Cocktails with Rhums Arrangèes – Zwazo

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé 2

More rhum arrangè cocktails!

So now i have got to try out two very nice rhum arrangèes made by Cèdric Brement and Benoit Bail, and since i wrote my reviews of Benoit´s exotic Zwazo ananas-vanille rhum arrangè and Cèd`s award winning Banane-Cacao, i feel i want to make more drinks with them and see what`s good – starting with the tropical Zwazo.

Even though the traditional way is mostly to drink these rhums neat since they contain so much flavor of their own, they are also used to make tropical punch style cocktails.

I don`t think they have been used very much in tiki style drinks….or have they? in any case it doesn`t hurt if i try right? i`m curious to see how they mix with other rums.

Don the Beachcomber was a master of creating balance with many exotic ingredients – and he was especially skillful when it came to the art of blending rums and so was the original Mai-Kai mixologist Mariano Licudine. One person today that i come to think about getting close in that direction is Martin Cate. (Smuggler´s Cove)

Starting with Zwazo ananas-vanille i needed to find drinks that had ingredients that would harmonize with the pineapple and agricole flavors of the rhum and then switch out the rums used in those drinks for the Zwazo and some other rums that i figured would go well with it.

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Book Potions

So i dived into the Bum`s new book the Potions…of the Caribbean for inspiration…and i sure found a lot.The book is filled with the one mouth watering drink after another (apart from all the interesting things there is to read in it) and the first drink that i decided to experiment with was the Siboney, which is a drink by Trader Vic circa 1950`s.

It`s basically a twist on the daiquiri with pineapple juice added and lemon instead of lime plus passionfruit syrup, mixed with Jamaican dark rum (but only 1 oz) I decided to simply just add 1 oz of Zwazo to give the drink more tropical depth.

And top it off with a generous float of something overproof…and my stomach feeling told me to grab my bottle of the Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum.

The result was absolutely delicious! since the recipe called for dark Jamaican rum i took my Denizen Merchant`s Reserve which is a blend of plummer style pot still Jamaican rum and Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique.

Now Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique is not rhum agricole even if the name sounds like it – instead it´s molasses based rum.

The reason why it´s in the blend of the Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is that when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time. 

Note, that it says “likely” so there´s no proof whether Vic used molasses based Martinique rum or rhum agricole in his blend with Jamaican rum in his Mai Tai`s when the 17 year Wray and Nephew rum was finished.

So here we got a rum that contains pot still Jamaican rum and a molasses based Martinique rhum, and then Zwazo – a rhum arrangè with pineapple and vanilla macerated in a rum base of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana. 

And don`t forget the overproof Polynesian Inspired float…

It`s a lot of rums going on here…but to my joy the drink tasted fantastic, cool and refreshing yet with a strong rum bite. Deep flavor of mature tropical fruits, and then something “earthy”, maybe from the float of the Polynesian Inspired rum…I like the different layers in a tropical cocktail.

 Siboney – Swazo Style

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Siboney 5

1 oz dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
Float of Jamaican style overproof dark rum

Shake well with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. (if you like)

Now unfortunately, for the time being, Zwazo is only sold in Europe, locally in Luxembourg and then in Paris at Christian de Montaguère and it´s a small batch seasonal product – so if you cannot find it, my best advice would be to either try to find a pineapple-vanilla rhum arrangè from one of the French islands, such as Martinique (or a pineapple rhum arrangè paired with vanilla syrup) or make your own. (google how to make rhum arrangè, and there´s a great french site with a forum containing tons of recipes here)

Likewise when it comes to the Lost Spirits rums, they are only sold in the US but not Europe or elsewhere…so i would sub them with Smith and Cross mixed with Lemon Hart 151, to get that strong punchy flavor – even though the flavor will not be the same, but since Smith and Cross mixed with LH 151 is a great combo i believe it will still taste fantastic!

Next cocktail to play with was the Island of Martinique Cocktail, which is a Don Beach drink circa 1948. This drink is actually a tikified ti-punch…

It was described in Beachcomber´s 1948 menu as a drink with “Lusty Martinique rums aged in casks for 120 moons. Subtly combined with falernum, wild honey, Angostura bitters and Maui mountain limes”

How does that sound?? mouthwatering to me…

The original recipe which is found in the book Potions of the Caribbean was handed to the Bum by ex-Beachcomber bartender Tony Ramos.

Island of Martinique Cocktail – with a Pineapple Twist

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Island of Martinique Cocktail

1 oz rhum agricole vieux
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
0.25 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, gently heat it up so the honey dissolves in the water, then cool to room temp)
Dash Angostura bitters
A handful (3 oz) crushed ice
Float Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum on top (or Lemon Hart 151)

Blend at high speed in a blender for 5 seconds, then strain into
a hollowed out pineapple and float the Navy style rum on top.

The drink tasted fruity and spicy, the flavor of fully matured tropical fruit from Zwazo came through and this drink was not as fruity and earthy as the first one but more mellow and spicy, with a kick from the float.

Now let`s dive deeper into this amazing book…

On page 164 i found the Voodoo Grog, a concoction created by Trader Vic, circa mid 1950`s. A drink containing equal parts lime, grapefruit and pimento.

First time i made it i was a bit overwhelmed by the pimento/allspice flavor so i took the Pimento dram down from 0.75 oz to 0.5 and it was better for my palate, but if you like a strong allspice flavor the 0.75 will be good.

Also it matters what brand of pimento dram/allspice dram you are using, the best i think are either homemade or St Elisabeth`s or Bitter Truth. For the moment i have St Elisabeth.

Voodoo Grog

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Voodoo Grog filt

1 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum
1 oz Swazo
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz grapefruit juice (white)
0.75 oz honey
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
1 egg white
Grated nutmeg
1 cup (8 oz) Crushed ice

Dissolve honey in lime juice and place this mixture plus the rest of ingredients except for nutmeg in a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.

Dust with freshly ground nutmeg and garnish with mint and pineapple. (I also wrapped a pandan leaf around the glass)

Last cocktail is the quintessential rhum agricole drink…a ti-punch but with aged rhum agricole and therefore it´s called a punch vieux.

Petit Punch Vieux

Punch Vieux

1 oz Zwazo
1 oz rhum agricole vieux
0.5 oz sirop de canne
One half of a fresh lime

Cut the lime half in two and squeeze both edges into an old fashioned glass. Drop in the first spent wedge in the glass, then rub the rim of the glass with the other and then discard the second wedge. Add sirop, rums and ice and stir to chill. I also did rim the glass with brown sugar and added a sugarcane stick and roughly cut lime peel as garnish.

Rimming the glass with sugar and adding a lime peel is not traditional punch vieux but this is all about experiments!

Sirop de Canne is a thick, dark syrup made from a slow reduction of fresh sugar cane juice. Exported by brands such as Clèment, Dubois, Depaz, Dillon and La Mauny.

You can make a similar syrup by making a rich syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to water) with dark raw sugar.

Punch Vieux is always a nice treat as is the regular Ti-Punch…

Zwazo definitely mixes well in this style of tropical drinks, it gives a deep pineapple/tropical fruit flavor into the drinks which for tiki drinks fits so well into the flavor profile of a lot of them.

The aim with this particular post is to show that you can do a lot with rhum arrangè that goes beyond the traditional use…

Go and check out the Zwazo page on Facebook!

Caroni 1997 Single Barrel 16 Year Old Rum

Caroni 1997 Rum Swedes

The fifth rum bottled by Rum Swedes is a 16 year old Caroni, ABV 61.3% or 122.6 proof. This is the sister cask of the 15 year old Caroni 97 that they released a year ago and which i wrote about here. This Caroni is heavier and have a stronger character than the first one.

It`s a strong oaky, woody rum laced with tropical fruits.

It was distilled in 1997 by the Caroni distillery, then aged in a bourbon barrel and bottled in 2013, there are 249 bottles.

I just love Caroni rums – and it´s the heavy ones i love the most – and i think it´s such a shame they are no more produced, so make sure to try them and grab a few bottles before they are gone.

They are pricey yes – but the content in those bottles is really also something very special, and they are rum history.

Nose – I find the nose brimming with notes of tropical fruits and wood, apricot, mature banana, molasses, orange peel, toffee. It`s a very pleasant nose which invites you to have a sip.

In the mouth – The tropical fruits come clearly to the surface and there´s a pronounced tropical exotic fruit taste with a strong woody backbone. It`s easy to sip even though this is a strong rum and there´s a slight burn on the tongue which quickly fades and gives way to rich hints of wood and toast.

A few drops of water brings out a more woody character but at the same time it gets smoother.

This is a real nice Caroni – strong, rich, flavorful and does have a lot of character. I give it a 4 out of 5.

With such a nice rum i really feel like making a Mai Tai because i know it`s gonna be good…

Recently Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell made a VERY tasty Mai Tai for me at Koko-Mo, when he was guest bartending after his Rum Masterclass seminar and i used his recipe for this Mai Tai (just switching out the rums) which is a bit different from the usual Trader Vic`s and it´s not the Don Beachcomber Mai Tai either.

The flavor in this Mai Tai was pleasant, rummy and strong, giving a nice buzz…and a flavor with much character and personality, not on the too sweet side, just the way i like it! in other words – it`s a full flavored Mai Tai!

Rum Ambassador´s Mai Tai

Mai Tai Caroni 97 Rum Amb

2 oz Caroni-97

0.5 oz Don`s mix (a 2:1 mix of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to cinnamon syrup used by Donn “Don the Beachcomber” Beach in his seminal 1934 Zombie Punch.

0.25 oz orgeat

0.25 oz rich demerara syrup

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig, add a short straw near the mint.

This Caroni is available for purchase online at the Master of Malt website and in Sweden, here.

Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum

LOST SPIRITS RUM POLY BOTTLE

This is the second rum made by the Lost Spirits Distillery, the first was the “Navy Style” rum which i wrote a review of earlier. This rum is called “Polynesian Inspired Rum” and is made with the same methods as the Navy Style and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – I send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom” 

High ester rums in the making…using high quality ingredients and distilled in Bryan`s beautiful handmade copper pot still. I wrote a little about esters and dunder in my post on the Navy Style rum. (It´s hard to believe how that funky muck-looking “witches brew” can make such good rums but it does:-)

The Polynesian Inspired rum also comes in a similarly beautiful bottle as the Navy Style rum, with an artful label, this label has a Marquesan style tiki on one side and moais on the other.

Poly Insp Rum label tiki and moai

The Polynesian Style rum isn`t out for purchase yet but it will hopefully soon be. Like I said in my earlier post, I think I see a steady trend for pot stilled rums with rich bold flavors suitable for both sipping and mixing of exotic and tiki drinks and other rum drinks and I welcome that.

If the Navy Style rum was full of funk and punch this one is sharper and more fiery. It has a bit lower proof at 66%.

To me the Navy style rum is rounder in it´s flavor profile but you can sip this rum too if you like to sip strong rums. Personally I do not prefer overproof rums for sipping and second, I think this rum and the Navy Style as well, are best suited for cocktails.

And for most, I suggest to use this rum in drinks – and as a mixing rum it´s really great – especially if you wanna make tropical, exotic and tiki drinks.

Here is their description:

“POLYNESIAN INSPIRED” Rum

NITROGEN DEPRIVED FERMENTATION

GRADE A MOLASSES

WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER

LATE HARVEST RIESLING

SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK

“Nitrogen deprived fermentation” is a way to trigger stress response in the yeast which leads to higher production of esters in the fermentation which in turn leads to more flavors completed from the acids. There are many ways to trigger this stress response and it turns out nitrogen deprivation is one of them.

I think it`s amazing what they are doing at the Lost Spirits Distillery…they built nearly everything at the distillery with only their tiny team of three people.

Lost Spirits Still

 The 600 gallon copper pot still…see more amazing pictures from the distillery here.

Aroma and flavor

So let´s move on to the tasting – the rum has a golden amber color and the nose is fruity with notes of apricot and ripe tropical fruits like macerated banana, it´s warm and inviting.

In the mouth the woodiness hits you and there´s a strong alcohol sharpness, a burn which slowly mellows down and warms your throat. It`s a bit astringent, some citrus notes and ripe tropical fruits same as in the nose followed by some caramel that smooths it out. The finish is quite long.

It´s strong and quite sharp but when you mix with it, it´s a whole different thing and I think this rum really shines in cocktails. It`s made in a different way than the traditional long barrel aging so I won`t compare it with those rums, this is a rum on it´s own. And now, let`s wrap it up with a few rum drinks:

I was all of a sudden craving one of my favorite tiki drinks, the Painkiller but it´s a version of it….

POLYNESIAN PAINKILLA

Poly Painkiller

4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco Real (or Coco Lopez) coconut cream
3 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum

Shake all ingredients with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a coconut shell or other suitable glass or tiki mug. Dust with grated nutmeg or cinnamon and garnish with a mini pineapple. (or pineapple chunk, leaf and cinnamon stick)

OCHO RIOS

Ocho Rio filt

My version of Battery Harris’ Ocho Rios Cocktail, using Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum and garnished with brown sugar-coffee rim and a tropical leaf.

2.o oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum
0.5 oz Aperol
1 oz honey syrup

Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a brown sugar-coffee rimmed rocks glass and top with a splash of Soda. Garnish with a tropical leaf but make sure the leaf doesn´t touch the drink.

The drink turned out tasting like a good rum sour minus the egg foam, very refreshing and the rum did it justice in every way.Does this rum lend itself to these type of drinks? YES!!! it really does…and with 3 oz of 132 proof rum it packs a punch.

So here´s my final thoughts – I really recommend it for all kinds of rum drinks and it really does have both the flavor and punch required for tiki drinks (and so does their Navy Style Rum) These two rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery are two very different rums even though they – my guess – are made in about the same way but probably aged differently.

You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on the Navy Style rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” – where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how he makes his rums.

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

LOST SPIRITS RUM NAVY BOTTLE3

Out of the ordinary…

I`m very happy to share my impressions of yet another rum…but this one is a bit different…

Lost Spirits Distillery owners Bryan Davis and Joanne Harut of Monterey County are known for their award-winning single malt whiskies, especially their ultra-peated American single malt craft whiskey Leviathan – and now they have come up with this rum and another one (called Polynesian Inspired, review will soon follow)

They have a lot of passion paired with a scientific approach in the making of spirits and they are – to quote Camper English over at the Alcademics – ” Lost Spirits Distillery are doing some crazy shiz” – And now they have managed to concentrate all the flavors in these rums….and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – I send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom”

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is a 68% cask strength high ester rum, distilled in Bryan`s copper pot still and made from fermented grade A baking molasses and evaporate sugar cane juice, and what they call wild bacteria banana dunder, aged in oloroso sherry seasoned virgin american oak – here is their description:

“NAVY STYLE 68%”

RUM

GRADE A MOLASSES

WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER

OLOROSO SHERRY SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK

PHOTOCATALYTICALLY “CHARRED” NEW AMERICAN OAK SLABS

Note that it says “Navy style” and not “Navy strength” as navy strength is no more than 57% abv, the reason for this, was that gunpowder would still explode if alcohol at this strength was accidentally spilt on it. Over that strength is overproof.

The bottle is nothing but a work of art and it looks old yet new…sort of and I don`t think I ever seen the statements “Does not contain coloring additives” and “Does not contain flavoring additives” written out like that on a rum bottle before.

I was a bit mystified about this rum from when I first heard of it.

Lost Spirits Navy Rum Labels

This is a high ester rum (esters = the aromas of fruits, flowers, and spices) are made from chemically bonding alcohols to acidsand part of creating all the esters are what is usually called “dunder”or “muck”

A quote from the page explaining what dunder is:

Dunder is a mysterious substance added to the fermentation in high ester rum production.  Dunder is sometimes made from overripe fruits, rotten fruits, and sometimes a special soup of decomposing bats, and waste from the last distillation. 

Dunder is made in pits or caldrons and is sometimes ripened for up to a year before use.  Though it may sound like voodoo there is actually a good reason for this substance.  When the fruit, molasses waste, or bats undergo bacterial fermentation the bacteria produce carboxylic acids as a byproduct.  These acids are responsible for the “rotting smell” but remember we are going to chemically bond them to acids later to make esters.  The final esters will smell and taste completely different from the acids they are made from. 

A carefully made “dunder” can yield more carboxylic acid than many years in a barrel.  In my case this means overripe bananas which are a component of the yeast starter.   

The rum doesn`t have any caramel coloring, yet it´s very dark, like coke, the rum doesn`t contain any flavor additives yet it´s very flavorful. To start with, the nose, to me what you get is a funky punch of wood and citrus peels of grapefruit and lemons, something dark…and a hint of vanilla that softens and binds it all together.

First sip is strong…and no wonder, this is an overproof beast of 136 proof or 68% abv. (alcohol by volume) and the mouthfeel is a just a little bit viscous.

There´s some heavy funky wood notes and some caramel, followed by tropical fruit. For tiki drinks it´s thumbs up all the way to tiki nirvana…this is definitely a rum that can stand up and complement all those mixers and juices tiki drinks usually contains. Also it will surely make great bold rum cocktails of any kind.There`s a lot of punch, funk and flavor, it`s a robust rum, on the dry side. 

It`s sometimes bordering to a bit harsh so I would recommend it for cocktails rather than sipping. Is it just me, or do I see a steady trend towards more flavorful pot-still type of rums well suited for tiki drinks and stronger rum drinks ? 

And if you want to take a virtual tour of the distillery you can do it here.

Now on to the drinks, let´s make a few…

The other day I discovered a thread at the Tiki Central containing a recipe from a long lost book called “Introducing original Polynesian tropical bar recipes … Mai Tai, Navy Grog … and many more” from Dick Moano – containing a recipe for a drink called Wally`s Kanaka Punch.

It´s not a complicated drink and seemed well suited to try this rum with so I gave it a shot, but changed it a bit adding a little vanilla syrup and a vanilla bean and mini pineapple garnish:

Wally`s Kanaka Punch – Lost Spirits Navy Style

Wallys Kanaka Punch inst

3 oz pineapple juice

1 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz triple sec

0.25 oz vanilla syrup

2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

2 dash (home made) Grenadine

Glass: Libbey Carats

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with fresh cracked ice.

Garnish with a quartered mini-pineapple and vanilla bean.

The drink is fruity and blends well with this rum which have both woody and fruity flavors, is strong and spicing it up, giving the drink a kick.

The next drink I tried was the daiquiri, I suspected it´d be a spicy one and it was, very strong, woody and spicy. Not 100% balanced because the strong flavors took over a bit but for those who like it strong, like I do, go for it.

Navy Daiquiri

Navy Daiquiri

2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Glass: Libbey Fiesta Grande

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on this rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” – where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how it is made.

LOST SPIRITS RUM NAVY BOTTLE