Glassology by Libbey Mahaloween Tiki Cocktail Challenge 2018

Every year the Libbey of Europe team with  Kevin Vollebregt and Sofia Pereira launches a Tiki cocktail challenge on their Facebook group page, This is just one challenge among many others with other styles of cocktails. This year`s tiki theme was Halloween, or Mahaloween as it´s usually called in the tiki world (together with Alohaween and Tikiween) Last year`s challenge was to make a tiki drink in their new beautiful pineapple glass, and it was won by Oriol Elias. The challenge this year was to create a tiki cocktail (or tiki inspired cocktail) that had fall and winter flavors, and that could scare or awe the jury. Just like last year Daniele Dalla Pola was judging all cocktails together with the help of Elis Carriero from the Nu Lounge bar in Bologna.

The 50 participants were able to choose one glass each out of 3 new tiki glasses that was launched by Libbey this year. Two beautiful stemware glasses and a Tiki split glass with two personalities. I`m gonna present the five winning cocktails here on the blog starting with my own which I present here below.

I really like all the Libbey tiki glasses so it was a bit difficult to choose, but I picked one of the stem glasses (the Tiki Mai Tai) for my drink,  because I got the idea of using McGrider`s new mini tiki torches…  which actually was the inspiration for my drink, but unf and not surprisingly they were sold out. So instead I made two flaming sticks from bamboo and croutons. I wanted the scene for my drink to be omnious, dark and foreboding… and some kind of “ancient” and dusty with a slightly creepy drink. Then I happened to pass by our grocery store and in it were those little skulls… and that was it, now I had my cocktail idea clear!

Inspiration story: In the dark night of Mahaloween… the tiki skull needs a sacrifice – a sacrifice of blood… to appease the bad forces because they are angry. Flaming torches and blood in a glass… let the skull enter and drink himself content. The peace will remain, maybe, for another year.

Blood Sacrifice

15 ml Fresh Red Beet Juice
7.5 ml Apple Juice
7.5 ml Passionfruit Juice
6-10 Fresh Ginger Slices (to muddle)
15 ml Re`al Ginger Syrup
30 ml Fresh Lime Juice
7.5 ml Alamea Spiced Rum
7.5 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
15 ml Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
30 ml Plantation OFTD

Muddle ginger slices in shaker with some of the lime juice. The ginger should be as fresh as possible so it’s juicy. Add enough to add a clear bite but not to overpower in flavor, but the drink should be sharp. Add the rest of ingredients and shake, strain into a chilled Libbey tiki glass, lined with a tropical leaf inside.
Add one large square shaped ice cube. Garnish with a skull and 2 flaming mini tiki torches.

*Flaming mini torches – secure 2 croutons on top of thin, short, bamboo sticks. Soak the croutons in lemon extract or overproof rum and set alight.

Or you buy the best mini torches from McGrider! but you need to be really really quick….because they are so popular they sell out as soon as he put them up on his Etsy page! NOW after the contest is done…I have finally been able to snag a few of his torches! so expect to see them later on this blog and also in upcoming books!

That was my entry and I had a lot of fun with it! but there were some really amazing cocktails in this challenge and I feel honored to have my drink among the winners with these beautiful cocktails! but there were many more…. and you can see them all and get the recipes and also see the videos on the Libbey Glassology page.

Behold in awe… here are the other four winners:

Kahe`ikeanu (cocktail and photo Oriol Elias)

Ingredients (for about 500ml of cocktail):
4.5oz Plantation 3 Stars
4.5oz Trois Rivières Cuvée de l’Ocèan
3oz Rum-Bar White Overproof
3oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Grapefruit Juice
1.5oz Banana Real
1.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
9 dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
2oz Milk
18 Coffee Beans

Method:
1- Stir all the ingredients in a cup and let sit for 4 hours.
2- Strain with a cheesecloth to discard the curdle.
3- Strain another time with the cheesecloth in order to have a clear cocktail.
4- Bottle and keep in the fridge.

Service:
Serve chilled in the Libbey Tiki Coupe with an ice Shell.
Add some drops of grenadine to the ice Shell for a bloody effect.

Inspiration story: The ancient Hawaiians explains a legend about the winter. Each 300 years a never seen cold covers all the island of Moloka’i… an unsuspected sudden winter appears with snow and ice, on their tale the old men also explain that the winter brings the Kahe’ikeanu, a damned spirit who can take the shape of a human, he can acquire any face, and nobody can assure to have ever seen him…only blood stains remain in his path…he is considered invisible killer…nobody can survive him…mmm…you feel it? It’s cold outside…It seems that the Winter is coming…

Rusty Jungle (Cocktail by Davide David Mitacchione,  photo Anna Ciupryk Photography )

– 30ml Bacardí anejo 4
– 20ml mezcal joven 100% agave espadin
– 10ml Alamea pimento rum liqueur
– 30ml fresh lime juice
– 10ml fresh yellow grapefruit
– 30ml tiki jungle mix*

*tiki jungle mix: 2 part of carob orgeat + 1 part of Re’al ginger syrup

Tecnique: shake all ingredients and strain into couple glass.

Inspiration story: We are in unknown jungle on an island, where we find only strange and unexpected roots and fruits. We create a magic potion, we don’t know if we will survive: just let’s try that!

White Walker ( Cocktail by Ásgeir Bergmann Pétursson, Photo credit Maja Jantar)

3cl J.Walker Red label
2cl Monkey Shoulders
2cl Port Charlotte,
3cl Falerum syrup*
1cl Pumpkin Spice*
3cl Lime Juice,
1 drop Rosewater

*Syrups are from commercially available company that rhymes with Samurai with out a master.

Shake vigorously and serve with the shaking ice

Inspiration story: As the wind howls, the cold and darkness set in. Further into the woods yet you wander, cursing your vow in every step. “My shift begins now bullshit” you think, knowing that you are deep behind the wall and there shall be no salvation for you. Yet, as both frost and terror freeze you in your steps, you are filled with amazement and wonder as your eyes feast up on magical sight before you. “This, this is how it happens?”. Before you the earth opens up and slowly but surely a new one emerges. It will be the death of you but neither your lips or feet are willing to leave it. From the earth a new “White Walker” has been born.

Jack’s Tipple (cocktail and photo by Timos Spanos)

60ml Shortbread Butter Gold Rum 
35ml Sweet Vermouth
25ml Cinnamon & Raisin Triple Sec
2 dashes Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Rinse the glass with Fernet Branca

Method: Shaken

Garnish: Bone (doesn’t need to be from an actual human being)

Inspiration story: Jack’s Tipple is inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, a film which takes place in Halloween Town. This creepy concoction combines Tiki features with a hint of Christmas, much like the film, and is made with Shortbread Butter Rum, Cinnamon and Raisin infused Triple Sec, Sweet Vermouth, Fernet Branca and Elemakule Tiki Bitters, served in a Libbey Tiki Mai Tai glass and garnished with a bone.

Much Aloha and big mahalo to the Libbey team and to Daniele Dalla Pola and Elis Carriero for creating this great opportunity for us to get creative and have fun! same time the next year I hope!

Exotic Cocktails with World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum

They are already launching new rums and I`m a bit behind, but the World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is an interesting addition to the tiki and craft cocktail scene. World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is the creation of Lester Schutters and Tom Neijens. ( the Drifter Bar, Belgium) I have tried the dark also and tried them both paired with some really exquisite chocolate, a very pleasant experience. and of course, in a couple of refreshing drinks too. In this post i`m making my own drinks, but before I do that, a little about the World`s End Rum:

The first World’s End Rum was created 3 years ago by Lester Schutters and is a spin off of his liqueur company 2240 Social Club . Out of a lifetime interest in rum, the next step was to create something that he was looking for but could not find on the rum market . And so the dark spiced rum was born, a combination of pot and column still rums.

After being on the road a lot,  getting the chance to meet some great people in the business, Lester met Tom Neijens. Tom liked what he did with the dark spiced rum, and with the opportunity to talk about a mutual interest “rum “, they finally, after several rum-talks, came to the point that Tom was looking for – a way to commercialize what he had created . He already used a raw version in his cocktails . And as Lester was looking to expand his range of spiced rum, they decided to get together to create what would become World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced .

Lester created a tailored blend for this project, which was a blend of Trinidad, Tobago and Jamaican rums . Pure focused on taste, he started to look for the character that this blend would become and finally, after adding the right spices, he released the World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced . Main spices in this rum are allspice and cinnamon . That`s the story in short. It`s difficult to make a good spiced rum because to get balance of flavors when spices are added, paired with not getting it too sweet, is a not-too-easy task. And generally, many spiced rums i think, falls into the category of “too sweet” or “unbalanced”, but there`s some that are balanced and good too.

Personally I usually tend to prefer to use spiced rums as cocktail ingredients, and that`s because to my palate, a little goes a long way here and they are usually sweet, with anything from balanced, to quite sweet, to so sweet that your teeths cringe. But this rum I think, is on the balanced side on the scale.

It`s also a quite perfect match for a good Coke. And a good Coke, (a MUST for a Rum & Coke) is not the usual thing in the supermarket, sweetened with the horrible and unhealthy high fructose corn syrup, it`s the Mexican Coke which is sweetened with natural sugarcane. There`s also “old-fashioned” craft cokes you can try. One (local brand) in my country that I like is “Kitty Kola” which uses organic apple juice as sweetener and ecological ginger juice, lemon and kola nut. It has a really old-fashioned cola-like flavor, the way I imagine coke used to taste in the 40s-50s and I find it delicious. It does not taste like just a coke though, it has a flavor of it`s own.

And actually, when researching, I found out that this cola was launched in Sweden in the 1953, (originally from England) It disappeared because Coca Cola out-competed it but it`s now back again on the market (with a re-developed improved recipe with only organic all-natural ingredients).

The for this year unusually hot summer is now gone away, but a well-made Rum & Coke is really refreshing on any given day, so gonna present that here together with a few other drinks. Apart from going well with coke, I feel that the tiki spiced rum would go very well with a good Root-beer too, in for example the Caribbean Punch.  I made a take on the “Don`s  Caribbean Punch” (Don the Beachcomber, cirka 1957, from Sippin`Safari by Jeff Berry) on this blog many years ago. But of course, the tiki spiced rum as you can imagine, goes in all kind of cocktails. I decided to make a new take on the Caribbean Punch though, and making it on the slightly bitter side switching out Root-beer for Chinotto. Likewise I mixed equal parts of Kitty Kola and Chinotto in the rum and coke-type of drink to add a bit of a bitter edge to it.

But before I post the recipes, here`s just a little short note on how I find the World`s End Tiki Spiced rum neat:

The first thing that hits my nose is allspice and cinnamon with hints of citrus and sugarcane. The citrus is lingering around, lightly caressed by the sweetness of sugarcane. it´s backed up by the spicy notes of the allspice and cinnamon.Then at first sip I feel a warm cinnamon flavor with orange peel and hints of allspice followed by sugarcane notes. It´s quite balanced even though cinnamon dominates a little. it`s sweet and in my opinion does best in mixing where you can balance the sweetness with lemon or lime. It mixes very well in tiki drinks (and other cocktails) No burn either, it´s not harsh at all.

At the German rumfest last year I tried it with chocolate, but a chocolate pairing is another thing, and with the dark quality chocolate we had it became a different and elevated drinking experience.

The aftertaste is semi long with lingering orange and cinnamon notes.

Bitter Caribbean Punch

0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
1.5 oz Chinotto* (to top)
1 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
0.5 oz Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz Foursquare Triptych Barbados rum (or similar)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/4 tsp fassionola (or hibiscus grenadine)
4 drops La Maison Fontaine Absinthe Chocolat Liqueur
1 cup crushed ice

Blend at high speed for 5 seconds, (or shake it) pour unstrained into a suitable glass or tiki mug, and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with something tropical. It turned out to be very refreshing, with a pleasant bitter backbone from the Chinotto that just blended so well with the spicy notes of the rum.

Chinotto is an italian carbonated soft drink made from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. It looks like coca cola but have a taste of it`s own, a bit cola-like, a bit orange-flowery, less sweet and with a slight bitterness, it`s truly delicious.

Marama Kula

1 oz /30 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz /30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz /15 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffee liqueur
1 oz/30 ml fresh lime juice
0.5 oz /15 ml Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz /15 ml Guava nectar
0.5 oz /15 ml fresh pineapple juice
1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice

Blend at high speed for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled snifter, add more crushed ice to fill, dust a little cinnamon powder on top. Garnish with paper parasol lantern.

There´s 2 oz of sweet/semi-sweet ingredients here and I found 1 oz of fresh lime still made a nice drink but if you prefer it more on the sour side just add up the lime a bit.

World`s End Rum &  Bitter Cola

2 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
Top with equal parts Chinotto and Mexican Coke (or other craft coke not containing HCFS syrup, I used the old fashioned organic Kitty Kola)
Squeeze of 1 lime (or more to adjust the sweetness)
Cracked or crushed ice
Garnish large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.

Shake rum and lime with cracked or crushed ice, pour into a fancy tall glass and top up with more ice if needed. Garnish with a large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.

The combo of organic cola and chinotto makes a bitter-sweet combination.

Hidden Secret

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh lime juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml ginger syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5 ml strong cold brewed coffee
0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffe Liqueur
0.5oz/15 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation Stiggin`s Pineapple rum
1 oz/30 ml fresh pineapple juice
Garnish – 3 speared Fabbri Amarena cherries, orchid and pineapple leaf.

Add ingredients to a blender. Blend with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice at high speed for 5 seconds, pour unstrained into a suitable tiki mug, or glass.

In the picture I used 2 mugs that belongs together and are called “Lieutenants Marqative and Posquesan”, made by Robbie Toth and you can view his artwork on Instagram here. Swizzle stick by MkGrider.

And like i said in the beginning of this post, the World`s End are launching two more rums! the Dry Spice and the 57 Navy Rum. You can find World`s End Rum on instagram here. They just won bronze medal for their new Navy Rum at the German Rum Festival,

They now have four rums in their range of rums, and a Falernum. They are so worth checking out!

Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party & a Tasty Dessert with Alamea Spiced Rum!

Two posts in one … the Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai party and a sumptuous tasty tropical rum dessert recipe.

I think it doesn`t matter when or where… we always need a decadent dessert every now and then to add some sweetness and spice to life … and when they are spiked with rum it´s even better!

Here`s a tropical tiki style dessert, using the amazing Alamea Spiced Rum and Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur created by Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, which btw on december 18th threw THE party of the year, the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai at the bar with guest bartenders, seminars, tiki market, live tiki carving, Polynesian buffet, tiki drinks and show at the bar, plus a live rockabilly band, the Lucky Strike, playing all night, and a tattoo artist doing alamea tattoos and a very lovely aloha vibe all around the place for almost 12 hours straight! I have added a few pics and videos after the dessert.

I was actually supposed to make this dessert for the Polynesian buffet but then it turned out not practically possible so instead I present it here so you can make it at home and you should because it´s that good…

Aloha Coconut Ice Cream with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee & Spiced Rum Pineapple!

For 3 servings, you need:

1/2 pineapple cut in 2 quarters, one with leaves still attached.
1L coconut ice cream
¼ cup (1,25 dl) demerara sugar
2 oz (60ml) Alamea spiced rum
0.5 oz (15 ml) Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur
Tropical orchids for garnish.

Cut up the pineapple in 2 pieces and save one for garnish with the leaves still attached. Peel the other pieces and slice them in ½ inch slices (1.2 cm) and set aside.

Pour demerara sugar in a nonstick pan on high heat and make sure to coat the entire base with sugar and place the pineapple slices on top of the sugar in one layer filling the pan. Cook and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes or until caramelized.

Add Alamea spiced rum and Hawaiian coffee liqueur and cook for another 2 minutes or until it`s brownish and syrupy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Place coconut ice cream on a serving plate, just a little bit ahead of time so it becomes a little bit soft. Garnish with the quartered pineapple and tropical orchids at the base of the ice cream. Pour the rum sauce on top.

Ideas for garnish: Crushed walnuts, macadamia nuts, mango slices, passionfruit pieces.

This is a variation of a dessert I saw somewhere and turning it tiki style! it fits any tiki or tropical party or any other occasion or just no occasion at all, it`s simply delicious! and ridiculously easy to make. The only thing to pay attention to really, is to let the sauce cool down to room temp before pouring and to not take out the ice cream too early, but at the same time allow it to become just a little bit softened.

The Alamea exotic infusions are available at various places in Europe, and soon in the US and an online source is in the works. I will post more info when I know.

Nu Lounge Bar and the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party

Nu Lounge Bar is amazing,  ecclectic and one of those tiki bars so full of things everywhere that you never get tired of looking. And the drinks … they are great, the menu fun and variable (and beautiful) the bartenders excellent and the aloha vibe is embracing you like a soft Hawaiian breeze…

There`s a restaurant there too and you can eat both outside and in the bar and Italian food does not suck … personally I`m a huge pasta lover but there`s so much more. But the last thing I had there the day after the party was an amazing lasagna al forno with a Nu Painkiller! not a bad combo.

Before the party we had a tasty fusilli pasta dish for lunch with a lovely tomato sauce served in a huge pot, very typically italian and with tiki drinks to wash it down of course … or was it rums shots? and during the party there was a Polynesian luau style buffet with all kind of tasty things. You can say that both the”food-me” and “drink-me” was very happy! but it was so much more than just food and drink, the ambiance was fantastic, the seminars interesting, the Lucky Strike band great, the tiki market beautiful with plenty of mugs from Maka Tiki (mostly)and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.

Here`s a few photos and videos of the fun, not the best of quality but hey I wasn`t there as a professional photographer … I was there to meet friends, party and visit the Nu Lounge Bar!

It´s a Zombie…

The topic of this party, Tribute to the Mai Kai.

Tiki Diablo Mai Kai Mug 2017. This mug is based on the Barney West tiki, one of the tikis in the Mai Kai garden. Amazing mug!

The tribute drinks.

The man behind the party … Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar and Tiki King is on his throne, so the party can start!

But before that, our lunch…

And of course, espresso!

Then tiki drinks… this is Kama` Aina`, a mix of Plantation OFTD, tropical juices and spices.

Don the Beachcomber is watching over us.

And the rums…

Cool tiki mugs on the shelves in the bar.

From another era…

The King of fruits!

Seminars, here with Oriol Elias talking about tiki in his “Expanding the tiki flavors palette” and Clementine Guillot presenting Rhum Damoiseau. There was also a Masterclass called “Banks: il Rum di nuova generazione” by Daniele “James” Pons, sponsored by Bacardi, but I didn`t see it because it was in italian and I wouldn`t have understood much 🙂

After the seminars, the tiki market started. Mugs from Maka Tiki and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.

Mugs and decanters from Maka Tiki. http://makaproject.altervista.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/MakaTikiProject/ and  http://www.makatiki.it/

Carvings by Matteo Cappellozza aka Tiki Matt,  https://www.facebook.com/Tiki-Matt-1198157160275432/ and Instagram – @tiki_matt_

Moai by Tiki Matt and it`s mine…  🙂 (happy happy)

And tiki carving by Samuele de Vietro aka Tiki Sam,  https://www.instagram.com/the_tiki_sam/?hl=en

I bought this cool little tiki while Oriol scored the one and only pineapple jigger…

Bad mobile pic… the pineapple jigger on the left side, how cool is that!?

More drinks! this one in a Re`al mug designed for Daniele Dalla Pola by Baï Tiki ( http://bybai1.wixsite.com/artbybai )

The Last Fang with edible cinnamon straw… I get really happy when I get these kinda drinks in my hand!  rummy, fruity, spicy, rich and big! (by Oriol Elias)

And here´s the recipe.

And the man behind it, Oriol Elias, www.threeofstrong.com

And the oh so tasty Elixir Tropical…

Created by Maurizio la Spina. It was so tasty I ordered more than one… This amazing cocktail was in the Bacardi Legacy Competition.

The Nu Mai Tai with passion fruit…

Happy bartenders 🙂

And the rockabilly band Lucky Strike kept playing all night…

Me getting the alamea tattoo, both a memory and a hommage.

One of the things I like about this place… among all the tiki stuff you see a deer horn?  🙂

And some videos…

What a party! they say this was the party of the year and I agree on that, it was amazing.

Mahalo and Aloha!

Three Dots and a Dash.

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…