Athens Rum and Whiskey Festival 2017

This was the second rum festival in Athens (rum and whiskey together this year) but my first time to attend the event which was taking place in the impressive neo-classical Zappeion Hall, built in 1878 which also is conveniently located near the beautiful park, the National Gardens around the city center with two metro stations nearby.

The festival was small but sweet…with a good vibe – and drunken crowds, thankfully, I did not see. Nice and relaxed! I stumbled on some rums I’ve never tried before too and to my pleasant surprise the Alamea Exotic Infusions that are soon to be launched at the Berlin Bar Convent on october 10-11 by Daniele Dalla Pola were there as well. Read more about Alamea here in my review. They made some very nice cocktails with it and I really enjoyed having drinks with the Alamea.

There were cocktails made in most booths plus there was a little Baba au Rum pop-up booth there as well so one could choose to both sip rum and whiskey neat but also get to drink very nice cocktails which I appreciated!

Baba au Rum once again came among the 50 best bars – this time no.30! so again I say congrats to the Baba team! was it only a couple days ago I was there? someone fly me back please! but then again – they will have a pop up bar in Berlin in a few days….during the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) and the German Rumfest and I`m luckily heading in that direction.

 

As for seminars I went to the  “Artisanal Cachacas, Authentic Sugarcane Expressions” by Jimmy Bertazzoli and “The Holy Grail of Martinique” sponsored by rhum St James held by Konstantinos Vasilakopoulos and then Sly Augustin’s (Trailer Happiness, London) seminar about Tiki where he did talk about the movement of tiki and where it’s going, specifically from a European view, something I’m also talking about in ny (upcoming) book. It was like hearing somebody else express my mind! The good guys from Trailer also did a guest bartending at Baba where they presented four tiki drinks, (the one with the jerk spice was amazing)

As for bars in the city, Athens have a very vibrant bar scene with worldclass bartenders and a hospitality next to none! they really are that good! but I already said that before…and not only do they make great cocktails in the bars but they also play very good music! You are guaranteed to have fun! also, the rooftop bars….the views are incredible.

A few great bars to mention are Baba au Rum, Speakeasy, Gin Joint, Clumsies, Kolokotroni 9, Bank Job, Rabbit Hole and the seasonal Mary Pickford by the water in Piraeus (awesome rooftop bar with a great view of the water and all the boats, plus great food, drinks and music), and then the rooftop bar at the hotel “A for Athens” with an unrivaled view and occasion to see the sunset over the city with a stunningly beautiful lit up Panthenon/Acropolis by night….a sight to see I promise!

This is a good start for the Athens rumfest which I believe has potential to grow nicely to something really great and I hope to see it happen again next year.

Enjoy the rest by pictures! I think they say more than my words!

The Rum and Whisky fest:

Entering the rum and whisky fest under the high pillars of the Zappeon building is quite impressive…

And then you`re met by a familiar sight…booths with booze….and bartenders serving cocktails. The Bayou rum

I first discovered in New Orleans during the Tales.

And like they say in Nola, let the good times roll…that`s what`s rum is all about! I know this was a rum and whisky festival but the rum girl I am, I`m focusing on the rum…

FINE Drinking Magazine, one of the best bar magazines today, get yours here.

Thanos Prunarus and FINE.

This was delicious! the Cuban Swizzle with Santiago de Cuba Greece rum and Alamea Pimento Liqueur which is with the other Alamea products launched now at the BCB in Berlin and to soon be sold online and shipped worldwide so all the tiki folks and everyone else will be able to get them.

And the Santiago Mulata, with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur and the Santiago de Cuba Greece rum. As tasty as the Cuban Swizzle.

The Almaea Spiced, one of the very few spiced rums I found to be really good, that is – not too sweet – and with natural flavor and ingredients. And how about that tiki label? 🙂

Moving on to some Hampden rums…a favorite brand from Jamaica. RumFire needs no presentation and neither does the Hampden Gold. World famous high ester Jamaican rums at it´s best!

Similar to the RumFire with that typical vegetal grassy and “kerosene”- like flavor notes (but much less up in your face as the JWray), the Rum Bar overproof is a blend of three pot still unaged rums. The Worthy Park Estate have produced sugar and molasses since 1720. And then a new expression I haven`t seen before with the blue label, called Full Flavored White Rum. Good rums!

Cheers to overproof Jamaican rum!

And a daiquiri with it was in order.

Another rum brand I like, Compagnie de Indes, I wrote about a few of their expressions here.

A Mediterranian style Rum Old Fashioned with Rum Nation`s agricole rum from la Rèunion. Beautifully presented and very tasty.

Naga rum from Indonesia, which I think we will see some more of when a certain tiki bartender starts mixing with it 🙂 it had a bit of an interesting funk to it`s flavor which I think would be good in especially tiki drinks.

Another rum I had never tried before, Ron SumMum from the Dominican Republic.They come in four expressions – from left to right – the Reserva Especial, the Sauternes Cask Finish, the Cognac Cask Finish and the Malt Whiskey Finish.

And Japanese Whisky, Akashi. The version of Akashi produced for the European market using a mixture of Japanese and foreign-made malt and grain whisky.The Japanese version has malt whisky and molasses spirit, which would not be classed as ‘whisky’ in the EU.

Yaguara Cachaca, which is an artisanal Cachaca that comes in these three expressions. From left to right – the Organic and the most flavorful one, the Oro which is aged in three different woods and the Branca. The sweet part in this cachaca is not coming from any added sugar but from the oak. Brazil have at least 4000 brands of cachaca but only 2% is exported and unfortunately most of the exported cachacas are industrial so the best ones with the most flavors stays in Brazil. So most people gets to know just those and mostly in Caipirinhas which I think is a shame. (Nothing wrong with Caipirinhas, they are tasty but there is more)

I hope that will change! so we can see more artisanal cachacas outside of Brazil! it´s an interesting spirit and very much alike the rhum agricole but yet so different.

Havana Club.

The menu from Trailer Happiness at their pop up at Baba au Rum. I especially liked the flavor and spicy kick of the jerk spiced Voodoo Island, both frutiy, spicy and smoky.

The view from the stairs of Zappeon.

Athens:

The Acropolis is like a guardian of the city…The Parthenon and the other buildings were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded…

The heaters at the rooftop cocktail bar at the “A for Athens” hotel looks like flying saucers that just landed….and the sun started to set…

A to go with the sunset…a matching colored drink called the “Polyphemus the Cyclops”.This drink was actually a sort of Zombie with a blend of Plantation OFTD, Chairman`s Reserve and Bacardi rums, spicy. The drink on the right side is called “Wear Sunscreen” and is a blend of Plantation Pineapple rum, Bacardi Gold, Don`s Mix, Coconut edible sunscreen (whatever that means…)

And the sun exploded in fiery colors…

Part of the menu at “A for Athens”

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, built in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power, seen from the rooftop bar at the “A for Athens” hotel cocktail bar. When you see it like that at night, it`s really magic, it adds a certain feel of the past to the present.

And of course it´s stunningly beautiful, pictures does not do it justice.

The Parthenon/Acropolis lit up to spread magic and beauty.

And the view in daylight from the rooftop restaurant at the Astor hotel. This is what you can call a breakfast with a view….

Zoomed in view of Mount Lycabettus/Λυκαβηττός, pronounced [likaviˈtos], a Cretaceous (the period between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago) limestone hill in Athens, at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.

Rooftops of Athens.

Piraeus, seen from the rooftop bar Mary Pickford which we were lucky to get to on their last day before closing since it´s a seasonal summer bar that was created by the team of Baba au Rum along with Varoulko Seaside. Great view, great cocktails, great bartenders, fantastic seafood and great music sums up this place.

Seafood….at Mary Pickford. I don`t know what I was eating, I just know it was really amazing.

Incredibly tasty, a coffee Mai Tai at the Speakeasy.

Baba au Rum Cocktails.

And their Zombie…

And Baba Rum Sour with Barbancourt rum and a decent float of Cadenhead Cask Strength rum from the Bellevue distillery.

The beautiful National Gardens, located right behind the Zappeon Hall.

Impressive plants in the park. In the 1920s the park was renamed “National Garden”and became opened to the public and in honour of Queen Amalia of Greece, the entrance was moved to the 12 palms she planted and the street in front was renamed Queen Amalia Avenue. Since then the National Garden, is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Baba au Rums iconic carousel…just love this one!

And my favorite bar in Athens, Baba au Rum.

Pretty much sums it up! Cafe”Just Made 33″ a great place for breakfast.

Hello Athens and thank you! I will be back!

Alamea Exotic Infusions!

Tiki World Rejoice!! This is super exciting! four stunning products will soon be released (in october) that I know especially the tiki world will LOVE! It`s the Tiki maestro Daniele Dalla Pola behind them, you know that guy who loves pineapples so much? and builds up a real show during his entertaining presentations? and not to mention amazing tiki drinks and tiki drink photography, plus he owns the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, Italy.

The vintage style tiki labels on these products are something you really want in your tiki bar or home bar or any bar for that matter. They are stunning work of exotic tropical art! And the products? I have tasted them all and they are just as good as i thought, or even better. Personally I do not ever want to not have them in my home tiki happy place/bar. These will be available for shipping worldwide and I will update in this post when the website is ready.

The name Alamea on the label is named after a starfish species (crown-of-thorns starfish). An old Samoan saying is that among Samoan traditional fishermen it has been said that if you happen to get stung by the spines of the alamea, you should turn the starfish over and have its spongy-like feet touch the area where you have been stung and the alamea will heal its own doing.

Here are my taste notes and impressions of the Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur, Peach Brandy Liqueur, Pimento Rum Liqueur and Spiced Rum.

Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur

Deep Coffee flavor from Hawaiian coffee…sumptuous and satisfying.

Alamea Pimento Rum Liqueur

I tasted it side by side with the Hamilton Pimento Dram and I find the Hamilton to have more punch and body but this one to be more refined and frankly I like them both equally much. I think they can be preferred in different drinks depending on how heavy the drink is. Sometimes a heavier or lighter pimento dram may be called for.

Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur

This one is so good I could lick the bottle, it´s just so incredibly TASTY! made from fresh peaches of italy.

Alamea Spiced

One of the best spiced I`ve had. I`m usually not a fan of spiced rums so very much but it depends, and this one I find to be good and not too sweet (super important when it comes to spiced rums) and with natural flavors.

You will see more of these products on this website in the future because I know I will use them a whole lot. So now…on to the drinks! these are fun to mix with and a great addition to the tiki and other exotic (and other) cocktails.

O`opa`s Trap

1 oz/30 ml Laphroaig 10 whisky

1.5 oz/45 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum

0.5 oz/15 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur

0.25 oz Alamea Pimento Liqueur

0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Spice

0.5 oz/15 ml banana cream mix*

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh lime juice

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh pineapple juice

Blend in blender with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice and pour into a zombie (chimney) glass and add more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with cocktail umbrella and speared Fabbri Amarena cherries.

Banana Cream Mix – 1 part butter + 1 part honey + 1 part banana syrup

Make a simple syrup with 2:1 ratio of demerara sugar and water (about 1 cup/2.5dl of sugar) and slice 1 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and bring to boil, then simmer on medium-low heat for a couple minutes. Take off heat and leave to cool and settle for about 1 hour, then strain and bottle in a clean bottle.

Make the Banana Cream Mix and keep it slightly above room temp for use. This is sumptuous and delicious….perfect for tiki drinks with pineapple, banana and coffee.

2 Ports Cup

1 oz/30 ml GunRoom 2 Ports rum

1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum

0,75 oz /22.5ml Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur

0.5 oz/15 ml Campari to float in a half passionfruit shell on top of the ice.

0,75 oz /22.5ml fresh lime juice

0.5 oz/15 ml fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz/15ml passionfruit juice

The passionfruit seeds from one passionfruit.

Add everything to shaker except the Campari and shake hard with ice, strain into a snifter. Add the passionfruit shell with the Campari float on top of the ice, to be floated before drinking. Garnish with pineapple leaf.

Punch Taiohaè

2 oz/60 ml fresh pineapple juice

0.75 oz/22.5 ml cream of coconut

0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Hawaiian

Coffee Liqueur

1 oz/ 40 ml fresh lime juice

0.5 oz/15 ml Alamea Spice rum

1 oz/30 ml aged rhum agricole

0.5 oz/15 ml Demerara rum

0.5 oz/15 ml Appleton Rare Blend (Appleton 12)

Blend with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice or shake very hard with ice cubes to get that cream of coconut to mix in perfectly and pour into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with grated nutmeg, flower, tropical leaf and 3 speared cocktail cherries, Fabbri Amarena or Luxardo.

Aloha Nui Loa!

 

GunRoom 2 Ports Rum

Here`s an interesting rum with great taste from the Swedish company, Renbjer and Magnusson. GunRoom 2 Ports Rum is a blend of aged and unaged rums from Jamaica and Trinidad. Just like the GunRoom Navy Rum, the 2 Ports Rum is also their own creation/brand with a very similar label although it´s a different type of bottle. This rum belongs to the GunRoom Pouring Range. The pouring range is high quality products at reasonable prices so that in the bar you can afford to pour good spirits into the usual drinks.

This room is a mixture of two different origins. It consists of a aged rum from Trinidad with an age between 2-5 years and a minor portion of unaged Jamaican pot still rum. It`s a bright rum with character where the taste comes through in drinks. Perfect in Daiquiris or other rum cocktails. And a daiquiri – which is the rum test cocktail – is one of the two drinks I made.

But before that, here´s my impressions from sipping it neat.

Nose: The nose is fruity with mashed ripe tropical fruits, I get to think about mango, pineapple, peaches, apricots and banana surrounded by sugarcane sweetness..

Mouth: I like flavorful rums and this rum has character, with flavors of tropical fruits same as in the nose with a hint of….arrack? could be because the first GunRoom rum has it. It`s fruity in a sort of light way but not so light it loses it´s character, it has a well defined flavor. It`s a good rum for cocktails, especially daiquiris and of course it`s a pleasant little sipper too.

Aftertaste: In the aftertaste the banana flavors says “hi” most likely hailing from the Jamaican pot still part of the duo. It`s a light aftertaste that does linger shortly but nicely.

The color is clear due to the active carbon filtering taking away the color derived from the barrel during ageing. The abv is 40%, 80 proof.

Conclusion: I can`t find anything negative about this rum, it´s a great overall rum for cocktails and sipping neat. I don`t think anything is added to it. The only thing maybe could be that I would love to try it at a higher abv with a bit more bite…

I decided to mix the GunRoom 2 Ports with another rum to see how it went, so I picked Plantation OFTD for that since a little kick of overproof always is to my liking. Then a little sweet, some sour, some weak and a little spice and bitter in the form of a float of Campari which I think turned out really well because the Campari played nicely around with the flavors in the drink.

2 Ports Cup

1 oz/30 ml GunRoom 2 Ports rum

1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum

0,75 oz /22.5ml Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur (soon to be available worlwide by Daniele Dalla Pola, review of his exotic infusions coming soon.)

0.5 oz/15 ml Campari to float in a half passionfruit shell on top of the ice.

0,75 oz /22.5ml fresh lime juice

0.5 oz/15 ml fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz/15ml passionfruit juice

The passionfruit seeds from one passionfruit.

Add everything to shaker except the Campari and shake hard with ice, strain into a snifter. Add the passionfruit shell with the Campari float on top of the ice, to be floated before drinking. Garnish with pineapple leaf.

And of course I wanted to test this rum in a classic daiquiri (Jeff BeachBum Berry formula) and it passed the test and did well.

GunRoom 2 Ports Daiquiri 

2 level teaspoons sugar blend –
(4 parts organic white cane sugar to 1 part turbinado or demerara sugar)
1 oz/30 ml fresh lime juice
2 oz/60 ml GunRoom 2 Ports rum
Garnish: lime wheel

Combine the sugar blend and lime juice in a mixing tin and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved into the lime juice.
Add the rum to the sugar and lime mixture, along with large cubes of ice, cracked with a bar spoon.
Quickly shake and strain the drink into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Garnish with a lime wheel.

FINE Drinking takes a peek at TIKI!

The 5th issue of the FINE Drinking Magazine is out for the summer! and it has a Tiki section! yep! and a very fine one too….in which also yours truly got a chance to talk a little about the upcoming book “Best of a Mountain of Crushed Ice” – Favorite Tropical and Tiki Cocktails. But there is more…of course and apart from the tiki section there`s a whole lot of interesting articles, among them one on Plantation rum. The magazine contains 129 pages!

The first thing I get in my mind when holding a new issue of Fine Drinking is it´s amazing quality and how thick it is, there´s something for everyone in each single issue with articles spanning from such diverse topics as sparkling wine to cigars and coffee flavor to fine drinking in Beirut…and to exotic tiki. The FINE Drinking Magazine started last year and published four different issues, one for every three months and with the fifth coming up just now.

I did the only thing that felt just right to me when I received it, I poured a glass of  the amazing Foursquare Triptych rum and sat back and immersed myself in some real fine drinking and reading…. You will read here about Triptych too, soon. A pure single rum too good to not write about.

I have written about Thanos Prunarus before, in my first post about the FINE Drinking magazine and also when I wrote about my visit to his rum bar, Baba au Rum in Athens, a trip I will never forget because the good folks over at Baba they go out of their way with their hospitality to make you feel right at home…and that I think is the secret about Baba, you feel like you are part of a family drinking cocktails in their living room. But it`s not just any “cocktails”…these are world-class craftmanship! And they also have a not -to-be-ashamed-of rum selection, it`s a rum bar after all. But if you want something else, they got that too. They make sure you as their guest leaves fully happy whatever your drinking preferences are, and of course you will return, Baba is a very happy place!. When you enter you will get much more than fine drinks.

In june, Baba au Rum and Linje Tio (part of Tjoget. and operated by bar manager Ludde Grenmo) in Stockholm had a guest bartending exchange and when Thanos came here with his lovely wife Katerina I did meet up with them for a sunny day in the city, followed by some chatting over a couple of tiki drinks at Sweden`s only tiki bar the Tiki Room and then the next day off to Linje Tio (which is a really great bar!) to try out the drinks Thanos so swiftly and expertly made. It was a joy to see him work, fast, elegant and the drinks were as beautifully presented as they tasted.

And one of the drinks I fell in love with…the drink was called Les Fleurs du Mal and was a mix of matching herbal, mango and pine spirits, a twist of celery, lemon and tonic and it was nothing but amazing! now don`t get me wrong, they were all amazing but this one stood out from the rest and since “the rest” were already amazing – that says something about how this drink tasted.

Fleur du Mal

But also very memorable was a drink called “Supremus no 56” – includes rhum agricole from Martinique and white tea….summer fruits and scent of lime – the recipe will be in my book.

The “Conceptual Form” was a concoction using lemons, elderflower, Campari and Baba au Rum`s own house-made Fassionola created by Elias Stergiopolous – which is a VERY tasty version of Fassionola. I have based my own recipe on that one, will also be in my book! The Conceptual Form was dedicated to pioneer of International bartending, Ben Reed. And the last drink was called “Lost Lovers” a very tasty drink with full bodied aged rum, Pedro Ximenez sherry giving it a flavor of cocoa, vanilla and smoke, followed by mature fruits, orange notes and spring blossom.

Both Baba au Rum and Linje Tio was awarded “World`s 50 Best Bars” 2017, Linje Tio is Sweden’s first bar to make The World’s 50 Best Bars and Baba au Rum also was awarded in 2013 and 2016. So combine the two and let Linje Tio go to Baba in Athens and then Baba go to Linje Tio in Stockholm = success! It was a very memorable evening 🙂 and I`m sure the Athens experience with Linje Tio cocktails was just as memorable.

I think the name of this magazine, Fine Drinking, says a whole lot, it embodies a concept of highest quality and attention to detail in everything from drinking to travelling and reading, there´s a lot of thought behind it and it definitely works! the bar Baba au Rum is run by the same concept and it´s all the brainchild of Thanos and the work of his team of amazing and talented people.

This fall, less than 2 months away it´s time for the 2nd Athens Rum & Whiskey Festival! September 30 and October 1st at Zappeion Megaron, downtown Athens! Festival includes participation, seminars and master-classes from highly distinguished international guests, specializing in rum and whiskey. The festival in Athens aims to shine light on influential personalities that relate to rum and whiskey within Greece as well as around the world.

Fine Drinking can be ordered from www.finedrinkingmagazine.com

 

FINE Drinking and fine rum…

Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice is coming…

Aloha! some of you dear readers might have noticed how slow this blog has become since many months…it moves at the speed of a drunken snail or turtle…but there´s a reason for that – there´s a book in the Works! “Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice” is a book about tiki drinks with the best from this website in updated versions along with new recipes and some “mixed potions” by friendly tiki bartenders and enthusiasts from around the world.

The book is for everyone who loves tropical exotic tiki drinks and the little “tutorials” aims at those who are new to tiki drinks, both consumers and bartenders but the book as a whole is for all tiki drink lovers . So that`s what`s up…and when will the book be ready? I`m not sure of an exact date…but the plan is for this summer.

Trying to write posts for this website at the same time as writing the book plus also working with other things plus taking care of my domestic life turns out a little bit too much for this laid back flip-flop kind of lady so please bear with me when this website is taking a little temporary “half”-break. That said, I might pop in a blog post every now and then…and when the book is ready it will be announced right here.

So why writing a book? well, the blog is celebrating it`s 10th Anniversary this year! that`s ten years of collected recipes, rambles, experiments and knowledge, some better, some worse, some outright crazy…as is the nature of many cocktail blogs. But over time it can be difficult to find some of the best posts even though there`s an archive, but how often do people really bother digging in the yearly archives? blog posts and the drinks in them have a tendency to over time become forgotten. So I think putting the best from it in a book is not a bad idea, plus when I no longer is here this blog will not be either but then the book will be! So now you know why it`s moving so slow here for the moment.

In the meantime, here´s a little teaser picture collage…

Lost Spirits is Back!

After a time of quietness…the Lost Spirits is back with a new expression of their Navy style rum, this time with a changed formula. It`s a refined version of the old one with the smoky notes turned down a bit in favor of more fruitiness and a great deal of wood notes. It`s also drier and more balanced with an abv of 122 proof or 61% instead of the old 68%.

But they are not only back with a new rum expression, there is more….back in California from Charleston they are now in the process of building a new distillery in LA. The new distillery being built is going to be much bigger and also fully automated. For those who haven`t read the story about the Lost Spirits and how they use the Thea One reactor to speed up the ageing process I recommend reading more about the tech details over at Cocktailwonk.

This is the mad scientist Willy Wonka booze factory…it´s also most likely the only distillery using antique furniture made from American chestnut. In the 1860`s chestnut was commonly used for barrels but it`s hard to find today and so they are stripping the varnish off with a saw and using the wood in the reactor.

So there`s a lot of work going on there now setting up the new distillery, I have added some pics at the bottom of this post. I asked if the old smoke spewing dragon pot still gonna be there and from what I understand it will but also new ones, with the same theme of course…

You can see the old dragon still in this video here by Bryan Davis who also built the still himself.

Lost Spirits also added new team partners to the team including military scientist Wynn Sanders and Theron Reiner from Rattleback. Because it´s not only rum that`s going to come out of the Thea One…but also peaty scotch whisky originating from Islay.

Small batches of whisky will be Thea aged using a variety of different woods and the outcome will be the new “Abomination” line, with each expression named after different chapters in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau…

I have yet to taste their whiskies and I`m looking forward to try out their Abomination line, I wonder what it can do in cocktails? maybe there´s a secret weapon…

This picture gives me a bit of “Vampire Lestat feeling” …..

This is not your usual stuff!

The names of the first labels are as follows –

  • Concerning the Beast Folk
  • The Sayers of the Law
  • The Crying of the Puma

So that`s what´s happening in short…not a dull moment there, more will come.

But let´s move on to the rum and the drinks!

I wish I still had some of the old navy style rum left to compare with but from what I remember, it did mix fine but was a bit too strong for me to sip neat and so I welcome the fine tuning and lower proof of this new version of the navy style rum.

In the nose I pick up sherry and prunes, wood, molasses and spices and then something “rooty”. The nose is quite heavy on the sherry I think.

In the mouth there´s a woody explosion at first, then comes the prunes and sherry again, with warm sharpness followed by a distinctive dryness. There´s lots of dark fruits and some spice and maybe a hint of banana.The finish is long with strong and a bit aggressive sherry wood notes.

My conclusion is that this version of their navy style rum is in better balance and cleaner in taste than the first one and it shines in cocktails. A strong rum that asks to be part of drinks that can tame it a little bit…so I threw together my Banana Boo Loo and then a version of a classic tiki drink, the Pearl Diver`s Punch, just making it a bit more lush – the secret with that drink is in the Pearl Diver´s Mix…and because I happened to have a bunch of blood oranges at home I decided to try it with some of my favorite mezcal just to see how it would do.

All the drinks turned out very tasty, especially the Banana Boo Loo which secret is fresh banana and fresh pineapple juice. There´s something about Lost Spirits rums and banana…

Banana Boo Loo

This recipe is for a 75 cl/25 oz goblet (IKEA) and so it´s a double drink!

4 oz fresh pineapple juice (or equal parts fresh pineapple chunks and bottled pineapple juice pre-blended and strained)
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz banana-demerara syrup* (or you can mix in Giffard Banane du Brésil into demerara syrup)
4 oz Lost Spirits 61 % Navy Style Rum

Put everything in the blender and blend with 1 cup of crushed ice at high speed for 5 sec. Pour unstrained into a hollowed out pineapple (or goblet) fill up with more crushed ice if needed.

As for the syrup – make a rich simple syrup (it takes 5-10 minutes) with 2:1 (or make a 1;1 syrup if you prefer a lighter one, but personally I prefer a more rich viscous syrupy syrup, it just add that mouth feel to the cocktail and richness) with dark demerara sugar and water and when the sugar is dissolved by heating it up, add banana chunks to it from one half fresh banana and mash it with a fork then take off from heat and leave to cool and set for a couple hours or overnight ( I did overnight, it deepens the flavor)

Blood of the She Creature

1 oz Lost Spirits 61% Navy Style Rum
1 oz Appleton Signature Blend (former VX)
1.5 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.25 oz Macadamia nut syrup (Giffard)
0.5 oz orgeat
Float Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal

Shake with ice, strain and serve in a chilled cocktail coupe with a large piece of cracked ice chunk. Garnish with 2 pineapple leaves and a dehydrated blood orange slice.

Royal Pearl Diver

0.75 oz Royal Pearl Diver’s Mix
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz passionfruit juice
1 oz Lost Spirits 61% Navy Style Rum
1 oz Demerara rum
1 cup crushed ice

Add everything to a blender and blend at high speed 5 sec. Pour unstrained into a goblet or tiki mug and garnish with speared lime peel and cherry, a tropical orchid and a paper umbrella.

Serve immediately.

Sweet and sour, spicy and strong, complex and velvety smooth…

Royal Pearl Diver’s Mix (enough for 4 drinks):

1 oz unsalted butter (or ghee, clarified)
1 oz honey (use liquid)
1 oz orgeat
1/2 tsp pimento dram
pinch cinnamon spice

Heat butter and honey to melt, mix in the orgeat, pimento dram and cinnamon, then set aside to cool to room temp.

The building of the distillery in pictures:

Here`s a few pictures of the new distillery to be, courtesy of Lost Spirits and Doc Fried:

The 61% Navy Style rum is available through KL Wines.

Add a Little Funk to Your Cocktails – By the Dutch Batava Arrack

batavia-arrack-bottle-shot

Here is something of interest….it was quite a while ago since I wrote about arrack spirits. I have always liked it as a cocktail ingredient since it adds a certain funk adding a specific edge to the drinks…and needless to say it suits tiki drinks very well.

Arrack

The original word “araq” is Arabian and was associated with the distillation process when the knowledge of how to distill spirits spread in the Middle East and Asia during the 14th century and the term arrack was used for distilled spirits in general but “Batavia Arrack” is a term specifically for molasses based arrack distillate.

There are three completely different categories of Arrak:

Arak – from the Middle East, distilled from fermented grapes, licorice-flavored with anise seed.

Batavia Arrak – from Indonesia, distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice.

Coconut Arrak – from Sri Lanka, distilled from naturally fermented nectar of coconut flowers.

During the 18th century Arrak was used as a substitute for rum ratios for sailers in South East Asia by the British Royal Navy and Marco Polo mentioned Arrak in his 13th century diary Il Milione. Also Arrak was an ingredient in several recipes in Jerry Thomas original 1882 book The Bartender´s Guide. So it´s a very old spirit…

“By the Dutch” Batavia Arrack is a 48% abv distillate based on sugar-cane molasses produced on the island of Java, Indonesia with methods dating back to the 17th century. It’s comprised of a specific range of pot still distillates originating from the East Indies.

Local red rice is used in the fermentation process being added and mixed to the yeast before adding to the water and molasses and it`s this, which sets it apart from rum, although the base material is still molasses from sugar-cane. Distillation of Batavia Arrack is done with traditional old Chinese ancient copper pot stills and ageing is done in oak barrels up to 8 years and the result is rich and deep. The ageing and blending takes place in the Netherlands.

Some call it “Indonesian rum” due to the very similar process in the making and inclusion of molasses but personally i`d rather classify it as simply “Batavia Arrack” since the red rice is not part of rum making plus it adds a distinctive flavor to the product which also sets it apart.

As somebody living in Sweden I learnt early what Batavia Arrack was since it´s part of the Swedish Punsch which I use very occasionally as a cocktail ingredient. It`s also part of a type of punch-rolls and other chocolate candies that are very tasty. And also and this is very interesting, it´s also a part of the ingredients in the GunRoom Navy Rum made by Renbjer & Magnusson which I have reviewed earlier.

Some technical aspects:

Distilling process: 1. Fermentation of the wash from molasses (sugarcane by-product), water and added local red rice, in wooden vats up to ± 8% abv. 2. The ready wash is distilled in vintage Pot-stills up to ± 30% abv. 3. Second distillation in other pot-stills up to 60-65% abv. 4. Batavia Arrack has been stored and shipped to Amsterdam. 5. Batavia Arrack is matured in large oak casks in Amsterdam. 6. Batavia Arrack is blended according to an unique and secret recipe by the master blender and brought back to 48% abv.

Batavia was the name of the capital city of the Dutch East Indies, and corresponds to the present day city of Jakarta. The establishment of Batavia (Java Island) at the site of the razed city of Jayakarta by the Dutch in 1619 led to the Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. Batavia became the center of the Dutch East India Company’s trading network in Asia.

Virtually all arrack exported to Europe arrived in Amsterdam or Rotterdam in wooden barrels or buts (563 liters). This would than be matured and blended to create an end product of consistent quality and flavor.

I find the taste of this Batavia Arrack to be very much like a shortly aged rum and it´s not harsh at all even though it got some fire and it also got quite a bit of “herbal” funk a la Smith & Cross style actually but it´s still has it´s own distinctive taste. It´s an interesting flavor that can be had on the rocks or in mixed drinks.

So with that it´s time to drink!

Witch Doctor (recipe by Geoffrey Wilson)

1 oz By the Dutch Batavia Arrak
1 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
0.5 oz basil syrup
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Top with soda
Basil for garnish cut in stripes (chiffonade)

Shake the ingredients together except the soda. Pour into a tall glass and top with soda, then add chiffonade basil for garnish and if you wish, a tropical orchid.

One thing this drink has is pronounced  arrack and rum flavors and at the same time it´s refreshing due to the fresh lime, basil and soda. The drink is slightly earthy and herbal and it´s delicious.

And here´s a take on the Painkiller:

Batavia Pain Killer

4 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco Real or Lopez cream of coconut
1 oz By the Dutch Batavia Arrak
1 oz Pusser`s Rum

Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour unstrained into a tall glass or tiki mug. Dust with nutmeg and garnish with pineapple leaves. And a  float of Cruzan Blackstrap can only do good…..

Since there´s quite a bit of juice in this the arrack flavor is less pronounced but it´s there, mingling in the middle and the drink is quietly doing it`s job!

Final thoughts – I find this product to be as nice as I thought it would be, I love the funkiness it adds to cocktails and even though I haven`t made it on the rocks here i`m sure that tastes good too. I can recommend trying this out!