BOB`S AMAZING BITTERS

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It was through a friend that i first heard about Bob`s bitters, and when i graciously received samples my joy was complete and curious as never before because these are some unusual flavors, i started to taste them. The interesting thing with these bitters is the whole concept of using one flavor in each bitter which leaves a lot of potential for cocktails. Bob first got involved in the booze trade when he started to create fresh fruit infused sake using only natural ingredients and no preservatives or coloring, blended with Junmai Ginjou Sake, thus creating Nijizaki wines.

The bitters started 3 years ago when Bob was approached by Guiliano Morandin who has been the bar manager at the Dorchester Hotel for 25 years. With the relaunch of the new bar Guiliano had the idea of the gin experience which with your gin & tonic, you could choose from a selection of bitters.

The first experiments were made with the botanicals that are used in the making of gin in mind and it started with individual ingridients creating individual flavors and from there it has developed. Bobs Bitters has become more popular with bartenders as it allows them to use their creativity in adding just the ingredients they want to add.

A good example of how well it works is the Perfect Ten, a martini based around Tanqueray Ten Gin and grapefruit bitters that has been created by Guiliano. The Liquorice Bitters was created for Ago Perrone of the Connaught Bar for use in developing cocktails using the newly reformulated Galliano L’Authentico.

As i write this i get to hear about a new flavor in the process of being developed by Bob which is tangerine – made from 20 year old tangerine skins! According to Bob the skins get better over the years and these are also sundried thus having a brownish coloras apposed to orange, very similar to what the Italians do with sun dried tomatoes. I also hear that the prototype for the coming bitters are very fresh, bright and crisp like the grapefruit bitters and with a sharp edge. Interesting, and those i can imagine goes well with cachaca, rum and tequila as does the grapefruit bitters. Bob did also mention heavily aged bourbon with these bitters. Right now they are tested at the Dorchester bar.

The first one of the bitters i tried was the  grapefruit bitters as i`ve heard about how nice they are, and that is true, they have an incredible freshness, its like bitter fresh cut grapefruit peel. Very nice and with a laidback bitter background. The next i tried was the ginger flavor and it started quite bitter immediately followed by a natural ginger flavor. I look forward to experiment with the ginger bitters.

I like spices so i went on with the cardamom and coriander bitters, interesting flavors for bitters i think. They are both very spicy, very warm, these two will be among those i use the most i suspect. Also very interesting is the licorice bitters, this one has a very fresh aroma, immediately i got to think about pairing it with pineapple and vanilla. I`m usually not so much a fan of licorice but in very small amounts i like it. The licorice bitters have a very clean flavor and i find them intriguing.

Me who loves vanilla so much and with an aversion of those artificial vanilla flavors you see everywhere on the shelfs is not dissappointed at all with these vanilla bitters. They have a pronounced natural vanilla flavor but not overpowering, followed by a lingering warm aftertaste.

The last one of these wonderful bitters i tried was lavender. These are not surprisingly very floral – and light with a strong lavender flavor. This is definetily for Gin!

So of course i had to make a cocktail with these bitters and so i decided to mix up a cachaca drink that combines cardamom and vanilla bitters with african rooibos tea and honey. It will take time to experiment with all these bitters and find out specific cocktails paired with specific bitters but oh so fun!

ROOIBOS ICED TEA COCKTAIL

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2 oz cachaca

2 oz rooibos tea

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.75 oz honey

1 tsp orgeat

dash Bob`s vanilla bitters

dash Bob´s cardamom bitters

vanilla bean

3  lime quarters.

Split the vanilla bean and scrape out all the seeds you can and add to shaker. Save the bean for garnish. Add to shaker: cachaca, rooibos tea, bitters, lime juice, orgeat and honey (melted to liquid) Shake over ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime quarters in the glass and the vanilla bean. The cardamom flavor mixes well with the cachaca while the vanilla flavor, honey and tea makes for a mellow background. The amount of honey and orgeat may be adjusted to your taste.

I can safely say that after trying Bob`s  bitters both by themselves and in various cocktails (one was a Mai Tai with the grapefruit bitters)  i give my thumbs up! When these samples are finished Bob can count me into his line of regular costumers;-)

Bob’s Bitters is used at The Connaught and Dorchester Bars in London.They are also available to commercial and private customers directly from Nijizaki.

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Sugarcane bar

 

FLAMING POLYNESIAN PARALYZIS

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February – dubbed the “tiki month” by Doug Tiki Doug is soon reaching its end. That will not mean that my posting of tikidrinks will reach its end..they will always be present as they are a part of my life. But to “finish” this tiki-month and to find a reason to try out my newly made batch of vanilla orgeat i took up my copy of Grog Log and found a drink with a interesting name, “Polynesian Paralyzis”.

It was a H Allen Smtih who in his book “Waikiki Beachnik” diagnosed the symptoms of polynesian paralyzis as a “screaming desire not to work or do anything that requires any physical or mental efforts” (!) Reading further i also get to learn about the most extreme case of this “disease” at that time (1920) called “Waikiki pip” – being that of Duke of Windsor who went on to renounce the throne of England.. Curious of the effects of this drink which was given such a name i went on to mix it,safely on a saturday night.

Unfortunatley one of the ingredients called for is an ingredient i really would like to get a chance to taste someday, its called Okolehao and is a an 80 proof Hawaiian liquor made from a mash of the ti plant and is known on the islands as oke, unfortunately not made anymore. I remember reading at some point that oke was going to be produced again but haven`t heard anything more about it. There´s a thread on Tiki Central about it for those who would like to read.

I haven`t played with fire for too long so i added a half passionfruit shell filled with JWray soaked croutons and set alight. Flaming tikidrinks really are impressive when served in a dark room.

Here is the recipe:

FLAMING POLYNESIAN PARALYZIS

3 oz fresh orange juice ( i used blood orange)

3 oz insweetened pineapple juice

1 oz sweet & sour ( i added half simple syrup, half fresh lemon and lime juice)

0.5 oz orgeat

3 oz Martinique rum ( i used Clèment VSOP)

0.75 oz JWray overproof rum and 3-4 croutons

Blend with 12 oz crushed ice for 5 sec. Pour into tiki bowl (or mug) I garnished with a blood orange slice and a half passionfruit shell with JWray soaked croutons on fire.

I find this drink refreshing due to the agricole rum`s grassy flavor and paired with fresh orange juice and orgeat its really nice. Its quite strong so after 2 or 3 of these you`ll have enough. After one at least I didn`t feel like being too active so the name is quite fitting, maybe only the zombie is worse, or the spindrift which is 0.5 oz stronger.

Is there any other tiki drinks that are strong like these?

TDN Z O O O O M B I E!!!

TDN This thursday was Zombie time! the Zombie is one of my favorite tiki drinks and my favorite Zombie is the Zombie-punch from 1934 (Sippin Safari) But TDN is not about making already known cocktails, its about creating new, and out of every TDN some quality cocktails are made. But also in true TDN fashion some of the recipes are wild, it tends to become more and more imaginative the later it gets..That means all are not true Zombies, more “Zombie-like” maybe…in typical TDN style…

This was the description: Thursday Drink Night Some may praise it as the quintessential tiki drink, others may tout it as a horrific explosion of bad rum and candy-red syrup, but to know the Zombie truly is to have seen paradise. A wild mix of rums complimented by a perfect dose of citrus and more than a handful of complex and absolutely required drips and dashes.

Want to try a Zombie made with a float of gin? How about with a few dashes of creme de violette? Or maybe a few drops of orange flower water? Come up with the best new Zombie recipe and you’ll find yourself in the possession of a custom-designed, Zombie-themed mug forged by Cass McClure (aka Ocea Otica). Not only that, but your name will be emblazoned upon its visage.

A whole array of Zombies were made through the night in true TDN style, but this was the first TDN i was almost falling asleep in front of the computer during the late part of the night well zombied out. It was impossible to make them all but the recipes are on twitter. The winning Zombie voted for among 5 finalists at the Mixoloseum blog was posted today at the Kaiserpenguin and  Mixoloseum blogs. Congrats to the winner!

Here are my Zombies for the TDN  night:

BLOODY ZOMBIE

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1.5 oz white rum

1.5 oz white rhum agricole

Generous float JWray overproof

1 oz passionfruit juice

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz simple syrup

¼ oz vanilla syrup

Dash pimento dram.

A good and healthy float of Jwray overproof rum, and then generously float hibiscus grenadine. Shake and pour into a chimney glass almost filled with crushed ice, throw in a pineapple leaf for garnish.

MEXICAN ZOMBIE

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1.5 oz tequila reposado

1 oz absinthe

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz passionfruit liqueur

0.5 oz lime

0.5 oz agave syrup

Float JWray overproof rum.

Shake it all and pour into glass with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple.

GUYANA ZOMBIE

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2 oz demerara rum

1 oz pineapple juice

1 oz honey-mix

1 tsp cream of coconut

0.5 oz fresh lime

A decent float of 151 demerara.

Serve in goblet with crushed ice. Sprinkle demerara sugar on top.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkled demerara sugar, limewedge and brandied cherry.

Cheeeeers!

Sugarcane bar

Hibiscus Grenadine

What happens if you throw in a handful of dried hibiscus flowers into homemade bright grenadine? – it turns to teh awesome….

When you make homemade grenadine it usually gets paler in color than the commercial variants, but with the dried hibiscus flowers added this isn`t the case anymore, the hibiscus flowers inparts a blood red color. And on top of that they also add a very fresh crisp and floral tropical flavor.

It was my friend Chris Stanley from Rookie libations who first told me about adding dried hibiscus flowers to the grenadine, and i will be forever grateful.

Commercial grenadine cannot compare to homemade and its worth the little effort to make it yourself, it doesn`t take long time either. But you need to have fresh pomegranates and these are fairly expensive, but for home use 1 large pomegranate makes about 1L grenadine.

But the measures are a bit approximate but this is a forgiving recipe, it´s not like baking where everything has to be exact, sometimes i use one large pomegranate (if it´s huge) and sometimes i use two if they are a bit smaller.

Same thing with the flowers, i throw in “a handful” and it always works like a charm..

 

So here is how to make it:

Get 1-2 large pomegranates, check that they are of good quality. To easiest separate the seeds from the bitter membrane, just cut the pomegranate in quarters and brake loose the seeds under water in a bowl.

The seeds will sink and the membrane float.

In a pot make a simple syrup by adding 1:1 sugar and water, and add the pomegranate seeds and a good handful of dried hibiscus flowers. I find my hibiscus flowers in a health shop. Then lightly boil this for about 5 min, then simmer for another 10 min before taking off the heat and set aside to cool.

Leave to cool and set for 1-2 hrs to really get the flavors out.

Then strain and bottle in a clean bottle and keep the grenadine in the fridge. I dont know how long it lasts before it go bad as I always use it up fairly quick, but I would guess 1-2 months. To get a really bright red color its best to use white or light colored sugar.

See what a bright red color you get because you combine both pomegranate seeds and hibiscus flowers…and it´s all natural.

As I`m very fond of raw sugars and not so much like the refined white sugar I use a raw cane sugar that is called oxfam and it has a very lightly tinted white/goldish color which doesnt darken the final grenadine color.

Here is one of my favorite drinks containing grenadine and which becomes even tastier with hibiscus grenadine.

PORT LIGHT By trader Vic – page 66 in Grog Log

1 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
3 tsp grenadine
1 oz Bourbon

Blend with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 sek and pour into collins glass or nautical tumbler.Add more crushed ice to fill.

Here is Trader Vic`s Port Light from Trader Vic’s Pacific Island Cookbook

In a blender with 1 scoop shave ice:
2 tsp honey
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Mynor’s Passion Fruit Nectar
1 egg white
2oz Bourbon

Blend and pour into Port Light glass, or a red tumbler with cracked ice. Decorate with fresh mint. The same drink using scotch instead of bourbon is called Starboard Light.

The Port Light and Starboard Light cocktails were originally served in special glass “Marine Tumblers” – the red glass for the Port and the green glass for the Starboard.