THE Q.B. COOLER AND THE MAI TAI

killer-mai-tai

This is not a new topic…but If there´s a drink that fascinates me its this one, tthe QB Cooler and the reason is as many of you can guess – it tastes much like a Trader Vic´s Mai Tai – but does only have two ingredients in common, rum and lime and not even the same rums either – or proportions. Of course it doesn´t taste exactly like a Mai Tai but actually close enough to be a mystery to many.

And not only is the drink tasty and tastes like Mai Tai it also has an interesting story that dates back to the time of the Mai Tai war between Donn the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, a topic that has been discussed for over half a century now and will probably never stop being discussed..

In ca 1937 Donn the Beachcomber created the Q.B. Cooler and it is said – that Trader Vic took that recipe and reformulated it to what we know as the Trader Vic´s Mai Tai – but there`s is no proof of that though – and it is also said that it was Donn who created the Mai Tai…and also that Trader Vic created the Mai Tai… and actually both did – just not the same Mai Tai..

Donn Beach Mai Tai is entirely different from Vic`s and to me and most others, what is the real Mai Tai – is Trader Vic`s and it`s also the one that made commercial success and became a living legend. It simply is THE Mai Tai and it has a perfect balance and layers of flavors.

That said, just because Vic has won the Mai Tai war doesn´t mean Donn Beach wasn`t an awesome bartender – he was! he was Mr awesome! – and so was Vic.

Whether or not Trader Vic`s Mai Tai evolved from Donn`s Q.B.Cooler or not and which really is just speculations is really not important but nevertheless its a fascinating topic and i guess since we really never will know for sure the Mai Tai conflict will never end.

In any case what puzzles me is how these two drinks can taste so similar, even though we can see the flavor profile goes towards dark rums, lime and orange. But there`s no falernum or ginger syrup in the Mai Tai.

And i haven´t gotten to the rums yet – we know that the Mai Tai originally contained one rum, the 17 yo Wray & Nephew and later on a blend of Jamaican and Martinique rum while the Q.B. Cooler contains Jamaican and light Puerto Rican rum. And still they manage to taste quite similar.

Isn`t it fascinating? anyway, even though very close, the Mai Tai is more intense in my opinion. So go get your shakers and mix up these two drinks and taste them side by side, you´ll be surprised.

Hopefully pleasantly so..and its never wrong to have two awesomely tasty drinks on hand..

The recipe for the Mai Tai is once again as follows:

mai-tai-2011

1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Martinique Rhum
1 oz Lime Juice
0.5 oz Orange Curacao
0.25 oz Simple Syrup
0.25 oz Orgeat

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a double old fashioned, garnish with a mint sprig

Q.B. COOLER

qb-cooler

1 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz  club soda
1 oz Jamaican rum
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum
0.5  oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz honey mix (equal parts honey/water)
0.5 oz Demerara rum
0.25 oz  Falernum
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1/2 teaspoon ginger syrup

Blend with 4 ounces crushed ice for 5 seconds; top up with more crushed ice and garnish with mint (Julep style)

I really enjoy this drink, here´s a range and depth of flavors that we can thank the cocktail-genius Donn Beach for. a

Do you think these two drinks tastes the same?

CORUBA RUM

coruba-rums-dark-and-148-proof

This is one of my comfort mixing rums for Tiki drinks.

There are a dark and a gold type of this rum and a few different agings. I have tried 3 of them, the original dark, the 12 yo and the overproof (74% /148 proof) There´s also a 12 yo “Cigar-blend”, an 18 yo and a 25 yo. Plus the newly released four naturally flavored rums – coconut, pineapple, mango and spiced.

I´m always suspicious about flavored products but some are better than others. To me, i would rather use fresh pineapple and rum than a pineapple flavored rum though.

Coruba is a heavily caramel colored Jamaican planters–style rum made with both pot and column stills rums (over 30 rum marques) and the rums are aged at least two years in small oak barrels using the solera system. Its Bottled at 40% alcohol by volume. Its the kind of rum that was used in planter´s punches.

coruba-12-yo-and-dark

In 1967 the Coruba rum from Jamaica was first imported and became the leading rum in the 70s and since then it has kept that position.

The name Coruba comes from the name Companies Rum Basel- which is the name of the rum company in Jamaica which was the most famous of the islands 128 distilleries at the time and the company was established in 1889.

Coruba dark rum is medium dark amber in colour and is a heavy Jamaican style rum with a deep taste, rich with molasses. Its perfect for tiki drinks and that`s why i suppose its also very popular among tiki drinkers.

On its own i find it a too rough on the edges, then again i haven`t tried the older ones yet, except for the 12 yo which also is a ok sipper. But in mixing – and especially with tiki drinks its good, it just marries so well with fruit juices, syrups and other rums.

In my tiki and tropical drinks i prefer their dark rum and then the 12 yo.The overproof is good as float but is very strong so a little goes a long way.

Here´s a drink from Beachbum`s Remixed where i have used Coruba dark.

MONTEGO BAY

montego-bay1

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz grapefruit juice

0.5 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, warmed up to mix)

1.5 oz Coruba dark

1/4 tsp pimento liqueur (pimento dram)

Dash Angostura bitters

6 drops Pernod

3 oz crushed ice

If you wish – add a little hibiscus grenadine for color and extra tropical tang.

Put in blender and blend for 5 sek and pour unstrained into a sour glass (or other glass)

Honey, pimento dram and Pernod gives this drink its third dimension with spiciness also from the bitters.I also added a little splash of homemade hibiscus grenadine in this as well which isn`t a part of the recipe though.

Angostura bitters are more aromatic than bitter and is the backbone of all bitters i think, and despite all great and fun bitters out there, i don´t know what we would do without Angostura.

This is a yummy drink with a comfort mixing rum that is very reasonably priced.

Sugarcane bar

 

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KON TIKI TI-PUNCH AND THE TROPICAL ITCH

kon-tiki-ti-punch

Its cold here and the summer with its life giving sun and heat is still very far away and i think that that requires a very large cocktail – don´t ya think? and i  NEVER settle with just one.

Well here´s two drinks to warm you up – the first is a tiki punch and the second is large, potent, tasty and fun!

The first drink is from Jeff  Berry`s Remixed and is called the Kon Tiki Ti-Punch and here´s room to play with rums, something i really like to do. The recipe calls for Bacardi 8 which i don`t have and so i decided to entirely change the drink by using a different rum combo.

So i took El Dorado 8 with a hint of Coruba overproof. This makes the drink getting a demerara and Jamaican flavor instead but that`s ok with me.

I like Coruba overproof, its very strong also in flavor and nose so a little goes a long way but it has that comfy “home feeling”  that the regular Coruba dark has – at least to me… Look out for a review of Coruba rum in a while.

KIN TIKI TI-PUNCH

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz hibiscus grenadine

1 oz El Dorado 8 yo

0.5 oz Coruba overproof

1 tsp demerara syrup

1 tsp guava jelly and a chunk fresh pineapple

In your shaker, thoroughly muddle the guava jelly and pineapple chunk in lime juice. Add rum, grenadine and demerara syrup.

Shake with ice and strain into a goblet with a large ice chunk. Garnish with pineapple chunk, lime wedge and mint.

I didn`t have those things for garnish so i took a pineapple leaf,  the main thing is that the garnish reflects the drink. I didn`t find guava jelly either..but i found guava jam. Always when you cannot find the exact ingredient, go for the closest, usually its ok.

Rum punches is always nice to drink –  its that home feel again – its relaxing and comforting and makes you feel good even if you`re not on a tropical island – or even more so when you´re not – and it was quite a while since i was on one.

The next drink is the Tropical Itch and it´s one of my favorite drinks but oddly enough i don´t make this one very often, but when i do i really enjoy it. The tropical Itch is also probably the only drink in the world that is garnished with a back scratcher.

What an odd thing for garnish eh?

It was invented by Henry Yee of the Hawaiian Village Hotel, Waikiki cirka 1957. Henry Yee is the man who came up with the idea of garnishing cocktails with paper parasols. He became the head bartender at the Hawaiian Village and stayed in that position for 3 decades.

I ain`t got an orchid this time but i do have another flower and a  back scratcher that i found and got just for this drink of course but a plus is that now i can also scratch my back if needed..

TROPICAL ITCH

tropical-itch

  • 8 oz passion fruit juice or nectar
  • 1 1/2 oz amber 151 proof rum – i used LH151 and Coruba overproof
  • 1 oz Dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz orange curacao
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Fill a hurricane glass or other large glass with crushed ice, add all the ingredients, and swizzle until well chilled. Garnish with pineapple stick, a mint sprig, an orchid, and a wooden back-scratcher

From Jeff Berry`s Remixed!

DARK RUM AND CAMPARI

crimson-slippers

Crimson Slippers

Dark Rum and Campari…two of my favorites makes for a wonderful combo together in mixed drinks.

Here`s a fabulous cocktail, invented by A:J Rathbun, the Crimson Slippers, found on his blog Spiked Punch. When researching this cocktail i also found it on Cold Glass blog but in a slightly different take.

Its name comes from the color crimson which is a strong, bright, deep red color which originally was the color of the dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio. Then the cochineal was introduced and since it needed ten to twelve times as much kermes to produce the same color effect as cochineal the kermes fell out of use.

Cochineal is what used to give Campari its bright red color which is called carmine. But the use of cochineal in Campari is since a few years replaced with artificial color.

This is a fantastic drink i think, the rum and Campari creates such a yummy flavor combo together with orange and bitters. And here is room for playing with different rums and bitters and why not fresh juices?

And then its so beautifully ruby red..

THE CRIMSON SLIPPER`S COCKTAIL

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce homemade triple sec
1 dash bitters
Lime slice, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add the rum, Campari, triple sec, and bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the lime slice over the glass and drop it in.

From Cold Glass:

2½ oz dark rum (Appleton Estate 12)
1 oz Campari
¼ oz Cointreau
2–3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Stir until quite cold; strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express and garnish with lime.

So of course i have to make my own take on this as well, how can i resist that when my favorite ingredients are involved? its quite different and eventually it got tikified and became an entirely new drink and as such it also got a new name.

LAVA PUNCH

lava-punch

1½ oz dark rum (Coruba)
1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Campari
1/4 oz green Chartreuse
1 oz fresh yellow grapefruit juice
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

Another very tasty drink that combines dark rum with Campari is the Jungle Bird. It was first created circa 1978 at the Aviary Bar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Then featured in Jeff Berry’s ‘Intoxica’ reappearing in Remixed.

JUNGLE BIRD

.75 oz Campari
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne)
4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1.5 oz dark Jamaican rum (here is used Smith & Cross)

Shake well with plenty of ice cubes and pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with an orchid, mint and cocktail cherry speared to lemon and orange wheels.

This one is also really tasty and when made with a rum that kicks ass like the Smith & Cross its a killer. Or try adding a decent float of a highproof deep demerara or overproof Pusser`s.

And here i made another take on it with blood orange juice:

FIRE BIRD

firebird

.75 oz Campari
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne)
4 oz fresh blood orange juice
1.5 oz dark Jamaican rum (here is used Smith & Cross)

Shake it all hard and strain into a glass with crushed ice and garnish with a blood orange wedge orange leaf.