RED STRIPE – THAT LOVELY JAMAICAN BEER

redstripe-glass

When it comes to beer i`ve had a few that has been in the cathegory of those i will really remember, like the locally made Abita strawberry in New Orleans that Chuck over at Gumbopages treated us to on our walk in the heat, or the oh so lovely peach beer i had in PA. I also very much like Singha from Thailand which is in the light cathegory – perfect for hot thai food, but i also like the dark and bitter..in other words – i like beer.

But there´s another one that is very special and which is a favorite and fortunately just like Singha also is available to me all the time – not an unimportant factor – and that´s the Jamaican Red Stripe. This beer is also nostalgia to me, it has been there for so many years at first introduced to me here by Caribbean friends and this really is a  good beer – one of the best.

Red Stripe is good for all occasions and is one of those things that are really useful. I was even introduced to a drink containing the unlikely combo of Redstripe and Jwray (!) courtesy Rick “Kaiserpenguin” and Robert “Drinkdogma” in the Mixoloseum House during Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans…(where else would you get to taste such a combo?) did it taste any good? Honestly i think it did actually…as much as i can recall  –  i was mostly surprised.

Both Jwray and Redstripe are from Jamaica as is Appleton, Ting, good music and some very tasty food – yes that little island produces much good things. Now…Redstripe is a great beer to drink with grilled food, like chicken jerk for example. Its amazing how well things that comes from the same place pairs together – something to think about when one is experimenting with creating cocktails with new flavors or cocktail and food pairing.

IT STARTED AS AN ALE – TODAY IT’S A LAGER

The first Red Stripe was brewed in the year 1928 in the Surrey Brewery on Pechon Street in the heart of downtown Kingston by Thomas Hargreaves Geddes and Eugene Desnoes who formed Desnoes & Geddes Company Limited. The company was originally a soft drink manufacturer that was incorporated in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1918. The first brewed Redstripe in 1928 was an ale-like beer, dark and thick and Red Stripe didn´t gain any real popularity until the recipe was changed and Red Stripe became a lager style beer.The original Surrey Brewery on Pechon Street was eventually taken down and replaced in 1958 by the modern plant at Hunt’s Bay.

Red Stripe is considered a milestone in the history of Jamaica, because in 1962 when Jamaica gained independence from Britain ”The Daily Gleaner” wrote “the real date of independence should have been 1928, when we established our self respect and self confidence through the production of a beer far beyond the capacity of mere colonial dependants.”

Red Stripe as we know it today is not the same as it was –  today it’s a light golden lager first brewed in 1934 by Paul Geddes and Bill Martindale. Desnoes & Geddes became part of the Guinness Brewing Worldwide (now DIAGEO) to distribute the yummy Red Stripe beer darling all over the world. Red Stripe beer is 4.7 percent alcohol.

Since 1976 Red Stripe has been brewed under license in the UK by the Bedford based brewers, Charles Wells. In the UK its packaged in cans. Those i buy here are sold in the original round little brown bottle with its painted label but maybe they have those too in the UK. I think this little distinctive bottle is important and the first efforts to sell this beer in the US in 1985 failed just because they tried to sell it in another type of bottle which was a green standard type of bottle That didn´t change until they started to sell it in its original bottle and with a little help of the increasing popularity of reggae.

Red Stripe is a big sponsor of reggae and ska concerts, as well as the annual Reggae Sunfest in Montego Bay. Red Stripe has also sponsored the Jamaican bobsled team and served as Caribbean regional sponsor for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

So to refresh my memory and put some awesomeness to my day i decided to make that drink again – Redstripe and Jwray –  it cannot possibly be simpler – just add equal parts of them in a glass, make sure the beer is well chilled and then cheers!

red-stripe-box

MxMo XLV: TEAS

mxmologo

Its tea time folks!

MxMo XLV says TEA…over at Cocktail Virgin Slut who is hosting the event this month is written: “Find or concoct a drink recipe that uses tea or tisane (a herbal “tea” which lacks tea leaves) as an ingredient. This can be hot tea, cold tea, tea syrups, or infusions and use it in a cocktail, punch, or other drink type.”

I like to drink tea, all kinds of tea but i must admit i rarely use it in cocktails. Now there´s a tea that i like, its called Kusmi and is a Russian-style tea and tea blends established in 1867 in St. Petersburg, Russia. But in 1917 after the Russian revolution the company relocated to France. These teas are blends of Ceylon, Indian and Chinese teas and are often flavored with fruits, spices and other scents.

One of my favorite blends is Kusmi mint and chocolate and i decided to try it and make a classic Cuban mojito with a twist adding some of the mint and chocolate Kusmi tea. This tea is flavored with only natural ingredients and tastes very good and should do well in a mojito. Really…the mojito is a summer drink – but i don`t care because i like to pretend its always summer and the mojito is always nice plus i could not resist trying this thing out to see what happened.

Here´s the recipe:

KUSMI MINT CHOCOLATE MOJITO

kusmi-chocolate-mint-mojito

2 oz white rum ( i should have used Havana Club blanco here but it`s finished so i used El Dorado 3 year cask aged white which is a superb rum in my opinion)
1 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz raw sugar syrup (light, i use Oxfam which is lightly tanned and fine to make this syrup)
10 mint leaves
2 oz Kusmi mint and chocolate tea – cooled
Top with some Club soda

Muddle mint, raw sugar syrup and lime in a glass. Fill glass with ice and add rum and tea and top with Club Soda, stir. Garnish with a mint sprig or why not tea leaves? Actually the drink turned out to be very refreshing and i think the mint and chocolate Kusmi tea played weill with the mojito. I think i might mix this one more times.

Adding Kusmi tea to a cocktail was an interesting experiment which i wouldn´t have got the idea to do  if it wasn´t for this Mixology Monday theme. Maybe  i`ll get busy playing with different Kusmi teas.

Thank you Cocktailvirgin for hosting!

kusmi-tea

DO YOU COLLECT BARTOOLS?

barware

Bartools is a topic that interest many including myself and one day i got the idea to check out what i really have and started to dig out my shakers, jiggers, spoons and muddlers. Like most cocktail geeks i have more than i need for myself – that`s clear but it doesn`t matter because there`s always occasions when you need to bring along your tools. Its of course better to have a set of tools that you like and therefore use than tons of things that just will take up space but on the other hand..its also fun and something very satisfying in collecting beautiful and useful bartools.

I`m especially fond of shakers, muddlers and spoons, but for some reason i have managed to abtain quite a bit of different jiggers and have found out which jiggers are my favorites and its actually 3 different jiggers. As for spoons i will always love my Inox barspoon from Italy with a little muddler top. Its wonderful in my hand and its slightly bent at the spoon-part which i like. But its good  to have a few with different shapes.

A very nice barspoon is the japanese spoon that has a fork at the end. These also comes in gold and indeed they look elegant and cool. One such spoon was the prize for the best cocktail during the 1 year anniversary TDN, not a bad prize! and it went to Tony Harion (Mixingbar) Otherwise you can get them from Cocktail Kingdom.

“Stir with love” oh yes!

…and shake…and how i love the sound of the shaker! When it comes to shakers, i more or less always use the same old shaker – its a boston shaker with two tins that once lived in a bar and that has a partially rubber surface on the biggest of  the tins giving it a good grip, its old and worn-out and i love it.

Another interesting topic is vintage shakers and i would like to start collecting a few of those, they are very interesting and really beautiful and some has some fun shapes. I wouldn`t mind having one or two vintage Hawkes sterling and crystal shakers…I saw some very interesting vintage barware and tools (among many other interesting things) at the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans and quite a few similar looking shakers in the shops windows.

If you`re interested in cocktail shakers, here is a good site: http://cocktailshakers.com/

shakers

Shakers in the shops windows in New Orleans.
shaker-moac1

Vintage shaker at the Museum of the American Cocktail

Another barware that  i`m very fond of is the bitters or dasher bottles. Oh are they beautiful and useful! I collect them whenever i get a chance, all kinds of varietes, the ones we can buy here comes from Germany. The one i like the most is the rounded art-deco style bottles with “cracked” glass but there´s those beautiful  japanese bottles too and by now you should know where to find them.

Soda siphons is something else that i find interesting and especially i find the meshed ones really beautiful and talking about soda, have you yet checked out the book “Fix the Pumps” by Darcy O`Neil?  – if you haven`t i think you should, its a massive work containing a lot of interesting reading about everything from the history of the soda fountain to obscure tincture recipes.

The muddler is another collectors item and one of the most useful of the tools and if i`m not wrong Camper has quite a collection. I like robust muddlers of wood and to my luck i was graced with an excellent Pug-muddler of my good friend Kaiserpenguin. (PUG stands for “Pick Up Gallagher’s” ) and are made by Chris Gallagher in Cornwall, New York. They come in a variety of woods and can be ordered by contacting him at jcgallagher08@hotmail.com

Here is a link to a picture of the Pug muddlers which really looks like work of art.

The Pug muddler is said to be the best muddler and it is good, very good even though for me it took a little while for me to get used to the pointed top. I do  have other muddlers too of course, and sometimes another muddler may fit better, its all depending on what`s going to be muddled and the shape of the glass, for example a thinner muddler fits better in a tall narrow glass, like the one from Leblon.

Here is a great post about Pug and other muddlers.

So which are your favorite tools and why? do you collect something special?

bartools

 

Sugarcane bar

 

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CATDADDY CAROLINA MOONSHINE

catdaddy-and-midnight-moon1

The first time i was introduced to these interesting products was in New Orleans at the Tales of Cocktail  and if there´s one thing i find interesting its genuine artisanal and handcrafted stuff. Now five months later i get the chance to play with them myself and its going to be really interesting to see what good uses i can find with these unique products.

Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, Midnight Moon and Midnight Moon Lightning Lemonade are three now legal moonshine products made by Piedmont Distillers which is a small and only legal distiller in North Carolina. The flavor of Catdaddy is a mix of several different flavors and tastes sweet, spicy and homely. They say folks who tries it often recognizes something familiar in the flavor but the flavor is a mystery and nobody knows what`s in it. To me the flavor i feel is familiar to me is a touch of what you can find in Root and rootbeer. Catdaddy Moonshine is very smooth and easy to sip but i have also found another potential with it – apart from being mixable in cocktails it also has great potential in tikidrinks due to its spiciness.

Piedmont Distillery has taken the traditions of American moonshine to create spirits of superior quality. Simply – this is 80 proof flavored moonshine and like a lot of homemade moonshine this is  ifused with fruit – but not only – there´s other flavors added as well thus making this one unique. They also claim that Catdaddy contains ingredients that aren`t used in any other products.

Catdaddy, Midnight Moon and Lightning Lemonade are all made from American corn – triple-distilled, handcrafted in small batches and made in a copper column still. I find that the Catdaddy bottle is particularly interesting with the tall shape and the engraved triple X ( meaning its triple distilled) and dark brown color. It looks different and really cool.

This is a one-of-a kind – product with a very distict flavour made with – of course – a secret recipe and it was introduced year 2005. Legend has it that only the best moonshine earned the right to be called Catdaddy. There`s a lot of exciting ways to use this and not only for drinking. One is to use it in marinades or creme brulee..I haven`t yet tried it in cooking but that`s definetily something i`m going to do. Maybe it would be great in its own version of a Cajun Cane Syrup Cake? it would probably go well with dark chocolate too.

carolina-moonshine-and-lightning-lemonade

The Midnight Moon  is made from Junior Johnson`s generation-old family moonshine recipe and every batch is born in an authentic copper still and is hand-crafted in very small batches. The Lighning Lemonade is based on the Midnight Moon and is infused with all natural ingredients to give it the taste of homemade lemonade and it really does have a pronounced lemon flavor which  is like lemonade.. Here simplicity is the best – enjoyed over ice with a splash of tonic or club soda. I made my own version and added Ting (Jamaican grapefruit beverage).

But before i tried the Lighning Lemonade with Ting i made a 1934 Zombie Punch which is my favorite Zombie – adding 1 oz of the Catdaddy but keeping the ratio of booze at 4 oz still by reducing the Jamaican and golden rums with 0.5 oz each.

CATDADDY MOONSHINE ZOMBIE PUNCH

catdaddy-zombie-2

¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz Donn`s mix ( 2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup)
½ oz Falernum
1.0 oz dark Jamaican rum
1.0 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1 oz 151 demerara rum
1 oz Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine
Dash Angostura bitters
6 drops Herbasint or Pernod
1 tsp Grenadine
6 oz crushed ice

Put everything into a blender, saving ice for last and blend at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into a chimney glass. Garnish 2 pineapple leaves and a lime slice. Well, this one was strong, but then again, it’s a zombie. The flavor of the Catdaddy is there in the background mingling with the rums adding to the spiciness. Somehow i find the Zombie to be a quite homely drink but the old advice of limit two is there for a reason.

The next one doesn´t taste strong at all – in fact it tastes like lemonade spiked with Ting. Very nice on a hot day i can imagine..its in the middle of winter now but this tastes nice still. I think i`ll have to remake this when the summer is back again though because really its a summer drink.

LIGHTNING & TING

lightning-and-ting-2

2 oz Carolina Moonshine Lightning Lemonade

Fill up with ice cubes and add lightning lemonade. Garnish with a slice of lemon. If you don`t want lemon flavor, you can use the Carolina Moonshine instead and garnish with a grapefruit peel. Then you get a refreshing and nice Moonshine Grapefruit Tonic.

Overall i think these are really interesting and good quality products and i`m especially fond of the Catdaddy with its spiciness. I will most likely also be back later with a post for my little food section with a Catdaddy cane syrup cake..

catdaddy-box1

I think the boozefairy is better than santa claus..

Sugarcane bar

 

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MIXING THROUGH GROG LOG – 3 Aurora Bora Borealis and a Tiki drink in honor of the preservation of the sea turtle.

We all know that Tikidrinks has exotic and/or weird names and the third drink in Grog Log certainly has exactly that: Aurora Bora Borealis…what does that mean? it sounds like the name of some sort of exotic sea creature…or the scientific name of some parasitic plant species living in the cloud forest or maybe some sort of sea star?

Seeing that name on a drink menu in a tiki bar wouldn’t give any hint of what this exotic drink may contain but to tell you the truth, I could order it for the name alone.. The “Bora” in it reminded me of the beautiful  island Bora Bora.

I had to find out the meaning of this name and the only way to do it was to turn to the author of Grog Log himself, namely our own Jeff Beachbum Berry who says the name is a combination of space-age and Tiki references — the Aurora Borealis and the island of Bora Bora. Well, i accept that – Bora Bora is like i said, my dream destination after Moorea..

In my opinion a  good cocktail starts with fresh ingredients and there´s good fresh juices in this one.

AURORA BORA BOREALIS

aurora-bora-borealis1

0.5 oz Coco Lopez coconut cream
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz orange juice
tsp orgeat syrup
1 oz dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz light Puerto Rican Rum

Blend with ½ cup crushed ice on low speed for 15 sec. Pour into large cocktail glass.

I find this cocktail very tropical indeed and also quite refreshing. If you don`t like coconut then this isn`t for you but if you like me just love it, well – then give it a try! Its a bit on the sweet side.

The next, which is made in honor of the preservation of the sea turtle is a twist on this one using blood orange juice, fresh lime, vanilla syrup and honey. To this goes El Dorado 3 year old cask aged white rum and Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced rum, two of my favorite rums. Its also a little bit sweet and tropical drink – as it should be in this case. But the Angostura bitters and spice from the ONO rum saves it from going too girlie i think.

The name Honu iti means little or small turtle. On Bora Bora there´s a sea turtle sactuary at Le Méridien which may be the only resort in the world with its own colony of this endangered specie. It may sound like a tourst trap but its about much more than entertaining tourists. They have returned some 500 turtles to the wild  – which in reality is only one teardrop in the ocean but none of those 500 turtles would be alive today had they not been rescued by the resort.

The green sea turtle is green because thier body fat is green – because they turns vegetarian as they mature. They can become 80-90 years old in comparaision to the tortoise which can reach an age of 250. Only one out of  1000  baby sea turtles will reach adult size, so they are very vulnerable. The turtle or Honu is my lucky animal and no matter what how good people say turtle soup is, i could never eat my lucky animal..

Here you can read more about the sea turtles on Bora Bora.

HONU ITI

honu-iti

0.5 oz Coco Lopez coconut cream
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz fresh blood orange juice
0.5 oz tahitian vanilla syrup
1 tsp liquid honey
dash Angostura
1 oz El Dorado 3 year old white cask aged rum
1 oz ONO Cajun Spiced rum

Blend with ½ cup crushed ice on high speed for 15 sec. Pour into large cocktail glass. Garnish with a vanilla bean and if you have it – a lovely orchid.

DOES CAFFEINE REALLY CAUSE DEHYDRATION? NO!

coffee

The truth is  – it doesn`t – and now we`re going to kill the caffeine dehydration myth once and for all. I`m more than willing to say my word on this topic and here´s why:  Its totally useless that a myth shall abound that prevents people from having a cup of good coffee when they´re hangover when actually it would help. I`m an avid coffee drinker and have been since “i was born”, it hasn`t harmed me at any time. I`m writing now about caffeine and coffee because the misbelief that caffeine causes dehydration during hangovers needs to be corrected. It has been a myth for long and a myth is just that – a myth.

I`m talking about a normal coffee consumption which is what? well, to me its not that much, its about 2 cups a day. To others i`ve heard them say 16 cups is “normal”, well i would say up to 5 cups (which has been scientifically proven) as stated in Darcy`s article about this topic which is also the reason i`m taking it up here. Because as i said, there is no reason in the world that people should not drink coffee when they have a hangover when it would actually help them feel so much better.

Now – if you head over to Darcy`s blog “Art of Drink” you will be enlightened as to why it is that the belief that caffeine causes dehydration during hangovers is so widespread while the truth is just the opposite – that coffee does not cause dehydration during hangovers.

Luckily i rarely get any bad hangovers (unless i`m at the Tales in New Orleans- where i btw had some of the best coffee ever) because i drink moderately – but when it happens i know for sure that coffee really helps.  And coffee is good, it smells good, tastes good, makes you feel good and i believe strongly that a moderate amount of caffeine isn´t bad for you (unless you suffer from ulcer problems for example, but that`s another topic of discussion)

Headache can be caused by a zillion of things but one of the most common is dehydration and that`s why you get a headache in the first place when you`re hangover as alcohol causes dehydration. Caffeine now has the ability to cure that by hydrating you. A healthy amount of caffeine to wake you up and lift your mood – isn`t that exactly what we need the day after?

Further on there has been some serious research done on this topic which you can read about here:

The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration.
Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The Center for Human Nutrition, Omaha
(Journal of the American College of Nutrition, October 2000)

Conclusion: This preliminary study found no significant differences in the effect of various combinations of beverages on hydration status of healthy adult males. Advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results of this study.

Urinary caffeine after coffee consumption and heat dehydration.
Chambaz A, Meirim I, Décombaz J. Nestlé Research Centre, Nestec Ltd, Lausanne, Switzerland.
(International journal of sport Medicine, July 2001)

Conclusion: These results suggest that the rise in circulating caffeine due to delayed metabolic clearance was partly opposed by a sizeable elimination in sweat. Therefore, heat dehydration did not lead to higher concentration of caffeine in urine after coffee ingestion.

Caffeine, body fluid-electrolyte balance, and exercise performance.
Armstrong LE. Departments of Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, and Physiology & Neurobiology, University of Connecticut (International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, June 2002)

Conclusion: The scientific literature suggests that athletes and recreational enthusiasts will not incur detrimental fluid-electrolyte imbalances if they consume coffee beverages in moderation and eat a typical U.S. diet. Sedentary members of the general public should be at less risk than athletes because their fluid losses via sweating are smaller.

Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review.
Maughan RJ, Griffin J. School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK
(Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, December 2003)

Conclusion: The most ecologically valid of the published studies offers no support for the suggestion that consumption of caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle leads to fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested or is associated with poor hydration status. Therefore, there would appear to be no clear basis for refraining from caffeine containing drinks in situations where fluid balance might be compromised.

Rehydration with a caffeinated beverage during the nonexercise periods of 3 consecutive days of 2-a-day practices.
Fiala KA, Casa DJ, Roti MW. Department of Kinesiology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut (International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, August 2004)

Conclusion: In summary, there is little evidence to suggest that the use of beverages containing caffeine during nonexercise might hinder hydration status.