EL DORADO 8 YEAR OLD RUM

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It took a while but now i have finally been able to try out El Dorado`s eight year old rum. This is a blend of pot still and column still rums – aged in used whisky and bourbon barrels and was launched in the UK at Trailer Happiness in october-09 just after the UK Rumfest. I was so close to go but things weren´t in my favor so i never made it, maybe i have better luck next time.

When it comes to El Dorado rums i`m always so curious to know more about their stills, one can maybe say that i`m slightly obsessed with these old stills..and the process with which rum is made – i find it totally fascinating. What is missing for me is to actually go there and see them for myself and taste some rum – that would be totally awesome.

The stills used for the 8yo are between the 5yo and the 12yo – it is predominantly the EHP (wooden column still) with a tiny bit of the PM (double wooden pot still) and a couple of metal column stills. The 12yo and upwards all have more pot still than the 8yo whereas the 3yo & 5yo are 100% column still.

But i have a treasure here…its called liquid gold and i wanna tell you how i think it tastes.

The first thing i noticed when i took my first sip was that this one is lighter than the 12 year old, but heavier than the 5 year old so it places itself somewhere in between. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than the 12 but the balance of flavors is as good as you would expect a rum from El Dorado and its not a weak rum. I totally expect every single rum from them to be good and so far i have never been disappointed and i don´t think i ever will be.

The new bottles are cool with a rounded shape but i really hope they never ever change the bottles of the 12,15 , 21 and 25 year old rums because those bottles are the very essence of really rummy bottles. All their bottles also has some stunning labels.

But back to the flavor… this rum is fullbodied and has notes of both vanilla, toffee, dried fruit and citrus and then molasses, wood and spice. Its hard to try to describe flavors and notes and taste is also so personal but i try to give words to the flavors that fills my palate. Its also a training thing – the more rums you taste the better you can detect the various flavors and rum has many flavors!

The nose is to me somewhat woody and spicy with some hints of vanilla. If i close my eyes i see old rum barrels…and the lingering of the flavor stays long with you. This is much rum you get to a good price and all i can say is that El Dorado has come up with yet another outstanding rum.

Its very mixable too and that is a good thing because now we´re gonna mix up two rum swizzles and we`re gonna do it in style with a real sturdy El Dorado wooden swizzle stick! I love the sound of swizzling as much as the sound of the shaker, its something about the sound of crushed ice chilling a cocktail – its like music – and then when the drink arrives, ice cold and eye-pleasingly garnished unless its a non-garnish drink – its one of life`s true pleasures.

So let`s swizzle!

Swizzling is fun and the sound of the crushed tells you about the tastiness that`s gonna soon be ready to be imbibed. When you see the glass has become frosted on the outside, then you know the drink is cold enough.

GOLDEN SUN SWIZZLE

golden-sun

1.5 oz passionfruit juice

0.5 oz fresh orange juice

0.5 oz fresh lime

2 oz El Dorado 8 year old rum

1/4 simple syrup

1/4 passionfruit syrup

Dash Angostura bitters

Dash homemade greandine

Crushed ice

Swizzle it all in a tall glass half filled with crushed ice, then add a dash grenadine and fill up with more crushed ice. Garnish with fruits, a little mint and your swizzle stick.

I was a bit worried that the rum flavor wouldn`t come through with all this fruit but it did and the rum is enough present – as it should. I also think its important with homemade grenadine here as the natural flavors blends beautifully while a commercial grenadine probably would take over the flavor too much plus tasting – well – “evil”.

I wouldn`t mind a float of LH151 in this… Let`s make another one with a touch of exquisite dark chocolate:

SAVAGE GOLD & RAW CHOCOLATE

savage-gold-raw-chocolate

2 oz pineapple juice

1/4 oz Campari

1/4 oz Mozart Dry chocolate spirit

2 oz El Dorado 8 year old rum

0.5 oz fresh lime

1/4 oz simple syrup

Crushed ice

Swizzle all ingredients in a highball glass and garnish with pineapple leaves.

I think i like this one much better, the chocolate flavor comes through and marries so well with both the rum, pineapple, and the campari which adds that little extra. If you like a less sweet drink you may omit the 1/4 oz of simple.

This is an outstanding all-round rum and El Dorado hasn`t disappointed me this time either, but i didn`t expect that. I have only mixed with it here but i can assure you – its great sipped neat.

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MxMo XLVII: Punch

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I have a feeling of slipping in on a banana peel here, i forgot it was monday yesterday..

The topic is punch. There are many different kinds of punch and the host Hobson`s Choice states that “There aren’t really any specific limitations on this month’s subject”  and “Keep in mind that we are at that time of year when there are some wonderful citrus varieties available at the market. And in the warmer climates, we are already seeing the first of the Spring berries.”

There`s along tradition of punches and it would have been interesting to go more into it but i feel i don´t have time now as i need to whip up a cocktail pronto so i`ll keep it simple and mix up another type of punch that belongs to warm tropical days and nights.

I´ll go for lime and i`ll make a punch inspired by the Ti Punch – but not a traditional Ti Punch. The traditional Ti Punch is a simple as its delicate and so well suited for the tropical climate in where it was born.

Its rhum agricole, lime and sugar or cane syrup, maybe an ice cube or two, stirred in a rocks glass.

I`m using rhum agricole too – both aged and white, together with fresh lime juice and palmsugar and raw sugar, Trader Tiki`s exquisite vanilla syrup and then topped with a little Ting ( my faithful companion).

PALMSUGAR PUNCH

palmsugar-punch

1 oz rhum agricole vieux

1 oz rhum agricole blanc

1 tsp palmsugar

1/4 tsp golden raw sugar

1/4  oz Trader Tiki`s vanilla syrup

Lime and mint for garnish

Add ingredients in mixing glass and stir together well with ice, then strain into a punch glass and top with Ting. Garnish with lime and mint. You may adjust the levels of syrup and sugar to your own taste, this drink is forgiving.

This is a drink that talks about summer, well – its not summer yet but i pretend all year that it´s summer.

Happy Monday! (well-tuesday)

MIXING THROUGH GROG LOG 6 – Blackbeard`s Ghost

Tiki time again! and here we are, tiki cocktail number six – which is the Blackbeard`s Ghost.

It`s a Beachbum Berry original – a version of the Pirate`s Grog from Blackbeard`s Galley restaurant from cirka 1970`s which according to the description was a “feisty theme restaurant with decor to match its name.” There isn`t much more info to get on this drink, at least i didn´t find any.

Sounds like a promising drink to set set you in a rummy mood…it calls for these exquisite ingredients:

BLACKBEARD`S GHOST

blackbeards-ghost

1 oz orange juice

0.5 oz falernum

2 oz sweet and sour ( i mix equal parts fresh lime and lemon – and an equal part simple syrup to the lime and lemon mix)

0.5 oz apricot brandy

2 dashes angostura bitters

1.5 oz light Puerto Rican rum

0.5 oz demerara rum

Mix in cocktail shaker with a glass-full of crushed ice. Then pour everything back into glass.

Real sweet and sour – not the chemical mix – is the way to go as far as sweet and sour is concerned – at least to me. At first i thought 2 oz would be too much but it isn`t and falernum is just the right thing to balance everything togehter in this drink. I like this one, its goes down easily – its  fruity, sweet, sour, and lightly rummy with a pinch of spice from the angostura bitters. I`m not dissappointed. I used hm..not a Puerto Rican white here but El Dorado 3 year old cask aged white, quite a different rum.

Let`s stay in the company of rummy ghostly tiki cocktails for a while – my twist of this is another and very different ghost – where the apry is switched for the subtle caressing of sweet vanilla, the angostura bitters for the more dark and spicy chocolately Mole bitters – to pair with the vanilla which is a natural companion to chocolate.

Finally the demerara ratio is upped and the light rum have to be set aside for a while:

GHOST OF THE GALLEY

ghost-of-the-galley

1 oz orange juice

0.5 oz falernum

2 oz sweet and sour ( i mix equal parts fresh lime and lemon – and an equal part simple syrup to the lime and lemon mix)

0.5 oz Navan vanilla liqueur

1 dash Xocoatl Mole bitters

2 oz demerara rum

Mix in cocktail shaker with a glass-full of crushed ice. Then pour everything back into glass.

This one of course tastes differently yet there´s some similarity, but here the demerara takes a step to the front lightly backed up by the xocolatl mole bitters and the sweet vanilla is lingering around binding it all together.

Of course the choice of rums is the main thing to consider in this kind of drinks and playing around with different rums may bring out some surprises for the better or worse (hopefully the better).  For dark demerara i used OVD (Old Vatted Demerara) El Dorado 12 or equal parts 12 and 15 i believe would be very good too. But i have runned out of El D15…no surprise maybe.

I like this one too…i actually like`em both – so go ahead and try and let me know what you think.

THE ORIGINAL HERBSAINT – THE WAY IT USED TO BE

herbsaint-bottle

“French in name, French in origin, and French in its sophisticated appeal, Legendre Herbsaint is a drink distinctly European in character.”

Herbsaint advert from 1930`s

The Sazerac Company`s new recreation of the original Herbsaint complete with a gorgeous vintage label was a very pleasant thing to try out, it has that little bite and sharpness yet its more soft on the anise than the regular Herbsaint, its herbacious and very complex. Its very approachable and perfect for those classic cocktails it was used for like the Sazerac, Cocktail a la Louisiane, Herbsaint Suissesse and Herbsaint Frappe and so on. I find it even nice to sip on its own.

Absinthe was banned in 1912 and the Herbsaint was made to substitute it in the year 1934 by a New Orleans pharmacist named J.M. Legendre who secretly produced it in his home during prohibition. It wasn`t called Herbsaint at first – it was called “Legendre Absinthe” which wasn`t a name that pleased the federal government and so the name was changed. It didn`t even contain any wormwood.

Launched as Herbsaint it was marketed as  – “Drink Herbsaint Wherever Absinthe Is Called For” – Herbe Sainte is the French/Creole name for wormwood (literally “sacred herb”)

In 1949 the Herbsaint was sold to the Sazerac company and the formula was changed to a lower proof (90) and heavy on the star anise. Luckily now the Sazerac Company has decided to launch a Herbsaint made with the old formula and even with a replica of the vintage label. Its right in time as the interest for the old formula Herbsaint is rising.

This is a great vintage style Herbsaint and it really is ”the spirit of New Orleans,” and the spirit of the by-gone era of “old France of Louisiana”. Its surprisingly tasty and i for one always wants it to have a place in my bar.

Herbsaint Original is 100 proof and is available in 750ml bottles.The 90 proof Herbsaint also in 750ml bottles will also be continued to be sold by the Sazerac company. But i wonder if not the original 100 proof will be more popular..

Here are a few classical Herbsaint cocktails including(again) the awesome Sazerac which stand a good chance of being the cocktail no1 of 2010, at least among many of the cocktail bloggers.

COCKTAIL A LA LOUISIANE

herbsaint-cocktail-a-la-louisiane

Combine in a mixing glass:

3/4 ounce rye whiskey
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Benedictine
3 to 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
3 to 4 dashes absinthe or a substitute (Herbsaint, Pernod, Ricard, or other pastis)

Fill glass with cracked ice and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry.

And here are some more:

THE ORLEANIAN

1 tsp simple syrup
3 dashes Herbsaint
2 oz Rye Whiskey

Twist a piece of lemon peel on top. Pour into a glass of
cracked ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

HERBSAINT FRAPPE

1 tsp simple syrup
2 oz Herbsaint
2 oz water or seltzer

Shake vigorously until well frosted, strain off
the liquid—remove ice and pour drink back into the frosted glass.

This old recipe calls for shaking but this drink may preferably be stirred with cracked ice in the glass until frosted, then the liquid is strained into another chilled glass, the ice removed from the frosted glass and the liquid poured back again.

HERBSAINT SUISSESSE

And the last one, i choose to use a recipe for Absinthe Suissesse from Gumbpages and switch the absinthe for Herbsaint.

1-1/2 ounces Herbsaint Original
1/2 ounce orgeat
White of 1 egg (or 2 tablespoons pasteurized egg white product)
1 ounce half-and-half (or 1/2 ounce each whole milk and heavy cream)
4 ounces crushed ice

Combine ingredients in a blender, whizz for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled goblet or rocks glass.

Or this one:

1 oz Anisette
2 oz Herbsaint
1 eggwhite
Setltzer

In shaker half filled with cracked ice add 1 oz Anisette, 2 oz Herbsaint, 1 eggwhite and shake until well frosted and strain into a thin small glass, top up with seltzer and serve.

SAZERAC

1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash Angostura, not tradition but some say it opens up the flavors.
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the whiskey into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well. Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass, it would give too much citrus flavor.

These are all wonderful cocktails.

herbsaint-label