Amaro di Angostura!

Amaro di Angostura shot

From the House of Angostura, the makers of the world famous Angostura bitters and rums came a different product from what we are used to see….yep, it was not a bitter or a rum – it was an amaro!…..and just like everything else from the House of Angostura it´s as solid as their rums and their legendary bitters (with that oh so cool oversized label)

The amaro is very versatile and it`s bottled at 35% with aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and angostura aromatic bitters. Great on it’s own and in cocktails or even cooking. The product was inspired by Don Carlos Siegert, the son of Angostura’s Founder J.G.B. Siegert.

The base of this amaro is a neutral spirit made from the same molasses as their rums and their own cultivated yeast strain (since the 1930s) that is infused with aromatic and bitter herbs and spices for 3 months – and of course the recipe is a secret…

Amaro di Angostura

When you take a sip of it you feel good…the spicy comforting flavors are warming and there´s quite a bit of cinnamon it it paired with a slightly noticed amount of very dark chocolate and then cardamom, brown sugar, bitter orange peel and raisin plus that well known taste of their bitters, it`s “earhty”, “rooty” and “smoky”with slight medical notes in an array of spiciness rounded out by some sweetness.

If you have ever tried the “Trinidad Sour” cocktail, then you know how the Angostura bitters tastes in a large amount, the cocktail calls for one ounce, it´s spicy and to me not that very bitter at all, more spicy than bitter actually and very aromatic and this is like a sweeter and more drinkable version of the Angostura bitters and can be had in a shot too.

That spicy flavor would go so well in a Tiki drink….you see where i`m heading?

You know, cinnamon (pairs perfectly with pineapple) the flavor of the Angostura bitters whatever exactly they are made of, is a staple in all types of cocktails including the tiki drinks.

Looking through Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app ( my always so handy to-go app) I decided to try a riff on the Barbancourt Rum Cup and switch the rum for Angostura 5, some pineapple juice and a splash of Amaro di Angostura.

Amaro di Angostura Rum Cup

Amaro di Angostura Rum Cup 2

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz dark sugarcane syrup ( 1:1 dark sugar to water or 2:1 for a thicker richer syrup )

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz Amaro di Angostura

2 oz Angostura 5 year old rum

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail cup, add some ice if you want. Garnish with speared pineapple chunk, maraschino cherry and a tropical flower.

It turned out very tasty! spicy and refreshing, and so did the next drink, which by the looks, looks quite sweet…but it is not….it just turned out very nice and quite spicy due to the Amaro di Angostura.

Banana Daiquiri

Banana Daiquiri Collage pic

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz dark sugarcane syrup

1 oz Amaro di Angostura

2 oz Angostura 5 year old rum

1/2 ripe banana, thinly sliced (save two slices for garnish)

4 oz (1/2 cup) crushed ice

Pinch of cinnamon for the garnish

Put everything in a blender and blend at high speed for at least 30 sek, until smooth. Pour unstrained into a fancy glass with sugared rim and add more crushed ice to fill. I used a “golden” sugar, it`s a raw sugar that is not white nor dark, but very light brown altough it looks white in the pictures, but it`s not a refined white sugar, it´s a raw sugar.

Garnish with two thin banana slices, a tropical flower and some sprinkled cinnamon on top.

This drink tastes NICE!! it gets so much better when using fresh bananas and not making it too sweet, and the Amaro di Angostura went very well in it, adding that spice.

Now let´s try this the way you traditionally drink an amaro, it´s supposed to be a digestive after all. And as such it´s also very nice! If you like Angostura bitters (who doesn`t?) you may get a bottle of this too, it´s a nice complement to the Angostura bitters!

Amaro di Angostura collage

Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum

Denizen Merchants Reserve Rum

The first time encountered Denizen rum i was very pleased with it`s flavor, it was their white rum i tried and reviewed. Denizen rums are blends of rum from the Caribbean selected by master blenders in Amsterdam who have been handcrafting small-batch Caribbean style rums dating back to the early 1700s, when the Netherlands colonized much of the Caribbean.

Now Citizen Spirits have followed up with an aged rum that is a blend of aged plummer style pot still rum from Jamaica and also are component of Rhum Grande Arome from the Le Galion S.A.E.M distillery in Martinique.

60% of this rum has been aged 8 years in small used American oak bourbon barrels.  The Jamaican rums used in this blend come from Worthy Park, Hampden, New Yarmouth, and Clarendon. Most of the aged rum comes from Worthy Park Distillery.

The rums used in the blend were fermented using slow working yeasts in order to extend the fermentation time and allow the high ester flavor compounds to fully develop – a very important step in the rum making process.

One of the reasons they chosed to include the molasses based rhum grande arome in the blend and not the more traditional rhum agricole from Martinique is because when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.

Having learned this, they tried to come up with a historically accurate classic amber rum that is unapologetically funky and would have made Trader Vic proud. The fact that it has been aged 8 years also makes it a fine sipping rum despite it being slightly higher proof at 43% ABV.

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve should be available in the US early April. Citizen Spirits will launch it in New York City and San Francisco initially and then expand to additional markets.

So i go straight to the Mai Tai eh?

This is a rum which obviously is partly designed for making great Mai Tais but of course not only – but also to be sipped neat and make other cocktails with – and flavorless cocktails you won`t get with it.

What a shame i haven`t had any chance to try the old JWray 17 year….which is a long time dream of mine, so therefore i cannot compare with it, but i can compare with other Mai Tais i`ve had with great rums and see how this rum stand up in comparison and i have a feeling it will do very well.

Also the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve earned a score of 94 at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was recognized as a finalist. Scoring 94 points is equivalent to “Excellent and highly recommended”

Let´s taste it.

Nose – It`s a fruity nose with a bit of citrus and apricot, a hint of wood, very fresh.

Mouth – The same fruitness is there and it has a warm spicy finish. A hint of sugarcane, warm caramel, ripe tropical fruit, dried banana, apricot, wood.

My impression – This is a warm, funky and flavorful rum, not much alcohol burn, it´s smooth enough to sip and flavorful enough to mix tiki drinks with, at the same time it`s great for classic rum drinks as well. Fruity and spicy!

I bet it`s good to drizzle over ice cream too…or use in baked papaya with butter, vanilla and demerara sugar.

The first drink i wanted to make with this rum is the PYT swizzle from Rumba Seattle, (a bar and Caribbean restaurant in Seattle) and a place where they make some extraordinary cocktails, actually everything they make at that place looks tasty, i hope i can visit some day.

The PYT swizzle first catched my attention on instagram where i saw pictures of it after it won the Island Imbibe competition in august 2013. I thought it looked so tasty….so here`s a version of it with Denizen Merchant`s Reserve and again, i regret not having any mint!

PYT SWIZZLE

Denizen PYT swizzle

2.5 oz Denizen Merchant`s reserve rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz passionfruit syrup

0.25 oz falernum

Glass: Libbey Everest hi ball

Top with a heavy doze of angostura and peychaud`s bitters

Swizzle!

But mint or not, with this rum the swizzle turned out nice and spicy!

The next drink is the quintessential test cocktail when you wanna evaluate a rum in cocktails, due to it`s simplicity and way of letting the rum shine through in such a way that you cannot make a good one with a bad rum – the classic daiquiri.

MERCHANT`S DAIQUIRI

Denizen Merchant´s daiquiti IG

2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz demerara sugar syrup

Glass: Libbey SPKSY

And yes, it pass the test! this rum makes a very nice and somewhat spicy daiquiri!

And finally…the Queen of Tiki Drinks…(and the Zombie is the King:-)

MAI TAI

Denizen Mai Tai

2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve rum

1 oz fresh lime juice (add the spent lime shell to shaker and later, in the glass)

0.5 oz orgeat

0.25 oz Combier triple sec

Shake all ingredients and garnish with mint – or if you don`t have mint, add the spent lime shell and a sherry into the glass.

Serve in rocks glass with crushed ice.

Yep, it definitely makes a great Mai Tai, the kind that gives that extra yummy after taste, provided you use good quality mixing products throughout. Of course i did the Trader Vic´s Mai tai. The only thing i regret is that i was out of mint but instead i just used the spent lime shell and a sherry.

To wrap it up – Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is very good, flavorful and i warmly recommend anyone to try this rum!

You find Denizen´s website here.

Resurrecting Old Posts – Vanilla and Trinidad Especial

As a fun idea i thought i should dig up a few old posts that has been “buried” since the beginning of this blog. So i start with the very first post i made – the start of this blog – that was back in 2008 posted june 29th – and will tell yall that i`m a vanilla freak.

Here is also my take on the cocktail that won the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge in 2008 and was created by Valentino Bolognese, which gives me a chance to dig up another post from that time.

There is another famous cocktail too – the Trinidad Sour which is a variation on the Trinidad Especial and was created by Giuseppe Gonzalez and that one is a VERY nice cocktail and contains 1.5 oz of Angostura Bitters.

Since then i have learnt so much about cocktails and spirits, it´s fun to dig up old posts like this one.

Here is my post from 2008 :

Vanilla and a Very Special Cocktail

WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

In this blog i`m going to write about my drink (and occasionally some food) experimenting, rums and other spirits and liqueurs. Its going to involve quite a bit of Tikidrinks. But also the making of syrups, bitters and infusions…and whatever else i may come up with.

I do this for fun and i hope you`ll have fun too!

I LOVE VANILLA…

Its something special about Vanilla..maybe its the warm sensual fragrance and flavor of this beautiful exotic tropical climbing orchid…or the beauty of the flowers which only opens for a few hours in the morning. Maybe its the rich fragrant and oily darkness of the cured beans which at first are green. Vanilla flowers once a year in a period of about two months.

I love Vanilla and i always have my favorite beans at home which are the Tahitian beans, from vanilla tahitensis. They are fatter, more “oily” and somewhat shorter than other beans and have a very special floral aroma and flavor.

I`ve made my jar of Vanilla sugar with these beans since many years back. I mix 1 pack each of Tate&Lyles – or Billingtons dark and light Muscovado sugars with 3-4 Tahitian beans which i split on the length and scrape out all those lovely tiny black seeds which i mix with the sugars.

The longer they stay in the sugar the more flavor the sugar takes on from the beans. When the sugar is finished i just add some more and it goes on and on..

I also make my Vanilla syrups using 1:1 ratio sugar and water and add a couple of split beans to the pan, let it simmer and then cool before i discard the beans (rinsing them and moving them to the sugar jar that is) and bottle my syrup.

A friend to me did mention that the Trinidad Especial Cocktail, made by Valentino Bolognese who also won the European Angostura Cocktail Competition 2008 with this unusual cocktail, which indeed is a very special cocktail, using no less than 30 ml of Angostura bitters, is nice poured over Vanilla ice cream…

Such a brilliant idea is one i cannot resist trying out. So i made both the cocktail and then the Vanilla ice cream with some of the cocktail poured over it..and indeed this cocktail tastes good! It wasn`t that bitter as i first expected but rather aromatic and spicy with a heavy dose of clove. On the ice cream it was a real treat!

TRINIDAD ESPECIAL


10 ml. Pisco Mistral
20 ml. fresh lime juice
30 ml. barley syrup
30 ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
Shake hard and long, and strain in a Martini glass.

 

 All rights reserved

A cocktail and a dessert in one, i remember this was a real treat. Do you like vanilla and what do you do with it?

SWIZZLES part 3 – 151 Swizzle

To continue my swizzle series…here`s the 151 Swizzle – and this is one hell of a tasty drink! it`s very simple too – and the combination of ingredients is brilliant. This drink was served by Tony Ramos at Don the Beachcomber`s in Hollywood in the 1960s.

Using 1.5 oz of the heavy Lemon Hart 151 demerara rum this drink is very distinct with a power of its own. Demerara rum is my favorite rum, it has the same pungent flavor as pot still Jamaican but is a bit smoky with a flavor that is unmatched.

The 151 Swizzle is also what is going to be made by 151 bartenders who will perform the very first unique swizzle ritual named 151 SWIZZLE-BE HERE NOW which i wrote about in my first pre-Tales post for TOTC 2011.

That means that all 151 bartenders will swizzle together at the same time in the same place with 151 original swizzle sticks from Guyana making the 151 Swizzle!  and guess who´s gonna imbibe them?

Well, i`ll hopefully be one…together with the rest of the folks attending this seminar lead by Stanislav Vadrna. It`s a veritable 151 Swizzle party! and on top of that held in my favorite place on earth – my beloved New Orleans.

There might still be tickets left..check on the TOTC blog.

Now back to the 151 Swizzle, it`s tasty and it´s strong and has that extra touch of spiciness from freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon stick, depth from the Lemon Hart 151 rum, a touch of anis from Pernod (or Herbsaint) and a balanced sweet-tartness from sugarcane syrup and fresh lime –  it´s handsdown one of the best swizzles out there.

Here´s the recipe (from Remixed) to make it at home:

151 SWIZZLE

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup ( I use Petit Canne – because it has a special flavor)

1.5 oz Lemon Hart 151 (or El Dorado)

Dash Angostura bitters

6 drops Pernod ( i used Herbsaint)

8 oz crushed ice

Freshly ground nutmeg

Put everything except nutmeg in blender and blend for 5 sec. Pour unstrained into a tall glass with flaired top if possible to give more room for the freshly grated nutmeg on top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Of course you can swizzle instead of blending, it´s a swizzle after all.. swizzle or blend and If you blend make sure to not blend for more than 5 sec unless you want it slushy..

And since this one is very strong even though the melting ice dilutes the heavy rum in it i think it´s good with just one unless you pace it, drink some water and let enough time pass in between drinks.

And that is said by one who likes strong rum drinks.

Happy swizzling!

SWIZZLES! part one

Swizzles and rum belongs together and since this blog is largely about rum and rum based drinks and tiki drinks i think it`s time to make a little series on swizzles, making a few of the good swizzles out there along with a few twists.

Its something very satisfying with the sound of the swizzling of crushed ice and good booze, it makes you thirsty…and since you know you soon gonna imbibe a very cold tasty drink its like awaiting a reward when you hear that sound. Its a similar thing with the sound of shaking but but this sounds more – cold and refreshing.

And then the swizzling – it´s also a show to watch, a fun show, a show that whets your appetite and thirsty taste buds when you hear that sound and see how the glass gets frosted..I`m getting thirsty by just writing this and cannot wait to get that swizzle done..

The swizzling technique was probably invented in the Caribbean and a wooden stick called bois lèlè made from the swizzle stick tree (Quararibea turbinata) was/is used.

These trees grows in such a way that you can cut natural swizzle sticks from them and cut to create a long handle. The end of the stick has tiny “branches” or prongs that goes out in a star shaped direction. That`s why this tree is called the swizzle stick tree.

swizzle-sticks

El Dorado swizzle stick and Bois Lélé from Martinique.I`m showing these just as an example to show that the real swizzle sticks are far away from those little  plastic swizzle sticks you get when ordering drinks, those are more like “garnish”. The best sub is a  bar spoon which works just fine!

Pour the ingredients in a glass with shaved or very finely cracked ice and swizzle — you rapidly twirl the stick between your palms moving it up and down in the glass until the glass frosts.

Now the Martinique wooden swizzle stick is not readily available though, but Cocktail Kingdom carries them online. Also you can use other swizzle sticks or a barspoon.

The swizzle isn´t as much a recipe, it´s rather a technique but traditionally it´s a mix of rum, falernum, lime, and sugar or simple syrup. But there`s more things that can go in a swizzle like other spirits, liqueurs, mint or other herbs and liqueurs.

The swizzlee is very much like a rum punch – but the difference is that it`s swizzled instead of shaken and gets that frost on the glass as a result and that`s what defines a swizzle.

To make a good swizzle you need to start with large cold ice chunks and crush them, don`t use any soft fast melting ice here. Then you need fresh ingredients and quality spirits and liqueurs. The rule is the same as always – fresh ingredients.

Then you need to practice the swizzling technique because it takes a little training to get the swizzles perfected. But don`t worry, it`s not difficult and if you need to practice a bit – you get more excuses for imbibing swizzles right?

Swizzling is fun! and imbibing swizzles is more fun!

So let`s begin the swizzling with the famous Queens Park Swizzle which was created in Trinidad and which contains my favorite rum from Guyana – demerara.

QUEENS PARK SWIZZLE

queens-park-swizzle

3 oz demerara rum
0.75 oz lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
3 heavy dashes angostura bitters
fresh mint

Add all ingredients into a tall glass. Also add the spent lime shell – like you do when you shake up a Mai Tai – then you get the oils from the peel into the drink which makes it more aromatic.

Then fill up with crushed ice and and start swizzle until the glass frosts over. Add a sprig of fresh mint for garnish and place it on top of the drink like a queens crown and add a straw.

Now – fill up with some more crushed ice. And finally – add a few extra dashes of the Angostura bitters on top of the drink, this also adds some extra red color  Now it looks real tasty – enjoy!

Nobody can say this drink tastes bad…its an excellent drink and so refreshing. But if you know me you´ll also know that i like to play around with ingredients and flavors and make twists of drinks and so i tried a variation and used creole bitters instead of angostura and it gave the drink a different aromatic twist

I also reformulated the rum ratio to 2 oz and added 1 oz of aged cachaca.

CREOLE SWIZZLE

creole-swizzle

2 oz demerara rum
1 oz aged cachaca (i used Abelha Gold)
0.75 oz lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
2 dashes creole bitters
fresh mint – or even better – chocolate mint

Makes for an ok swizzle i think but i do prefer the aromatics from the Queen´s Park better, and i like to add lots of angostura bitters in it.

Shall we swizzle some more or is this enough? some say two at the most..and as i`m doing a series on swizzles i think i need to have a few swizzles left for the next couple posts..

But go ahead and swizzle up another Creole swizzle or Queens Park!

Trinidad Especial and Fragrant Vanilla Bean

WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

In this blog i`m going to write about tiki drinks, cocktails, rums and other spirits and occassionally throw in a food recipe in the “pages”. Its going to involve quite a bit of rum and tikidrinks…but also the making of syrups, bitters and infusions…and whatever else i may come up with.

I do this for fun and i hope you`ll have fun too!

Its something special about vanilla..maybe its the warm sensual fragrance and flavor of this beautiful exotic tropical climbing orchid…or the beauty of the flowers which only are open for a few hours in the morning. Maybe its the rich fragrant and oily darkness of the cured beans which at first are green. Vanilla flowers once a year in a period of about two months.

I love vanilla and i always have my favorite beans at home which are the Tahitian beans, from vanilla tahitensis. They have a very special floral aroma and flavor.

I`ve made my jar of vanilla sugar with these beans since about 10 years now. I mix 1 pack each of Tate&Lyles – or Billingtons dark and light Muscovado sugars with 3-4 Tahitian beans which i split on the length and scrape out all those lovely tiny black seeds which i mix with the sugars.

The longer they stay in the sugar the more flavor the sugar takes on from the beans. When the sugar is finished i just add some more and it goes on and on..

I also make my vanilla syrups using 1:1 ratio sugar and water and add a couple of split beans to the pan, let it simmer and then cool before i discard the beans (rinsing them and moving them to the sugar jar that is) and bottle my syrup.

A friend to me did mention that the Trinidad Especial cocktail, made by Valentino Bolognese who also won the European Angostura Cocktail Competition 2008 with this unusual cocktail – which indeed is a very special cocktail – using no less than 30 ml of Angostura bitters – is nice poured over vanilla ice cream..

Such a brilliant idea is one i cannot resist trying out. So i made both the cocktail and the vanilla ice cream with some of the cocktail poured over it..sounds a bit crazy but that´s how it was supposed to be done…and indeed this cocktail tastes good!

It wasn`t that bitter as i first expected but rather aromatic and spicy with a heavy dose of clove flavor. On the ice cream it was a treat.

TRINIDAD ESPECIAL

10 ml. Pisco Mistral
20 ml. fresh lime juice
30 ml. barley syrup
30 ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
Shake hard and long, and strain in a Martini glass.