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…
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
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.
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!
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.
If you`re on Facebook in the Rum and Tiki crowd or if you are in Tacoma up in Seattle you might not been able to miss that there´s a real tiki drink, rum afficionado and fire wizard residing at the Tacoma Cabana inventing the most amazing flaming tiki drinks with a great rum selection on hand – his name is Jason Alexander.
I count myself lucky to be one of his friends because not only is he a great guy but the inspiration he throws around is affectuos and his drinks and especially the flaming ones are a feast for the eye and mouth (but i have yet to go all the way to Seattle and try them in person) we been talking drink recipes for quite a while and he really have developed a style of his own.
When i saw all his amazing concoctions with mouth watering descriptions and fantastic photographs both on instagram and facebook i got curious, what is his story? how did he start with all of this ending up owning his own tiki bar? How about this obsession with strong rums and fire?
So i went and asked him a couple questions:
Tell me, how did you get into tiki and tiki drinks, how did it all start?
I got into tiki and the drinks when I first went to the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Kona, Hawaii. After having artificially flavored sugar sludge Mai Tai’s and not knowing the history of the drink, my life was transformed that day that I stepped inside that little tiki heaven. I’ll never forget that first Mai Tai and Zombie. These were legit drinks and I had to know the story.
What are the greatest influences in tiki that have affected you the most?
My influences for tiki is pretty dynamic. I can find inspiration almost anywhere. That being said, I enjoy Donn the Beachcombers drinks the best. I like his style and the way he went about creating a drink. He always tinkered with his recipes and I’ve developed that habit too.
I’m almost always never satisfied with some of my recipes.They can always be better or built in a different manner. I admire the way Donn blended various styles of rum together to create a unique drink. I honestly never knew about these other guys doing tiki bars. I had never heard of any of them before this. It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber. That’s how it started.
You are obviously obsessed with fire….and are quite the fire artist with flaming tiki drinks, how did that happen?
I’ve always been a little bit of a pyromaniac my whole life. I can sit and watch and play with a proper fire for hours. My obsession with lighting drinks on fire started shortly after the cabana opened. I could make a decent drink, but my garnishes left something to be desired.
I thought what could I do that nobody else that I knew of was doing as far as garnishes went. Fire was the immediate answer. So I set out on a mission. Did a little research and some trial and error until you see what you have now.
I wanted big flames and sparks. I wanted guests to feel slightly afraid for a moment until they had a sip of their drink and it immediately took them back to paradise. Most of the ridiculous fire rigs just come to me. I don’t know how or why, but they just do.
Three dots and a dash….
I try and match them to a drink or a drink to the garnish. Just depends. I also won’t garnish a drink until the drink is solid or I won’t make the drink until the garnish is ready. You get it all or nothing. I’m only going to give you my best. Always. I think everybody on Instagram helped push me to develop bigger fire rigs too.
I got a lot of great response from it and I wanted to see how much I could push the envelope. I make the rigs for my guests too. Most of the drinks you see on my feed or not regular menu items.
So you never know what you’re gonna get when you walk in the door. Some stuff is super labor intensive to make so, depending how much extra prep time I have will dictate what I can make that day.
Where is most of your drink inspiration coming from and what is your mission?
Most of my drink inspiration comes from the life I’ve lived and the non tiki things around me. HP Lovecraft has been a huge motivator for me. I like to think that tiki could have a dark side. Music has been a factor in what I create too. Bands like Nile and Devildriver have had a hand in helping theme out drink for me. For example my Necromancer of Fiji was inspired by the Nile song The Essential Salts.
There was an old thrash band in the 90’s that I used to listen to called Sacred Reich. Their song Surf Nicaragua came on the radio as I was driving to work and I wondered to myself what it might be like to Surf Nicaragua and what that drink would taste like. So I made one.
My time as a US Marine as influenced some drinks as well like my Golden Shellback, Drunken Helmsman and Sea Grave. A Golden Shellback is a person who has crossed the international dateline and there equator at their point of intersection. I happen to be a golden shellback and always wanted to make a drink that tasted like that.
My mission is to make and remake tiki drinks. Some of the old ones needed a breath of fresh air. Some are way too sweet, way too tart or just very one dimensional.
I like to take an old recipe and rework it a little bit while still staying true to the drink. From that comes my original creations which I would like to take to the darker more sinister side of tiki that doesn’t quite exist yet. We’ll see how that goes.
You use almost only rum at your bar, why? and which rums do you prefer the most?
When I opened the cabana I knew that I wanted to put a wall of rum up because most people who go to Hawaii expect rum over there and there is very little. At least on the Big Island which was 99.9% of my exposure. Keep in mind that this was before I had any idea of tiki bar history. I wanted my place to be very rum centric while trying to give rum and tiki drinks a good name again.
I feel like you can go to any bar and see a good, diverse selection of liquors except rum. There is always the usual suspects of Captain Morgan, Bacardi and Malibu, but there never was anything beyond that at most places here. I wanted to overcompensate for that by carry a vast array of rum while only carrying two of everything else. I do have a decent liqueur collection because that goes without saying.
Basically in use the rums that are gonna make my drinks taste the way I want them to and make them taste the best. Currently in my well and what In use to make the majority of the drinks on the menu is: Plantation Overproof, Original Dark, 5 year and 3 Star rounded out with Coruba Dark, Bacardi 8 and El Dorado 5 year.
I probably over use the Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana combination as well as Guyana and Trinidad pairing, but they all work so well together. I also use and abuse any rum that speaks to me like Lost Spirits and anything over proof. I should probably use more agricole. I hardly use any of it for some reason.
Tiki can be a lot of things to different people, what does it mean for you?
Tiki means to me…to have fun. Not take things so seriously. Let loose. Live in the moment. For me tiki is play time. I get to help fulfill peoples fantasies of escapism for awhile. I get to facilitate all these drinks for tiki people that they always hear about, but are not able to always make at home or have the ability to. I get to be that guy for the tiki crowd and it is a tremendous honor.
The best tiki bars you have been to are?
The best tiki bars I’ve been to….every tiki bar I’ve been to and will go to is the best. I can always find something I like about a place. It’s not always about how cool and inventive the drinks are or how legitimate the decorations are and how much money you dumped into the place to make it hip and trendy.
It’s how you’re treated when you walk through the door. The best tiki bar could be the one that can only serve me a rum and coke while having the only thing tiki about the place being the bartender wearing an aloha shirt, but they made me feel like I was in the right place and that is what makes a bar the best.
How do you see the future for tiki culture and tiki drinks?
I see the future of tiki expanding rapidly. Most bars nowadays have a tiki night. I think tiki drinks are the perfect drink to bridge the gap between your sports bar/chain restaurant bar and the hardcore cocktail bars. I think tiki drinks, if done right, can appeal to a lot of different people.
If you can pick one drink to try to convert somebody into tiki drinks, which one would it be?
If had to pick one drink to convert people over to tiki drinks, which one would that be? I don’t think I could pick just one. If I had to, I’d pick the Zombie without a doubt. To me that is everything that tiki is. Strong, flavorful, complex, not one flavor dominates but some how they all come together has one harmonious intoxicating note. But not everybody likes a Zombie and it can quickly turn people off from the whole experience.
You have to quickly read an inexperienced quest and get them into a tiki drink that suited to them so that they won’t think that all tiki drinks are too strong or too sour or too sweet or just too odd. There is a perfect tiki drink for most people. You just have to take a second and try and make that match. Luckily, most people will give you a second chance.
And what would you serve somebody who has had them all and is looking for something new and different?
If I had to serve a tiki professional something new that they’ve never had before, I think I’d serve them one of my originals like the Golden Shellback or the Drunken Helmsman. Or maybe one of the classics that I’ve tweaked a little bit. You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull.
Thank you Jason!
And to show off a few of his amazing drinks – here are some pictures and recipes by Jason to stir your appetite and if you can, head over to Tacoma Cabana and have one or a few of these incredible drinks!
A warning though…if you keep scrolling there´s a chance you gonna get VERY VERY thirsty! the rest of this post is nothing but a BIG dose of tiki drink p*rn!
Looks so tasty! i`m sure sure the moai in the aquarium agree 🙂 and the awesome tiki mug is created by Rob Hawes aka “Tiki Rob” who owns Maui Tiki Tours and makes awesome tiki mugs on Maui!
Jason`s take on the Krakatoa drink from Remixed page 58. So,” We’ll depart Sumatra on board PanCannibal Airways and take a trip to KILAUEA!!!
Bitters, Dons mix, passion fruit juice, lemon juice with coffee liqueur, amaro, falernum, apricot liqueur and then further fortified with Jamaica, demerara and overproof rums. Don’t forget the float of cold Kona coffee. See you on top of the volcano!!!!
“You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull”
A Cabana Fogcutter…with Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum.
Here´s a whole load of Cabana Rum Barrels! aren`t they pretty?
Cabana Rum Barrel! Four juices including lilikoi, special blend of barrel spices and a meticulous blend of Jamaica, demerara, Barbados and Trinidad rums.
It’s the perfect combination of ingredients that isn’t too sweet, not too sour with just enough spices for added depth and the right amount of rum to kick you in the ass!
And a Flaming Rum Bowl for two…
“If it’s not on fire and Overproof, then why are you drinking it?” 🙂
The Necromancer of Fiji….
Black salt, black strap bitters, Donns Mix, lime, lemon, lilikioi, falernum, orgeat, Swedish Punsch, Campari, grenadine and a blasphemous blend of rum sure to make a Zombie crawl back into its grave!
Pinch of black lava salt
4 dashes black strap bitters
12 drops absinthe
1oz Donns mix
1oz passion fruit juice
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1 1/2oz Lemon Hart 151
1 1/2oz Plantation Overproof
1oz Plantation 3 Star
Flash blend for 5 seconds with two cups ice
Pearl Diver`s PunchBowl for Two…
Pearl Divers Punch Bowl! Lime, orange, pearl mix, falernum and rums.
Stiggin’s Jungle Fancy with lime, lilikoi, Campari, falernum bitters and Plantation rums Stiggin’s Fancy Pineapple Rum. “You can take the bird out of the jungle…”
“War Bird” – Just look at that garnish….
Inspired by Cocktailwonk ‘s post “The Jungle Bird Goes to War” (where you can see the the original recipe) Jason made this take on the Jungle Bird that Cocktailwonk had dubbed WAR BIRD!!!! – lime, lilikoi, campari, pineapple and Lost Spirits Distillery Polynesian Inspired Rum.
I`m thirsty….and if you are not thirsty by now you might just stop reading my blog…. 🙂
Pieces of Eight…with eight pieces of pineapple hearts…brilliant!
He even made his take on my “Drunken Missionary” which was in my review of the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum and his looks soooo much nicer! that purple orchid with that deep sea green….wooow!
0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)
0.5 peach liqueur
1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum
1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice
Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!
– 1 oz lime, 1/2 oz maple, 1/2 oz falernum, 1/2 oz Amaro Meletti, 1 1/2 oz Plantation Overproof….
The Arkham Lapu Lapu…looks mystic….like it has some superpowers…or maybe it is YOU that will get some mystic superpowers when you drink this?
Ed Hamilton Ministry of RumZOMBIE PREACHER! can i have one of these please?
The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri…Lemon Hart 151, Mauby Liqueur and just a small squeeze of lime. A drink that was made on Black Friday.
Coconaut Re-Entry, looks delish doesn`t it?
Demerara Dry Float, served up.
A Shrunken Zobie Fugu, served on a plate like a dish…
Lovely Tacoma Rum Barrels! i think i could have them all!
Da’ Beachcomber tiki mug created by Scott Taylor aka on Instagram as Tikipop! he lives on Maui and makes outerwordly tiki mugs, well worth checking out! such attention to detail and craftmanship….
Da’ Beachcomber looks happy 🙂
Jason`s beautiful version of my Guyana Zombie!
Mr Bali Hai….as cool as ever, comes loaded with fire and goodness!
Moai flask by Van Tiki and tiki shot glass by Scott Taylor.
If you love rum you need to listen to “5 Minutes of Rum” – which is notes of rum, 5 minutes at a time. It`s a great podcast that is just starting out and episode 5 is just out. You can find it on the web – here – and then you can also find it on itunes if type in “5 minutes of rum”.
It`s made by Kevin Upthegrove aka heylownine and it´s a great podcast and who doesn´t have five minutes for rum?
Lapu Lapus are some strong rum drinks and it is said that they bring magic and makes you “see things on the other side” – whatever that means…
The term Lapu Lapu drinks comes from a legend that for some obscure reason happened to be the name sake of the drink Chief Lapu Lapu. The name is after the Filipino chief Lapu Lapu – who defeated Magellan in 1521 (you can read about the legend in Remixed)
And how that name so many years later was used to name rum drinks served in the polynesian restaurants during the great tiki era is one more of those mysterious things that belongs to the rum soaked tiki drink world..
There´s also a Disney version of a Lapu Lapu served at the Polynesian resort in a hollowed out pineapple (like the Boo Loo) containing rums, orange juice and sour mix.
The Lapu Lapu drinks mentioned in Jeff Beachbum Berry`s Remixed are the Chief Lapu Lapu, Aku Aku Lapu and the lesser known Kikuya Lapu ( all are on page 61-63 in Remixed)
These three are all different incarnations of the same drink and it´s a drink large enough to serve two people but of course they can be enjoyed by one, it´s just a lot of rum!
I can´t say which one of these i like the most, they are all tasty and the Aku AKu Lapu packs a serious punch.
Chief Lapu Lapu
3 oz orange juice
2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 oz sugar syrup
(1 part sugar, 1 part water, boiled and chilled)
1 oz passion fruit syrup
1 1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 1/2 oz light Puerto Rican (or Virgin Islands) rum
Shake well with ice cubes in a large shaker and pour into a large snifter. Add more ice to fill.
Aku Aku Lapu
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Falernum
1 oz gold rum
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum (or 1 1/2 oz regular proof Lemon Hart)
16 oz crushed ice
Blend at high speed for about 20 seconds. Pour into large snifter or bowl and add more ice to fill. Traditional garnish is a gardenia.
This one is from the Aku Aku restaurant in Las Vegas cirka 1960. In Intoxica it says the Aku Aku once fronted the Stardust hotel along with two massive moais or Easter Island (Rapa Nui) statues. The phrase Te pito o te henua has been said to be the original name of the island.
Aku Aku was the book title of Thor Heyedahl´s bestseller – an author i have enjoyed over the years. His theory on how those giant moais were moved gave name to the word aku aku:
Aku Aku – To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a “walking” fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
0.5 oz cranberry juice
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz orange juice
0.75 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.75 0z grapefruit juice
0.75 oz passionfruit syrup
0.75 oz honey mix
1.5 oz dark jamaican rum
0.5 oz caribbean 151 rum
Dash angostura bitters
6 drops pernod
3 drops almond extract
Shake with plenty of ice and pour unstrained into a snifter or tiki bowl, adding more ice to fill. Traditional garnish is pineapple; cherry, mint and a paper parasol.
This is the third lapu lapu drink in Remixed and the least known. It´s also the only one not originating from the old tiki era, it was created in 1992 by Bob Esmino for the Kikuya restaurant in Huntington Beach CA. He provided most of the “lost” Kon-TIki recipes in both Remixed and Sippin`Safari.
Royal Hawaiian Lapu Lapu
Half fill a brandy snifter with shaved ice, if you can`t get shaved, try get it a fine a possible.
2 oz white rum ( use a good quality rum that has flavor)
Add 60 % pineapple juice and 40 % orange juice – to almost fill up the glass but leave some room for the floater.
Add a tsp each of orgeat, sugacane syrup and passionfruit syrup.
A 2 oz floater of dark rum – and use a rum that is really dark if possible.
Shake and strain and fill up with more shaved ice and float the dark rum on top.
Garnish with a thick lime peel hanging over the rim. Well i made a different garnish because my limes were finished and used pineapple instead.
So this was all the Lapu Lapu drinks i could find, in the next post i`m going to make Aku Aku drinks…and when a drink is called Aku AKu Lapu i guess it` s both a Lapu and Aku drink? i just love the tiki drink world!
Here` s a quick post on one of the more well known tiki drinks the Boo Loo. A while ago i had a Boo Loo weekend together with a few people on instagram, yes really…there´s quite a bit of tikiphiles and other tropical drink lovers out there..and it´s fun when everybody post up their Boo Loo pictures.
The Boo Loo is usually served in a pineapple but i think it also looks fantastic in a goblet a la Forbidden island style – or other cool glass. I made a traditional one served in the pineapple and then another in a glass that night and only switched out some of the rums for variety and there´s quite a lot of rum in this drink…
Speaking of which – as in all rum forward drinks make sure to use good rums!
This is a Lapu Lapu type of drink, and it`s enough in the pineapple or glass to be shared by two but can of course be good for one as well, heck i had two myself… It´s a polynesian restaurant style drink and similar to the Chief Lapu Lapu, Aku Lapu Lapu and the lesser known Kikuya Lapu ( all are on page 61-63 in BB Remixed)
These three are all different incarnations of the Chief Lapu Lapu which got it´s name after the Filipino chief Lapu Lapu who defeated Magellan in 1521 (you can read about the legend in Remixed) and how a rum drink served in tiki bars can get it´ name after that event is part of the mystery..
And so the Boo Loo is that kinda drink, boozy in a quiet way…and very relaxing.
A few small fresh pineapple chunks
2 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz honey
1 1/2 oz club soda
1 1/2 oz Demerara Rum
1 1/2 oz gold Purto Rican rum
3/4 oz dark Jamaican rum
3/4 oz 151 Demerara Rum
Put pineapple chunks, honey and lime and pineapple juices in blender and blend without ice until liquefied. Pour unstrained into a hollowed out pineapple filled with crushed ice (or goblet) Add rums and soda and stir until well chilled.
As for the honey – heat until liquid and lightly cool it before adding to the blender. I always use liquid honey to make it even easier to mix.
I know the drink was created around 1965 but by whom i have no idea but it`s on the menu at the Fobidden Island. The Boo Loo is in Beachbum Berry`s Grog Log and Remixed.
This drink is quite rum forward and don`t be tricked by the honey and pineapple smoothness – this drink will creep up on you. But i like boozy drinks especially if the booze is rum…
If you add some coffee and mole bitters you get a Princess Kalakau which is a twist i made and you can call it the Boo Loo`s spicier cousin.
Now this is really interesting – here is one more producer creating rum especially designed for today’s exotic and tiki cocktails. To me that is a proof that the tiki drink trend is here in full force but not just as a trend, i believe it´s here to stay – that the tiki drinks finally have gotten their recognition and place in the cocktail world.
They have been here for long i know but after they were abandoned and eventually replaced by overly sweet slushy concoctions not worthy the name “tiki drink” the so called faux tropical, exotic or tiki drinks have been very slowly coming back – and finally is today really getting more and more recognition everywhere.
The thing I like about many tiki drinks–is the kind of baroque complexity in the glass. Ideas of mixological structure and balance are thrown completely aside in many of these drinks, but if you keep a close eye on the proportions in your mix–you can create something that’s pleasantly unexpected.
And now we get rums especially designed for them! The next such rum i have on hand for review is Plantation rum original overproof made by the house of Cognac Ferrand.
I first tried this rum (yeah this one too!) at the UK rumfest or more specifically in the RumFrat House which is the HQ for the Rum XP folks. I really liked its rich deep taste and that little taste i got there did really spark my curiosity concerning this rum and i`ve been very eager to get going mixing with it.
This rum is like i said, created by the esteemed Cognac Ferrand estate, the birthplace of artisanal spirits owned by Alexandre Gabriel. Plantation Original Dark Overproof is bottled at 73% alcohol by volume making it 146 proof and is created in Trinidad. It is a stronger, bolder and more flavorful version of Plantation Original Dark Rum which is a blend of Trinidad dark rums aged in young bourbon casks.
Plantation Original Dark Overproof is available both in the US and Europe – thanks for that! In the US it will retail for $29.99 for a 1-liter bottle and is available nationwide. In Europe you can get it from Drinkology and The Whiskey Exchange.
It joins the Plantation Rum portfolio as a unique addition for two reasons: 1) It is the only overproof rum in the collection and 2) It is the only rum that is not double aged, Ferrand’s proprietary rum finishing process which they are alone in using.
The double aging process is where the rums are distilled and aged in their country of origin and then shipped to the Ferrand estate in Cognac, France where they are perfected and aged for several more months in small, used French oak barrels. The reason Original Dark Overproof is not double aged is that at the delicate changes imparted by the double-aging technique would be lost on a rum that is such high proof.
So how does it smell and taste like?
Nose – I can feel sweet sugarcane, some wood, banana peels and spice. Especially the banana peels are present but not overpowering, it gets me to think about those exotic banana food wraps… The nose is very refined and so delightful i could sit and sniff all day..
Palate – Toasted and dried tropical fruits, strong but not unpleasant alcohol burn, wood, molasses and tropical dried fruit.
The sum of it – I`d say it´s a very pleasant strong, complex and fruity rum that is fantastic to mix exotic drinks with but i also do believe it would make a stunning daiquiri paired with some other rum or Plantation Original Dark.
I decided to make a few of Martin Cate´s drinks with it since i`m a big fan of his flavorful and inventive rum cocktails. So here we go – starting with a favorite:
Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass or tiki mug filled with cracked ice. Top with 1 oz of soda
Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig, pineapple leaves and lemon peel.
Tasty as always, i choosed to go Plantation all the way instead of using 1 oz of another type of rum but you can always experiment! This is one of Martin`s legendary drinks. He is a drink-genious did i tell you that?
TRINIDAD DRY FLOAT (This is the demerara dry float with Plantation overproof…name courtesy Martin Cate)
2 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
1/4 oz sugar syrup
1 oz Plantation Original Overproof Rum
1/4 ounce 151 Demerara rum to float
1/4 ounce Maraschino
Shake everything except the 151 rum with ice, strain into double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, and carefully float the 151. Do not stir.
This version of the Demerara Dry Float is a killer cocktail! – a dangerous drink… so tasty and so strong since it contains no less than two overproof rums…so be careful. I really enjoyed this one.
TRINIDAD HOOK (Martin Cate, Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco)
1 oz Plantation Trinidad Overproof
1 oz Plantation Original Dark
1 oz passion-honey mix
.5 oz – .75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice (to taste)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all in an ice-filled cocktail shaker; shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime peel spiral.
Gently heat honey until liquid and whisk in an equal amount of pure unsweetened passion fruit nectar. Let cool and refrigerate.
I made my passion-honey mix with homemade passionfruit syrup and honey instead since i can´t find any passionfruit nectar. It worked like a charm, very tasty. If you need a recipe for passionfruit syrup it´s here – or go get B.G Reynold´s.
This is a strong and very yummy daquiri-ish cocktail that went down waaaay to easily….very tasty!
So what`s next? there´s a whole parade of strong tiki drinks to use this rum in, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry mentioned the Zombie….but be careful with overproof rums, too much will give you a headache, just right is the way to go.
Aloooha everyone! – it´s Mai Tai time…or rather – it´s Mai Tai rant time…
How many times does this need to be said??? – a Mai Tai is rum, orange curacao, lime, orgeat, simple or rock candy syrup and mint! and sometimes a spent lime shell in the shaker and glass. NOTHING MORE! really!!! PERIOD.
That said – it doesn`t mean you cannot make variations of it with say a Brazilian nut orgeat and call it a Brazilian Mai Tai – for example – but that`s the difference – a Mai Tai is a Mai Tai and a twist of it is another drink – like a cousin and a cousin needs a slightly different name. When making a twist, stick to the original recipe as your foundation and don`t change it so much that it´s not based on a Mai Tai anymore.
In my opinion you can NOT add amaretto, grenadine, pineapple or/ and orange juice and call it a Mai Tai – call them something + Mai Tai or give the drink an entirely new name. The point I try to make is, there´s for example the Sazerac, if you added pineapple juice to it, or vanilla syrup, would it still be a Sazerac?
And i`m not saying that you cannot add a piece of pineapple or cherry in the garnish either – i like cherries…But if you wanna be really a purist, it´s only mint and a spent lime shell – but NEVER go astray from the original recipe if you wanna call it a Mai Tai.
There`s the Trader Vic´s Mai Tai and there`s Donn the Beachcomber`s Mai Tai which is a quite different drink to Vic´s containing grapefruit juice, falernum, pernod and angostura bitters. I`m not gonna go into the never ending debate about Vic`s versus Donn`s and there´s an excellent article on that topic in Beachbum Berry´s Remixed. But my conclusion is that Vic´s recipe is THE Mai Tai.
It`s clear that too many bars still serves various crap they call a Mai Tai, on the upside is that over the past years there´s many good bars now that actually serves the traditional Trader Vic´s Mai Tai. But the battle is still on!
Just look at this parody on a Mai Tai…looking like strawberry lemonade fully dressed with sparkling fireworks – it´s a friend of mine, John Gibbons over at Cocktailcloister (thanks for the picture) who was served this one in Istanbul while desperatly searching for decent cocktails…
This is NOT how a Mai Tai should be…and if you read the menu you`ll see they have no clue what a Mai Tai is…
Wanna read the history of the Mai Tai? go here. Wanna read about rum combos? go here. And wanna read about even more rum combos? go here. Wanna read what Jeff says? go here. Not enough yet? well go here…:-)
THE ORIGINAL TRADER VIC`S MAI TAI (as it used to be)
2 oz. Wray & nephew 17-year-old Jamaican rum
0.25 oz. French Garnier Orgeat
0.5 oz. Holland DeKuyper orange Curacao
0.25 oz. Rock Candy Syrup
Juice from one fresh lime
Shake everything with ice and strain into a double old-fashioned glass full of crushed ice. Garnish with half the spent lime shell inside the drink and a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass. Place a straw or two near the mint – short straws..we want some mint fragrance up the nose don´t we? and don´t forget to spank the mint first to release the fragrance like perfume..
We all know there´s no 17 yo Jwray available anymore so instead we use different rum combos, and one common combo is 1 oz. Appleton Extra and 1 oz. Clemént VSOP or St. James Hors d`age. Equal parts jamaican and martinique rums approximates the character and flavor of the long-gone 17-year old Wray & Nephew.
Another combo i like to use is with demerara rum, either a demerara and a jamaican or only demerara, to me that is heaven in a glass and the Silver Seal 15 yo makes the ultimate Mai Tai i think.
The goal here is not to try to get as close as you can to the 17 yo Jwray & Nephew but to punch it up a notch with that distinctive smoky and heavy demerara flavor. El Dorado 12 and 15 yo are perfect examples of good demerara rum.
Yet another perfectly tasty combo is the “made for Mai Tai`s” Jamaican rum Smith and Cross…paired with Rhum JM VSOP. Also Coruba dark works well.
As for the orange curacao i`d recommend orange curacao from curacao or if you can´t get the original curacao use cointreau and cut it just a little bit since it´s stronger and will easily mess up the Mai Tai if too much is used. It`s not an original Mai Tai with cointreau though so try get the orange curacao if you can.
Trader Vic first used DuKuyper but did actually change to Bols because he liked it better, but the original recipe always had orange curacao. More sweet and less dry and bitter and also cheap is Triple sec, but that´s not what i prefer. Also Clement Creole Shrubb works well.
1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Clemènt VSOP
0.25 oz orgeat
0.5 oz orange curacao
0.25 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
Mint sprig and lime shell for garnish. And in my case a cherry too since i love to snack on them when the drink is finished…preferably fresh brandied cherries that is – not the red abominations you find in a jar.
That`s it – Mai Tai. This drink is a bullet proof drink, even people who doesn´t like rum usually like this because it´s balanced, simple and good – you can’t improve on perfection…
DON THE BEACHCOMER
Don Beach or Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt did invent a drink that he called Mai Tai but it never reached that fame and shortly disappeared from his menu.
Don Beach is the man who invented many of the classsic tikidrinks like the Zombie, the Navy Grog and Missionary`s downfall, (one of my fav tiki drinks) as well as the whole concept of exotic polynesian style restaurants, known as tiki bars.
DON THE BEACHCOMBER`S MAI TAI
1.5 oz Myer’s plantation rum (you may sub Appleton)
1 oz Cuban rum ( sub British navy-style rum)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
0.25 oz falernum
0.5 oz cointreau
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 dash pernod
Shell of squeezed lime
1 cup of cracked ice
Shake for 1 minute. Serve in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with four sprigs of mint. Add a spear of pineapple. Sip slowly through mint sprigs until desired effect results.
I find this drink just a tad sour so i add 1/4 oz simple syrup to it, but that can also have something to do with how tart your grapefruits and limes are.
But among the two Mai Tais i really prefer Vic`s Mai Tai, there is a reason why it was the one that gained such popularity and now is one of the classics. It has such a balance and yet is very simple. That doesn`t mean that i consider Don Beach Mai Tai a bad drink, oh no, its tasty too.
I close this topic now and move on to another… in my next post i will make a few Mai Tai twists that you can make without ruining the drink by transforming it into a cloingly sweet and/or slushy “tropical” abomination.