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

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!

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) which were some of the most amazing cocktails I have ever tried, 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 Laercio:

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.

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.

Let´s get Tropical with Daniele Dalla Pola!

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Champion of the 42 Below cocktail world cup and owner of the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, Italy – master of tiki drinks and tasty libations and undisputed lover of pineapples, meet Daniele Dalla Pola!

Hailing from Milan and now living in Bologna where he resides at the Nu Lounge Bar when he`s not travelling the world spreading tiki and tropical drinks and aloha. UPDATE: He have now  opened a new bar in Miami called Esotico! 

I have been admiring the tiki drinks and vintage style photos of Daniele Dalla Pola for a long time, I hope to one day be able to have one in person! (UPDATE: Now I have! and they are every bit as good as I thought! his bar (I visited the Nu Lounge bar in Bologna) doesn`t deliver just fantastic drinks, they deliver an experience) When I first met Daniele was in New Orleans at the  2014 TOTC, at the event “Dynamic Duos” at the Cane and Table where Jeff Beachbum Berry did bartend together with Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum.

It was an evening of great friendship, fun and tasty cocktails as this picture by my friend Laura Godel can tell!

Daniele and Jeff Berry

Curious about how Daniele came into the world of tiki and what tiki means to him i asked him about his story:

pineapple small smallYou are one of the most prolific bartenders out there… tell us your story Daniele?

Thank you for a compliment! A long story short, to be a prolific bartender it`s essential to have passion for what you are doing, but passion without talent is nothing. My talent is all about hospitality. I learned how to improve my skills during my long time living in Miami, USA.

Everyday was a challenge, because I could loose my job in any moment. There was and there is still a lot of competitors-hardworkers so if you are not on focus you can lose your chance to success.

And it’s like this everywhere in the world. In last 10 years our world has been changing so much, a lot of “trains” (opportunities) pass by….you have to jump in.

pineapple small smallAnd tiki, how did you get into that?

I been a tropical oriented kind of person since I started this profession and I always dreamed about opening a bar in Hawaii. I just fell in love with this incredible world of cool fancy drinks many years a go. Then thanks to the new golden era of cocktails I even decided to make a radical change to my bar, like Trader Vic did in the past.

pineapple small smallI have seen tiki getting more popular in Europe, especially in the UK but it´s not near as big as in the US, naturally, and a lot of people seem to think tiki is just just all about the drinks, when the drinks are actually just a part of a whole movement and art form, what`s your thoughts on that?

Tiki Culture is the coolest era ever, sometime I just wish that I can travel back in time and walk into one of the Don The Beachcomber or participate in one of the amazing Luaus at the Encino Plantation, maybe make a Missionary`s Downfall to Clark Gable…

I agree that tiki is not just a type of cocktail, tiki can be a lifestyle, your home can be tiki style, you can buy outfit tiki style, you can have even a tattoo, but without Aloha Spirit all this won`t be possible.

pineapple small smallAnd as for the drinks, what´s your favorite tiki drinks?

I love to make the Pearl Diver and the Missionary s Downfall…. my favorite depends of the moment…. now it`s Don`s Special.

pineapple small smallI cannot do this interview without talking about pineapples, you really do promote the King of Fruits like no one else, why is it so special?

You just said it !!!! it`s the king of fruit and a symbol of friendship and of hospitality. It´s so good and i love the texture in cocktails and now it`s fashion too.

pineapple small smallObviously a silly question, but tell me why should I visit the Nu Lounge Bar?

Because of me !!!! is a joke !!!! 🙂 many reasons, one of them is for sure the location and all the good looking guys that work there…..

Nu Lounge Bar 14

pineapple small small I see you use a lot of coconut, pineapple and banana, are they your favorite flavor pairings?

That was an easy question – RUM and LIME…….. 🙂

pineapple small smallYour photos have a very nice vintage look, do you have any photography tips?

Just buy cool apps and practice, make sure that the background is nice and that there is nothing that can disturb, for example like a garbage bin, also I usually don t like pics with straws, try to have your style so the people can recognize your works easily. And change it when you dont like it anymore…..find a new style and start again.

pineapple small smallTell me something about Hawaii…. and what the Aloha shirt means to you!

Hawaii is magic, Hawaii is paradise…. all the islands are incredibly beautiful, everything there is so special, all the breathtaking views, the beaches, the sound of ukulele, the kalua pig, and the beers are amazing,[ liquid Aloha ] the Kona coffee… and you can see some cute hula girls dancing.

But you can live with Aloha Spirit everywhere you want.

Talking about Aloha Shirts, I`ll say just one thing, now we cross the line a bit because fashion industry in the last couple of years is doing a lot *Hawaiian Style* and people will get tired of this.

But I`ll not! One day I hope to become a Kamaʻāina, so I`ll have a discount in the Aloha Shirt Shop….

pineapple small smallAnd finally, you recently had a gorgeous pineapple mug made, is that a new signature mug for your bar?

Of course ….the Sexy Colada! and here`s the MANOA:

Ingredients:

45 ml Bacardi Carta oro rum

30 ml Arcane cane crush rum

10 ml Pimento dram liqueur

15 ml Passion fruit syrup

15 ml Homemade falernum syrup

20 ml grapefruit juice

20 ml lime juice

For the garnish:

1/2  lime

1 sprig of mint

1 sugar cube

3 ml Absinthe

A sprinkle of ground cinnamon

1 cup/250g crushed ice

Pour lime juice, grapefruit juice, falernum syrup, passion fruit syrup, pimento dram liqueur, white rum and overproof rum into a shaker and fill the shaker with crushed ice and shake.

Pour together with ice into a tiki mug and garnish with a mint sprig and a half lime with a sugar cube soaked in absinthe. Set the sugar on fire and sprinkle it with ground cinnamon.

Mahalo Daniele!

After writing this post I know one thing for sure, someday I need to get myself over to Nu Lounge Bar….(and i did, and the Manoa I got was excellent and served in a cute wooden box surrounded by smoke….) and now they also have these super cool pineapple mugs, a part of the Marama Project for Nu Lounge Bar. I made a “Aku Lapu Lapu” in it and the mug is just the right size for a good tiki drink and the top has a hole in it for the straw.

I think the mug is so cool………

Pineapple 3

And now let´s take a look at Daniele`s drinks! they are photographed in a lovely vintage tiki style and the garnishes and glassware and everything around are all creative and elaborate and the king is of course – the pineapple!

Here`s eye candy for tiki drink and tropical drink lovers! all are Daniele´s drinks and many of these are what you get if you head over to Nu Lounge Bar! I just love the vintage tiki style in these photos! and there´s such great attention to detail…. but beware – it´s  a VERY LOOOONG picture parade…..

Enjoy!

With a hint of coconut, pineapple and banana…..spices, smoke and fire…….

Aloha is the greeting…..let´s get tropical!

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Nu Lounge Bar Mai Tai

Start with a Mai Tai……

Nu Lounge Bar 58 Spiced Martinique Swizzle

Then get something spicy with a vibrant lively rhum agricole….the Spiced Martinique Swizzle!

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And then….here it is! – Daniele´s fresh yummy drooly Sexy Colada!

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Fragrant….cinnamon dusting on top…..

Painkillers

More pineapple! from Pina to Painkiller!

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Nu Lounge Bar 50 pAINKILLER

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palm tree parasol let`s get tropical

Sail away to the tropics…. and STAY tropical!!!

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Maori Sour

The Maori Sour ( Nu Lounge Bar )

20 ml. passion fruit puree
2 barspoon Guadeloupe sugar mixed with green tea ( powder )
20 ml. lime juice
1/2 passion fruit
60 ml. 42 below vodka
20 ml. manuka honey mix
Shake and pour unstrained in a cool glass
Add more ice ( crushed )
Garnish with the empty passion fruit filled with green tea , berrys, sugar
enjoy

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Ready for some heat? the Nu Volcano is erupting!

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Followed by smoke…..

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Isn`t this just beautiful?

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Nu Lounge Big Bamboo

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Nu Lounge Bar 49 shaved ice Volcano

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Pineapple and coconut again!!! let`s kill some more pain….

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Yeah… we sure are in pineapple paradise!

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And we´re on island time aren`t we?

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Dreaming of Blue Hawaii…. can you hear the waves crashing?

Nu Lounge Bar 42 Nu Blue Hawaiian

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And the sweet island tones of the ukulele to soothe your soul.

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Missionary`s Downfall

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I spy a Scott Taylor mug….

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We know what DTO is…. and now it´s even BDT – Banana daquiri time!

Nu Lounge Bar 34 banana daiquiri

Nu Lounge Bar 60 Banana Beach Daiquiri

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Rum julep…..

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Uhaa Punch…..

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Aqua de Mai Tai….very innovative and stunning presentation!

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Missionary’s Flip Flop!

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Nu Lounge Bar 56 Navy Grog

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Nu Lounge Bar 35 Painkiller, Spice Colada and Boo Loo

Painkiller, Spice Colada and Boo Loo

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Nu Lounge Bar 43 The Key West

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Pineapple love  🙂

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As you can see, there´s a lot of attention to detail here…I mean down to the last tiny details….a sign of a true master! and a lot of Aloha spirit in his works! Beautiful pictures aren`t they? all pics in the picture parade are courtesy and credited to Daniele Dalla Pola, the pics of the smoke are courtesy Ariel from www.ascocktailproducts.eu  Mahalo for giving me permission to use them  here!

Nu Lounge Bar text

Address: Via Dè Musei, 6, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Phone:+39 051 222532
Hours:5:00 pm – 3:00 am

PS – sorry for the irregular picture sizes, but they became that way automatically after a program/theme update/change and you cannot change it unless you take out every pic and manually resize them… there´s too many pics here to do that  🙂

Tiki Bars – Latitude 29

Latitude 19

And so finally I got to go the Latitude 29! I´ve been waiting since they opened with great anticipation and (high) expectancy…..well…I try to not have too high expectations whatever it is, better to have an open mind, but with this one i`s a bit different….because this is the BUM`s place….this is the man who uncoded all the secret codes and brought us all these lost drink recipes and who wrote no less than six stellar books on the subject if you count in Taboo Table.

His books have been my to go tiki drink (and history) books for years and so now he and his wife Annene Kay aka Mrs Bum opens a real tiki bar in my favorite city New Orleans!

And I wasn`t there when they opened….and had to wait all the way until this year´s Tales before I could finally go and see it  – and in the meantime I`ve been drooling over all the food and drink pictures (can you say Tahitian Steak Frites?) and the drinks…..oh the drinks….

I`ve seen so many beautiful pictures of these drinks that I didn`t know what to start with….but I ended up ordering a Pontchartrain Pearl Diver as my first drink – in the NEW Pearl Diver`s glass! 🙂

The Pearl Diver`s glass, the Swizzle cup and the skull barspoons are all new for this summer in collaboration with Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom and they were sold at the Tales but are also available online. The vintage Pearl Diver`s Punch glass is more or less impossible to find anymore so I`m really happy they are re-making them and same for the cool swizzle cup! I hope to see more re-making of these type of vintage tiki drink glasses….

And not only are the glasses really cool they come in beautiful vintage looking packages too!

Latitude29 Pearl Diver 3

The Pontchartrain Pearl Diver was good…..very very good – well balanced and oh so tasty! I didn`t try so very many drinks during the Tales because it was so incredibly busy….and so was I…so I decided to wait until after Tales and THEN go there for some serious drink tasting!

So last friday I went there early and I sat there and happily indulged Tahitian Steak Frites with luscious Coconut Butter and later a Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi accompanied by a whole array of drinks until in the evening, I actually spent a whole “working day” in the place!

And I had a nice chat with the Bum, about rums and rums and rums…and of course, tiki drinks. I was indeed a very good day….The place is so cool and relaxed, beautifully decorated and the music is great! with everything from real good and cool old style Jamaican reggae to surf music! and the co-bar manager Steven Yamada and his staff are very attentive, friendly and nice.

It`s really a place to go not only for the great drinks and food but also to escape from the world outside and it doesn`t matter if there´s big windows to the outside world…..because this is New Orleans! and the view from the beautiful arched windows is nothing but beautiful….over the pool and the tropical plants in the courtyard of Bienville House Hotel.

This used to be housing the former Iris restaurant, I went there in 2009 with all the Tales bloggers and now I cannot recognize the restaurant and bar anymore, it´s a total different world! quite the transformation….the only things that looks the same is the courtyard and the hotel lobby.

Take a look:

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Back in 2009…Alan Walther tends the bar at Iris…..and he did serve some amazing cocktails! he later moved on to Loa, this was long before the Iris became what it is today – a true tiki haven!

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The Tales Blogger Dinner in 2009 in the former Iris restaurant, the same view today of the beautiful courtyard and pool but the dining room has dramatically changed…..

Bienville House Hotel Courtyard

This is such a tranquil and peaceful place….if staying at this hotel you get both all this plus the Latitude29 in one place…..

Pool view through window

Eat Drink and be Merry!

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Hurricane, Kea Colada and Royal Hawaiian Cocktail.

The food menu has something for everyone! executive Chef Chris Shortall and his staff creates their own take on modern Tiki Cuisine which is playful and tasty and there`s something for everyone including options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests.

First thing I opted for was the Tahitian Steak Frites which I`ve been dreaming about since they opened…..

The Tahitian Steak Frites are tender, luscious and juicy (I ordered mine medium-rare) served with hot crispy thin fries and a tasty dipping sauce plus a dollop of coconut butter on top! the Bum told me that in Tahiti they add coconut to the cow´s diet and therefore everything the cows are producing have a touch of coconut flavor…heavenly….and so they wanted to re-create that idea here with the coconut butter.

I LOVE it!

Steak frites collage

I`m not joking, I think I could eat this almost every day….the meat is so tender and melts in your mouth together with that lovely coconut butter….

The Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi is wild caught Mahi poached in coconut oil, jalapeño, sriracha, and shallot….and at a Chef`s Challenge before the Tales I tried the ribs which are very tasty too….and not to forget the crispy green beans!

Another nice dish is the Shrimps in Blanket, the gulf shrimps here really are something special. They are big and juicy….and have more shrimp flavor than shrimps I`ve tasted anywhere else.

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Shrimps in Blanket

Latitude 29 Sahimi beans

These green beans were amazing…..

An array of seductive tropical tiki drinks…..

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When you enter a tiki bar you want to be seduced….you want to forget the daily struggles and take a “trip to the South Seas” with exotic tropical drinks! (inspired by drinks in the Caribbean….) 🙂

So I started with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver….it`s such a good drink!…..balanced, fruity and rummy! The Pearl Diver is a mix of honey-butter-spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime and Jamaica rum. The butter adds a wonderful slightly viscous mouth-feel, if you didn`t know it was butter in the mix you wouldn`t know what it was but you would know there was something there….

After the Pearl Diver I had the namesake drink of this bar – the Latitude 29…..it comes in a tall glass wrapped in banana leaf for that real tropical feel – and you get that cool gorgeous swizzle stick! – made after the wall art by Bosko! The drink is made with eight-year Demerara rum, passion fruit purée, house made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple and lemon.

They are both gorgeous in their presentations with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver in the new re-made super cool Pearl Diver`s glass.

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The Latitude 29

The Rum Barrel is according to the menu a communal drink but it says “For 2 to share, or 1 thirsty pirate to hoard. A kill-devil’s brew of 3 rums, 4 juices, multiple herbs, spices and sweeteners …” – so apparently I`m a “thirsty pirate” since I had no problem drinking it all by myself….

It sure makes you feel like a rummy pirate! 😀

It`s presentation is BEAUTIFUL! and fun! see the picture….they really take time to garnish up these beauties….and the drink itself is strong and rummy/fruity/spicy. One of my favorites!

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Rum Barrel, complete with pineapple peel, cherries, orchid, swinging monkeys and umbrella! superfun garnish 🙂

And so is the Coffee Bongo…..also incredibly nicely garnished….with a pineapple leaf cut out to look like a palm tree frond…..topped with two coffee beans….stunning! the drink is also strong/spicy and rummy with lots of character and if you like coffee and pineapple together, you find it here.

Latitude 23

Every drink is not rum though….there´s a drink called “Outcast of the Islands” which was amazingly tasty and is a mix of London gin and Persian lime…with cinnamon, ginger, almond and anise, heavenly….

And it LOOKS heavenly too! it comes served with an ice shell…..how cool is that? and the Navy Grog comes with the iconic ice cone which is made with the Bum`s ice cone device sold by Cocktail Kingdom (as well as the Pearl Diver`s glasses, the swizzle cup and the skull bar spoons)

And there are drinks with bourbon, brandy, tequila, beer and vodka….but I haven`t tried them all yet….there`s something for everyone in the drink menu too. Me, I tend to mostly stick to the rums….

Ice cone shell drinks

Outcast of the Islands and the iconic Navy Grog

The Professor Remsberg`s Punch is a very interesting drink and very tasty too, the drink contains “Fine old Guadeloupe rum, gently stirred with lime and a Caribbean spiced syrup discovered over 30 years ago in San Juan by the Professor himself”…….I wonder what is in that syrup? If you didn`t know, Stephen Remsberg is the world´s biggest rum collector.

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Professor Remsberg`s Punch

All the drinks at Latitude 29 are good and well balanced, from the (real, no chemical-mix) Hurricane, Mai Tai, TOTC Swizzle, Nui Nui, Kea Colada, Royal Hawaiian Cocktail, Lapu Lapu, Hawaii 504, Missionary`s Downfall and the Paniolo….which is Kentucky bourbon and Hawaiian macadamia nut liqueur shaken with lime, house made cranberry syrup and a dash of molé bitters.

It`s evident to me that they pay as much attention to the garnishes as the drinks themselves because some of these drinks ar off the charts when it comes to beautiful presentations! you get a little work of art in your hand!

And the drink names alone takes you on a exotic journey…..a lot of them created back in the heydays of tiki.

Tasty, exotic and beautiful.

Hawaii 504

The Hawaii 504

You know, you need to go there and just try all these heavenly things! btw….between 3 and 6 pm every day it´s Happy Hour with a special menu….where among the drinks you`ll find the Banana Banshee and the Royal Hawaiian Cocktail….both perfect to cool you down when it´s hot outside which is a guaranteed thing in New Orleans during the summer.

And the best thing of all….you get the Steak Frites for half the price! what is there not to love?

The Banana Banshee is a frozen cocktail with Jamaican rum, lime, coconut milk and coconut cream, fresh banana and aztec bitters and topped with grated chocolate!

Lat29 Banana Banshee 2

Banana Banshee

I also ordered a few off-menu drinks with the help of Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app, such a handy thing to have! and they were delivered top notch! I think Steve outdid himself with the Coconaut….coming beautifully garnished with a Cruzan Blackstrap float on the side. It tasted absolutely heavenly…..it was a mix of Hamilton 151 Demerara, El Dorado 5, for the rums plus that lovely float of blackstrap to pour yourself 🙂

Coconaut collage

This Coconaut was incredible!

The Zombie was spicy and nice just as I expected, and just about right with the strength, and the Kamehameha Rum Punch did live up to it´s name…..

Kamehameha and zombie

Kamehameha Rum Punch and the Zombie…..

This interesting drink recipe is from Sippin`Safari and originates from the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii, as the origin of the drink around 1960.

So who was King Kamehameha you might ask?  Kamehameha – also known as Kamehameha the Great was the head of a dynasty ruling the Hawaiian islands for more than a century. The name Kamehameha (pronounced kuh-may-ha-may-ha) means “the one set apart.” He conquered the Hawaiian islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawai`i in 1810.

This drink is actually named after the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii who took the name after the great Hawaiian King – Kamehameha.

Every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11, a state holiday in Hawai’i), National Statuary Hall is the scene of a ceremony in honor of the king and the statue of Kamehameha the Great is draped with lovely (and loooong) leis of fragrant flowers from Hawai’i. The Festival continues to pay tribute to Kamehameha and acts to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.

Communal Drinks

And as every tiki bar should, there:s also a couple of different communal drinks on the menu, the newest one is a monster drink called the “Plantocracy Punch” for 6-8 people but we were only three so we tried the Lapu Lapu which uses a recipe which according to the menu is a Don The Beachcomber’s “lost” unpublished 1964 recipe, recently discovered by the Bum and presented here for the first time in over 40 years.

And of course it`s appropriately garnished with little mermaids taking a rummy ice bath…..

Lapu Lapu collage

Fruity, spicy, rummy Lapu Lapu and little mermaids swimming in the bowl….

Latitude 16

Rums….

Samaroli rums collage

While sitting in the bar I spotted two Samaroli rum bottles….and so of course I ordered a sample of each….and with the rum samples you get a small shot glass with water and a dropper, neat.

One was the 13 year old Guadeloupe 1998 Rhum Agricole and the other 1988 Demerara Dark Rum. The Guadeloupe is spicy and a touch smokey, with a strong character but at the same time, not too aggressive, it´s fruity, peppery, balanced and picky but also smooth.

A few drops of water brings out a whole array of tropical fruits flavors! this rum is incredible. I REALLY liked it!

The 23 year old 1988 Demerara rum had flavors of wood, macerated tropical fruits, apricot, vanilla, banana peel, mango and something else I couldn`t define…..but here a few drops of water didn`t bring out much change….still very woody, strong and fruity. Also a very good rum! Both of these rums are distilled in the Caribbean and then matured in Scotland.

They are not cheap but they are unique rums and they give you something to remember.

Then I saw a curiosity on the menu….it had a sort of mellow toasty coconut flavor…interesting….and I think it also could be used as ingredient in some of the drinks maybe? how about a Toasted Coconut Daiquiri?

Toasted coconut collage

The Interior Decor…..

TD art

Here is top crafts….the first thing you notice is of course the big centerpiece which now is in the same spot as the huge mirror was when it was the bar at Iris. The centerpiece is a huge carving of the Pacific Islands in a map in the forms of small tikis made by Daniel Gallardo aka Tiki Tiablo, and it`s a stunning work of art!!

Here is a collage of close-ups of the “Islands” in the map and there´s a nod to New Orleans too….do you see the fleur de lis on top?

TD map collage

Bosko Hrnjak did all the new (non-vintage) light fixtures and all of the new (non-vintage) tiki carvings, wall panels, etc, over 50 of them in total. And Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe did 8 Easter Island carvings on the hut wall-dividers.

It`s all beautiful….

wall art collage

lamps collage

Another (practical) thing I greatly appreciate are the power outlets with USB ports located on each side of the tables, I wish more bars had that, it should be standard everywhere.

Tiki glasses, Barspoons and Orgeat

Latitude 11

All tikiphiles already knows about the Pearl Diver`s glass, the swizze cup and the cool skull bar spoons which you can find at the Cocktail Kingdom which I mentioned above….but a new thing is the Latitude29 orgeat which comes in a heavy round glass bottle and is sold in the bar.

I haven`t tried the orgeat yet even though I bought a couple of bottles (USD 15 each) but i`m out travellling so that will have to wait.

So to sum it all up, what I was looking for was how the food and the drinks tasted and were presented and if there´s consistency….(and yes I have returned) and how the decor and the feel of the place was, what music did they play and how loud? is it possible to have a conversation or do you have to scream? and how I was treated as a guest.

Personally I have nothing to complain about, the food and drinks are top class, the decor tasteful and genuinely tiki, it`s a laid back and relaxed feel, the staff attentive, professional and very sweet and so I`ll keep coming back, this is now my primarily watering hole in New Orleans :-).

That said there´s a lot of very good bars here, I just happen to really really like well made tiki drinks and in the relaxed vibe and environment of a real good tiki bar, there I feel the most at home.

Samaroli Rums and Pearl Diver at latitude 29

 

Interior pole

 

Bum sign

Seehuusens Coffee and Chocolate Bitters

Seehusens Bitters bottle

Seehuusens Coffee and Chocolate bitters is made by a Swedish bartender, Daniel Seehuusen. They are new on the market in Sweden (for now) and I must say, these bitters are very good!

Here is his story:

Taste has always been something that has interested me, and when I received Saturday candy as a child I always thought it was very interesting to first take a red candy, then a yellow and finally take one red and one yellow to see if it got better together.

I got interested in cooking early, something that today is still a great passion and usually is what I do to unwind and relax. After high school I knew I wanted to work in a restaurant, but I was unsure if it was in the kitchen I wanted to be or in the bar, but as an 18 year old it was easy to pull up to the bar’s magical world. I joined an intensive training and worked a few months.

But I realized quite quickly that my education didn`t really deliver what it promised so I decided to take the other road into the bar, from the bottom and up. I worked a few years as a dishwasher and barback and began after a while to run the bar again.

Quickly I realized the beauty of working in front of the guest and to get feedback immediately. Cooking remained a hobby.

I have for many years macerated ingredients in spirits to to use in cocktails so making bitters turned out quite natural. I had it as pretty relaxed projects for quite a few years but for 1½ years ago I decided to make it more seriously, I started to weigh and measure, keeping records and I became interested in what alcohol proof worked best for each individual ingredient.

I began to think it was funnier to make new bitters than to use up my old. The problem that arose with too many bitters was simply solved by giving them away to friends and acquaintances.

Last summer I broke two fingers in a bicycle accident, and I got a quite a long sick leave but after a while I started “climbing the walls” and that`s when I decided to start my own business. Said and done, I started Seehuusen Spirits AB and sent samples to Systembolaget (The Swedish spirits retail shop, alcohol is state owned in Sweden) and won their request for a new cocktail bitters.

Part of the reason I began making bitters was because I felt that many of the available bitters on the market has a chemical taste, I simply doesn`t think everything out there tastes authentic and natural. And therefore it has been very important for me to use natural ingredients and not compromising on quality. The ingredients in Seehuusen’s Bitters are of course a secret, but the three main ingredients are coffee, chocolate and cocoa.

I have been extra careful and have only selected products that are produced in a sustainable and responsible manner and of course of really high quality. My goal is that Seehuusen’s Bitters Coffee & Chocolate should be entirely organic in 2016.

I have also chosen the bottle with care and the dark purple glass lets through very little light. As you probably already know, light break down flavors and reduce sustainability and so I picked this dark purple glass to be able to guarantee the highest quality and longest possible shelf life.

My plan with Seehuusen Spirit is to work as much as possible with the launch of the “Coffee & Chocolate”at Systembolaget, and in the fall / winter there will be new flavors that will only be sold to restaurants.

Seehuusen’s Bitters Coffee & Chocolate will be in the normal range in 70 Systembolaget shops. It is 200 ml, 35% and the price is 149 SEK. Systembolaget’s part number: 450 – http://www.systembolaget.se/dryck/sprit/seehuusens-bitters-45004

So, I tried the bitters in two drinks, one recipe created by Daniel and then a “bitterized” Shrunken Skull – since there has already been published classic and modern cocktails on the bitters website, someone needs to try them in a tiki drink too right? well somebody gotta do it….seems that somebody is me… 🙂

But before I present the drinks, let me say what I think of the bitters:

First the bottle, it is a very nice looking one with a beautiful label in dark purple and gold to match the dark purple bottle and even the seal is beautiful. But it´s the inside that counts right? so first the nose, you get a whiff of coffee at first followed by warm cocoa, and the final impression is that it´s a yummy balanced smell of both cocoa and coffee.

Tasting a few drops of it reveals more of the coffee-cocoa flavor with a slight bitterness but it´s not more bitter than say Angostura, you can use this in larger quantities too if you want to make cocktails in the style of Trinidad Sour. But how much flavor a dash or two gives different cocktails is something to experiment with.

Here´s the two drinks:

Micedymac Flip (recipe Daniel Seehuusen)

Mickedymac collage

4 cl ( about 1.5 oz) Venezuelan rum and 2 cl ( about 0.75 oz) Trinidad rum

3 barspoons maple syrup

3 dash Seehusens  bitters coffee and chocolate

1 egg

Dry shake and then shake with ice, strain into a glass, dust a little cocoa on top, garnish with wrapped around vanilla beans.

This drink did really let the rum come forward….soft like velvet and somewhat “cool” for a lack of better word, and not too sweet! the cinnamon on top added that extra spice…

Very nice!

Shrunken Skull with a twist!

Shrunken Skull

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz grenadine

1 oz gold Puero Rican rum (instead, I used Denizen Rum Merchant`s Reserve)

1 oz demerara rum

Several good dashes of Seehuusen`s Coffee and Chocolate Bitters

Shake vigoriously with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a tiki mug.

As of recipe from the 1950s………it`s believed that the Shrunken Skull is a drink that was inspired by Don the Beachcomber’s Skull & Bones. As far as I know there´s only two tiki bars in the world still serving Donn Beach original Skull and Bones – Mai Kai and Tiki Ti.

The Seehuusens coffe and chocolate bitters added a rounded yummy touch to the drink! I submitted this one also for the Shrunken Skull Challenge on Instagram.

So, if you happen to live in Sweden (for now at least), give these bitters a try….you won`t be disappointed!

Seehusens Bitters seal

Here is the bitters webpage, Seehuusens Spirits.

TOTC 2015: The Annual Bar Fight Club at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail Announces its Seven Finalists

TOTC 2015 BANNER HEADER

So here they are, the seven finalists to take part in this years Bar Fight Club at the Tales. This was announced by Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal who are very excited to announce the outstanding final seven bar teams competing in this year’s annual cocktail battle — Bar Fight Club at Tales of The Cocktail 2015. Each of the prestigious bars selected are world-class cocktail havens with exceptionally talented bar teams that constantly strive to push cocktail culture forward.

Where many cocktail competitions are bartender vs. bartender, Bar Fight Club pits bar against bar to face off not only with drinks but also on ambiance, service and style. Taking place Thursday, July 16th at Generations Hall in New Orleans.

These bar teams will be coming in from around the country, and for the first time in Bar Fight Club history, around the world as well, to duke it out in a spirited battle and claim the ultimate bar bragging rights. In a year of unprecedented interest from highly regarded bars across the globe, the final seven participants were determined from a group of thirty supremely qualified semifinalists.

THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED BAR FIGHT CLUB FINALISTS ARE:

ABV – San Francisco, CA, USA
The Aviary – Chicago, IL, USA
Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia
Candelaria – Paris, France
Extra Fancy – Brooklyn, NY, USA
Pastry War – Houston, TX, USA
White Lyan – London, UK

The rules are simple – there are none! Each participating team will create a pop-up version of their bar at the event and mix up unique and standout cocktails featuring the spirits of The 86 Company’s portfolio – Fords Gin, Caña Brava Rum, Aylesbury Duck Vodka & Tequila Cabeza – as well as those from Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal – VIDA, Chichicapa, Minero, San Luis del Rio, Santo Domingo Albarradas & Crema de Mezcal.

“We couldn’t be happier to once again be a part of the Tales of the Cocktail Bar Fight Club along with Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal,” says The 86 Co. co-founder Simon Ford. “Each of the final bar teams selected are successful, innovative and at the top of their game.

We’re very excited to see the drinks they come up with and which bar is really going to take their cocktail game to the next level. We have no doubt that this night will be one of the biggest ones on the Tales calendar and are thrilled & honored to be back again!”

Along with Ford, the expert panel of judges will consist of some of the most influential people in our craft, including Steve Olson, Tony Abou-Ganim, Jackson Cannon, John Gertsen, Jim Meehan, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Eric Alperin, Erik Lorincz, Bridget Albert, Misty Kalkofen, Charles Joly, and Julie Reiner. The winners will be chosen based on a range of criteria covering cocktail making & presentation with bonus points awarded to the teams who make the most noise to keep the crowd raging all night long. Also up for grabs will be a prize for People’s Choice, chosen by the Bar Fight Club crowd that night.

There is no doubt that as one of the most anticipated cocktail competitions for Tales of the Cocktail® festival participants, this year’s Bar Fight Club is sure to blow folks away. Get your shakers up and be ready for The 86 Co. and Del Maguey to turn up the heat once again at one of the hottest cocktail events of 2015.

The Spirits Are Calling. Will you answer? They’re calling you to New Orleans for five days of seminars, tastings, product launches, competitions, networking events and so much more at the world’s premier professional cocktail event.

So if you`re planning to attend the Tales this year make sure not to miss the Bar Fight Club!