A Mountain of Crushed Ice is Rum Blogger of the Year 2013 UK Rumfest Golden Rum Barrel Awards

Rum barrel award 2

Check out my review of Latitude 29!

Lat art

Demerara Rums from Guyana

demerara-private-bottlings1

Demerara Rums Part Two

dem-rums-port-royal

Demerara Rums Part Three

demerara-part-2

Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?

cachaca-and-rhum-agricole

CACHACA – Around Brazil in 40.000 Alembics

cachaca seminar tasting weber haus 2

Hibiscus Grenadine

hibiscus-grenadine-jar

Tahitian Vanilla Syrup

vanilla-syrup

Gomme syrup

gomme-powder1

Set the MAI TAI Straight!

Tonga Grog

Tongan Grog 3

Pungent & Geeky Colada

Pungent and Geeky Colada

Banda Island Punch

Banda Island Punch

Dark Magic #2

Dark Magic #2

Funky Colada

Funky Arcane Colada

Banana Daiquiri Speciale

Arcane Banana Daiquiri small

Coffee Dots

Coffee Dots

Colada Noir Banane

Colada Noir #2

Learn how to easily open a coconut and mix up a tasty Coconaut.

newcoconaut1

Tiki Drink Posts

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Welcome to Baba au Rum….

Baba au Rum bar 2

Some places just happens to have that special feel about them that makes you feel at home right away and Baba au Rum in Athens is one of those places. This world famous rum bar is not just a must go to bar while in Athens – it´s a reason to go to Athens! and trust me they will pamper you with lots of love, an array of amazing cocktails, tiki drinks, rums and other spirits!

One of the first things you most likely do when you arrive at a bar is checking out the menu and the cocktail and spirits menu of Baba is quite special….it comes in the form of a very cool designed book which has been awarded twice at the Athens bar show. The menu was designed by Kostas Theocharis and has been presented at the Milan Expo Exhibition and also in bars in Paris and Nikosia where it received great reviews.

The menu book is presented both in greek and english and it´s a simple cool, playful design!

Baba collage

Baba au Rum was founded in 2009 by Thanos Prunarus who has been a bartender since 1999 and this bar has greatly influenced the bar and cocktail scene and the bar which was awarded one of the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2013 — always at the top lists worldwide. Baba Au Rum is often awarded the Best Bar in Greece and Thanos is considered as a main influencer in his country.

And once again Baba has been included for one more year at World’s Best Bar Sellection!

worlds best bar selection logo

Thanos travels around the world to discover rum, visiting and participating in rum festivals the world over, including judging at the world final of the Havana Club Grand Prix in Cuba which he recently did. Thanos also publishes an International Cocktail and Travel magazine called FINE DRINKING.

I could not have written it any better so I link you to this very good and in depth article about Thanos! and here is a cool video from Baba au Rum!

Thanos 2

Baba au Rum is, despite the name and being a rum bar, a place where you can just sit back, feel at home and drink anything you want, it doesn´t have to be rum… And regardless of what spirits are used – the cocktails are immaculate wonders of liquid art that is a joy to behold and imbibe – but this place is a lot more than just the drinks….it`s a whole experience and the fact that people travel from all over the world to come here speaks for itself.

I for my part love it! I like when you come to a bar with super friendly bartenders, unpretentious relaxed atmosphere, interesting and beautiful interior, amazing drinks, good music and super comfy bar stools! – Baba got it all. If you get a chance or happens to visit Athens, do yourself a favor and go and spend time at Baba!

One thing that striked me on my visit was their amazing warm hospitality….they went out of their way to make me feel part of their family, never will I forget that! thank you everyone at Baba! My drinks which were consistently good, were made by the amazing bartenders Ellias Stergiopoulos, Phaedon Papakonstantinou and Nikos Gartzolakis – paying attention to the smallest details – you guys rock!!

So when you sit down…which drink to start with is not that easy because there´s a lot of great drinks to choose from the menu. One that I really liked a lot ( but I liked everything I tried) was their beautiful namesake drink, the Baba au Rum cocktail – a sweet and savory umami daiquiri with both sweet and botanical notes, and it´s a beauty….

Baba au Rum Cocktail

The taste is fresh, sweet and savory at the same time, smooth like silk and incredibly refreshing. I leave you here my readers to enjoy a bunch of pictures from Baba, because you know they speak louder than my words…some of these pics are mine and some are courtesy of Baba.

Menu collage 2

Baba drink 1

This…is liquid perfection!

Baba au Rum cocktail made by Phaedon

Baba au Rum cocktail made by Phaedon Papakonstantinous.

RumFire Daiquiri

RumFire Daiquiri…to finish the night!

Baba au Rum bar

They make the work look so easy….but don`t be fooled, they work really hard!

menu magic of rum

 

Baba menu book

 

Baba drink 6

What a beauty…

Baba drink 2

And here we got playful tiki…

Spicy Baba no 7

And the “Lulu White” tiki mug!

Baba drink 3

If you don`t get thirsty when you see these kind of cocktails…..

Baba drink 4

 

Baba drink 5

 

Guadeloupe Tiki Punch

Guadeloupe Tiki Punch! served in one of Baba`s own cool tiki mugs.

menu demerara

Yeah….they got some really good rums…

Baba bar carousel

An interesting and fun detail is the lit up mini carousel….so playful and fun!

And finally, yours truly with Nikos Arvanitis ( Rum Traveller in the Caribbean and writer of the upcoming “From the West Indies to the World” and bartender at the lovely bar Kolokotroni 9 (you should go there! and while you explore the bars close to Baba, go and try some fine rhum agricoles and cocktails at Rehab too! – another great bar) drinking and talking rum! the International Rum Family is really a wonderful thing! When “From the West Indies to the World” is ready I`ll post about it on this website.

The adress to Baba is Kleitiou 6, 10560 Athens, Greece, +30 21 1710 9140, info@babaaurum.com

me and Nikos rum fun

Cheers to rum and good friendship!

Baba Logo

EKTE Spirits – Independent Rum bottler hailing from Denmark!

EKTE Spirits rums 2

First time I tried rums from Ekte Spirits was last year at the UK rumfest and what I found was good…I also liked the design of the labels with their unusual names such as “Pungent and Geeky” or “Spicy and Rich”. This year at the Paris rumfest they were back but also with a new selection of limited release rums which were some very good rums.

I have a selection of a few of the blends and one of the limited release up for review but you can also see some pictures from the Paris rumfest here.

The name Ekte comes from the word marriage (aegte) in Danish, because they see themselves as a blending house to start with and then moved on to the private bottling with the development of the wide range of Ekte rum (including the five blends and the six limited edition rums) which originally were bottled and blended in Denmark, but are now coming out of Europes second oldest family owned distillery, 1831, in northern spain…the destileria Acha. The entire philosophy of EKTE is transparency , something that I for one like to see more of!

So here are the rums that are up for a short review:

Ekte spirits tasting

P&G – Pungent and Geeky:

This rum is Jamaica and Barbados together…the ABV is 47% and it´s a blend of eight different types of rum among them some overproof rum. The appearance is a golden yellow clear liquid with a sort of buttery nose with a lot of tropical fruits like banana, mango, bananas, apricots and dried raisins. There´s also something grainy or malty in the nose. You can dip your nose deep into the glass without getting a whole cloud of alcohol fumes and in overall it`s quite mild and round.

In the mouth you get the same rich tropical fruit notes delivered with a slight kick and a sharp hint of cask. The rum appears quite dry or semi-dry, if it has any sugar in it it has to be very little. The mouth feel is not too viscous but it´s a robust and pleasant rum with a great aroma. Me like!

The finish I find to be medium long and nice.

D&A – Dark and Aged:

The Dark and Aged blends rums from Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados. It`s up to 5 year old pot still rum blend from Guyana (demerara from DDL) and up to 5 year old column still rum from Trinidad and 8 year old rum blend from Barbados. ABV is 38%.

The color is a nice mahogany brown color with excellent clarity. In the nose there´s a bit of oak barrel and vanilla, orange peel, lightly fruity and sweet, it´s not a heavy nose.

In the mouth comes the same notes of vanilla and orange, it´s a bit light and slightly on the sweet side and not as heavy and dark as the name “Dark and Aged” sounds to me, but sure there´s elements of Guyana in it adding body.

There´s a pronounced  orange flavor in this rum, somehow it reminds me a little bit of Pyrat, maybe it`s just those hints of orange…Overall it´s a good mixer and sipper.

S&R – Rich and Spiced:

Hailing from Barbados and Trinidad, the Spiced and Rich has a very light nose, of slight perfumey vanilla notes. I already had a feeling this would be too sweet for me and I was right, it´s too sweet for my palate and it has very much vanilla in it. For those who likes light rums with vanilla notes, it´s an elegant rum and only lightly spiced even though to me it could benefit from less vanilla and sugar. The ABV in this one is 43% which I cannot detect at all, so it´s stronger than it tastes like.

No 3 Limited release, Nicaragua 15:

EKTE Spirits Nicaragua 15

And finally, the limited edition 15 year old single cask rum from Nicaragua. The single casks are of course what interests me the most…

This rum is a column still single cask rum at 68.6%, and 250 bottles was released. The nose is that of deep cask and very full bodied, deep, strong, woody, and full of flavors, tobacco, leather, cask. Due to the high ABV I pick up some medical notes in the beginning but they give way to deep flavors…it´s an exceptional rum, well balanced. The ABV is 68.6%.

Conclusion: The EKTE Spirits blends and single casks are worth seeking out and trying but these are just a few of them. I cannot pick a favorite since I haven`t tried them all but to me the single casks are the most interesting…and the one I like the most of the blends so far is the Pungent and Geeky. I tried a few others at the UK and Paris rum fests and they were really good as far as I can remember. I also like the design of the bottles and the labels with their simple yet cool design.

And now…time for the drinks…

So with the Aged and Geeky I decided to make a Colada variation adding some coffee notes and a bit of bitterness from Campari. The Aged and Geeky mixed very well with all these ingredients without loosing itself in the sumptuous mix of flavors and the cocktail was very tasty!

Pungent And Geeky Colada

Pungent and Geeky Colada

60 ml/ 2 oz EKTE Spirits Pungent and Geeky Rum
60 ml/ 2 oz fresh pineapple juice
45 ml/1.5 oz fresh lime juice
30 ml/0.5 oz banana syrup
30 ml/0.5 oz Coco Real
30 ml/0.5 oz cold strong coffee
7.5 ml/0.25 oz Campari

Blend in blender at high speed for 10 sec with 2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice and pour into a snifter.
Fill up with more crushed ice if needed.

Next up is another tiki extravaganza, with Dark & Aged and Pungent & Geeky, fresh lime and pineapple juices, peach nectar, rich honey-mix and a little spice from Angostura and Pimento dram.

Tonga Grog

Tongan Grog 3

30 ml/ 1 oz EKTE Spirits Dark & Aged Rum
30 ml/ 1 oz EKTE Spirits Pungent & Geeky Rum
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz peach nectar
15 ml/0.5 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/0.5 oz rich honey mix (2:1 honey to water, heat up to dissolve the honey, cool to room temp
1/2 tsp Pimento dram
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Pulse blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice and pour into a tiki mug, fill up with more crushed ice if needed.
Garnish with a pineapple crown.

Grand, extravagant, sumptuous and lush!

Next and the last is not a tiki but it´s a tropical style sour:

Dark & Aged Coffee Sour

Dark & Aged Coffee Sour

60 ml/ 2 oz EKTE Spirits Dark & Aged Rum
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz cold strong kona coffee
45 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/0.5 oz demerara syrup
1 egg

Shake (or use hand blender) and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or speciality glass.

Garnish with pineapple and cherry.

Smooth as silk….

EKTE Spirits rums

Rhum Agricole – Arcane Rum from Mauritius!

Arcane Rums

Here´s sunny rums from a sunny island…Mauritius!

Arcane rums are made from pure cane juice, a rhum agricole. As always when you come back from a rumfest, in this case the Rhumfest Paris, there`ll be rums to try out and to write about. I`m starting with the three expressions from Arcane, plus a spiced rum called “Beach House Rum” (not Arcane but from the same producer)

The three expressions in their range are the Delicatissime, Cane Crush and the Extra Aroma. The Extra Aroma I tried for the first time at Maria Loca during Daniele Dalla Polas Tiki Night and I was amazed by the strong banana flavor of this rum which mixed wonderfully with his amazing tiki drinks.

On the webpage it says  –  What Arcane stands for is this : in a white rum or in a 12 years old rum, you will always taste, in different versions,the magnificence of cane aromas. Arcane rum is always made from the distillation of pure cane juice.

So let´s start with the Cane Crush, it´s a very aromatic rum with lots of fresh “green” sugarcane flavors, grassy, floral and lively. It´s distilled twice, first in pot stills on Mauritius and then a second distillation in small alambics is made in Cognac.These alambics are the french variant of the alembic – which is an arabic word for a type of still that originally was used to make perfumes and it´s the alembic still the modern pot still is based on.

So in short, here´s my thoughts on the rums, remember this is how they taste to me, to you they may taste a bit different since we all have different taste perceptions:

CANE CRUSH

Color – crystal clear

Nose – It´s crispy and fresh, grassy and a bit floral in the nose with slight hints of citrus.

Mouth – A very pleasant flavor, fresh and crispy just like like the nose but a little bit peppery with a fruitness and roundness backed up by the typical grassy agricole flavors of fresh cut cane.

Finish –  I find the finish to be medium long  with a fresh light cane flavor that stays for a little while.

A very pleasant and tasty rhum agricole that can be sipped easily and also mixed equally well, it´s tasty and balanced.

EXTRA AROMA

Color – Golden light mahogany

Nose: Here´s something entirely different….this rum has a strong nose of banana and coconut! and the notes of grassy agricole flavors are quite restrained.

Mouth: Banana….hints of coconut and something perfumey and floral, hints of cane and some grassiness. It`s a tropically flavored aged agricole rum with strong banana and coconut flavors if that makes sense. I believe it´s a “like it or not” type of rum. Personally I like it, more as a mixer than sipper because it mixes so well in tiki drinks and tropical cocktails.

I tried it the the first time in Paris at Maria Loca when Daniele Dalla Pola did his “Arcane Jungle Bar” tiki night and made tiki drinks with among others, this rum which mixed wonderfully in his drinks.

The pronounced banana and coconut flavors (and some other tropical fruits) paired with the aged rhum agricole notes makes a statement to try to best describe it, if you like those flavors you`ll probably like this rum, if you don´t like banana and coconut you won`t like this. In tiki drinks and exotic cocktails it´s wonderful and I like the aftertaste of coconut.

In the description it says “12 year old solera aged in oak barrels” which does not mean that all the rum in the bottle is 12 years old but that there´s a percentage, how small, we do not know, that should be 12 years old in the blend of younger rums.

Finish: Aftertaste of coconut that lingers in your mouth for a while that gets me to think of a brown coconut that has been cracked and all the brown pieces spread out on the ground. The name “Extra Aroma” surely is true, this rum has a LOT of aroma! personally I love to mix tiki drinks with it.

DELICATISSIME

Color – very light golden

Nose – A bit herbal and spicy, with hints of freshly cut grass, vanilla and some spice.

Mouth – Hints of vanilla, peppery, pronounced herbal grassiness and hints of floral notes as well, lively agricole flavors.

Finish – Spicy finish that ends with sweet notes of vanilla

This rum mixes as well as the Extra Aroma in exotic cocktails and I found that mixing the two, or any of them with Cane Crush is just as great, any of these rums adds a lively flavor to cocktails. This is a young golden rum that has been aged for 18 months in oak barrels and it`s kinda dryish but with sweet vanilla aromas.

Afterthoughts:

For sipping, the one I prefer is the Cane Crush because it´s the cleanest and driest of them to me and for sipping neat I prefer a bit drier rums that has nothing added to them. It also makes a great ti punch of course.

For mixing I find them quite versatile, especially with tropical type of drinks, the flavors just comes together….

I have no idea if these rums contains any additives but I`m positively sure that there´s some kind of sweetness added to the Extra Aroma since it has such strong banana and coconut notes. I believe it may have natural flavors added or at least so I hear, and then some sugar, but there´s no info…anyway, it´s not cloingly sweet, it more makes a real strong statement of banana and coconut.

Then we have the bottles, I really like them, they have a cool design and the labels look exotic which pairs well with the rums they contain seeing to where the rum is made. But I would like to see more info on the labels as to what the rums contain as well, the more transparency the better..

BEACH HOUSE SPICED

Beach House Spiced

And now on to the last one, a sort of bonus in this post,  it´s a spiced rum.

This spiced rum is not the Arcane brand, it´s called “Beach House Spiced” which is a rum infused with tropical floral and spicy flavors dominated by orange which comes in a very pretty bottle at 40% abv. The nose is very floral and perfumey with hints of orange and spice. To be honest it´s  too sweet for my palate but I can see it as a cocktail ingredient and also as a dessert rum – or if you like it sweet, as a sip on the beach at sundown which it seems designed for. I think this rum would benefit from a reduction of the sweetness though especially since the spice flavor is a bit on the floral side. But those with a sweet tooth will love it!

Now on to the drinks!

Funky Colada

Funky Arcane Colada

With some funky grassy, sugarcane, banana and coconut flavors from the rums paired with the darker roasted coconut water and nutty macadamia and orgeat flavors, this is my funky Colada!

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Cane Crush

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice

30 ml/ 1 oz roasted coconut water

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz macadamia nut syrup

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz orgeat

15 ml/ 0.5 oz Coco Real

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime

Dash pimento dram

Blend all ingredients at high speed for 5 sec in a blender with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into snifter and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a pineapple crown. The roasted coconut water can be difficult to find but can be subbed with unsweetened and if possible, fresh coconut water.

The Pina Colada is in my opinion an underestimated drink and it´s one of my favorites. It`s also a fun drink since it lends itself to a lot of experimentations!

Coffee Dots

Coffee Dots

 

A coffee flavored take on the ”Three dots and a dash” which is one of the classic tiki drinks. Coffee is one of my favorite tiki drink ingredients,so why not combine the two? That´s how “Coffee Dots” was born…

Adding an agricole rum with rich banana aromas gives this drink an extra tropical dimension.

15 ml/0.5 oz each of fresh lime and orange juices

15 ml/0.5 oz honey-mix

60 ml/2 oz Arcane Extra Aroma rum

15 ml/0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, cold

7.5 ml/0.25 oz pimento dram

Dash Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed with 2 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice, 5 sec and pour into a snifter

Garnish with a pineapple leaf and 3 coffee beans

Banana Daiquiri Speciale

A Banana Daiquiri a day….is the #DRINKTROPICAL way!

Arcane Banana Daiquiri small

Banana, both fresh and in syrup paired with rich coconut palmsugar syrup flambèed in 80% Stroh for the sweet…

Fresh lime juice for the sour and for the strong, Arcane Extra Aroma and Delicatissime blends together into a sumptuous tropical daiquiri drink….there´s no other “weak” in this except for the crushed ice….but the spice “to make it nice” is there in the dust of cinnamon and in the rums. Now this is not a Planter`s Punch but an extra lush banana daiquiri!

22.5 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice

1/2  banana, sliced

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Delicatissime

15 ml/0.5 oz banana-palmsugar syrup*

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 10 sec and pour into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a piece of frozen banana and a dust of cinnamon.

To make the banana-palmsugar syrup:

For a small bottle of syrup, make a simple syrup with 2.1 ratio of coconut palmsugar and water (about 1 cup of sugar) and slice 1/2 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and boil on medium heat for a couple minutes but do not let it caramelize. Take off heat and add 2 tbsp 80% Stroh ¨(or other overproof rum good for flambeeing) and flambè before leaving to cool and flavors to set for about 30 mins, then strain and bottle.

Beach House Bird

Beach House Bird

This drink is an experiment, since I wanted to try the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient and due to it`s pronounced orange aroma I decided to use equal parts hibiscus grenadine and the spiced rum instead of simple syrup in a Jungle Bird since orange and Campari pairs so well.

It tasted like a sort of lightly floral Jungle Bird with hints of bitterness…

As for the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient, it works just fine and can be used instead of for example orange liqueur or simple syrup giving a subtle floral, slightly exotic perfumey character to the drink. Now this drink has Campari which in itself adds a lot of flavor with it´s herbal, bitterness so you get it in double measure here :-).

15 ml/0.75 oz Campari

30 ml/1 oz fresh lime juice

7.5 ml/0.25 oz hibiscus grenadine

7.5 ml/0.25 oz Beach House Spiced

45 ml/1.5 oz Appleton Extra

Shake with plenty of cracked ice, strain and pour into a old fashioned glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

I think that was all for now….enjoy the drinks if you decide to try them 🙂

Rhumfest Paris 2016!

Rhumfest glass

Rum, Rhum and Ron…

The 2016 Rhumfest Paris took place on April 2, 3 & 4 th at Parc Floral, Paris. This event has become huge!!!

The venue was completely jam-packed with people! – So much rum….so much people!! on both days! and the day for the industry/professionals was on the the last day, the monday, and it would have been nice to have been there that day since the industry days are much less crowded, but unfortunately I had to travel back. Rhumfest Paris seem to me to have been completely sold out, around 8000 tickets were sold.

There were 119 participating brands and 40 exhibitors, plus 500 rums to try from as varied places as Thailand with Issan – agricole rum, and from La Rèunion island – Isautier, Savanna, Charette and Chatel….all very interesting rums! from Guyana one of my favorite brands, La Belle Cabresse and they also had various exotic rum punches and spices…

And represented for the first time at Rhumfest Paris – Tahiti! with the Mana`o rum – which – was a very interesting and tasty rhum agricole, it was surprisingly good for coming from such a small and far away place. What I especially liked with the Paris rumfest was that there were so much interesting and varied brands of rhum agricoles to try. I like to see at least as many agricoles as molasses based rums! and especially also smaller brands and here there was all of that in abundance.

But big brands were there too of course, among them Angostura who during a master class presented their new bottles for their classic rum range and had out for taste also their Amaro di Angostura.

Velier brought out their new Habitation Velier rums together with their Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums. I spent a lot of time at their booth…my favorites was the Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 and then the Caroni 17!

Ekte Spirits from Denmark had some interesting rums to try as well, my favorite there was the demerara expressions.

But we started already on the thursday with the judging of the rums for the Rhumfest Paris Awards at La Rhumerie, a very nice French Caribbean rum bar and restaurant which I can recommend, especially for their rums and food! And the results of the 2016 Paris Rhumfest Awards is here.

A rumfest with lots of rum sampling needs some good fuel and there was some really tasty food available on food trucks with food from Martinique and Venezuela among others. I had spicy accras with extra hotsauce (of course) and other things, all very tasty! but the food thing that left me a memory is the Baba au Rhum dessert from La Rhumerie! it was so good…melted in your mouth….and soooo rum soaked!

There were masterclasses too and here is a link to them – http://livestream.com/midjdeal/events/5101484

During the nights there were a lot of things to do, you could sample a really fantastic range of rums at Mabel, among them I tried were the new El Dorado Cask Strength rums…and then Caronis…and at Maria Loca there was the one and only Daniele Dalla Pola doing his fantastic drinks during his “Arcane Jungle Night” with Arcane rum tiki drinks and great show! the drinks were so good!! (visiting his Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna is a must do!) and there was also a night of cocktails with Ron Botran Añejo!

Here is some shaking and pouring:

 

Also at Maria Loca we tried the new Maca rum which was very interesting and for being a spiced rum it was good! the intent is to create a spiced rum that differs from most and shows that spiced rums can be good and does not have to be cloingly sweet or unbalanced and overspiced.

Maca spiced rum logo

Then we have the Dirty Dick Tiki bar where the exotic drinks were always flowing….don`t go to Paris without going to Dirty Dick!

Late nights in Paris during Rhumfest week and Paris Rhum Week is a recipe for exhaustion….but a LOT of fun! 🙂 but also during the days there´s interesting things to do for a rum fanatic, for example visiting Christian de Montaguère, the rumshop of sorts! with more than 900 different rums, and also rum and cocktail books, french caribbean rum and cook books and even spices and exotic perfumes! (among them amazing tiare and frangipani perfumes and banana oils…) on 20 Rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, and here is their website. This shop is a paradise….

I think the big win with this rum festival was the incredible diversity of rums, especially (and naturally) all the different agricole rums!

Here is my usual picture parade… – enjoy, a little piece of  Rhumfest Paris!

TI ARR 1

If there was a prize for most beautiful stand, or booth, it would surely have gone to “Ti Arrangès de Cèd” which was a fantastic display of colors and beautiful “rhum arrangès” made by Cèdric Brément. I have a few of those at home, among them the banane-cacao, these are some tasty little treasures!

Ti arranges booth 6   Ti arranges booth 8

The new one with hibiscus is on the left. Aren`t they just beautiful?

Ti arranges booth 3    CDM TI MACADAMIA

Macadamia nuts and vanilla…

ananas victoria 2   ananas victoria

The star of the show…Ananans victoria!!!! this is the pineapple that is used for Plantation rums pineapple rum the Stiggin`s Fancy. This little pineapple grows on La Rèunion island outside of Africa. The one in the picure is a bit special though…it looks like a double pineapple and it had 6 or 7 shots! it was the wildest pineapple I ever seen! later I saw Daniele Dalla Pola walking around with it… I think he found himself a little “pineapple baby” 😀

Ti arranges booth ananas victoria    Ti arranges booth lime

Fresh, colorful, tasty and beautiful! pineapple, lime and rum!

manao    Ti Punch vieux Clement

Mana`o rhum!! this rhum agricole came all the way from Tahiti and it tasted very good! great sugarcane flavor. This is the first 100% organic rhum agricole produced in Tahiti. The name in the Tahitian language means “to think”, “to remember” and is a tribute to ancestral varieties of sugar cane. This is a purely local creation, produced from sugar cane from Taha’a, the first rhum agricole from French Polynesia. It was very interesting to try this! Read more here.

Rhum Clèment from Martinique had a little ti punch bar where you could get this very tasty little ti punch vieux!

Ekte Guyana 17    Ekte Guyana 23    Ekte Jamaica 12

Ekte Spirits sinle cask rums from Denmark. These are interesting! and they are all very good but are expensive.Then again, these are one of a kind rums, the number 2, the Jamaican 12 was made in 270 bottles only. The no 5, Guyana 17 years is 250 bottles and the 23 year old Guyana is 300 bottles made. Their website is here.

Ekte Spirits

And here is Ekte Spirits regular line of rums, I love the names! “Light & Dry”, “Pungent & Geeky”, “Spiced & Rich”, “Dark & Aged” and “Aged & Geeky”. These I tasted for the first time at the UK Rumfest last year. Also I like the fact that there `s a transparency concerning what the bottle contains, it´s stated on the website.

Angostura 1919 new package    Angostura new package 7

Angostura rums is changing “clothes” – but not rum! their classic rums are unchanged and they released the new package during a masterclass which you can watch online here and even though the website is in french the masterclasses are in english and also translated to french.

Velier signs2

When you see this sign…it works like a magnet…

Velier rums

Rows of pure goodness….Habitation Velier, Caronis, Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums!

HV Foursquare 2013    HV Forsyths 151

Now…we are talking! this Foursquare 2013 Barbados Pure Single Rum was the best of the rums I tried at the Rhumfest, it´s just hands down outstanding. The Forsyths WP 151 proof is another gem and this one would be perfect for tiki drinks!

HV Muller3177    HB Forsyths 502

More from Habitation Velier, the bottles looks really interesting I think and they contain really good rums!

Velier caroni 17    Velier Rhum Rhum frog labels

The 17 year Caroni is a wonder of explosive flavors! I think this lovely Caroni was my second best from the Rhumfest. Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 comes in a bottle with a very interesting and fun label and it comes in two strengths, go for the stronger one, the “version integrale” (the red label) This rhum was “liberated” from its cask in 2015 after six years of tropical ageing, Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 Full Proof is at 58.4° % ABV with no water added before bottling.

The Rhum Rhum brand was created by Luca Gargano of Velier in collaboration with Gianni Capovilla on the little island of Marie Galante which belongs to Guadeloupe.

Velier Clairin    Velier Rhum Rhum2

Clairin rhums from Haiti, these are very different from the rest and all very flavorful! Sajous is the “mildest” of the three followed by Vaval and then comes the horsekick, the Casimir, a rum that will kick your butt to the moon…..

Arcane Cane Crush    Issan rum

From two different parts of the world….Arcane rum comes from Mauritius and has some very nice and a bit different expressions while Issan hails from Thailand, and is a rhum agricole! it tastes good too!

La Belle Cabresse sign    CDM CANNE GRISE

More rhum agricole, La Belle Cabresse comes from French Guyana and is one of my old favorites, it has a flavor of it´s own, I think it´s the Guyana “terrorir”, it makes a nice ti punch! and so does the “Canne Grise” from Rhum Bielle, Marie Galante. Canne grise – grey cane is a type of sugarcane that originated from Barbados and that works very well on the small island of Marie Galante because it´s very resistant to drought. The rhum Canne Grise is very nice and fruity in flavor with an abv of 59%.

St James Excellence    Dormoy sirop de Canne

St James Cuvee Excellence is a very smooth and elegant rhum agricole which won a gold at the Paris Rhumfest Awards. St James rhums are always very very solid.

CDM PLANTATION RUMS    Pusser´s

Plantation rums….always present at any rumfest! And as usual you will also encounter Pusser´s rums at any rumfest! 🙂

CDM RUMPUNCH COCO MADRAS    CDM RUMPUNCH MON PEI

And here comes the rhum punches! I so love these! Punch Coco on the left from Guadeloupe and on the right are punches from french Guyana.

CDM RUMPUNCH CACAO 2     CDM RUMPUNCH EROTIKA

Punch Cacao and Punch Erotika and whatever is it is in that it probably works… 🙂 And here comes a few pictures of drinks, party, rum tasting, rum and fun!

DDP drink    DDP and Marc Battais2

Arcane rum booth, tiki drinks by Daniele Dalla Pola and Marc Battais! refreshing after all neat rum sampling. Sometimes you need to clean your palate with a tiki drink!

maria loca - sexy colada (5)     maria loca - sexy colada (8)

And when Daniele comes to town it sure gonna be a Sexy Coladas and a party! this particular Sexy Colada was served on top of  a glass that contained fresh coconut water….a wonderful treat.

At Rhumfest Daniyel and Ian    The international judges of rhumfest Paris awards

No rumfest anywhere without these guys….and the International judges of rhumfest Paris awards, but there needs to be more women! I was the only one! maybe there´ll be some more next year?

DD menu cover    DD Marrero daiquiri

Time for tiki drinks at Dirty Dick! here is the Marrero daiquiri which is the Dirty Dick hommage to Ramon “Monchito” Marrero Pèrez, the creator of the original Pina Colada. (cirka 1954) It´s a fresh, light and sharp drink and I love the presentation…

DD drink 5    DD meny drink

Lovely drink! the “Mystic Fist of Ku” the drink that gives you unlimited power! and I love the garnish!

DD tiki handles    DD painkiller

Tiki tap handles and beautiful Painkiller.

ED CASK STRENGTH LINE

From Dirty Dick to Mabel…time for some serious rum tasting with the new El Dorado cask strength rums!

ED CS PM 1999     ED CASK STRENGTH PM

The 1999 Port Morant is just an explosion of flavors, it was my fav of the three, but that said, the Versialles was in it´s own way almost equally good, or at least it was more interesting because the flavors kinda kept growing on you….I would like to spend more time with it, with both! the Enmore I didn`t care so much about, not that it was not good, it was, but to me, it lacked something special…these two were for me the winners of the range.

MABEL MENU    Mabel - rum menu 2

This is a great place to go if you wanna try rums, they have an amazing collection!

la rhumerie baba au rhum    la rhumerie wall lamp

Baba au Rhum, a treat that waited for me until after the last part of the judging and it was so worth waiting for! what a dessert! and sooooo rum soaked….with wonderful flavorful rum and it melted in my mouth! if I had the time I would have tried more of the foods at la Rhumerie but I will simply have to return.

la rhumerie art    la rhumerie painting cane cutter

Beautiful art and sculptures on the walls and in the room at la Rhumerie!

CDM ATLAS BOOK    CDM Neisson

Rum books and rums at Christian de Montaguère, the “Atlas du Rhum” I hope to see in english soon!!

CDM LA FAVORITE    Off to Paris Rhumfest!

Unbelievable rhum from la Favorite! and my old Mixoloseum bag for booze is still going strong!

Rumfest bracelet 2

And that was all! hope to see Rhumfest again the next year! Cheers!

Mixology Monday 107: Burden Of Proof

mxmologo

MxMo CVII, March 21, 2016: Burden of Proof

Overproof rums 2

Mixology Monday lives on…..this is the 107th MxMo! This cult event is still going strong…since 2006 when it was first created by Paul Clarke, publisher of The Cocktail Chronicles, who ran the event for 6 years, and now as of August 2012, Frederic Yarm, one of the authors of the Cocktail Virgin blog, has taken over as moderator.

The theme is overproof and how you use overproof spirits whether it be as floats or as base spirit or something to flame up a cocktail with etc. This MxMo is hosted by Dagreb over at the Nihil Utopia blog.

I started to bring out anything I had that was above 50% since that`s the proof mentioned as criteria for what`s considered overproof in this MxMo event. I got quite a few overproof rums, I use them both as part of the drinks, as floats or as fuel for flaming drinks, that´s what I use my Stroh for…

A little about proof

The word overproof means “Containing a greater proportion of alcohol than proof spirit”

The term “proof” dates back to 16th century England, when spirits were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content. Spirits were tested by soaking a pellet of gunpowder in them. If the gunpowder could still burn, the spirits were rated above proof and taxed at a higher rate. Gunpowder would not burn in rum that contained less than 57.15% ABV.The gunpowder test was officially replaced by a specific-gravity test in 1816. The proof system in the United States was established around 1848 and was based on percent alcohol rather than specific gravity. 50% alcohol was defined as 100 proof.

So that`s what we are playing with, overproof spirits! in my case it gonna be overproof rum…

River Antoine

The first overproof rum I`m picking from my collection is Rivers Royale Rum from the River Antoine distillery, a very interesting rum from Grenada which is made in the a very old fashioned way, actually the River Antoine Estate distillery is unique on this planet and that´s what makes it so special.

They have produced their legendary high proof Rivers Rum since 1785 with unchanged age-old techniques and their antique equipment is still used today! for example their two potstills are both heated using locally cut hardwood and parts of the distillery´s machinery are over 200 years old…The crushing mill dates back to 1945 and is powered by water from the river.

And the the rum? – I just got a whooooole load of funky slightly grassy flavors in my mouth….Rivers rum…painstakingly handmade with ancient methods from fermented sugarcane syrup – a very special rum indeed. The flavor reminds about the more well known JWray overproof but more balanced and subtle. So it lends itself well in citrusy cocktails.

The one I have is the ” lower strength, export” version (69%) and there´s also one at 75% and yes there´s supposed to be even stronger local versions too…so strong it cannot be exported. The label of the 75% version is funny, it says “slightly overproof rum” 🙂 This rum is hard to come by…you can sub it with RumFire or JWray overproof, but the RumFire is closer to this.

I was thinking of Rivers and Ting, but right now I can`t find Ting anywhere so I settle for a daquiri instead, which is equally good!

Rivers Royale Rum Daquiri

River Antoine Daiquiri

1.5 oz Rivers Royale rum (or RumFire)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz cane syrup

That´s a nice starter! the rum is so smooth despite being overproof and this drink went down too easy….

Now let´s move on to tiki….

There´s a drink called the “Tasman Sea” in Remixed, it´s the Bum`s version of an old drink called the “Lady Love” which was served at various bars in Oahu in the late 60s. The Bums version uses 151 Lemon Hart. But the drink also uses another 151 proof Caribbean rum (of your choice) so I thought this drink would fit into this post.

Tasman Sea

Tasman Sea small

1 oz fresh lime juice

0.75 oz fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz orange curacao

1 oz demerara sugar syrup

1 oz amber 151 proof Caribbean rum (such as Cruzan or Bacardi, I used JackIron)

0.5 oz Lemon Hart 151

10 ounces crushed ice

Put everything in a blender and blend for up to 10 sec.

Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.

Next up is a version of Martin Cate´s 2070 Swizzle called the 2070 Swizzle Redux made by Tim “Swanky” Glazner. The cool thing about the Redux version is that is uses coffee….and I really do love tiki drinks with coffee!

2070 Swizzle Redux 2 small

1 oz Angostura 1919 or other quality Gold Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
1/2 oz Smith & Cross
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Infused Simple Syrup (If you use Trader Tiki/BG Reynold’s, you may need to cut it back. His syrup is extremely strong. Cut it in half)
1/2 oz Honey Mix
1/2 oz Strong Kona coffee (chilled of course)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4 drops Pernod
2 dash Angostura bitters
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg on top
Cinnamon Stick swizzle

Here is instructions from Swanky that i found on the Tiki Central:

Use about 1/2 cup crushed ice, flash blended for a few seconds. Lately I prefer to put everything in the blender but ice, set it to the lowest setting, on mine it is “Stir” and get all the ingredients mixed. Then I add the ice and hit it on high. I zap it for a second, let it stop and repeat. Do that maybe 3 or 4 times. Pour into the proper glass (collins/zombie, or the classic aluminum ones) and add ice to fill. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top. Add cinnamon stick as swizzle.

And oops…I forgot that cinnamon stick…. 🙂

Happy MxMo Monday!

All Hail Coffee and Pineapple!

Last post for the tiki month! Here is a cathegory of tiki drinks that I like very much, those that contains some amount of coffee, often paired with pineapple and white grapefruit juices. Pineapple and coffee is a match made in heaven, adding an intriguing flavor profile and who invented it I have no idea, but since many tiki recipes includes Kona coffee it must of been someone on Hawaii…

The coffee adds extra depth and flavor notes that gives the drinks a special flavor and kick and these ingredients goes especially well with dark Jamaican and Demerara rums…

When it comes to coffee flavored tiki drinks, there´s the cold ones and the hot ones, but it´s the cold ones i`m writing about here. Some using cold brewed strong coffee, others coffee liqueur or coffee syrup, or muddled coffee beans in the shaker. I prefer to use either cold brewed coffee or coffee syrup rather than a coffee liqueur which I think, in some drinks will be too cloying and sweet.The coffee flavor 

The three types of coffee I prefer to use are Kona coffee, Jamaican Blue Mountian or dark roast Community Coffee from Louisiana. They all have a very lush rounded flavor.. and lots of it! So what I wanna do here is put together what I think are some of the best coffee flavored tiki drinks in one place, plus adding updated versions of 2 of my own drinks.

But let´s start with the Atomic Grog´s Tribute to the Mai Kai`s Black Magic….

Tribute to the Mai Kai`s Black Magic

Tribute to 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 teaspoon Don’s Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup and pimento liqueur)
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.

Labor intensive for sure with all these ingredients, but you will get rewarded! my pro-tip is to make the vanilla and cinnamon syrups, the rich honey mix and Don`s Spices #2 a day ahead, then you don´t need to bother with that when you`re starting to mix the drink. Then start with making the Don`s mix and the coffee (to chill) and the fresh squeezed juices.

I don`t have any of the elusive Kohala Bay rum, so I sub with equal parts of Hamilton Jamaica Pot Still Black and El Dorado 15. Another tip is either Coruba or Blackwell rum, or equal parts El Dorado 12 year old (or 15) and Smith and Cross.

This drink is very coffee forward and well blended with the other ingredients. Of course the flavor will vary depending of which coffee is used, I used Community Dark Roast which is very full flavored and strong coffee.

The next is Atomic Grog´s Tribute to the Mutiny

Tribute to the Mutiny

3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce rich honey mix
(2:1 honey to water, mixed and cooled)
1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup
1 1/2 ounces strong Kona coffee,
freshly brewed, then chilled
1 1/2 ounces light Virgin Islands rum
1 1/2 ounces Kohala Bay dark Jamaican rum
1/4 ounce Don’s Mix
(2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 drops Pernod or Herbsaint

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.

This recipe was based heavily on Atomic Grog´s Black Magic tribute, adding a few elements of the rum barrel. Same rum substitution for Kohala Bay as with the Black Magic Tribute. This one is a bit lighter since there´s a light rum instead of two dark, and equally coffee flavored but less of Don`s mix and no spices #2 but instead an element of passionfruit is added as well as 2 drops of Herbsaint, adding that subtle lace of anise – something Donn Beach often used among his arsenal of secret weapons.

The Banda Islands

Next up is an updated version of my Banda Island Punch using freshly brewed coffee instead of coffee liqueur plus a nutmeg syrup not made from just grated nutmeg but a nutmeg syrup made in Grenada from boiled whole nutmegs with the fruit flesh and all. (Morne Delice)

But the drink got it´s name because of the connection of nutmeg syrup and the Banda islands in Indonesia which are seven volcanic tropical islands which have an interesting but sad history. The Bandanese had long used nutmeg as a currency, which they traded for food with people from other islands.

But when they were colonized by first the Portugese and then the Dutch who wanted to have all the control of the nutmeg trade – then most of the Bandanese were killed in the raids and it ended with the Dutch having to import farmers from the Netherlands to take over the nutmeg farms.

Today the beautiful Banda or Spice islands are quite unknown and their location is so isolated that they still do not appear on many present day maps. They are manly visited by sailors and smaller cruise ships. I`d like to see those islands…that´s a travel destination in my taste!

Banda Island Punch (updated recipe)

Banda Island Punch

1 oz Coruba dark rum
1 oz St James 12 aged rhum agricole (or similar)
1 oz El Dorado 15
0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz nutmeg syrup (Morne Delice brand from Grenada)
0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, freshly brewed, then chilled
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
Grated nutmeg on top
Garnish with a pineapple piece and tropical orchid

Blend in blender (or preferable a top-down mixer) at high speed for 5 sec and pour into a snifter, add more crushed ice if needed and garnish with a piece of pineapple and cherry or tropical orchid, finish with a little grated nutmeg on top.

Next up…a drink from Remixed that has the name of a volcano…

Krakatoa (from Jeff Berry`s Remixed)

Krakatoa2

1.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz fresh white grapefruit juice
1 oz apricot nectar
0.5 oz falernum
1 tsp coffee liqueur
1.5 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1.5 oz Demerara rum
Dash Angostura bitters
2 oz strong Kona coffee
1 cup crushed ice

Blend all ingredients except the coffee in blender at high speed for up to 10 sec and pour unstrained into a 36 oz snifter filled with ice cubes, float coffee.

And after the powerful Krakatoa – here´s my tribute recipe to one of my favorite drinks ( they are a few….) at the Latitude 29 – the Espresso Bongo! not that I have the recipe for it…I can only make a guess the proportions – but on the menu it says “Gold Jamaican rum bestirred by pineapple, coffee syrup, passionfruit, orange and lime” My guess is that the gold Jamaican rum is Appleton VX…I didn`t have it, so instead I used Appleton Extra and Coruba.

Then the orange might be orange juice…but I instead decided to use the fabulous Brazilian Zulu bitters which i wrote about a while ago, the Zulu orange bitters which has a very vibrant flavor. They contain exotic local ingredients from the rainforest….but to sub with I recommend Angostura orange which does just as well.

….and then I totally copy the awesome pineapple leaf garnish… 😀

Tribute to the Espresso Bongo – the Coffee Bongo

Coffee Bongo

1/2 oz coffee syrup
1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz pineapple Juice
1 oz Appleton Extra
1 oz Coruba
2 dashes Zulu orange bitters or Angostura orange

Add all ingredients and 8oz of ice into blender. Blend by 5 one second pulses. Pour into double rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf cut like a palmfrond….and 3 coffee beans!

And then we have this, apparently me and  Craig Hermann aka Colonel Tiki have made one Dark Magic each that are totally different 🙂 his version is the oldest and I wonder if this is the recipe that inspired the Espresso Bongo? or is the Black Magic?

Dark Magic (version by Craig Hermann)

Black Magic by Craig H

1/2 oz coffee syrup
1/2 oz Licor 43
1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Appleton V/X
1 oz Coruba
dash Herbsaint

Add all and 8oz of ice into blender. Blend by 5 one second pulses. Pour into double rocks glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and lime wheel. With compliments to Jeff “Beachbum’ Berry and The Mai-Kai’s Black Magic.

Now there´s a lot less ingredients than what was used in the previous Black Magic recipes, also I got no cherries for the moment so I made a different garnish. And then of course – I made my own version….and “bananaized” it a bit…

Dark Magic #2 (version by Tiare)

Dark Magic #2

0.75 oz each of orange juice, grapefruit juice, fresh lime and honey-mix
1  oz cold strong Kona coffee
0.5 oz homemade banana syrup*
1 oz Hamilton Guyana rum
1 oz Ancient Mariner Navy Rum (Caroni)

1.5 cups crushed ice, blended at high speed 5 sec and poured in snifter filled with more crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple leaf and tropical orchid.

Coffee and grapefruit sweetened with homemade banana syrup and made strong with potent rum! To make banana syrup* – either make a 1:1 simple syrup with dark sugar or use one readymade if you have, slice one ripe banana and with a fork mash it a bit in the pan. Then heat up to a slight boil, let boil for 10 sec while stirring and then take off heat and leave to sit for an hour, then strain and bottle.

And then….I found this recipe on Atomic Grog, the Pain Reliever, a drink made by Brian Miller.

Pain Reliever
(Adapted from a recipe by Brian Miller of Tiki Mondays with Miller)

Pain Reliever

* 1 ounce Myers’s dark Jamaican rum
* 1 ounce Ron Zacapa 23 aged rum
* 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
* 1 ounce fresh-squeezed pineapple juice
* 1 ounce coconut cream
* 1/2 ounce Don’s Spices #4 (cinnamon simple syrup)
* 1/4 ounce double-strength Kona coffee, chilled

Pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 6-8 seconds, then pour into a Tiki mug – in this picture is a mug from Wild Thing Creations. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and grated coffee bean.

I don`t have any Zacapa or Myer`s, so I used Jamaican and Demerara rums, works just fine! Also note that coconut cream is not the same thing as “cream of coconut” (Lopez and Real) it´s the top part in the cans of coconut milk which is thick and creamy, (in most cans anyway) there´s also cans of just coconut cream. It´s also possible to make your own.

Now that was my last post for this tiki month! but like I said every month is tiki month for me so no changes here….

Thanks for reading, I hope you will find some inspiration to make a few tiki cofee drinks!

Tiki Month 2016 – Mount Pegu Erupts, The Guyana Zombie and Colada Noir…

Mount Pegu Erupts 2

So here`s Tiki month again! you know february is tiki month right? at least it is on the Pegu blog which every february since 8 years, turns into a tiki blog for one month. And I always follow suit even though every month is tiki month for me 🙂

The other day I read his first post where he talks about the tiki-transformation of his basement bar where he have installed a freakin`VOLCANO! it erupts too….you can see it here in this video, I think this volcano is brilliant! and he built it himself. That`s pretty freakin`cool isn`t it?

So since we are in the tiki month that requires me to post up something…and I have a drink that seems to keep living on despite it was back in 2009 I made it for the Mixoloseum TDN (Thursday Drink Night) when the theme was Zombie, so I posted it and then forgot about it, until years later I heard it was served at the former PKNY in New York.

Then a couple years after that it was found in the book the “Zombie Horde” by the Professor Cocktail (David J Montgomery) a whole book dedicated ONLY to the Zombie drink with no less than 86 different Zombie and Zombie style recipes included, spanning from Don the Beachcombers 1934 Zombie Punch and over the years to more modern takes in 2013.

Now in 2016 a new version of it has emerged…a fabulous take on this drink elevating it to new levels of booze heights – or rather 2 new versions has emerged, because there´s also a version of the 2016 which transforms the focus from coconut to banana…

Yeah we are geeks here…

This is obviously a drink you can have fun and tinker with a lot! it`s not a traditional Zombie per se, not really, because ther isn`t much it has in common with say the 1934 Zombie Punch but it´s  more a “Zombie-like” drink and the name “Guyana Zombie” due to the demerara rum content has stuck with it.

The 2016 version is made by none other than Tacoma Cabanas tiki master and fire wizard, Jason Alexander and he has invented a fantastic thing called “Spiced Coconut Honey” which is crazy good! so what i`m gonna do for this tiki month is posting up these drinks including pics of Jason`s earlier takes on this drink which he made at the Tacoma because I think they look beautiful.

Then there´s another drink worth a mention, Jason`s Colada Noir…

Guyana Zombie (my origial version from 2009)

guyana-zombie1

2 oz demerara rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz honey-mix
1 tsp cream of coconut
0.5 oz fresh lime
A decent float of 151 demerara

Serve in goblet or other glass (or tiki mug) with crushed ice.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with a little pinch of sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.

It`s boozy and full flavored in that kinda way that makes you feel satisfied but you still want more…

Next up is Jason`s brilliantly updated version, and now the cream of coconut and honey-mix has given way to “spiced coconut honey” and a dash of falernum makes it`s way with some extra zest:

2016 Guyana Zombie

Guyana Zombie 2016 Jasons

A dash or two of Angostura bitters
3/4 oz lime
3/4 oz pineapple
1 oz Spiced Coconut Honey*
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz demerara rum
1 oz float of demerara 151

*Spiced Coconut Honey
9 oz Cream of Coconut (Lopez or Real)
9 oz Honey (not syrup!)
6 oz cinnamon syrup
3 oz Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup and allspice liqueur)

Blend at high speed 5 sek or shake with ice, Pour into a snifter or fancy tiki glass or mug.

It´s a very tasty drink, no doubt!

I also made a version of this with banana syrup switching the flavor focus from coconut to banana. It turned out great! coconut, banana and pineapple they go very well together….

Guyana Banana Zombie

Guyana Banana Zombie

Served in one of Wim Thieleman`s fantastic tiki mugs the Marquesan Coconut!

A dash or two of Angostura bitters
3/4 oz lime
3/4 oz pineapple
1 oz Banana syrup
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz Hamilton Guyana
1 oz float of Cruzan Blackstrap

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice and garnsih with a piece of pineapple and tropical orchid.

And here is two of Jason`s takes on the original Guyana Zombie, made at Tacoma where this drink was very appreciated and no wonder when not only does it taste good, he makes them so pretty!

Guyana Zombie at Tacoma 2

Guyana Zombie orig version by Jason

Colada Noir

Also at Tacoma Cabana, Jason created a stunning version of the Pina Colada calling it Colada Noir…it´s the darker side of the normally so innocent Pina Colada…

Colada Noir by Jason

Dash angostura
1/2 oz lime
3/4 oz Cream of Coconut
3/4 oz Swedish Punsch
2 oz Pineapple juice
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria (or Smith and Cross rum)

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki glass – and you may set it on fire too!

Which Jason did….and here´s a video in slow motion when Jason makes the flames filmed by Matt Pietrek aka Cocktailwonk. I`m totally mezmerized by this video…..it´s something hypnotic over fire filmed in slow motion and where the sound is like it´s coming from some mystic underworld…

And finally…I made a version of the Colada Noir but using banana syrup because I wanted to see how it tasted, i`m in love with banana syrup! I nowadays find myself “bananaize” a lot of drinks…good drinks to use banana syrup in are the Coladas, Boo Loo, Coconauts and drinks with citrus and tropical fruit juices as well as tiki drinks containing coffee which I shall post about soon.

Colada Noir Banane

Colada Noir #2

0.5 oz lime juice
0.75 oz Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz strong Kona coffee (or Blue Mountain (Jamaica) or Community Coffee (New Orleans) brewed then cooled.
0.5 oz banana syrup
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria (or Smith and Cross rum)
2 oz Pineapple juice

Blend in blender at high speed 5 sec with 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a snifter.

Fill up with more crushed ice if needed and garnish with a pineapple leaf and tropical orchid.

You can shake it too of course, but it gets more froothy with a blender.

Stay Tropical!

Monstera and orchid

Disclaimer – I may be the brand ambassador for Rational Spirits but this specific post is a post for the Tiki month as A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

Cent´Anni Spirit Syrups

Cent`Anni bottles

Here`s a couple of exotic spirit syrups, they are made by Cent´Anni Spirit Syrups, created by Victoria D’Amato-Moran who hails from San Fransisco. I first met her at the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans back in 2009 and now seven years later I hold her new syrups in my hand ready to try them out, see how Tales brings people together!

She`s the daughter of a local bartender and started her career in the restaurant business and her family, the D’Amato-Moran’s family owned D’Amato’s Bar on the historical Broadway strip, and with her grandparents – who were talented chefs themselves – making wine, grappa, liqueurs and vinegars.

Victoria managed her cousin’s bar, Tony Nik’s, in North Beach in 2000, where she knew classic bartending and cocktail design would be her art, along with creating innovative syrups to compliment.

She entered and won her first drink competition in 2003, and voted the Best Sidecar Cocktail in 2005 by San Francisco Magazine, and now 21 successful winning competitions later, which includes the most recent WSWA Las Vegas 2014, the Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Show’s, Battle of the Mixologists 2012 & 2013.

Victoria has created cocktail portfolios for a whole number of companies including Square One Spirits, Pur Spirits, Campari USA, Preiss Imports, Iconic Brands, Arta Tequila, and started from the ground up the bars and cocktail menus for among many more, the Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, Yountville, Gaston Acurios’  and La Mar Cebicheria San Francisco and currently working in Half Moon Bay at the historical San Benito Ale House.

Cent`Anni drink

She has been recognized for her work in many noteworthy magazines such as the Examiner, Gary Regans’ 2011 & 2012 Bartenders Guide, Tasting Panel Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Don Julio Recipe Book 2011, Natalie Bovis’ Garden Cocktails 2012, Pur Spirits Cocktail Book and many more and was assistant to Tim Federle’s Tequila Mockingbird.

Cent’Anni Spirit Syrups started in 2004 and were used in both cocktail menus and cocktail competitions. Getting these syrups to bottling has been a long journey and with the support of many fans, and 10 years in the making!

Cent’Anni Spirit Syrups will initially launch these three signature syrups: Lemon Spice, Pineapple Spice and Chocolate Chili Spice, offered in 750 ml. size bottles. Her syrups were created for ease of cocktail preparation behind the bar, for the home bartender, helping cocktail enthusiasts create delicious cocktails at home, and for culinary recipes. The syrups can be used with any base spirit as well as in cooking.

The complex flavor profiles will create innovative cocktails and enhance the classics as well as create wonderful non alcoholic beverages. These syrups are an exotic blend of spices, real juice, and pure cane sugar. The three new syrups are these:

Lemon Spice – Lemon juice and spices and tastes like concentrated lemon juice, very “zingy”!

Pineapple Spice – Pineappple juice, vanilla extract and lemon juice, has a mildly spicy pineapple flavor.

Chili-Chocolate Spice – Dark cocolate chips, orange juice, cocoa beans, cane sugar and dried cloves. It has a mild chili bite and hints of cloves and chocolate.

Here are three cocktails I made with these amazing syrups!

Saffron Sour (Recipe by Victoria D’Amato-Moran)

Saffron Sour

1 oz Cent’Anni Lemon Spice Syrup
1.5 oz Old Raj 92 Gin
1.5 oz Fresh Orange Juice
0.5 oz Velvet Falernum
4-5 Spanish Saffron Threads
Egg White from 1 Organic Egg
Add ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake hard 20 times. Add ice. Shake hard 20 more times. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish: Saffron threads

Well, I didn`t have saffron threads but I did have powdered saffron, it was still nice and added a lovely saffron flavor on the silky/creamy/foamy top of the drink…very rich and lush!

Rummy Way

Rummy Way

0.5 oz Cent´Anni Lemon Spice
0.5 oz Pineapple juice
0.5 oz Aperol
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 oz Aged Rhum Agricole
Dash Zulu Orange Bitters
Garnish Cinnamon dust and dried Pineapple slice
Glass: Daniel Gallardo

My take on Victorias “Rumway” which was named for the airport runway near the beach in Half Moon Bay. Well, this drink is named for the rum it contains which may lead you into the way of rum….

Chili-Chocolate Banana Daiquiri

Chili-Chocolate Banana Daiquiri 2

0.5 oz Cent’Anni Chocolate Chili Spice
0.5 oz Cent’Anni Pineapple Spice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Banana, well mature and thinly sliced
2 oz Appleton Extra Jamaican Rum
4 oz Crushed Ice

Blend in blender at high speed for 30 sec and pour unstrained into a fancy glass with ice.
Garnish banana slice cut diagonally.

Chili-Spice Coconut

Chili-Spice Coconut

1 oz Cent’Anni Chocolate Chili Spice
1.5 oz Ron Abuelo 12
2 oz Coconut Milk
Squirt of fresh lime
Add ingredients, to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until frothy. Pour into a glass with ice. Garnish with a tropical orchid.

This is a twist of Victorias Chili-Spice Cream Soda but i didn`t have half and half or cream soda (not available here) so instead I used coconut milk. The drink tastes creamy rummy and coconutty with a hint of spice.

Conclusion: These are well made organic syrups fit for everything from cocktails to tikidrinks to culinary adventures!

La Confrérie du Rhum – Habitation La Favorite – Cuveé Spèciale 1995

Confrerie la Fav 4

For those who doesn`t know, the Facebook group “La Confrérie du Rhum” is now counting over 12 000 members and it keeps growing! when I wrote about their first rum La Confrérie Barbados 2000 in about a year ago the membership was 3600, so it has more than tripled in a year!

As a member of this group since the beginning and a regular visitor I can easily say this is one of the most talkative rum groups around, and there´s a lot of rum knowledge there, with – naturally since the group is french, a lot of rhum agricoles being discussed (and in between there´s everything else)

But Velier and Silver Seal rums also has a very strong presence as well since those kinds of usually cask strength, full proof, no-additives, one of a kind demerara, caroni and agricole rums are not only some of the best you can get on this planet but they have always been solid in Europe. Personally they were my favorite rums since years back.

If you want to explore the wonderful and interesting rhum agricoles, this is place to be, I have learnt so MUCH during my time there!

In early 2014, Jerry Gitany and Benoit Bail started secretly working together with the distillery La Favorite in Martinique and they worked on a special bottling dedicated to the group. Now almost 2 years later this “cuvèe” dropped just before last Christmas, in 2015.

Confrerie la Fav 3

This collaboration finally brought to a wonderful 20 years old agricole rum which was bottled, waxed and labeled by hand and packaged in beautiful boxes together with 2 tasting glasses branded by the distillery and the group. The price is 205 euro.

This single cask agricole rum is issued from 4 different casks and each bottle shows the cask which it´s issued from and it´s degree of alcohol on the label. There´s a limited edition of 1000 cask strength bottles at 45% ABV. It´s a one of a kind rum.

So here´s my taste notes:

Confrerie la Fav glass

Appearance: very beautiful dark mahogany.

Nose: The nose is round and full, there´s mature tropical fruits like juicy banana mash and peels, sugarcane, hints of florals and herbals, apricots, mango, aromatic and sweet…

Mouth: Deep….this rum is deep and very balanced. Notes of the same fruits as in the nose, hints of wood, it`s a dry rum and it has very pleasant dry aftertaste and is mild and smooth, really caressing the palate. In overall a well balanced, elegant and very pleasant rum to sip. Medium long and dry finish.

Thats it folks! if you can, go get it….it won`t last long.

Confrerie la Fav

 

Confrerie du rhum logo

 

La Confrérie du Rhum Facebook Group page is here and you can buy this rum at Christian de Montaguére, in his shop in Paris or by contacting Christian.

Zulu Bitters – Bitters with Brazilian Heart and Soul

Zulu Bitters

Two years ago was the first time I tried the Zulu aromatic bitters made by Laèrcio Zulu, bartender and mixologist from Brazil. I was always so fascinated by all the things he did, especially with all the fruits, roots, tinctures etc he did experiment with and he did experiment a lot!

Brazil is a country that really has an abundance of interesting fruits, roots and herbs, a lot I have never even heard about much less tried.

Zulu worked in São Paulo as a bartender for six years and one of the bars where he worked at was the Noh Bar, developing their cocktails and learnt to use such techniques as carbonization, aging and smoking. He also won the best bartender in Brazil in 2014 in the Diageo World Class, at the time working at La Maison Est Tombée.

He is now working with cocktail consultation through his brand Custom Cocktails – Bar Marketing, throughout Brazil and also making his bitters – Zulu Bitters.

Zulu is a master in making amazing cocktails, very often with his own exotic house made ingredients. The bitters I tried back then, this was 2013, was his first aromatic bitters and which have developed unto what I now have in hand along with a 5 year commemorative bitters, a barrel aged and an orange bitters.

A lot have happened since then!

Here he tells his his own story:

Zulu

The first Brazilian bitter brand with Brazilian heart and soul took it`s first steps in September 2010, that`s when the Zulu Bitter brand was born and developed along with the career of its creator; Zulu Bartender. So, lets talk about this guy and his amazing journey.

Laércio Zulu, mixologist, was born in the state of Bahia (Brazil) and has been living in Sao Paulo now for 6 years. His work thrives on the values and appreciation for Brazilian ingredients, a reflection of his constant trips inside Brazil’s vast territory seeking for new flavors and sensations. This gives Zulu great knowledge about some ingredients that are unusual for the general public, but very common for the regular man in a small towns around his country.

Thinking about #valoresnacionais (national values), Zulu chases not only unusual ingredients, but also different ways to produce his cocktails, from using ants from the Amazon rainforest to shake cocktails in capoeira rhythm. Every detail designed to give classic cocktails a Brazilian twist.

He says: “My biggest goal is to show the real Brazilian flavors, not only by giving another direction for the use of tropical ingredients, that are, of course, very common in Brazil, but also going way further than that.”

This crazy guy got out of his small town in Bahia to be a bartender in Sao Paulo in 2009, taking American-style bartenders classes in schools like Bertones Bartenders and Flair Brazil, both already extinct, and started working in that same year.

From this point on, he got more and more passionate for mixology and immersed himself on self-learning and reading about it in every book or piece of information he could put his hand on. In the next year, things started getting bitter (LOL).

Zulu 2

Before even begin his research of national ingredients, he felt the need to understand more about the history of mixology, how it was developed and how to produce ingredients from scratch.

He dived into classic mixology books, such as Gary Regan’s “The Joy of Mixology”, Tony Abou-Ganim’s “The Modern Mixology; David Wondrich’s “Imbibe”, Dale Degroff’s “The Essential Cocktails” and, more important, the very first cocktails guide: Jerry Thomas’ “The Bartender’s Guide” 1862.

All these readings helped Zulu to make sense not only how the consumer behavior changed through the years and how each region had its characteristics for consumption of mixed drinks. Most of all, he made sense of the real value of mixology and became fascinated with evolution of the techniques and how the mixed drinks took a very interesting place in society.

That’s when the so acclaimed seasoning (Bitters) steps in.

During the beggining of mixology, to talk about “bitters” was to talk about a “bartender’s secret”. It was the “special touch” for cocktails, responsible for bartender’s authenticity and personality in each cocktail. This concept sounded very well with Zulu and the idea of creating and producing his own bitters was born.

In the following article, Zulu explains his process:

For the technical side of production, I started producing a series of known recipes to understand how the infusions of different ingredients worked. These recipes are still very famous, like Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters, Boker’s Bitters and Gaz Regan Orange Bitters. I did this for innumerous times to get sense of the balance of the ingredients.

For each sample of the first batches (back in 2011), I always shared with professional bartenders who had my respect and admiration like Marcio Silva, Marcelo Vasconcelos, Marcelo Serrano, James Guimarães and Talita Simões to have an orientation, mostly because, until then, I had not tried many different bitter’s brands. The positive feedbacks were a great motivation.

After that, I started to buy several bitters online, because, in Brazil, Angostura Bitters was the only brand you could find. So, everytime I could find a different one I restlessly tried it and ran to my kitchen to produce new recipes for my bitters.

By 2012, I gave up on any imported ingredients, focusing just on local ingredients.

Zulu bitters collage

During my experiences, I divided three groups of ingredients to get the recipe I believed to be the face of Brazilian spice: As I tried commercial bitters with amazing textures, I added Brazil Nuts to the body of ingredients of Zulu Bitters. That gives the viscosity and shine I wanted in the mixture.

For aromatic complexity, cinnamon, guarana seeds and amburana seeds stand out. For color, jurema preta and cashew were up to the task. I believe that these three pillars are the main factors to say that Zulu Bitters does have Brazilian heart and soul… because to explain the “Axe” and the “ginga” that goes inside that little bottle, one have to know Brazil.”

That`s a great story isn´t it? I had to ask Zulu what Axe and ginga means and a little about his use of ants in cocktails because I find that very interesting (especially after I first tried amazing foraged cocktails made by Marcello Biancaniello with ants beer in them) and he explains it like this;

“I used Amazon ants in a cocktail during a presentation at the World Class 2014 Finals, in London. My intention was to combine the citric touch of the ants with my recipe of Gold Label Reserve Whisky, umbu reduction (Umbu is tropical fruit from Bahia) Abatetuda molass (an Amazonic island) and Zulu Aromatic Bitters.

Axe represents energy, strength. The energy giving and receiving. It is directly connected with the lifestyle of Brazilian people who believes in spirituality from african religions. Ginga is a lifestyle, its the Brazilian “swag”. Its also the movement that preceeds the capoeira game. Very related with people from Bahia”

So on my table here I now have four of his bitters, the aromatic, the barrel aged, 5 year commemorative and orange bitters, i`m gonna try to describe their flavors:

Aromatic:

Zulu Bitters aromatic

Very much what the name says – aromatic! there´s a lot of roots flavors and what I´d call “dark spices” but the color is light brown, it´s earhty, aromatic and at the same time brilliant and lively. It has notes of roast cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, banana and dried spices.

A little bit bitter yes but not too much and well balanced, I  don`t feel any specific spice taking over.

I can also imagine these amazing bitters in cooking…not just cocktail making! some of these aromatics on meat before grilling…

Barrel aged:

Zulu bitters Barrel aged

Woody and spicy, but definetily woody, well “barrel aged” right? but there could be other woods and roots in it as well, interesting flavor and very aromatic, very nice bitters, it has some kinda coffee and raw cocoa notes too, at least to me. The color is light brown.

Orange:

Zulu Bitters orange

Brilliant! with a tingling on the tongue! very strong flavor of not only orange peel but theres a lot going on in this little bottle. Mainly composed of Bahia orange peel, guarana seeds, cumin and balsam bark but there´s more than that. The color is dark orange bordering to brown and there´s hints of wood and roots.

It´s very tasty bitters. Perfect for lighter cocktails and would be great in some desserts as well and with grilled seafood.

These bitters aromatics are intense!

5 Year Commemorative:

Zulu Bitters 5

Here´s astringency and very herbal flavor, my guess is that there´s some mimosa or chamomille in it. These bitters are aromatic and spicy and very very herbal, also the color, it´s light greenish-yellow.

I also have to mention his first aromatic bitters, they have a totally different flavor than the aromatics of today, it´s a different kind of woody flavor in them and they are still tasty after 2 years.

I must say that these bitters are all amazing and some of the best i`ve tried so far! he sure knows what he is doing….

Here´s a super cool cocktail from Zulu:

Boca de Lobo

Boca de Lobo collage

50 ml Cachaça Leblon
20 ml homemade Castanha-do-pará cordial (Brazil nut cordial)
15 ml lime juice
15 ml Catuaba (a Brazilian bark)
4 dash Zulu Orange Bitters

Shaken together and served in a tiki mug with crushed ice.

I haven`t tried it yet…because I don`t have the Brazil nut cordial or catuaba beverage, which is a drink made from extracts of a plant found in the Amazon forest which also is an aphrodisiac and a famous one too, and it`s sold in bark form, as tea or beverage.

And how do you make a Brazil nut cordial? (here´s for going out and google again… :-)) but the recipe can also be seen as inspiration for using these bitters and the bark can maybe be substituted with something else or be omitted if you cannot find it.

Brazil nut cordial can maybe be switched for a homemade Brazil nut orgeat instead? it would totally change the flavor but it´s easy to make and Brazil nuts are usually available and I believe it would still be a good drink. Just don´t forget to change the ratios too!

I`d maybe do 2 oz of cachaca, 0.5 oz Brazil nut orgeat, 0.5 oz lime juice, 2 dash Zulu orange bitters and instead of the catuaba bark tincture, 2 dashes of the barrel aged bitters.

So where can people get these bitters from? because they cannot also be substituted…and frankly I have never tried any other bitters that are anywhere close to the flavors of these and naturally so since these contains local Brazilian ingredients…

For now it´s possible to buy them online (in smaller amounts) on this website – the website is in Portugese but can easily be translated with any of the online translation pages 🙂 not sure if the online payment system works outside of Brazil but here´s the e-mail adress for inquiries: zuluheadbartender@gmail.com and here is his Facebook page.

And with these interesting and flavorful bitters I had to make a cocktail or two of my own to try them out:

Banana Daiquiri

Grilled Banana Daiquiri 2

2 oz aged Cachaca

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz banana syrup (made with grilled banana heated up with and then cooled in dark sugarcane syrup (you can sub with Giffard Banane de Brézil but check ratios if you do)

4 dashes Zulu orange bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Turns out rich and flavorful….

Zulu Coconaut

Zulu Coconaut 2

This is a classic Coconaut with the addition of  Zulu Aromatic Bitters.

2 oz Cream Of Coconut (Real or Lopez)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz  Jamaican dark rum

4 dashes Zulu Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coconut vessel or glass

with crushed ice.

Garnish with tropical orchid

Very very tasty!

Zulu Bitters aromatic new and old2

The old and the new aromatic bitters.