The Black Magic Cocktail and How to sub a Defunct Rum

Black Magic 1

Oh how i wish sometimes that i could just for a day or two transport myself back to the time where the tiki drinks were served with rums like the 17 year old JWray, the quintessential Mai Tai rum or for example the Jamaican Dagger rums…

Well, there IS still some of those rums left…maybe a bottle or three? and these are kept by a few rum collectors..but i actually once did have a smaller bottle of one of the dagger rums. And yep i won`t forget that rum. Or the other vintage rums i`ve luckily been able to taste in various places.

Many of these rums had a flavor profile that of old jamaican pot still plus so much more…and it seems to me that more and more rum companies are trying to re-create that flavor profile again – a good example is Smith and Cross. But these – even though they are very good to my taste – haven`t been able to duplicate the flavor those vintage rums had. We the rum drinkers who are or have not been in a position to collect some of those elusive vintage rums must make do with substitutions.

I`m going to make an example here with a vintage tiki drink called the Black Magic. Dark rums and coffee is what gave this drink it´s name and it was made by Mariano Licudine while he was still working for Don the Beachcomber in the Don the Beachcomber restaurant in Chicago. He later moved on to Fort Lauderdale to work at the Mai Kai.

I have read that he had 48 drinks on his cocktail menu that called for 43 different kinds of rum…so he knew his rums and how to blend different rums to create new flavor profiles for his cocktails – much like Don the Beachcomber.

So when he went to work at the Mai Kai he brought with him many of the recipes of Don Beach drinks and made his own twist on them.

What made the Black Magic so distinctive was not just the blend of dark rums and coffee which is delicious – but it was also the rums used and in this drink one of the Jamaican dagger rums played an important part.

dagger-punch-jamaican-dark-rum

Dagger was a Jamaican dark rum brand which is now defunct. The one i tried had a dark mahogany color and dark tones of burnt molasses and dried fruits, and it was spicy and woody, balanced and complex with a vintage feel.

There are different dagger rums with different agings and here´s what the Bum wrote about one of Mariano´s old dagger rums he tried at the Mai Kai´s back bar, stucked away on a shelf as it was.

“It puts the current dark Jamaican offerings on the market to shame; nothing in the Appleton or Myers’s portfolio even comes close.”

So what to do? how do we sub rums like that?

Reading more on the Atomic Grog`s website thought me that the same company that made the dagger rums now makes a rum that is hard to find – but not impossible – the Kohala Bay.

Now i have no way of finding Kohala Bay so then what to do? i kept reading and found out that they suggested an equal mix of Smith and Cross and El Dorado 12 year old demerara rum.

And finally – i can do that. What i can say is that these rums made a nice drink, tasty and strong but if it comes anywhere close to how the original Black Magic tasted when made with the jamaican dagger rum – it surely ain`t.

And close to how it tastes with the Kohala Bay rum? i cannot tell…all i can say that it´s a tasty drink and that the Smith and Cross/El Dorado 12 yo combo is a good one.

Try it for yourselves..this recipe is the Tribute to the Dark Magic as found on the Atomic Grog.

On the Mai Kai menu it said –

BLACK MAGIC

The owner’s choice. A superbly smooth but forthright blending of fine dark rums and tropical juices, subtly laced with coffee and truly refreshing.

Read the rest of the review here.

Black Magic 3

Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Black Magic

* 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
* 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
* 3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
* 3/4 ounce rich honey mix
(2:1 honey to water, mixed and cooled)
* 1 1/2 ounces strong Kona coffee,
freshly brewed, then chilled
* 1 1/2 ounces Coruba dark Jamaican rum
* 1 1/2 ounces Kohala Bay dark Jamaican rum
(substitution suggestion below)
* 1/2 ounce Don’s Mix
(2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup)
* 1/2 teaspoon allspice dram (aka pimento liquor)
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Blend with up to 1 1/2 cups of crushed ice in a top-down mixer for around 5 seconds, or until frothy. Pour into a large snifter glass with more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Something about the coffee…try to get real Hawaiian Kona coffee if you can but if you can`t try to get either Louisiana Community coffee dark roast or Jamaican Blue Mountain. I don`t think any other coffee will do. You need a full flavored and strong coffee like these.

Instead of a snifter i decided to let this drink christen my new awesome tiki mug created by Scott Taylor who lives on Maui, Hawaii. if you want to see the awesome and very detailed mugs he makes you can go and check out his pictures on instagram ( type the name tikipop )

Black Magic 4

His shop “Beach Bumz” is one of the stops of Maui Tiki Tours owned by another great tiki mug artist – Rob Hawes – who`s Kala mug i featured in this earlier post. You find his pics on instagram too, (type tikirob)

If you go to Maui make sure to stop by the shop, you will find tiki mugs by Scott, Rob and some other local artists, tiki farm, etc.

Also Gecko on Oahu will be releasing Scott´s new Ka’oha design mug in a much more affordable run than the others that have sold..most likely in July on his Southseaarts.com website.

The pics below (by Scott Taylor) are some of Scott´s tiki mugs:

Scott Taylor mugs 4 Coconut Beachcomber & Tapa Tri-Foota

Scott Taylor mugs 5 Marquesan Pineapple bowl

Scott Taylor mugs 2

Tales of the Cocktail 2013 – Pre Post

Cariel vanilla vodka cocktails

It´s that time again – the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans! it´s the fifth year now that i blog about the Tales. This year is just like every year a whole bunch of seminars and many are at the same time so it´s a bit of a headache to make your picks because you`ll always miss out on something. On the other hand – there´s something for everyone.

Here´s three of the seminars i have picked:

Seminar 1 – Rise of the Zombie: Tiki’s Deadly Drink –

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry spent ten years tracking down the original lost recipe for the Zombie cocktail. Why? From the end of Prohibition to the dawn of Disco, the Zombie was the world’s most famous drink. It kick-started the whole Tiki craze, and put Don The Beachcomber’s Hollywood bar on the map.

Inventor Donn Beach kept his original 1934 recipe a closely guarded secret — and when the Jeff finally found it, the recipe was in code! While sipping samples of vintage Zombie recipes, you’ll learn why this legendary drink was the toast of the Hollywood movie crowd, and hear the true-life detective story behind how the recipe’s secret code was cracked.

Wednesday – 07/17/2013  – at 3:30 pm — 5:00 pm – Grand Ballroom South, Royal Sonesta

Partiicipating personalities: Jeff Berry — Ian Burell — Steve Remsberg

 

Seminar 2 – The Dark Ages: Mixology, 1967-1988

The years between the death of Tiki and the revival of the cocktail that began when Dale DeGroff donned his red jacket and stepped behind the bar at the rainbow Room saw an impressive burst of creativity behind the bar. Dozens of new drinks acheived national and even global popularity.

For the first time in generations, whole new categories of drink were invented and populated. Unfortunately, most of those drinks, well, sucked. But behind all those smutty-named shooters and sickly-sweet disco drinks lay a spirit of inventiveness that laid the foundation for the renaissance that was to come.

Join acclaimed cocktail historians David Wondrich and Jeff berry as–with their customary welter of offbeat anecdotes, skewed axioms and deep (if perhaps misguided) commitment to historical accuracy–they trace a path through this culinary minefield. Will there be drinks? Yes. Will they suck? Not all of them.

Saturday – 07/20/2013 – 3:00 pm — 4:30 pm – Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

 Partiicipating personalities: David Wondrich — Jeff Berry

 

Seminar 3 – European Rums Uncovered: What’s the Story – 

Did you know that 9 out of 10 rum consumers do not realise that some of the best rums in the world are blended, aged and bottled in Europe?

They may start in the America’s but are adopted, loved , nurtured and aged in the cooler climates of Europe.

With an increasing number of “Dual Aged” rums entering into the US market, Global Rum Ambassador, and rum edu-tainer, Ian Burrell, hosts the story of European rums, and will take you through a tasting of some of the more notable European rums on sale in the US, plus a few EXCLUSIVE rums for the Tales of the cocktail seminar attendees.

If you have any questions on “dual aging” or what makes a great European rum, then you find the answers within this seminar from the panel of rum experts on show because “it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at!”

Saturday – 07/20/2013 – 1:00pm — 2:30pm – Grand Ballroom North, Royal Sonesta

Partiicipating personalities: R John Pellaton — Richard Seale — Alexandre Gabriel — Ian Burrell

 

See you there hopefully!!!

The Kahuna!

kalamug2

I just love the Tiki Central! it´s one of the places to go for everything tiki and it´s one of the places i go for inspiration to make drinks and you find something more often than not. Yesterday i was looking for something new to try that i could post up here as well if it was good.

And so i stumbled on Blue Kahuna´s experiment with the Trader Vic´s  Grog Concentrate (which i wrote about in my post “Navy Grog and Tiki Puka Puka – A taste test of grog mixers“)  – and found a drink that looked like way up my alley – made by Blue Kahuna and named “The Kahuna” by TropicDrinkBoy.

This is what got me before i looked at the recipe –

The Blue Kahuna – Try this . . . you’ll be in heaven . . . 

This is a part of a thread discussing the Trader Vic`s Grog Concentrate versus B.G Reynold´s Donn`s Spices #2. They found out that DS#2 is thicker and sweeter than the GC and that it has hints of vanilla while the GC has more allspice and is less sweet.

I guess they just fit to different drinks..

Anyway i went and made me a Kahuna and it was good! and pouring it into one this planets most beautiful tiki mugs makes it even better!

The mug is the Kala mug (woodgrain glaze) made by Rob Hawes aka Tiki Rob – Tiki mug artist living on Maui and here is his website, Maui Tiki Tours. He made 10 each of 4 different glazes, all fantastic work of art! i`m so very happy i got one.

Rob lives on the beautiful island of Maui with his wife and two children. He has been collecting Tiki mugs since 2002 and making mugs in his spare time since 2009. He is always excited to meet other Tiki mug collectors, so if you are ever on Maui be sure to look him up.

So here is the drink and the recipe:

The Kahuna

kahuna

Juice of half lime
1 oz pineapple gomme syrup (you can sub with pineapple syrup if don´t have gomme)
.5 oz Trader Vic Grog Concentrate
.5 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz El Dorado 3 yr White Demerara
1 oz El Dorado 5 yr Amber Demerara
1 oz LH151
2 dashes angostura bitters

There`s no instructions in the forum how the drink should be mixed so just shake the ingredients with ice, strain and serve in a tall tiki mug or tall glass fiilled with fresh ice…cubes or crushed as you like it.

Now the grog concentrate isn`t easy to get bec Trader Vic`s only sell them occasionally to the public, they use the concentrate at their restaurants. So what to sub with? well there´s a recipe for a home made mix in my post about the grog concentrate mentioned above – or you may use allspice dram – or reduce coke and mix with allspice dram…that´s the best i can think of….

The Kahuna is very near the Smuggler’s Rum Barrel . . .

kahuna 2

 The artwork on this mug is amazing! it looks like wood…but is a ceramic mug with a woodgrain glaze….And i love how the inside is bright red.

kala back

 The back of the Kala mug

Kala aloha sticker 2

Cocktails with Pimento

Can`t stop mixing with this! i made a few drinks when i reviewed Pimento and when i did that post i wished i could of added a few more drinks but that had to be left to a later post.

There´s so much nice drinks you can do with it and it´s just so nice to top up with a little pimento and you get a nice strong bite of ginger and chili to give any cocktail a kick!

So here´s a few more drinks with Pimento:

Pimento Punch

pimento punch

2 oz rhum agricole ( i used JM Reserve Special)

0.5 oz orgeat ( sugarcane syrup would work just fine too)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

Top with Pimento

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe that is rimmed with dark molasses sugar (or other dark sugar) and drop a thin slice of fresh ginger in the glass.

The formula is like a daiquiri with rhum agricole and orgeat or maybe we should say ti punch with orgeat!

This drink is light and fresh with a gingery note, perfect summer drink. You can double the recipe if you want and serve in a rocks glass instead, it really does go down quick!

Amazon

Drink with no name

2 oz aged cachaca

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

Top with pimento

Add a generous float peychauds bitters

Shake with ice, except the pimento and peychauds and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice almost to the top. Top with pimento then add some more crushed ice to fill and finally pour a generous float of peychauds bitter on top of the ice.

Garnish with a roughly cut lime peel.

A spicy drink….

Pimento Mojito

MOJITO with Pimento

Gently muddle mint with sugarcane syrup (or fine sugar) and add 0.5 oz fresh lime juice and 2 oz white rum, i choose a flavorful rum like Plantation 3 Stars, El Dorado 3 year barrel aged or Denizen.

Top up with Pimento.

So here you go, Pimento is one of the perfect mixers!

Pimento is like a strong ginger beer with a hot bite of chili and a refreshing tonic quality.

As for now it`s sold in France, England, Holland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Tahiti, Australia, Guadeloupe and Haiti and they are looking for distributors and can be contacted on their website.

Agave Syrup – Not so Natural and worse than HFCS

agave

 Picture credit Dominik MJ Schachtsiek

Agave Nectar Is Not A Natural Sweetener!

Stumbled upon an article about agave syrup while browsing around in the Dubai Bartender Club. The article is written by Dominik MJ Schachtsiek – bartender and writing a blog called  “The Opinionated Alchemist”. I had no idea that it was that bad with agave syrup – and therefore i wanna share his article here.

Here´s a a part of it:

Truth has to be told, I was always under the impression, that agave syrup is similar healthy as honey. It is natural, so it has to be good, duh…

Turns out, that it isn’t! Agave nectar is not a traditional product, it is not a “pre-stage” of pulque [the quite nasty agave brew, which are nowadays rarely consumed, however was the alcohol of choice for the indigenous civilisations of Latin America, before the conquestadors shared their distilling and beer brewing expertise].

Agave nectar is very similar produced like high fructose corn syrup. It is produced by breaking down the inulin [a complex carbohydrate] of the agave piña into mostly fructose.

Which stuns me is, that it is obviously even worse than HFCS. While latter contents 55% fructose, agave syrup contains 70%.

Read the whole article here.

I had no idea…me too was thinking that it was as good as honey – which btw i just heard that nowadays the honey you buy in usual grocery stores is NOT good for you. It has been modified with chemicals. The only good honey is purchased at natural food stores.

Geez…what CAN we safely eat?

As for syrups…better stick to the old fashioned way…i make my syrups at home, it´s easy, it´s cheap and you know what you get. Unless you buy from someone you know does it right – like BG Reynolds – for example.