tasting were these:

1 – Caraibe – A blend of rums from Barbados (mostly Foursquare) 25%, Trinidad 50% and Guyana 25%  Aged for between three and five years in American white oak, distilled in column stills, no age statement. This rum is fruity and complex with hints of apricot, peaches and vanilla with a little peppery touch.

2 – Latino – the second of the blends, contains 60% rum from the Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala (who makes Botran and Zacapa) and then 40% Caraibe. It`s a light type of rum, typical for the Spanish types of rum or ron with caramel, toffee and vanilla aromas and a “coffee bean” like finish. Aged 5 years in American white oak.

3 – St Lucia – 13 years single cask, 43% This is a 100% pot still rum using molasses from Guyana. No additives except water. Spicy, warm and woody with a nice fruity finish.

4 – Martinique – 13 years single cask 44% from the Dillon distillery. No additives except water. Has been aged in the “more spicy” french oak, with more dryness and touch of smoke. This is a rhum agricole that is a bit less grassy on the notes than what we usually see with an elegant fruity flavor of ripe tropical fruits.

5 – Barbados 12 year old – pot and column still rum from Foursquare. This rum surprised me with very clear notes of the same flavors as I have encountered in the rums from St Nicholas Abbey. Now that in intself is actually not surprising since Richard Seale and Foursquare have made all the St Nicholas Abbey´s rums except for their latest 5 year old expression. But this is still the first rum I try apart from the very SNA rums that has those flavor notes, interesting….and of course – very nice aromas! kudos to Foursquare! and of course – No additives what so ever.

6 – Boulet de Canon n1 – A limited edition of rum aged in islay whiskey barrels. A refined blend of the Caraibe with 5 yrs rums from Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana, finished in an Islay whisky barrel for 8 months. Has an elegant touch of smoke and a nice finish. Boulet n2 is coming later this year and will be aged in peated whiskey barrels.

7 – Jamaica – 5 years, Navy Strength 57% Worthy Park, Monymusk, Hampden and then, a secret Jamaican distillery makes up this expression. Very nice and flavorful and smooth in regard to it´s proof. No added sugar or caramel colouring. One of my favorites in this bunch!

8 – Haiti 11 years, Barbancourt distillery. Cask strength rum 59.4% it gets better and better…has a round aromatic nose of  what it comes from, the old stills at Barbancourt. Unfiltered. No additives what so ever. No added sugar, caramel colouring or water. Very aromatic, dry and fruity. Love at first sight…

9 – Guyana – And the last one, a demerara…(Port Mourant) Very nice and flavorful – but not heavy to my surprise since it´s a cask a strength rum at 58%.

There´s many more rums than these by Compagine des Indes, and especially interesting are a range of very attractive cask strength rums available only in Denmark.

This is a rum company issuing very nice expressions where many are single casks and many also interesting cask strength rums and most without any added sugar (and if they have some – it is stated clearly on the label) so these rums are worthy to look out for.

One last thing, I think the labels are absolutely gorgeous!!

CDI Martinique

CDI Barbados 12

CDI Boulet n1

CDI Guyana

CDI Guyana Haiti

Mac nut daiquiri

CDI row of rums

Samaroli 1999 Trinidad and 1990 Demerara Rums

Samaroli rums

Samaroli is an Italian private bottler of rums and whiskies since 1968. Silvano Samaroli made himself well known by selecting and bottling great scotches and rums. His rums are produced from single casks that are selected one by one and the rums are matured or partly matured in the cooler climate of Scotland.

There´s a whole bunch of new Samaroli rums for this year to try out and here´s two, one Trinidad Caroni rum 1999 cask #10 and a Demerara from Guyana, from 1990 and cask #18. Both are very interesting espressions and they have no additives and are brimming with flavors. I think even though the Caroni and Demerara rums are two different styles of rums, some of the Caronis, especialy the heavy ones reminds me in many ways of the old demerara rums even though each have their own typical distinct flavor profile.

It´s the depth of flavors and then something else, maybe that punch…because the light Caronis I have tried does not have that similarity with Demeraras at all. This Caroni here is not a heavy Caroni in terms of proof but in terms of flavor I think it matches the “heavy” ones.

Samaroli Dem 1990 label

Demerara 1990, cask #18, 45%

This is an Enmore demerara rum distilled in 1990 and bottled in Scotland in 2015 which makes it a 25 year old rum….it has been double aged, so partly in tropical climate and partly in the cool Scotland climate which brings something from both worlds.

What I get when I sniff in the glass is first of all wood….a lot of deep barrel hits my nose… then molasses, mashed overripe dark tropical fruits, tobacco, burnt sugar and leather, slight very pleasant hints of butterscotch and caramel…

It´s interesting to sit and smell the nose of rums like these because they are so complex and there´s a lot going on. Hard to put words on sometimes.

Taking a first sip the wood explodes in my mouth – old demerara rum barrel and it´s a trip back in time to drink it. There´s the flavors of the same tobacco and molasses notes as in the nose, burnt sugar and mashed tropical fruits, hints of vanilla, leather and earth. It has a deep demerara flavor and is very woody….almost on the way to be overpowering on the wood notes but it sits just right there before it becomes too much. Also it´s not on the sweet side which I like.

I love these old demerara rums as you know, there´s nothing like them and just like the old Caronis, never will be. And sadly, when these are gone they are gone….that is especially true for the Caronis since they are no more produced but it´s true also these single cask demeraras. This one for example, only 340 bottles were made.

These rums are collectors items.

So let it be sipped….

Samaroli Trini 1999 label

Trinidad 1999, cask #10, 45%

This Caroni rum was distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2015, so it´s 16 year old. It was first aged on Trinidad and then further aged in Scotland.

The nose is quite light and it´s pleasantly fruity and here the wood makes itself known but in the background, not upfront like the demerara rum. Sweet hints of succulent tropical fruits but the nose doesn`t really reveal what´s to come….

In the mouth this rum is absolutely gorgeous! it´s brimming with brilliant fruity notes and it has an aftertaste that I really like – a lot! Parts is wood and then there´s smething else. And there´s apricot, vanilla and maybe mango…and other mashed tropical fruits, hints of liquorice and it has a very pleasant dry finish.

Then that after taste…I cannot put words on what it is…but it´s so delicious…

Here´s another incredible Caroni, only 260 bottles were made.

The Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 that number had reduced to 8 and today there is only one left – Angostura. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 2002.

The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”

Eventually Caroni went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.

For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced.

Samaroli rums Trini and demerara

Pictures in this post are courtesy Rombo.

The two Samaroli 1999 Trinidad and 1990 Demerara (and others) can in Europe be purchased here.

FIBAR 2015 and the European Tiki Experience

A Fibar Valladollid a sign

FIBAR is the biggest bar Show in Spain and was held in Valladolid in a pretty cool building that looks like a giant football, the Cúpula del Milenio on november 17-19.

The first ever European Tiki Experience took place there on the tuesday nov 17th and it was for that I was invited to do a seminar about the history of tiki together with Oriol Elias from the Rum and Tiki blog Three of Strong. We made a seminar called “Paradise Lost, the Roots of Tiki” where we covered the history and roots of the American Polynesian Pop culture with all it´s past and present bars and bartenders, carvers, artists, writers, musics and what the tiki culture is all about.

We also raised a toast with Chief Lapu Lapus to Jeff Beachbum Berry in appreciation of all that he did to uncover the lost recipes and all the books he wrote containing history and recipes for a lifetime! because without him we wouldn`t have all these recipes resurrected today.

And he toasted us back….in a video he made back in New Orleans 🙂

Paradise Lost seminar Bum video

The other speakers in the Tiki Experience were Sly Augustin, owner of the Tiki bar Trailer Happiness in London who made a seminar called “The Future of Tiki”, and Miguel and David Perez also know as the two “Brothers in Tiki” were talking about tiki bar and tiki products.

Thanos Prunarus, owner of the famous Baba au Rum bar in Athens did a seminar about the Anatomy of Tiki Drinks and Miguel Escobedo, (Kona Lei) did a seminar called “Tiki-Orama:50 years of Cocktails and Iberian Tiki”

Among the guest bartenders were Guillermo Uriel, bartender at Mahiki in London.

Pavon tiki mugs was also for sale and I was happy to be able to grab a few….they have some that are really cool like the big bamboo and the pineapple mugs, they also have a swimming vahine bowl that is pretty cool and another with a smiling tiki that looks very happy and drunk 🙂

One thing that I learnt at the Tiki Experience is that Tiki in Europe is most likely going to become bigger and bigger but be formed in it´s on fashion and inventiveness – but without losing connection with the traditions. I see a very exciting future for both rums and tiki in Europe…

A very interesting seminar that I attended was Luca Picchis seminar about the Negroni cocktail where he also presented his book “Negroni Cocktail an Italian Legend” which I also bought a copy of and I would recommend anyone who`s a lover of cocktails to get a copy, it´s a masterpiece.

Negroni cocktail book

Every night after FIBAR there was a party and good food to have…the bar to go to was El Nino Perdido, great cocktails and nice atmosphere! Bar manager at El Nino Perdido is Juan Valls, also the organizer of FIBAR Valladolid.

There were a lot more things happening at FIBAR but we had only one day of the three so the other things that happened at FIBAR I cannot write about…..but i`m very happy to been able to be there, it was a great experience and I met so many nice people both new and old friends and I hope I can be back again the next year!

Here is as usual when I go to these kind of events, a picture parade….because pictures speak more…

Cúpula del Milenio

Cúpula del Milenio

Cocktail at Fibar 1

Beautiful Daquiris like these…

Cocktail at Fibar 3

Paired with Spanish croquetas…

Yuzu 2

Yuzu…

Gin and Tonic 2

Siderit Hibiscus Gin, made in northern Spain and very tasty.

Gin and Tonic sign 2

….made a very refreshing gin and tonic.

Hendrick´s Gin skeleton

Hendrick`s Gin booth, give him a drink….

12194748_721951264602260_1156685002207731606_o

Luca Picchi (Head bartender in Coffee Rivoire of Florence and author of the book Negroni Cocktail) made a great seminar about the Negroni – The history of the Negroni cocktail and the Italian appetizer ! 

(pic credit FIBAR)

Negroni at pianobar

Piano….and Negroni….

Fair rum

FAIR Rum from Belize!

Rum Don Q

And Puerto Rican Don Q

Cocktails at Fibar

Mezcal goodness and burnt cinnamon stick – yummy…

Plantation rums Stiggin´s fancy2

Plantation rums! and of course the famous Stiggin´s Fancy….probably the tastiest pineapple rum I have ever tasted.

Pavon big pineapple mug

Big pineapple tiki mug from Pavon.

Pavon vahine mug

And a swimming vahine.

Paradise Lost seminar Aloha shirt and rum

Aloha shirt and rums….

Paradise Lost seminar Oriol

Oriol at our seminar “Paradise Lost, the Roots of Tiki”

Paradise Lost

And now we`re entering the realm of tiki…

Paradise Lost presenters

Three of Strong and A Mountain of Crushed Ice taking it through the history of tiki to show where it came from and that tiki is so much more than just the drinks, which btw were some of the world´s first crafted farm to glass cocktails – in tropical costume.

Paradise Lost diap 8

And no tiki seminar without the Bums books!

Paradise Lost diap 7

Or the Bum himself….

Paradise Lost seminar Chief Lapu Lapu 4

Chief Lapu Lapu was served….

Paradise Lost seminar Chief Lapu Lapu in glass 2 (2)

And it was good….

Sly Augustin

Sly Augustin (Trailer Happiness, London) talked about the exciting future of tiki.

(pic credit FIBAR)

Miguel and Thanos

While Miguel Escobedo (Kona Lei, Madrid)  made a seminar called – Tiki-Orama:50 years of cocktails and Iberian Tiki, and Thanos Prunarus (Baba au Rum) spoke about the anatomy of The Anatomy of Tiki Drinks and of course his world famous rum bar, Baba au Rum (pic credit FIBAR)

Guille Uriel

Guest bartending was Guillermo Uriel, bartender at Mahiki in London. (pic credit FIBAR)

Tiki Brothers

The Tiki Experience was created by Miguel Pérez Muñoz and David Perez, also known as the “Brothers in Tiki”  (pic credit FIBAR) who also did a seminar about tiki bar and tiki products.

Thanos seminar 1

Three Dots and a dash, one of my fav tiki cocktails

There were so much more than what these pictures have shown and we were there only one of three days! try to go and visit the FIBAR in 2016!