Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice is coming…

Aloha! some of you dear readers might have noticed how slow this blog has become since many months, it moves at the speed of a drunken snail or turtle… but there´s a reason for that – there´s a book in the Works! “Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice” is a book about tiki drinks with the best from this website in updated versions along with new recipes and some “mixed potions” by friendly tiki bartenders and enthusiasts from around the world.

The book is for everyone who loves tropical exotic tiki drinks and the little “tutorials” aims at those who are new to tiki drinks, both consumers and bartenders but the book as a whole is for all tiki drink lovers . So that`s what`s up… and when will the book be ready? I`m not sure of an exact date, there´s a ton of work to be done, and i`m doing most of it myself, researching, writing, making drinks, styling, photography, editing photos etc plus learning about how to write a book because I have never written a book before.

Trying to write posts for this website at the same time as writing the book, plus working with other things, taking care of my domestic life and work turns out a little bit too much for this laid back flip-flop kinda lady so please bear with me when this website is taking a little temporary “half”-break. That said, I might pop in a blog post every now and then… and when the book is ready it will be announced right here.

So why writing a book? well, the blog is celebrating it`s 10th Anniversary this year! that`s ten years of collected recipes, rambles, experiments and knowledge, some better, some worse, some outright crazy… as is the nature of many cocktail blogs. But over time it can be difficult to find some of the best posts even though there`s an archive, but how often do people really bother digging in the yearly archives? blog posts and the drinks in them have a tendency to over time become forgotten. So I think putting the best from it in a book is not a bad idea, plus when I no longer is here this blog will not be either but then the book will be! So now you know why it`s moving so slow here for the moment.

In the meantime, here´s a little teaser picture collage…

Tiki Month 2017 – Doug`s Volcano

How time flies! we`re already in mid february and the Tiki Month is halfway through….

So, almost running late I just had to make a drink! and what could be more fitting than making a drink inspired by Doug Winship`s home made indoor volcano? if you didn´t know, Doug is the man behind the Tiki Month which appears every year in february on the Pegu blog (and by inspired bloggers around the blogosphere)

Next year Doug will celebrate his 10 year Anniversary with the Tiki Month! did 9 years pass already?? how did that happen? scary….I went to check his Tiki Month posts in his archives starting typing in february 2009 which is when it started. So many memories! that was the time when the Mixoloseum was going strong and we had the first”Mixohouse” in New Orleans. Feels like it was 100 years ago…

And then I found this post…..it´s called “How Tiki Month Began” – where he tells the story of how it started…it took me back to the golden days of tiki blogging….such nostalgia! incredible! it was a different feeling those days, it was a feeling of discovery, adventure and brotherhood among bloggers (and yes we even had our own organisation called the Cocktails and Spirits Online Writers Group with the likes such as Kaiserpenguin, Cocktailnerd and Dr Bamboo… The CSWOG was the 25 most prolific cocktail blogs at the time, come together doing events, both on and offline. Our signature drink was a communal style JWray overproof spiked Chartreuse swizzle served in flower vases.

I had no IDEA how much Doug looked up to us early tiki bloggers! and from having no tiki drink experience whatsoever to decide to go a whole month doing ONLY tiki is an amazing task to take up – and look at him now, almost ten years of tiki month blogging, and the research he have made and put together is incredible….go and read this post and all the others on his blog, Tiki Month 2017 in full swing! I have to give kudos to Doug for keeping it up for so long and I hope it won`t close down anytime soon.

There`s a video of Doug`s volcano, Mount Pegu – I posted it at last year`s Tiki Month, you can watch it here. I have admired his volcano for a long time, ever since he built it and I believe it must be pretty fun to have your own indoor volcano with erupting smoke and all, making your home tiki bar come alive!

For this drink I have put together rum, hibiscus grenadine, Cherry Heering, fresh lime, grapefruit and passion fruit. It was kind of too fruity and weak to me in flavor when I first made it but after adding Lost Spirits 61% Navy style rum the drink was kickin`and there came some depth of flavor.

If you can`t find that rum pick a rum that has a good punch both in flavor and proof. It´s a volcano after all, it´s supposed to be erupting…

Doug`s Volcano

1,5 oz grapefruit juice

1.5 oz passionfruit juice

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz Cherry Heering

0.75 oz hibiscus grenadine

1.5 oz Plantation 3 Stars Rum

1.5 oz Lost Spirits 61% Navy Style Rum

0.5 oz overproof rum (I used Meermaid)

Garnish – Dried hibiscus powder, two long lemon peels cut to look like lava streams, a pineapple leaf. Add some lime juice on the outside of a snifter and sprinkle hibiscus powder on it. You can make it yourself by crushing dried hibiscus flowers in a mortar.

Blend the ingredients in a blender at high speed for 5 seconds with 4 oz crushed ice and pour into a snifter, add more crushed ice to fill and the two lemon peels. Sprinkle some of the hibiscus powder on top of the ice and add 2 straws.

Now sit back and let that volcano take care of you…

Happy Tiki Month! next year we celebrate 10 years!!

Mount Pegu

Tiki Drinks with Martin Miller`s Gin

martin-miller-768x1024

It was a very long time ago I wrote about gin even though i`ve used it here and there in my tiki cocktails but it`s rare, so it´s time for some tiki libations again that contains gin….and the gin I pick for this post is Martin Miller`s.

When i first tasted Martin Miller´s gin years ago I found it had a special flavor and I really like it, it has a smooth and a bit earthy-bitter juniper flavour paired with an overall pleasant spicinress and slightly bright citrus and herbal flavours in between.

This is the gin that uses pure soft glacier water from Iceland because this water is said to be cleaner, softer and full of life force. I find that pretty amazing that they actually ship the gin all the way to Iceland! There its blended with more neutral spirit and glacier water, then its shipped away again. There´s no doubt that this is very soft clean water.

As for steeping the herbs and spices the old traditional methods are used where the botanicals are steeped overnight in spirit and hot water and this gentle maceration is what is needed to create a premium gin.The dried citrus peels are also separately distilled in order to achieve a brighter citrus flavour.

The dried bitter seville orange rind is the most important botanical after juniper in gin making and personally I love the bright seville orange flavour – it has such a refreshing aromatic aroma.In Martin Miller`s gin lemon and lime rinds are also used.

These are the botanicals used as far as i know, surely there are some secrets too…

Juniper, seville orange, lime, lemon, coriander, angelica, liqorice root, cassia bark and to bind it all together and impart a floral aromatic flavour – Florentine iris.

The alcohol must be re-distilled and made from grains of the highest quality, there´s a lot of herbs, spices, roots and citrus peels involved which are picked from all over the globe and individually treated. The distillation is a whole process of its own. Martin Miller`s gin is distilled by a single pot still (as opposed to most gin`s using three pots) using only the heart of the distillate.This single pot still is called Angela and was made in 1904.

What I`m using here is Martin Miller`s traditional gin (40%) and the Westbourne Strength (45.2%) I like their freshness and that`s also why  it´s one of my favorite gins, goes well in tiki drinks together with other rums and mixers.

As for gin in tiki drinks in general I think it can make really tasty tiki drinks and one of the tastiest I`ve had is the “Outcast of the islands“, a refreshing ice cone adorned libation which you can find at Jeff Berry`s Latitude 29, one of the best tiki bars on this planet.

Saturn

saturn

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
0.25 oz falernum
0.25 oz orgeat
1 1/4 oz Martin Miller`s gin
Float Rational Spirits 141 Cuban or other good floating rum!

Put it all in a blender and blend until smooth with 8 oz crushed ice, pour unstrained into a suitable glass and fill up with more crushed ice if needed (originally it was a pilsner or other tall glass but I used a snifter….bec I love them! This is a take on the Saturn found in Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki App, the original drink was  made by J “Popo” Galsini in 1967 and awarded Popo at that year`s IBA World Cocktail Championship in Majorca.

Pololu Nui

Pololu Nui – a little potent mix of Martin Miller`s Westbourne Strength Gin, Jamaican and overproof rums, fresh pineapple, Creme de Cacao, Coco Real and Curacao… spiced up with a heap of fragrant ground cinnamon….served in Jeff Berry`s Latitude 29 Coco mug! And while Ku from the Floating Rum Shack carrying a pineapple on his head is laughing i`m drinking!

The original Pololu was made by Dr Bamboo and was a take on the good ole Painkiller…The name Pololu Nui means “the big Pololu” in this case “big in proof” with Martin Miller`s Westbourne strength gin and the overproof rum float combo.

polui-nui

2 oz Martin Miller`s Westbourne Strength Gin
1 oz Appleton Extra Jamaican rum
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao
0.5 oz Creme de cacao
0.5 oz Coco Real Cream of Coconut or Lopez
1.25 oz fresh lime juice
Hamilton 151 rum to float

Shake everything except cinnamon with ice and strain into a glass or tiki mug.
Add a generous float Hamilton 151 on top and dust with a heap of cinnamon powder and garnish with something tropical.

I hope you like these drinks as much as I did!

Meermaid Infused Rum – A rum with a lot of love!

 Mermaid rum (16)

When I first heard about the Meermaid rum I got quite curious, “Meermaid rum” what on earth is that? then I saw some pictures posted and they picked my interest especially since I also read positive thoughts about it written by trustworthy people. Being an infused (or spiced) rum you tend you get a bit suspicious…..too many spiced rums are way too sweet….

But not this one! in fact there is no sugar or artificial additives at all – or as the label says on the back of the bottle – “17 real fruits & spices macerated in a blend of Jamaica/Trinidad rums. No sugar, artificial flavors or nonsense added” – Bravo! that elevated my hope! btw I like how they say “nonsense” ……..

Meermaid rum comes in two expressions, and they come in some really cool stoneware bottles – a 70ml 40% infused rum and then an overproof version of the same rum at 62% in a 500ml bottle, also stone, which is really cool. The one thing I feel could be improved is the wooden cork because it doesn`t hold very tight… I wouldn`t try to bring an opened bottle with me if I was going somewhere and that`s a pity. So a better tighter cork is needed!

What this rum is – is interesting, and with an overproof version of the same rum it opens up for some tiki fun and rum pairings!

Something to note – Meermaid rum is not to be mixed up with the “Mermaid rum” from Florida, the “Meermaid” rum is infused and bottled in Berlin, Germany.

Meermaid rum began with a passion to learn how to produce flavored rum…the thought is to preserve the actual rum flavor and with the 16 all natural ingredients like fruits, dried fruits and spices they add, just enhance the flavor. The rum is recommended for use in tiki cocktails (yay here I come…) or ginger beer or ginger ale, or on the rocks.

Recommended is also pineapple…..did they say pineapple? now this really talks to me!

Meermaid collage 2

Meermaid Infused Rum – Conceived in a long gone Tiki Bar….

And it got even more interesting when I learnt that Stefan Waltz, the maker of this infused rum, once set up a tiki bar on a boat….and later used to be the co-owner of the since now long gone tiki bar in Berlin called “Tabou Tiki Room“….

Where he had a mermaid painted on the door to the Ladies Room, which later on also became the design picture for the Meermaid rum, a name that he first discovered on a cup from the 60s where there was a recipe for a cocktail called “Meermaid”…I love when I stumble upon interesting things like this while researching for writing a rum post…that*s how it comes that I sometimes sit up all night…

The Tabou Tiki Room was inspired by Stefan`s visits to Trader Vic in London and Munich, and the Mai Kai and Tonga Room in America and the idea of escape from the outside world that real tiki bars is all about.

Tabou collage

Here is the history of this infused rum as told on the website by Stefan Waltz:

I used to be the co-owner of the “Tabou Tiki Room”. An infamous tiki bar, and first of its kind, in Berlin, Germany. The place is long gone now, but it was there that the dream to produce my own infused rum was born.

“Tabou” was a bar that focused on the almost forgotten, rum based cocktails of the old days served in authentic tiki mugs, and an assortment of sipping rums fifty strong. I had the pleasure of acquiring these rums from around the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are fine spiced rums out there nowadays, but I want to show that it is possible to produce handcrafted infused rum at a reasonable price, while maintaining a far superior quality to the industry standard.

I began by trying several recipes using quality rum with an assortment of exotic spices and various types of fruit infusions. After several months of experimenting, analyzing, and taste-testing I concocted several unique possibilities, but felt that something crucial was missing. In the end, it was my girlfriend who suggested the last, key ingredient and I knew that we had crafted something special. Two weeks and several business meetings later, I had found a way to make naturally infused rum in small batches.

As you can imagine, it being in charge of searching and was a fun and exciting job. However, back in 2004 I just could not find a brand of spiced rum that met with my high standards. What I found was mass produced liquor, flavored with artificial vanilla to cover up the taste of what was quite obviously mediocre rum. It was through this search that the idea to make my own bottled rum began to form.

Quite interesting story isn`t it? And now he finally has his infused rum which btw is excellent!

Bottles back collage

Here`s my thoughts on the flavor:

Meermaid Infused Rum:

The color is lightly straw and when I swirl the rum in the glass, legs are quickly formed on the sides. The nose is very pleasant with a lot of citrus fruitiness, some herbs and a bit of spices with a very slight hint of rum in the background.

The nose is very mild yet has a lot of flavor notes in it.

The taste is spicy and herbal with he rum resting discreetly in the background, it´s mild and balanced and has an interesting flavor which is complex. It also has a pronounced fruitiness. It`s more mild and balanced than I expected and there`s no “overly sweetness” or “too much vanilla” in it, there´s a clear hint of cinnamon but there`s nothing that takes over.

There`s also something else there I cannot put my finger on…cherry?

There’s fruity orange and a bit of woody spicy aftertaste with hints of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, herbs…and the finish is medium long. It`s definetily one of the better spiced rums and this one distinguishes itself from the rest in that it`s a bit different.

Meermaid Overproof Infused Rum:

The overproof version has a naturally sharper nose with creamy fruitness in it, light on the spice and little bit herbal. I really like this creamy fruitness, it`s an intoxicating scent.

The flavor is also very fruity and herbal, even a little bit floral with a touch of woody spices like cinnamon and clove. It`s mild enough to sip, the alcohol doesn`t kill you. In all I would say that both these rums are well balanced and mild enough to not overpower anything which so many other spiced rums does.

They can be both sipped and mixed! and yes they are right, it really pairs well with pineapple!

Bottle overproof collage

Pretty cool labels, with a skeleton mermaid on the overproof…

Wim Thielemans from Flap`s Tikis made a special tiki mug for Meermaid rum – is it the captain with a mermaid tail? or is it a tiki face? a really cool mug!

Meermaid mug

Ok and now it`s time for the drinks! i`m in the mood for pineapple, rum, lime and coconut! so it´s a lot of fresh pineapple juice and tiki drinks…

First drink is a pineapple bowl…a mix of fresh pineapple and lime juices, orgeat and three rums to make it strong plus dashes of Angostura and Zulu bitters to make it nice! the whole awesomeness is served in a scooped out pineapple garnished with pineapple leaves, lime wheels and tropical flowers.

I wish I had one of those little plastic cocktail garnish mermaids to add to the bowl….she could swim around there in all the rum…

Meermaid Pineapple Bowl

Meermaid Pineapple Bowl

2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml orgeat
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
0.5 oz/15ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml demerara rum
A couple dashes of Angostura and Zulu* Aromatic bitters

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 sec, then pour into a scooped out pineapple (or glass/tiki mug) and fill up wityh more crushed ice and garnish.

This drink is very refreshing!

*The Zulu bitters are hard to get outside of Brazil where they are made from local ingredients in the rainforest, ( try e-mail zuluheadbartender@gmail.com ) – Otherwise using Angostura is just fine!

The next drink….looks very innocent but it is not!

Naughty Mermaid

Naughty Meermaid

2 oz /60ml fresh pineapple juice
2 oz/60 ml fresh orange juice
1 oz/30ml  Coco Real or Lopez cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5ml cold brewed coffee
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml aged Jamaican rum

Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 1 cup of crushed iced and pour into a large snifter.

Mermaid Ginger Cooler

Meermaid Ginger Cooler

In a rocks glass with large pieces of cracked ice, add:

1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A little squeeze of fresh lime
Top up with ice cold ginger beer and stir

Garnish with fresh mint and lime

It packs a bit of a punch!

Grande Pina Colada

Grande Pina Colada

2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml Coco Real or Coco Lopez
2 oz/60ml roasted coconut water
1 oz/30ml fresh lime
1 oz/30ml Jamaican rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A couple dashes of Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed for 6 sec with a cup (2.5dl) cracked ice)
Pour into a goblet or pineapple filled with cracked ice.
Add a generous float of black strap rum

Guanabana Kula

Guanabana Kula

2 oz/60ml Guanabana (soursop) juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml fresh lime juice
0.5oz/15ml macadamia nut syrup
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
2 oz/60ml Santeria rum or a dark Jamaican rum

Flash blend in blender with 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec, pour into a tall glass and fill up with more crushed ice.

Garnish: wrap the glass in banana leaf and tropical orchid.

Overall I think for this infused rum, it´s a work well done! The Meermaid rum is for those who appreciate quality handmade flavored spirits – if you want your own bottle of Meermaid you can order it here. ( I do not know if they ship outside of Europe) And if you are going to the German Rum Festival in october (15-16) you can also find it there!

Okole Maluna!

FB LINK MERMAID

Rhum Agricole – Hèritiers Madkaud from Martinique

Madkaud rum bottles

As always when I go to rumfests and try out rums I`ve never tried before I find something that sparks my attention and interest and the rums from Hèritiers Madkaud is one. They are not only very good rhum agricoles they also have an interesting story and I think they deserve to be more known. I`d recommend anyone interested in rhum agricole to try them out!

The rhum Hèritiers Madkaud is today owned by Stèphane Madkaud who re-launched the rum by the end of 2007 and most parts of the story was told to me directly by him.The story of the rum brand Madkaud is very old and goes back to the days of slavery on Martinique.

RHUM MADKAUD – THE HISTORY AS TOLD BY STEPHANE MADKAUD

The thing is that in the beginning, my ancestors, as slaves, had no names, no family names (no last names in fact) they just had first names. My slave ancestor was called “Louis”, and that’s all. And he had a number for identification. If you give me one minute, I will get you his real number….he was number “105”

So what is written is that “what we know today for sure, is that before being called “Madkaud”, my ancestors were black slaves who worked on a plantation in “Grand Anse – Lorrain”, in Martinique. ” In fact in 1849, one year after slavery was abolished, they decided they wanted to be called “Madkaud” because of a French former governor of Martinique who was called “Mackau” who, in 1845, as a congressman, produced a law which allowed the enslaved to buy their own freedom with their own work. So maybe this is how they got free, maybe a few years before slavery was officially abolished in 1848.

Louis had 9 sons and daghters among which was Félicien (the 9th) who was may grandfather’s grandfather and Félicien was born in 1857  as a free man and he created the rum brand in 1895. He was a distiller for a french man who owned a sugar factory, but the guy went bankrupt because there was sugar crisis in the years 1880s and he needed to leave Martinique.

Félicien could take the factory but to be able to make it financially, a marriage was arranged with a white lady whose father was a trader in France (in Bordeaux) They got married in 1893 and Félicien created Agricole rhum Madkaud in 1895.

In these years it was the end of molasses in Martinique and this is how agricole rum began…because of sugar crisis.

Félicien was the first Black man to own a factory. We know he had some difficulties because the owners around did not accept his presence at such a level. But he was also a fighter.

Habitation Duvallon

“Habitation Duvallon”, where rum Madkaud was created. The place is called “fond capot”, in the city of Carbet.

Thank you Stèphane!  – and the brief history of the rum itself is this:

In the 1950s and 60s the rums from Madkaud were well known on Martinique but they disappeared from the market to reappear in the 90s.

The cause of the brand`s collapse was the death of Stèphanes grandfather, aged 40 in the mid 60s causing bankruptcy. Some cousins did their best to keep the brandname alive but they were no more producers. However they succeeded in making the brandname survive through a partnership with a larger producer but this was only survival.

They were limited to just a small single quota with the production controlled by a third party, the family rum could no longer afford to be what it once was and only very small amounts of rum were sold locally.

Then in the 90s the quotas were suppressed in Martinique and they could go back to business but without a real marketing policy. In 2007 Stèphane created Heritiers Madkaud as a sign of a new era – with better casks, more beautiful bottles, and little by little…better communication.

This is why the story starts again 40 (!) years later… 40 years after Stèphanes grandfather’s death.

And in 2013 the Madkaud rum was awarded bronze for the white, and silver for the VSOP at the rumfest in Madrid and the same year also bronze and silver in HongKong. This was followed by a gold medal at the Paris rumfest in 2014 and in 2015 it was awarded gold in Madrid and double gold in Berlin for both expressions.

I think that`s quite amazing for a rum that almost disappeared and was more or less “gone” for 40 years….and now it`s time for the tasting – here are my thoughts, in short:

Héritiers Madkaud Blanc Cuvée Castelmore

The color is crystal clear and the nose is elegant with whiffs of fresh grassy notes followed by hints of citrus, and sugarcane. The taste is mild and balanced with hints of fresh sugarcane, citrus and white pepper. It has the typical grassy herbal notes of fresh cut sugarcane and is pleasant to sip and the crisp grassiness is more in the background than upfront, it doesn`t attack you, more like caressing your palate. It has a medium long finish.

Héritiers Madkaud VSOP Cuvée Castelmore

Well rounded nose, with hints of wood and herbal grassiness of the cane and tropical fruits. In the mouth it´s mild and pleasanly fruity and balanced with hints of spices, orange and wood, tropical fruits and sugarcane. It has a longer finish than than the blanc. This rum has been aged four years and has a clear amber color.

There`s no sugar or other “things” added, this is pure rhum agricole!

And of course, sipping it neat is the best and the given cocktail would be a ti punch but I wanted to make some tropical cocktails too, plus two tiki drinks as well, to see how they mix :

Punch Banáne

Tropical Punch small txt

60 ml/ 2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh orange juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz banana syrup*
Dash Angostura bitters

Flash blend in blender on high speed with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec and pour into a snifter, top up with more crushed ice

*Banana syrup – Make a simple syrup with equal parts sugar to water, preferably raw sugar and add the slices from 1 banana and mash the banana slices into the syrup and give it a quick “cook up”, then take off heat to cool. Let sit for an hour to let the flavors marry before straining and bottling into a clean bottle.

Pineapple Delight

Pineapple Delight small

2 oz (60ml) fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz (15ml) honey cream mix
0.5 oz (15ml) orgeat
0.25 oz demerara syrup
1 oz (30ml) fresh lime juice
1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
Decent float of overproof rum

Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with a cup of crushed ice and pour into a pineapple, add more crushed ice to fill.
Add the float and a couple dashes of aromatic bitters,(I used Zulu Aromatic bittters from Brazil, but Angostura works just as fine).

To make honey cream mix:
Mix 4 tsp honey with 2 oz (60ml) water
Heat up and stir until the honey is dissolved.
Add 1 tbsp unsalted butter and mix it all together, cool to roomtemp.

Missionary`s Downfall

Missionarys Downfall small txt

This is one of Don the Beachcomber’s greatest masterpieces, it was made back in 1940s, even though Jeff Berry have pointed out in his book “Beachbum Berry`s Remixed” that it may even be as old as back in 1937. It´s a masterpiece of refreshing herbal awesomeness! and it never gets old. In this recipe the rums are switched to Madkaud Agricole Blanc. And honey-mix is used here which is like the previous honey cream mix but without the butter.

60 ml/2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
30 ml/1 oz honey mix*
15 ml/0.5 oz Peach Brandy
15 ml/0.5 oz lime juice
45 ml/1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
12-20 mint leaves
2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice

Combine in a blender and blend at high-speed for 20 seconds. Pour into a goblet or coupe and garnish with mint sprig. (and a tropical flower if you like:-)

*Honey Mix
1 part honey
1 part water
Combine in a small sauce pan, heat up and stir until the honey dissolves.

Cool and bottle.

Ginger Coconut Sour

Ginger-Coconut Sour small txt

60 ml/ 2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
22.5 ml/ 0.75 oz Campari
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh coconut water
15 ml/ 0.5 oz ginger syrup*
1 egg white
Grated nutmeg

Shake hard and long to emulsify the egg white (or use blender) and pour into a chilled rocks glass. Dust grated nutmeg on top. Garnish with pineapple leaves.

*Make ginger syrup the same way as you do banana syrup. Peel the ginger before slicing, you need only a small piece of ginger, about 4 cm to 1 cup/2.5 dl of simple syrup.

Colada Martinique

Colada Martinique small txt

30 ml/ 1oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
30 ml/ 1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
30 ml/ 1 oz pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz coconut water
30 ml/ 1 oz Coco Lopez or Coco Real cream of coconut
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime juice
Dash Angostura bitters

Flash blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into a coconut or rocks glass and top up with more crushed ice.

Well, no problem with the mixing! this rum both sips and mixes just fine! in other words, it´s very versatile. I`m glad it was brought back from “dormancy” by Stèphane!

Hope to see more rums from Madkaud in the future!

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, so it`s  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.

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 sugarcane and some grassiness. It`s a tropically flavored aged agricole rum with strong banana and coconut flavors. It`s a spiced rum with coconut and banana and it`s quite sweet. I believe it´s a “like it or not” type of rum. Personally I like as a mixer because it mixes well in tiki drinks and tropical cocktails, but not as a sipping rum., it`s too sweet for that to my palate.

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 sweet flavors of 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. If you don`t know that then you may believe it`s all 12 year old rum which is it not.

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 extra aroma! but as a sipper it`s a sugar-bomb warning.

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 fine 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 sugar 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… and that is a pity! 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 says it´s 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 probably 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 :-).

22.5 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 🙂