SPOOKY PINEAPPLE

SOMETHING RUMBOOLICIOUS!

I`m a bit late to the party with this post, i blame it on the working-week…but for this booo weekend i have a rum-barrel type of tiki drink served in a for the theme black pineapple.

I`m making it with – well you may have guessed it – rum – and after the UK rumfest one could believe i`d be tired of rum but no no no…that´s not the case, and i don´t think that`ll ever happen..

There`s a so much spooky drinks out there that i really didn´t know what to make…should i carve out a pumpkin or make a flaming drink? well i already did that last year, so no…Should i make a blood-red vampire type of drink?

I had no clue…but then i saw that nice pineapple in the shop and decided to paint it black and use as vessel for a heavy tiki drink that should quench the thirst at least for folks who likes exotic rum drinks.

This is grown-up treat:

SPOOKY PINEAPPLE


Not that this pineapple looks very spooky at all…it rather looks grilled…:-) So scoop out a pineapple and paint it black.

Muddle a handful of pineapple pieces with 0.5 oz butter-cinnamon syrup mix in shaker and add:

1 oz dark rum

1 oz rhum agricole

0.5 oz FairTrade Coffee liqueur

2-3 dashes Black Walnut Bitters (Fees)

0.5 oz fresh lime

Shake hard with ice and double strain into the pineapple filled with crushed ice and if you wish, top with a little Ting. Float Lemon Hart151

Garnish with something fun.

BUTTER-CINNAMON SYRUP MIX

Make cinnamon syrup by adding equal parts demerara sugar and water in a pan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Add crushed cinnamon sticks and lightly boil on low heat for just a little, then take off heat and leave to cool and let the flavors blend for an hour or two. Then strain and bottle. Or use B.G Reynold´s excellent cinnamon syrup.

Then melt one teaspoon butter for every 0.5 oz syrup. Add the melted butter to the syrup and stir together.

It´s simply a refreshing tiki drink, not the least spooky but there´s more than enough spooky drinks out there…in any case it´s tasty and most of all – relaxing. You can play with different rums too.

UK RRRUMFEST!! Let it flow…

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow! and flowed it did…rum here, rum there, rum everywhere – the UK Rumfest & Cane Spirits Festival is heaven for rum lovers and it shows people that rum is more than a spirit – it´s a lifestyle with a whole culture surrounding it.

The UK RumFest brings together the industry’s plethora of blenders, distillers, bartenders and mixologists, writers, bloggers, brand ambassadors, rum enthusiasts – all joining in to celebrate all things rum.

Here you get a chance to try out both new and old, known and unknown rums and many cocktails , tiki drinks and rum punches of course, (oh the rum punches…) listen to sessions, dance with tropical dancers, taste caribbean food, watch bartender competitions – all to the rhythms of the caribbean and in the company of people who have that one thing in common – they all love rum!

The UK Rumfest 2011 took place from friday to sunday oct 14-16 at the Kensington’s Olympia in London with the friday reserved for the Boutique Rumfest (for the trade with tastings and sessions.) Saturday was the official Rumfest starting day and i don´t think i´ve seen a crazier crowd before when it comes to a room being packed with rum-lovers.

Also it was the London Cocktail Week starting the week before with 3 days left when i came into town:-)

But back to the friday and Boutique Rumfest. There was of course lots of rum to be tasted and since it was a calmer event we also got a much better chance to meet and talk to the producers about their products.

There´s an incredible amount of rums to be tasted, especially on the two official rumfest days, and i wasn´t able to taste it all i´m sure! i think there was over 400 different rums from well known brands like Zacapa, Foursquare, Bacardi, Havana Club, Appleton, Cockspur, Mount Gay, Chairman´s Reserve etc to smaller unknown brands like Les Coliniéres.

And apart from the big brands i got to try some of the to me unknown rums and other rums i`ve never tried before. Some of my favorites among those i´d not tried before are st Nicholas Abbey from Barbados, a top notch fantastic rum! (a review of their 12 yo will follow)

And Les Colinières – from Mauritius – naturally infused, so called “rum/rhum arrangé” in the islands of Mauritius and La Réuinion. Their coffee and passionfruit rums were just amazing! and would be perfect in tiki drinks. As far as i know their rums is not yet sold outside of Mauritius..

Also Rumfire was new to me. That is a Jamaican overproof white rum from the Hampden Estate which in Jamaica is known for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums sold in bulk. Today`s Rumfire that now is released to the public is yesterday´s JB rum which was on the black market. The Rumfire is like a smoother version of JWray overproof, it has hints of that flavor but it`s not as upfront. A very interesting and tasty rum.

They made me a daiquiri with it and that was a nice daiquiri indeed, this rum mixes wonderfully. Also it won silver medal at the Ministry of Rum Tasting competition this year.

Interesting but a bit odd was the Madagascar rum Dzama, it was quite good i think but i couldn´t be friends with the aftertaste which is what i found to be odd…so i have mixed feelings about this rum. An exotic bird…i wouldn´t mind taste the rums again and take more time.

Also i finally got to try out Elements 8 Spiced, which i found to be quite tasty.

New for 2011 rumfest was the Tropical Food Market which was an entire area downstairs devoted to tropical food and delicacies – that´s where i got my freshly cut coconut! – with rum in it of course…There was also a shop entirely dedicated to muscovado sugar…

Also there was sessions and masterclasses and the one´s i got a chance to attend first was the “Don`t Fear the Blender” with Beachbum Berry and then the El Dorado.

DON´T FEAR THE BLENDER


I`m a friend of the blender, let me tell you that first.With the blender you get that aerated frothy thing you cannot really get with a shaker plus it does good things at the same time for you – it mixes, chills, dillutes, creates a froth)

The blender was first used in Havana in the Floridita, dating back to 1817 when it was first opened as “La Piña de Plata” – The Silver Pineapple in the place it still occupies, in the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets. It got it´s name “El Florida” a 100 years later. The bartenders used to use 11 drinks shakers and you can just imagine the work…so when the blender appeared it was like a lifesaver and now it became easier to serve the never ending hords at Floridita. At the time the ice for the daiquiris was shaved.

Then Don the Beachcomber started to use the Hamilton Beach blender and more would follow.The blender aerates and dillutes some of the crushed ice just enough to “wake-up” the spirit. Some drinks requires just a quick flash blending while other wants 15-30 sek. In the Bum´s books the exact time for the blending is always written out.

This session was a real pleasure to attend and i wish it could be a weekendly habit…but alas…or if i could at least live neighbour with the Bum! i would go and borrow sugar…errr…rum…um…a tiki drink…

We got some tasty blended drinks too of course and here are the Bum`s recipes:

LEI

15 ml fresh lime juice

15 ml peach brandy

30 ml white rum

15 ml (0.5 oz) honey-mix

6 oz crushed ice

Blend for 20 sek, frappé

DEVIL´S ISLAND DAIQUIRI

22.5 ml fresh lime juice

60 ml Chairman´s Reserve Rum

22.5 ml honey butter mix

120 ml crushed ice (0.5 cup)

Let the blender go for a long time, 20 sek. Fine strain into a bitter-sugar rimmed glass, gently pressing the liquids.

BITTER-SUGAR

Mix 4 tbsp demerara sugar with Fee´s aromatic bitters (4 big dashes)

HONEY BUTTER MIX

Unsalted butter and honey in equal proportions, heated up to dissolve the honey and melt hte butter, leave to room temp before using it.

Also you can make a delicious honey-butter-cream by using sugar, butter, heavy cream and honey.

The butter-honey-mix or cream mix gives a silky mouth feel to the drink that unless you already know – will never know what it is…

We also got some other nice drinks to imbibe like the always so tasty Missionary´s Downfall.

EL DORADO


I don´t think i need to present what this rum is, if you don´t know already go read my earlier post and check their website.

The session was hosted by Dave Broom (author of Rum) and Stefanie Holt, (El Dorado Global Brand Ambassador)

They took us through a journey to the land of many rivers, Guyana where the demerara rum is made. An interesting thing i learnt was that when the sugarcane fields are burnt a side effect is that the sugar in the cane is dissolved in the water that evaporates and thus makes the sugar content more concentrated and sweeter. The yeast is put in a molasses solution to get happy and multiply.

Further they spoke about the different stills and since i`m a DDL still geek i always find that interesting. What DDL does is simply to put as much Guyana as possible into the rum..

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – RUMFEST!!


So saturday and sunday was the 2 days of Rumfest and these were 2 very intense days…rum tastings, cocktail and rum punches, tiki bartender of the year, sessions on rum, rum punch, rum, rum…and then the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

This blog was one of four nominated “Rum Blog of the Year (Europe) and i`m very honored and wanna thank everyone who did vote for me. It didn´t make it all the way though..the prize was given to my good friends Peter and Pauline over at the Floating Rum Shack, who i think really deserved it! There was also four nominated blogs for the USA cathegory and the winner was Rumconnection.

All the awards you can read about at the bottom of this blog post.

Also there was the Tiki Bartender of the Year contest with the final on the sunday. There was 3 bartenders in the final and the winner was Mahiki`s head bartender Georgi.

What i particularly like about the Rumfest is that it is such a people thing, it´s relaxed and laid back with that caribbean feel spiced with quite a bit of tiki vibes, an environment i feel right at home in.

THE FOOD


Yes there´s food too! i did eat some real good Caribbean food at Ian`s restaurant Cotton´s – a place i really can recommend if you go to London! i had their famous Mixed Jerk Fish Grill – parrot fish, tilapia, snapper and tiger prawns served with fried plantain and rice & peas and it was lovely! Washed down with cold Carib and Blue Marlin beers.

 

Also the awards dinner was an amazing experience – the Caribbean style dinner with the Butterscotch Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds was really tasty.

And then came the Coconut Crumbled Chicken with Sweet Potato mash and Sauteed Spinach…finished off with a Rum drenched fruit dessert, coffee and plain dark chocolate…hmmmm…

AND DRINKS…

Three bars in London i would recommend are Trailer Happiness, Montgomery Place and Callooh Callay – you can´t go wrong with any of them and if you go Trailer you`ll most likely see Damien fire up the roof.

To finish it off here´s a whole parade of various pictures to drool over and enjoy…:-)

Amazing Queens Park swizzle at the Montgomery Place


Something beautiful and tasty from Trailer Happiness…

The Zombie at Trailer Happiness.

And their fire show…putting the overproof rum soaked copper roof on fire…displaying all kinda colors, awesome!

It`s caribbean carnival at the UK Rumfest!

 

Cockspur Rum Punch

Foursquare got 3 awards…


Three charming rum smiles in the Plantation stand..if you go to Trailer Happiness they´ll make tasty drinks for ya!

Three happy rum people…(Stanislav Vadrna, Yours truly (Tiare) and Carl Kanto (chemist, distiller, El Dorado) i love this about events like this – the friends you meet both new and old.


I haven`t yet been able to figure out this nifty outfit….was it somebody´s outfit for the Golden Rum Barrel Awards? ( i think heard something…)

Les Colinières – rum arrangé from Mauritius

We could get fresh cut coconuts too…with rum in it!

St Nicholas Abbey from Barbados

Elements 8 Spiced

Black Tot Last Consignment sold by the Whiskey Exchange


 

In the Rum Frat House – it´s like the Mixohouse in New Orleans but with rum lovers.

Rum Punch with Kraken Black Spiced

Dzama from Madagascar

God for Tiki drinks..


 

No Rumfest without Ting…and with Banks Five Island it`s wonderful.

 

Like a lighter and smoother version (flavorwise) of the JWray overproof…but don`t let that deceive you – this rum is strong.


And here`s the original JWray and Ting! which was my corps reviver on the sunday…backed up with chocolate muffins.

Don Q Rum – good for a lot of things

Ian Burrell – the one and only – Global Rum Ambassador and founder of the UK Rumfest.


THE GOLDEN RUM BARREL OF THE YEAR 2011 WINNERS

Rum Distillery of the Year 2011

The Foursquare Distillery, Barbados

Rum Distiller of the Year 2011

Richard Seale (Four Square, Barbados)

Rum Blender of the Year 2011

Tito Cordero (Venezuela: Diplomatico)

Rum Blogger of the Year (Europe) 2011

The Floating Rum shack

Rum Blogger of the Year (The America’s) 2011

RumConnection.com

Rum Ambassador of the Year (UK) 2011 sponsored by Bar Life UK

Meimi Sanchez (Havana Club)

Rum Ambassador of the Year (International) 2011 sponsored by Drink International

David Cordoba (Bacardi Rum)
Jim Wrigley (Ron St.Teresa)

Best New Rum (Gold) 2011 sponsored by Coco Re’al

Abuelo Centuria, Panama

Best New Rum (White) 2011 sponsored by Coco Re’al

Banks 5 Island, Several Countries

Best New Rum Package 2011

Bacardi 1909

Boutique RumFest Award 2011 sponsored by Imbibe Magazine

Doorly’s XO Rum, Barbados

The Rum Experience Rum Pioneers Award

Joy Spence from Appleton Jamaica rum. The first female Rum master blender.
Ed Hamilton from the Ministry of rum. Founder of the pioneering web page and rum forum.

And last…

I wanna raise a toast of El Dorado 15 Year Old rum for George Robinson, the head man at the Diamond Distillery in Guyana who passed away just a little while before the UK Rumfest. A toast was also held at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

Can you have too much rum?

Sugarcane bar

 

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A Touch of Coffee, Goji and Quinoa

It´s always inspiring to try out new great products and here´s 3 great products from Fair Trade Spirits. It`s organic coffee and goji liqueurs and quinoa vodka. Fair Trade is the first brand in the world that is Fair Trade Certified which means they use Fair Trade Certified ingredients and organic farming methods. I like that!

The three products i trying out from Fair are these:

Fair Coffee liqueur – Made from Fair Trade and organic coffee beans grown high up in the volcanic mountains of Mexico and Fair Trade sugarcane from Malawi. I love coffee and i love a good coffee liqueur which i often use as a drink ingredient in tiki drinks.(coffee and pineapple anyone? or coffee and grapefruit….)

When you open the bottle and smell it, on the nose it´s like freshly roasted coffee beans. The flavor is even better, it´s the closest to real freshly roasted coffee beans that i`ve ever tasted and it has depth. The sweetness is just perfect and the sugarcane flavor very natural. This is a seriously good coffee liqueur! and actually i don´t think i want any other after i´ve tried this.

Fair Goji liqueur – I assume you`ve heard of the goji berries? loaded with antioxidants they are sold in various health shops. Goji is the first Goji berry liqueur ever made and is the only one on the market as far as i know.

The goji liqueur has a somewhat mixed flavors of cranberries and plum. It´s an interesting flavor and it can be used in cocktails like grenadine for example. It`s simply a very interesing product.

Fair – Quinoa vodka – is the first vodka in the world using grains of quinoa in its formula.The quinoa used is comng from the Andes where the incas grew it 5000 years ago and the vodka is made in France.

The flavor of the vodka, and yes it takes that it has flavor to get me interested – it´s kinda dry and has some slight hints of grain, fruit and white pepper. The quinoa grains are brewed and distilled in the Cognac region in France.

It actually won Gold Medal at the Chicago Beverage Tasting Institute with 93 points and was voted the best tasting vodka at the New York Spirits Awards in June 2009.

That´s not bad! and when me who is a devoted rum fanatic say that about a vodka, well peeps…

I think Fair Trade makes very pleasing products and it feels better to know they are made with Fair Trade certified products and farming methods in a world where more and more of what we put into our bodies are more or less poisoned and stripped of natural flavors, minerals and vitamins.

As i write this the coffee flavor is still there in my mouth, it has a very long aftertaste…

QUINOA SOUR


2 oz Fair Trade Quinoa Vodka

0.5 oz homemade passionfruit syrup ( or please – use t B.G Reynolds (former Trader Tiki), it´s awesome)

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

1 egg white

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake very hard to emulsify the egg white (dry shake first without ice and then with ice or use blender) and pour into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

GOJI PLANTER


1 oz white rum (I used Banks Five islands white rum)

1 oz dark rum (I used Havana Club 7)

0.5 oz Fair Trade Goji liqueur

0.5 oz fresh lemon and lime juices

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup (or more if you like)

1 oz grapefruit juice (white grapefruit)

1 oz fresh orange juice

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass with crushed ice and garnish with a lime spiral or twist. (Maybe an orange slice too would be nice.)

And finally, the last drinks, i made two with the coffee..the first is a little bit more elaborate – it´s a tiki drink after all.

MOUA-ROA


1.5 oz dark rum (Coruba)

0.5 oz aged rhum agricole (Clemént VSOP)

0.5 os Fair Trade Coffee liqueur

1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup – (if you like it sweeter)

Pineapple and muscovado burn off

Crushed ice

Garnish with pineapple and mint

Start making the pineapple and muscovado burn-off. Cut a few chunks from a pineapple and place in a pan, top with medium dark muscovado sugar (about a tsp) and a little dark rum and heat it up and get going for a little while on the stove until the pineapple is soft.

Then add some dark overproof rum to burn, i don´t like to burn LH151 since it´s so precious but it really does taste best! Flambeè the mix and then leave to cool. Add to shaker and muddle it a bit, add the rest of ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a zombie glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple and mint.

DARK DECADENCE


2 oz good quality dark rum such as Appleton Extra

0.5 oz Fair Trade Coffee liqueur

2 dashes Mozart Chocolate bitters

Cocoa rimmed cocktail glass

Stir in mixing glass and strain into a chilled coupe glass that is rimmed with very fine cocoa.

It has been a pleasure working with these products, i can assure you that, they are all very good! And i`m not saying this to please anyone, this is my honest opinion.

Now you may guess my favorite of the three…

Favorite Flavor Combinations: Coffee and Pineapple

A touch of coffee and pineapple..

The fragrance of coffee is one of those lovely things that belongs to our comfort-zone, really, what would we do without it?

I`m gonna write a little series on my favorite flavor combinations and coffee and pineapple is first out. The pairing of flavors is something that i`ve always been interested in and i`m more or less always on the hunt for new flavors to play with.

But also old and proven flavor pairings are fun to mix with and good to imbibe and like the classic cocktails always will be there. One such flavor combination is coffee and pineapple and especially in the tiki drink world it`s a classic.

Pineapple goes well with cinnamon too – another tiki classic. But in this post i`ll deal with the coffee. Every coffee lover knows how important it is to choose good quality and flavorful coffee – beans or blends. I have over the years tried many different coffees and i have now settled with 3 types that i think is superior to any other.

These 3 coffees are first the coffee from Louisiana (especially Community Coffee) then Kona coffee from Hawaii and finally Jamaican Blue Mountain. These three are more flavorful, strong and fullbodied than any other i have tried from anywhere. The Community Coffee is my house coffee of the three.

I recently introduced that coffee to a co-worker and he said i have turned his coffee-world upside down and that he´ll never want another coffee…that´s how good he found it to be and i`m not going to say against that. He did put it above Blue Mountain which is a good coffee..

So good coffee for great cocktails! and coffee in cocktails is a wonderful thing, it creates a contrasting flavor and paired with pineapple is a marriage in heaven. When it comes to flavor pairings a rule of thumb is that the things that grows together in the same climate also goes best together.

Now the pineapple – it gotta be FRESH! i like the ones that are not yet fully ripe but still fragrant since they are really fresh and not too sweet. You can check if a pineapple is ripe by tearing off one of the top leaves, it should go off easily and by sniffing on it, it should be very fragrant. The kinda almost-ripe ones i like are lightly fragrant, the leaf goes off but not too easily and they are a bit greenish.

Put pineapple and coffee together with dark rum, lime and sugar and you´re in for a treat. Here´s a very classic type of tiki drink, i call this one Coffee Barrel, a bit boring name i know but it fits with the rum barrel mug i used. (These cool rum barrel mugs are from Smuggler´s Cove)

COFFEE BARREL


Place 5-6 coffee beans in a shaker and crush them but don´t make powder out of it. Add 5-6 chunks of fresh pineapple and muddle with the crushed beans.

Add:

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1/4 oz orgeat

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (i used Petit Canne)

Dash Aphrodite bitters (Dr Adam Elmegrab`s)

1 oz Jamaican dark rum ( I used Coruba)

1 oz white cachaca ( i used Abelha which is very smooth without being industrial – it´s handcrafted small batch)

Shake hard with ice and double strain into a tiki mug or chimney glass with crushed ice. If using a large mug like the rum barrel mug you may make a double recipe.

Float Smith & Cross (a good float)

Garnish mint sprig and pineapple chunks

This tastes rummy, spicy and tiki! and the addition of aphrodite bitters blends well with the pineapple-coffee theme since the bitters contains coffee as well. So let´s move on to one of my favorite cocktails, the daiquiri. And here´s my version of the Aphrodite Daiquiri:

APHRODITE DAIQUIRI


1 oz white rum ( i used Havana Club 3 yo)

1 oz Smith & Cross

0.75 0z fresh lime juice

0.5 oz pineapple syrup

2-3 dashes Aphrodite bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a rough golden sugar rim.

Liquid gold with just a touch of coffee and pineapple…