Tiki Drink Wizard and Fire Artist at Tacoma Cabana – Meet Jason Alexander!

Jason A

“It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber.

That’s how it started”

If you`re on Facebook in the Rum and Tiki crowd or if you are in Tacoma up in Seattle you might not been able to miss that there´s a real tiki drink, rum afficionado and fire wizard residing at the Tacoma Cabana inventing the most amazing flaming tiki drinks with a great rum selection on hand – his name is Jason Alexander.

I count myself lucky to be one of his friends because not only is he a great guy but the inspiration he throws around is affectuos and his drinks and especially the flaming ones are a feast for the eye and mouth (but i have yet to go all the way to Seattle and try them in person) we been talking drink recipes for quite a while and he really have developed a style of his own.

When i saw all his amazing concoctions with mouth watering descriptions and fantastic photographs both on instagram and facebook i got curious, what is his story? how did he start with all of this ending up owning his own tiki bar? How about this obsession with strong rums and fire?

So i went and asked him a couple questions:

Orchid small  Tell me, how did you get into tiki and tiki drinks, how did it all start?

I got into tiki and the drinks when I first went to the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Kona, Hawaii. After having artificially flavored sugar sludge Mai Tai’s and not knowing the history of the drink, my life was transformed that day that I stepped inside that little tiki heaven. I’ll never forget that first Mai Tai and Zombie. These were legit drinks and I had to know the story.

Orchid small  What are the greatest influences in tiki that have affected you the most?

My influences for tiki is pretty dynamic. I can find inspiration almost anywhere. That being said, I enjoy Donn the Beachcombers drinks the best. I like his style and the way he went about creating a drink. He always tinkered with his recipes and I’ve developed that habit too.

I’m almost always never satisfied with some of my recipes.They can always be better or built in a different manner. I admire the way Donn blended various styles of rum together to create a unique drink. I honestly never knew about these other guys doing tiki bars. I had never heard of any of them before this. It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber. That’s how it started.

Orchid small  You are obviously obsessed with fire….and are quite the fire artist with flaming tiki drinks, how did that happen?

A IMMOLATION!!!! — at Tacoma Cabana.

I’ve always been a little bit of a pyromaniac my whole life. I can sit and watch and play with a proper fire for hours. My obsession with lighting drinks on fire started shortly after the cabana opened. I could make a decent drink, but my garnishes left something to be desired.

I thought what could I do that nobody else that I knew of was doing as far as garnishes went. Fire was the immediate answer. So I set out on a mission. Did a little research and some trial and error until you see what you have now.

I wanted big flames and sparks. I wanted guests to feel slightly afraid for a moment until they had a sip of their drink and it immediately took them back to paradise. Most of the ridiculous fire rigs just come to me. I don’t know how or why, but they just do.

A - Three dots and a dash - Jason edition

Three dots and a dash….

I try and match them to a drink or a drink to the garnish. Just depends. I also won’t garnish a drink until the drink is solid or I won’t make the drink until the garnish is ready. You get it all or nothing. I’m only going to give you my best. Always. I think everybody on Instagram helped push me to develop bigger fire rigs too.

I got a lot of great response from it and I wanted to see how much I could push the envelope. I make the rigs for my guests too. Most of the drinks you see on my feed or not regular menu items.

So you never know what you’re gonna get when you walk in the door. Some stuff is super labor intensive to make so, depending how much extra prep time I have will dictate what I can make that day.

Orchid small  Where is most of your drink inspiration coming from and what is your mission?

Most of my drink inspiration comes from the life I’ve lived and the non tiki things around me. HP Lovecraft has been a huge motivator for me. I like to think that tiki could have a dark side. Music has been a factor in what I create too. Bands like Nile and Devildriver have had a hand in helping theme out drink for me. For example my Necromancer of Fiji was inspired by the Nile song The Essential Salts.

There was an old thrash band in the 90’s that I used to listen to called Sacred Reich. Their song Surf Nicaragua came on the radio as I was driving to work and I wondered to myself what it might be like to Surf Nicaragua and what that drink would taste like. So I made one.

My time as a US Marine as influenced some drinks as well like my Golden Shellback, Drunken Helmsman and Sea Grave. A Golden Shellback is a person who has crossed the international dateline and there equator at their point of intersection. I happen to be a golden shellback and always wanted to make a drink that tasted like that.

My mission is to make and remake tiki drinks. Some of the old ones needed a breath of fresh air. Some are way too sweet, way too tart or just very one dimensional.

I like to take an old recipe and rework it a little bit while still staying true to the drink. From that comes my original creations which I would like to take to the darker more sinister side of tiki that doesn’t quite exist yet. We’ll see how that goes.

Orchid small  You use almost only rum at your bar, why? and which rums do you prefer the most?

A - Tacoma rums

When I opened the cabana I knew that I wanted to put a wall of rum up because most people who go to Hawaii expect rum over there and there is very little. At least on the Big Island which was 99.9% of my exposure. Keep in mind that this was before I had any idea of tiki bar history. I wanted my place to be very rum centric while trying to give rum and tiki drinks a good name again.

I feel like you can go to any bar and see a good, diverse selection of liquors except rum. There is always the usual suspects of Captain Morgan, Bacardi and Malibu, but there never was anything beyond that at most places here. I wanted to overcompensate for that by carry a vast array of rum while only carrying two of everything else. I do have a decent liqueur collection because that goes without saying.

Basically in use the rums that are gonna make my drinks taste the way I want them to and make them taste the best. Currently in my well and what In use to make the majority of the drinks on the menu is: Plantation Overproof, Original Dark, 5 year and 3 Star rounded out with Coruba Dark, Bacardi 8 and El Dorado 5 year.

I probably over use the Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana combination as well as Guyana and Trinidad pairing, but they all work so well together. I also use and abuse any rum that speaks to me like Lost Spirits and anything over proof. I should probably use more agricole. I hardly use any of it for some reason.

Orchid small  Tiki can be a lot of things to different people, what does it mean for you?

Tiki means to me…to have fun. Not take things so seriously. Let loose. Live in the moment. For me tiki is play time. I get to help fulfill peoples fantasies of escapism for awhile. I get to facilitate all these drinks for tiki people that they always hear about, but are not able to always make at home or have the ability to. I get to be that guy for the tiki crowd and it is a tremendous honor.

Orchid small  The best tiki bars you have been to are?

The best tiki bars I’ve been to….every tiki bar I’ve been to and will go to is the best. I can always find something I like about a place. It’s not always about how cool and inventive the drinks are or how legitimate the decorations are and how much money you dumped into the place to make it hip and trendy.

It’s how you’re treated when you walk through the door. The best tiki bar could be the one that can only serve me a rum and coke while having the only thing tiki about the place being the bartender wearing an aloha shirt, but they made me feel like I was in the right place and that is what makes a bar the best.

Feeling welcome.

Orchid small  How do you see the future for tiki culture and tiki drinks?

I see the future of tiki expanding rapidly. Most bars nowadays have a tiki night. I think tiki drinks are the perfect drink to bridge the gap between your sports bar/chain restaurant bar and the hardcore cocktail bars. I think tiki drinks, if done right, can appeal to a lot of different people.

Orchid small  If you can pick one drink to try to convert somebody into tiki drinks, which one would it be?

If had to pick one drink to convert people over to tiki drinks, which one would that be? I don’t think I could pick just one. If I had to, I’d pick the Zombie without a doubt. To me that is everything that tiki is. Strong, flavorful, complex, not one flavor dominates but some how they all come together has one harmonious intoxicating note. But not everybody likes a Zombie and it can quickly turn people off from the whole experience.

You have to quickly read an inexperienced quest and get them into a tiki drink that suited to them so that they won’t think that all tiki drinks are too strong or too sour or too sweet or just too odd. There is a perfect tiki drink for most people. You just have to take a second and try and make that match. Luckily, most people will give you a second chance.

Orchid small  And what would you serve somebody who has had them all and is looking for something new and different?

If I had to serve a tiki professional something new that they’ve never had before, I think I’d serve them one of my originals like the Golden Shellback or the Drunken Helmsman. Or maybe one of the classics that I’ve tweaked a little bit. You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull.

Orchid small

Thank you Jason!

And to show off a few of his amazing drinks –  here are some pictures and recipes by Jason to stir your appetite and if you can, head over to Tacoma Cabana and have one or a few of these incredible drinks!

A warning though…if you keep scrolling there´s a chance you gonna get VERY VERY thirsty! the rest of this post is nothing but a BIG dose of tiki drink p*rn!

Orchid small

There is a perfect tiki drink for most people!

A Jasons Spiritcutter 2

The Tiki drinks are calling….

A Aerial Tiki Fire!

Luau Scorpion Bowl…one that stings!

A - Golden Shellback

Golden Shellback

1 1/2oz pineapple
3/4oz lemon
1/2oz orgeat
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1/2oz Benedictine
1 1/2oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Style Rum

Looks so tasty! i`m sure sure the moai in the aquarium agree 🙂 and the awesome tiki mug is created by Rob Hawes aka “Tiki Rob” who owns Maui Tiki Tours and makes awesome tiki mugs on Maui!

Krakatoa

Krakatoa

Jason`s take on the Krakatoa drink from Remixed page 58. So,” We’ll depart Sumatra on board PanCannibal Airways and take a trip to KILAUEA!!!

Bitters, Dons mix, passion fruit juice, lemon juice with coffee liqueur, amaro, falernum, apricot liqueur and then further fortified with Jamaica, demerara and overproof rums. Don’t forget the float of cold Kona coffee. See you on top of the volcano!!!!

A - Shrunken Skull 2         

“You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull”     

Shrunken Skull

2 dashes Horror In Clay Die Fiendishly Tropical Bitters
1/4oz Allspice Dram
1/4oz Falernum
3/4oz lime
3/4oz grenadine
1oz Plantation Original Dark
1oz El Dorado 5yr

A - Braddah Kimo's Big Island Pahoehoe for 2

Braddah Kimo’s Big Island Pahoehoe for 2!

A Fogcutter variation by Jason

A Cabana Fogcutter…with Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum.

A - Rum Barrels

Here´s a whole load of Cabana Rum Barrels! aren`t they pretty?

A - Rum Barrel Tacoma Cabana

Cabana Rum Barrel! Four juices including lilikoi, special blend of barrel spices and a meticulous blend of Jamaica, demerara, Barbados and Trinidad rums.

It’s the perfect combination of ingredients that isn’t too sweet, not too sour with just enough spices for added depth and the right amount of rum to kick you in the ass!

A - Rum Bowl for Two

And a Flaming Rum Bowl for two…

“If it’s not on fire and Overproof, then why are you drinking it?” 🙂

A - Necromancer of Fiji

The Necromancer of Fiji….

Black salt, black strap bitters, Donns Mix, lime, lemon, lilikioi, falernum, orgeat, Swedish Punsch, Campari, grenadine and a blasphemous blend of rum sure to make a Zombie crawl back into its grave!

(serves 2)

Pinch of black lava salt
4 dashes black strap bitters
12 drops absinthe
1oz Donns mix
1oz lime
1oz lemon
1oz passion fruit juice
1/4oz orgeat
1/4oz falernum
1/2oz grenadine
1/2oz campari
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1 1/2oz Lemon Hart 151
1 1/2oz Plantation Overproof
1oz Plantation 3 Star

Flash blend for 5 seconds with two cups ice

A - Tacoma cabana 6

Pearl Diver`s Punch Bowl for Two…

A - Pearl Diver`s punch

Pearl Divers Punch Bowl! Lime, orange, pearl mix, falernum and rums.

A - Stiggins Jungle Fancy!

Stiggin’s Jungle Fancy with lime, lilikoi, Campari, falernum bitters and Plantation rums Stiggin’s Fancy Pineapple Rum. “You can take the bird out of the jungle…”

A - WAR BIRD!!!!

“War Bird” – Just look at that garnish….

Inspired by Cocktailwonk ‘s post “The Jungle Bird Goes to War” (where you can see the the original recipe)  Jason made this take on the Jungle Bird that Cocktailwonk had dubbed WAR BIRD!!!! – lime, lilikoi, campari, pineapple and Lost Spirits Distillery Polynesian Inspired Rum.

I`m thirsty….and if you are not thirsty by now you might just stop reading my blog…. 🙂

A - pieces of eight

Pieces of Eight…with eight pieces of pineapple hearts…brilliant!

A - Grass Skirt Daiquiri

Jason`s interpretation of Moderntiki ‘s Grass Skirt Daiquiri complete with Hula Girl!

Dash of angostura
Dash Luxardo
1/4oz Spices No. 2
1/4oz cinnamon syrup
1/2oz falernum
1/2oz lime

A - Drunken Missionary

He even made his take on my “Drunken Missionary” which was in my review of the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum and his looks soooo much nicer! that purple orchid with that deep sea green….wooow!

Drunken Missionary

0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)
0.5 peach liqueur
1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum
1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice
Crushed ice
Nutmeg
Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

A - Drunken Helmsman

Drunken Helmsman

– 1 oz lime, 1/2 oz maple, 1/2 oz falernum, 1/2 oz Amaro Meletti, 1 1/2 oz Plantation Overproof….

A Arkham Aku Lapu

The Arkham Lapu Lapu…looks mystic….like it has some superpowers…or maybe it is YOU that will get some mystic superpowers when you drink this?

A - Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum ZOMBIE PREACHER

Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum ZOMBIE PREACHER! can i have one of these please?

A - The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri.

The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri…Lemon Hart 151, Mauby Liqueur and just a small squeeze of lime. A drink that was made on Black Friday.

A - Coconaut Re-Entry2

Coconaut Re-Entry, looks delish doesn`t it?

A - Demerara Dry Float

Demerara Dry Float, served up.

A - Shrunken Zombie Fugu

A Shrunken Zobie Fugu, served on a plate like a dish…

 A - Tacoma Rum Barrels

Lovely Tacoma Rum Barrels! i think i could have them all!

A - Mug by Scott Taylor

Da’ Beachcomber tiki mug created by Scott Taylor aka on Instagram as Tikipop! he lives on Maui and makes outerwordly tiki mugs, well worth checking out! such attention to detail and craftmanship….

Da’ Beachcomber looks happy 🙂

A - Guyana Zombie jasons version of my drink

Jason`s beautiful version of my Guyana Zombie!

A -  Mr Bali Hai

Mr Bali Hai….as cool as ever, comes loaded with fire and goodness!

A - Scott Taylor shot glass

Moai flask by Van Tiki and tiki shot glass by Scott Taylor.

A - Zombie Old Fashioned

A Zombie Old Fashioned…with Horror Infused Fiendishly Tropical Bitters!

A - Pahoehoe bowl with extra fire!

Pahoehoe Bowl with Extra Fire!

A - The Hawaiian 504 from L29

“A hint of danger always pushes a beverage from great to excellent” – VanTiki

(check out Van Tiki`s website and Facebook page)

“Yes, I really do serve the drinks I post to my guests. All you have to do is ask or maybe you just might get surprised”

“I love Zombies!!!! Woooooooooo!!!!

“It doesn’t matter how much fire is on top of the drink if it doesn’t taste good”

“Mostly, I’m thankful for the support from the tiki community, whether it be people drinking the drinks or making the drinks. It’s a pretty amazing crowd to be in”

Jason Alexander

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Follow Jason aka tikicommando on Instagram.

All pictures on this post courtesy of Jason Alexander.

Rum from Cuba – Ron Cubay!

Cubay Rums

Ron Cubay is a rum i only had a chance to briefly try at the 2013 UK Rumfest as their table was swamped, and at this last years rumfest i tried them again and up for review i have here the 3 year old white rum, Carta Blanca, the Anejo 7 anos and the Ron Cubay 10 year old Especial Reserva. They are rums of the Spanish style, light, elegant and typically Cuban.

In Cuba rum was first made in the 1700th century when molasses from the Far East was brought there by Columbus via Spain. Growing well in Cuba, the sugarcane became the most important crop and in the 19th century rum production really got going.

Ron Cubay was founded in 1964 in Santo Dominco, Villa Clara, centrally located in Cuba and was only intended for the Cuban market until 2010 when the first shipments for export arrived in Europe and in 2013 i first saw it at the UK Rumfest and briefly wrote about it since a quick tasting usually only gives a very brief first impression.

Ron Cubay is produced with only Cuban molasses from sugar cane since the Cuban legislation forbids using foreign molasses to produce Cuban rum and they are produced by the distilleries of  Cuba Ron S.A which also produce Havana Club and distributed in the UK by JBE Imports.

Distillation is done with a Column Still which typically gives these lighter style rums. The rums are aged in American white oak ex whiskey barrels which are re-charred. Nothing is added and Ron Cubay is a 100% natural product with 100% Cuban materials.

Only 3 out of  5 expressions are marketed in the UK, the 3-year-old Carta Blanca,the 7-year-old Anejo and the 10-year-old Anejo Reserva Especial, but maybe also the new Ron Cubay Extra Viejo which they had up for sampling at the 2014 UK Rumfest is released for purchase in the UK – a light gold colored rum which is mix of white rum and extra aged rum reserves.

That is old Cuban rums that are aged for an average of seven years and then some of the best whites that are aged for nearly 13 years in white American oak barrels. From what i remember of the taste of this rum, it had a quite intense fruity flavor, balanced and no harshness at all which was expected. The bottles are individually numbered and comes in a velvet leather effect gift box.

The other two rums are a 4-year-old Carta Dorada and a 5-year-old Anejo Suave, which naturally i haven`t tried, neither do i know if they are able for purchase in Europe, but i guess not, at least not yet.

Cubay collage 2 rums

CARTA BLANCA

The Carta Blanca (38% ABV) is designed for cocktails and is a vibrant, only slightly sweet rum. The color is white with faint yellowish tones. On the nose it`s pretty “green and young”, with green sugarcane and some slight pepper notes, it´s a typical daiquiri rum.

In the mouth you get the same green freshness with a little fruitiness and slight sweetness, it´s not harsh at all but does have some refreshing pepper notes that makes this rum lively, definitely great for cocktails but can also be sipped neat if you wish.

ANEJO

The anejo is 7 years old (38.0% ABV) and has a medium golden amber color. The nose has a lovely honeyed sweetness, with hints of caramel and toffee mixed with a mellow fruitness, like mashed apricots.

In the mouth it´s fruity, just slightly woody, a bit of vanilla, hints of apricots and peaches and warm rich dark sugar.

A good sipping rum but can of course also go in cocktails.

Cubay Reserva Especial

ANEJO RESERVA ESPECIAL

Deep amber in color the Anejo Reserva Especial is 10 years old (40% ABV) it has a rich nose, like a golden stream of honey with apricot, peach and vanilla notes drenched in sugarcane and light hints of spice.

In the mouth i feel more vanilla paired with honey, toffee and peaches, it´s warm and caressing and so soft, just a very slight hint of spices.

I think this rum has a lot to offer and even while it´s not so widely known yet everywhere it will be. I`d use the Carta Blanca as a mixing rum, the Anejo, which i think i prefer of the three i`d use for both sipping and mixing and finally the Anejo Reserva Especial, for sipping when you want something easy on the palate to relax with.

I made a classic daiquiri with the Carta Blanca, that`s the natural thing to do….but there´s a whole range of things you can mix with it that`s not daiquiris! i just happen to really love that drink 🙂

CUBAY DAIQUIRI

Cubay Daiquiri

2 oz Ron Cubay Carta Blanca

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake ingredients with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or glass.

This drink is simple and yet it´s so perfect! if you want to really taste the rum in your drink this is the drink to make, rum, lime and sugar, the basis of so many cocktails not the least the tiki drinks! if there was no daiquiri invented there`d be no tiki drinks!

Also this is the perfect cocktail to test how good a rum is because you cannot get a tasty daiquiri with a bad rum. With Ron Cubay the daiquiri is good so my thumb is up!

Cubay Rums 2

Here´s their UK Website.

See other Ron Cubay Anejo rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Ron Cubay Carta Blanca rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Ron Cubay Reserva Especial rum reviews on RumRatings

Demerara Rum: Wood`s 100 Old Navy Rum

 

Wood`s 100 is an excellent overproof navy rum from Guyana and distilled at the diamond distillery using a combination of spirits made in pot and column stills from sugarcane growing on the banks of the river Demerara. The appearance is dark and syrupy and the flavor is unrefined rich demerara with kick and depth. This rum is bursting with good flavors! and a plus in my book – it´s a bit stronger.

Wood`s 100 was awarded ‘Distiller of the Year’ and ‘International Spirits Producer of the Year’ at the 2013 IWSC awards.

It´s been around a long time, more precisely for over a century before it was aqcuired by William Grant and Sons (who also owns the OVD demerara rum) in 2002, but it took me until this year´s UK Rumfest until i finally got to try it. I liked it at first sip – which i knew i would. It`s a down to earth demerara rum, very well suited for tiki drinks.

The nose promises of a flavorful demerara rum, and in the mouth it`s deep, dark and rich, you get burnt sugar and molasses, coffee and spice in a very upfront punch in the face kinda way. And that`s what I also expected from a wooden pot still demerara rum of that strength.

It`s 57% ABV or 114 proof, which is navy strength. It is said that in the old navy days sailors would “prove” the strength of their rum rations by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn (thus verifying that rum was at least 57% ABV.) I once saw a gunpowder test at the Tales of the Cocktail where Lemon Hart 151 made the gunpowder ignite.

The color of it is of course coming from some sort of coloring (caramel) that kinda black doesn`t come from the barrel. If it has sugar added or not I don`t know.

There isn`t very much to find online storywise on this rum so it´s time to make a few drinks, starting with a classic:

3 dots and a dash

0.5 oz Lime Juice

0.5 oz Orange Juice

0.5 oz Honey Mix*

0.25 oz Falernum

0.25 oz Pimento Dram

6 oz Crushed Ice

0.5 oz Wood`s 100 Demerara Rum

1.5 oz Rhum agricole vieux (aged) Rum

Combine everything into a blender and blend at high speed for about 5 seconds. Pour into a tiki mug or a glass and garnish with 3 cherries speared on wood. The garnish is a slight variation from the original recipe where the wood spear is the dash instead of a piece of speared pineapple.

Honey mix – 1 part Honey + 1 part Water, heat to dissolve the honey and then cool to room temp.

Dark and Dusky  (A variation on the “Dark and Stormy”)

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.25 oz pimento dram

2 oz Wood`s 100 Demerara Rum

Top up with Ginger Beer

Garnish with 3 black cherries and a black anthurium flower.

Volcano House Hot Buttered Rum  (from Jeff Berry`s Grog Log)

3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur

3/4 oz sugar

Hot tea

Butter Cloves 1.5 oz Wood`s 100 demerara rum

Pour juice, Maraschino, sugar and rum into a (preheated) mug and fill the rest of the mug with very hot tea. Stir well and then float a small piece of butter. Add a twist of lemon peel and 3-4 cloves.

Hot Tiki Rum Punch (a twist of Hot Rum Punch from Red Jay Bartender’s guide cirka 1934)

1 tsp dark brown sugar to melt in a mug of hot tea

Add 1 oz Wood`s 100 and 1 oz Appleton Extra dark rums

Add 1/2-1 teaspoon spiced butter (after taste)

Spiced butter :

Room temp butter

1 tsp each of ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.

small pinch salt

Beat sugar and butter together until thoroughly creamed and fluffy; beat in nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt. Store in the fridge until needed.

My conclusion: Wood´s 100 is a  great mixer perfect for tiki drinks and other cocktails where you want a little bit of extra kick.

St Aubin Reserve Rum from Mauritius

St Aubin Reserve rums

 

The name of St Aubin`s Reserve rums has been inspired by their oldest sugar cane field of the Saint Aubin plantation which produces a reddish sugarcane variety with distinctive flavours. The juice from the red cane is distilled in their copper column still and thus produces a lighter more delicate rum than the artisanal range of Saint Aubin 1819.

I find the difference between the Reserve rums and the artisanal rums to be huge. The Reserve rums are much more light and delicate with just a hint of that aromatic herbal grassiness you find typical in rhum agricole, while the artisanal 1819 range of rums are much more strong in flavor.

St Aubin Reserve White Rum

The nose is as expected very light, almost extremely light, there´s a very slight hint of sugarcane juice. The taste is very mild, aromatic and has a sparkling brilliance to it. It`s pleasant and easy to sip! I would describe the flavor as “light sugarcane juice”

St Aubin Reserve Rum Spiced

This is different…in the nose you get whiffs of orange peel and what i think it´s a hint of gingerbread cake. In the mouth the orange peel is there very strong with cinnamon and that hint of gingerbread as was in the nose. It`s a different spiced rum since it´s made with an agricole rum. I cannot detect much of the agricole grassy notes though.

Would be good in holiday drinks! but it can also be sipped with ice. I used a little bit of it in my Spiced Pago Pago and a small amount of this mixed with their white rum added a bit of spice to the drink.

St Aubin Reserve Rum Vanilla

I had to just compare this vanilla rum with the 1819 Artisanal vanilla rum. Starting with the nose, it`s very very light….just a whiff of vanilla and light caramel, fruity rather than spicy. In the mouth it becomes stronger but this one is much more light and delicate than it´s 1819 cousin and the grassy agricole flavors are toned down.

While the other one has an decidedly earthy character with strong notes of both vanilla, wood and grassiness this one is more fruity with caramel notes and just a slight hint of vanilla. It`s balanced and pleasant and can be used in a variety of cocktails or be enjoyed neat. Remember this rum is made with vanilla beans from their own plantation!

SPICED PAGO PAGO

Spiced Pago Pago 2

6-7 chunks of fresh pineapple, muddled

0.5 oz (15 ml) fresh lime juice

0.5 oz (15 ml) green Chartreuse

0.25 oz (7.5 ml) Creme de Cacao

1 oz (30 ml) St  Aubin Reserve White Rum

0.5 oz (15 ml)  St Aubin Reserve Rum Vanilla

0.5 oz (15 ml)  St Aubin Reserve Rum Spiced

Muddle the pineapple chunks in a shaker and add the rest of ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a tiki glass (or other fancy glass) filled with very cold cracked ice.

Garnish with pineapple slice, speared maraschino cherry and pineapple or other tropical leaf.

It´s a light and refreshing drink with herbal aromatics added from the Green Chartreuse.

If you would like this drink may also benefit from a float of overproof rum! (such as Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum which would go great with the St Aubin rums in this particular drink)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall i think St Aubin makes pleasant and flavorful rums, also they are very versatile, they greet you with some bright Mauritian sunshine! they make good quality rums. I also like the little square shaped bottles!

Here is their website.

If you live in Europe you can find St Aubin rums at La Gourmandine Rhumière´s online store. and at Christian de Montaguère in Paris.

See other St. Aubin Reserve Spiced rum reviews on RumRatings

See other St. Aubin Reserve White rum reviews on RumRatings

See other St. Aubin Reserve Vanilla rum reviews on RumRatings

Lost Spirits Colonial American Inspired Rum – Big Bold Flavors!

LSColonial rum bottle 3

COLONIAL AMERICAN INSPIRED RUM 

The Lost Spirits Distillery have made a new geeky rum and this time it`s  a 62 % ABV monster with espresso coffee and sarsaparilla notes…

I read Cocktailwonk`s post earlier on this rum where I read the flavor description by Bryan –  “chocolate-dipped plums rolled in espresso powder.”  That made my mouth water…. Now having tried it for myself i find that the description is quite on point.

This rum caught me by total surprise too… since I was expecting the Cuban Inspired Anejo Blanco rum to be launched and instead they launch this. It´s a collaboration with Bounty Hunter Wine and Spirits in a very small batch – 225 bottles – and only sold at the Bounty Hunter thus only being available to people in the US and during a short time. It does have a different price tag than the other Lost Spirit rums, (a whopping $100 instead of  $45) due to the tiny production.

I see this rum as an indication of what`s to come because they are continuously developing their rums, experimenting with ways to improve them and reach new levels and what they are doing is just total geekery. I wouldn`t be surprised if they come out with a couple more of these type of small batch rums and I`m curious to see where they will be going.

The dark coffee notes are subtle but noticeable. There`s also hints of wood, sarsaparilla  and vanilla in it. I like the fact that it`s made without any color or flavor additives, no extra sugar in this rum, just baking grade molasses, water and yeast culture.

The nose to me is tropical fruit, citrus peel and spices and in the mouth you get an initial burn, the rum packs a 62% punch after all, then mature tropical fruit notes, sugarcane, wood, sarsaparilla, dark plums and a hint of coffee.

As a strong flavorful rum it`s perfect for Tiki drinks…. just like the others they have made.

Also the label made by Bryan is truly stunning, and like the previous labels – really detailed and artistic, reflecting the flavor profile of the rum.

LSColonial rum drink label collage

LOST SPIRIT RUMS

There`s the Navy style with it`s rough smokiness, the Polynesian Inspired with it´s fruity pineapple notes and then the Grand Lady, the 151 Cuban which also had pineapple notes and rich vanilla. I personally find it to be very easy to sip… and that makes it a dangerous rum. I would suggest use 1 oz of it and 1 oz of another in a daiquiri for example and yeah occasionally go all 151 in and supercharge that lovely daiquiri bec they really gets good…

There was a post recently on the Tiki Central where the Lost Spirits rums were discussed and Bryan chimed in with an explanation about these rums and what he had in mind when creating them, a good read in my opinion and so therefore I forward it here for those who are interested:

To chime in and offer my own answer (which is actually a lot less important than yours). Most rum companies have been around for a long time. They don’t inherently create new products. They continue to make what they have always made and what their customers expect from them. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact when you have 100 employees to feed it’s essential to your survival and your community.

However, as a tiny new company (three people total) we have no such history. This freedom allows us to be super creative. Our engineering capability also lets us (to some extent) make what we can dream up. In fact we actually make the labels before we design the rum that goes in the bottle.

Short Summaries:

Navy Rum:
This was inspired by watching pirates of the Caribbean over and over again while asking ourselves the question: what would that rum in the movie taste like if it were a real thing. We engineered this one to have a significant wood smoke note to evoke the cannon fire and gun smoke with a tar esque quality reminiscent of wooden ships. Sort of an islay whiskey meets rum idea while still staying pretty close to classic navy rum.

Geeky summary: Phenolic & estery navy rum with the biggest semi-volatile (finish) profile in the industry – woot woot

Polynesian Rum:
Here we asked the question, if Tiki was an actual place what would the rum taste like? We tried to make the chemical profile of the rum as close to that of a pineapple as possible. Tricky because we make rum not pineapples so it kept wanting to taste like rum not a pineapple.

Geeky summary: Heavy pot still rum with a big mid palette of carboxylic esters (fruity flavors) and minimal phenolic & semi-volatile influence. Designed to float on Tiki drinks.

Cuban Inspired:
Here my dad was reminiscing about how good rum was when he was young (he is very old). So we wondered what the legendary cuban rum of 100 years ago was like. Since I don’t own any of that – I just let my imagination go. The idea here was to do a high rectification (read Spanish style rum) but in a pot still like they would have a LONG time ago. Then we designed the oak component to punch up the vanilla and accentuate the butterscotch notes of the white rum.

Geeky summary: Lighter base rum with a massive vanilla profile created from careful phenol management in the oak.

Colonial:
This one was a personal challenge. The commissioning party wanted a rum that could command the high price tag. For me this was the hardest project to date, because it meant it had to stand against my favorite rums (which are old).

So for this one I actually used a prototype of a set of new techniques that I have been working on in the shop for a long time. I actually had to file patents before I could sell the bottles or give the buyers samples. It was very kind of them to put that kind of faith in me.

Think of this one as a sneak preview of whats to come.

Geeky summary: Holy &@%t

Also here´s a link to a post by Cocktailwonk if you`re into the more technical details about this rum and I think it´s necessary to understand how this rum is made, so here is a link and one other to earlier posts and one new because this is not a rum made the conventional way, it´s just simply different and even though I`ve had no problems sipping their rums I do prefer to mix with them.

I made my version of two Tiki drinks with it which turned out really good:

Magic of the Lost Spell

LSColonial Magic of the Lost Spell

This is a drink obviously (if you`re into Tiki) inspired by the Black Magic and the Dark Magic drinks…the Dark Magic created by Colonel Tiki in 2010 was in turn inspired by by Jeff Berry’s Kiliki Cooler, which was inspired by the Mai Kai`s Black Magic.

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
¼ oz dark muscovado syrup
¼ oz Passion Fruit Syrup
½ oz strong coffee like Kona, Blue Mountain or a Louisiana coffee like the Community Coffee dark roast (what i`m using)
2 oz Lost Spirits Colonial American Inspired Rum
1 dash Angostura bitters
8 drops (1/8th oz) Herbsaint

Blend ingredients with 8oz ice and pour into a crushed ice filled snifter and garnish with tropical orchids and leaves and 3 speared maraschino cherries.

As this rum is hard to get and if you can`t find it, sub with the Lost Spirits Navy style rum. The taste of the drink Ii found to be spicy and strong and “Tiki” as in a dark mysterious Tiki bar.

Let`s escape! lower the lights and set that drink on fire…..

LSColonial Magic of the Lost Spell 2

Lost Pilot

The next drink is my version of the Jet Pilot (Sippin`Safari) which was inspired by Don the beachcomber`s “Test Pilot” which was created during the mid century “golden age” of exotic drinks. There has been a number of drinks evolving from the original Test Pilot, like the Space Pilot, Astronaut, the Ace pilot and the Auto pilot 🙂

With this Lost Spirits rum here it becomes the Lost Pilot!

The big difference from the Jet and Test Pilots is that while they use multiple rums this uses only the Colonial and the reason I only use one rum in this drink is that I wanted to see how this bold flavorful rum would do all by itself in this drink.

Since I haven`t yet experimented with blending it with other rums I cannot say if that would make a tastier drink – and I certainly don`t try to duplicate the Mai Kai version (which btw contains four rums and some other things) and of course using several rums brings more depth but I do think that the rum is doing really well and that this version is tasty.

LSColonial rum Lost Pilot

1/2oz fresh lime juice
1/2oz grapefruit juice (yellow)
1/2oz cinnamon syrup
1/2oz falernum
2 oz Lost Spirits Colonial American Inspired Rum
1 dash Angostura bitters
6 drops Herbsaint or Pernod
4oz crushed ice

Throw everything into the blender, ice last. Flash-blend for less than 5 seconds. Pour into a glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a tropical orchid and leaf.

This is another strong and spicy tiki drink to help you escape into the eternal bliss of tropical fantasy island….

LSColonial rum Lost Pilot collage

This cool Tiki mug is the result of a collaboration between the good folks at The Floating Rum Shack and Cheeky Tiki.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I wish there was more made of the Colonial American Inspired Rum. I like the full flavor, the in your face punch and the potent strength, coffee notes and all and wish it was more widely available. I count myself very lucky to have a bottle.  If you happen to live in the US and can order from the Bounty Hunters Wine and Spirits you have a chance to get a bottle before they gone, only 225 bottles were made.

Flavorful, strong, and quite a different animal, and so well suited for the type of drinks I love the most… this is all about big, bold flavours.

LSColonial label back

St Aubin Rum from Mauritius

St Aubun 1819 bottle

I`m a lover of agricole rums and St Aubin is new to me even though it`s not new on the market. Hailing from beautiful Mauritius it`s an exotic and exciting rum to review!

St Aubin plantation located on southern Mauritius has been cultivating sugarcane since 1890 and takes it´s name from one of it`s first owner Pierre de St Aubin. On the estate there`s both artisanal and a traditional rums made. And what more is, they also have a tea plantation, Bois Chéri and a vanilla plantation and that`s the vanilla they use in their vanilla flavored rums. The water used in the rum making comes from their own spring water from Bois Chéri. It`s all local produce here which is something i like.

Each rum has it´s specific terroir and on Mauritius there´s abundant sunshine and rich volcanic soil watered by tropical rains creating a micro climate perfect for growing good quality sugarcanes producing this rum made from pure sugar cane juice.

On Mauritius the first pressed sugar cane juice is called “fangourin” and it´s that what makes the artisanal rums at St Aubin. It is further fermented and distilled once in a copper alembic still before being bottled without ageing.

When you open the bottle the nose you get is mild, herbal, grassy, floral, hints of vanilla, crispy and that of green sugarcane. In the mouth it intensifies strongly and the herbal grassiness comes more upfront. It`s not too sweet and rather on the dry side, and it´s a very pleasant and flavorful rum.

I get a mental picture of me sipping on a ti punch….

St Aubin Ti Punch

St Aubin Ti Punch

2 oz St Aubin 50% White Rum

0.5 oz sugar cane syrup

A piece of lime, cut about 1/3 of a lime and squeeze the juice into the glass on top of the sugar, stir a little then add the rum and stir again. Adding ice or not is up to you…some people swear by no ice while others want some ice. I like it cold but you can also chill the glass, that way you don`t get any dilution from ice.

St Aubin 1819 white rum makes a very nice ti punch, flavorful, mild, crispy and refreshing! it´s a pleasure to sip on it. The daiquiri of the french islands! so simple and so tasty!

ST AUBIN FLAVORED RUMS

I also have three flavored rums here, coffee, vanilla and coconut. These flavored rums are made from fresh pressed sugar cane juice and they are flavored with natural ingredients. It`s tricky to make a good flavored rum, but these three here are all very well balanced and it tastes just natural.

COCONUT

Let`s start with the coconut…

It`s a very delightful coconut scent on the nose and the flavor is crispy brilliant with just a very slight hint of herbal grassiness and sugarcane. First you taste the coconut and then comes the sugarcane, it´s sweet but not overly-sweet. It sounds silly but i think it kinda transports you to a tropical beach…

The coconut rum is mild and caresses your palate like a soft tropical breeze…You can drink this on the rocks and also make nice cocktails with it as well as using it in tiki drinks.

VANILLA

Vanilla is my favorite spice and i have tried more than once to spice up rums with vanilla beans leaving the beans uncut in the bottle for various length of times but i have personally found it quite difficult to get it balanced and i don`t know how people manage to leave the beans in the bottle without the rum gets ruined by too much of the vanilla flavor. But this vanilla rum from St Aubin is excellent!

The nose is mild but deep and almost earthy.The herbal flavor is much more pronounced than i could feel in the coconut rum which to me tasted much lighter. This is spicy, with a deep vanilla flavor without being overpowering.

It`s a good vanilla rum and easy on the palate, good to drink as it is or in cocktails.

COFFEE

St Aubin coffee

Freshly ground coffee on the nose! with hints of sugarcane. In the mouth a vibrant coffee flavor, sugarcane and even a slight hint of vanilla. It`s mild and nice and easy to drink as well. This could be used on the rocks with ice, in cocktails and even as cocktail ingredient. Would be great in tiki drinks too especially paired with pineapple juice.

I find that all three of these flavored rums are very good! and i like that they are made from local ingredients.The coffee used is coming from the region Chamarel on Mauritius, the vanilla is from their own vanilla plantation and the coconuts are of course from the island.

COCKTAILS

I decided to make three cocktails all based on the daiquiri – which by the way is the drink that almost all tiki drinks are based on…rum, sugar and lime and then some 🙂

Mauritius Sunshine

St Aubin Mauritius Sunshine

2 oz/60 ml St Aubin Coconut Rum
1 oz/30 ml pineapple juice
0.5 oz/15 ml simple syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass and garnish with a pineapple leaf.

Coffee – Pineapple Daiquiri

St Aubin coffee pineaple daiquiri

2 oz/60 ml St Aubin Coffee Rum
1 oz/30 ml pineapple juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml dark muscovado syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a fancy glass. Garnish with an orchid stem. I took a bit less sugar syrup in this one because i found the coffee rum to be a bit sweeter than the coconut.

Fiery Sunset

St Aubin Fiery Sunset

1 oz/30 ml St Aubin Vanilla Rum
1 oz/30 ml St Aubin 50% White Rum
1.5 oz/45 ml pineapple juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml sugarcane syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml fresh lime juice
Barspoon grenadine (preferably home/house made)

Shake everything except grenadine with ice and strain into a tall glass with ice cubes. Add the grenadine and garnish with vanilla beans.

My final conclusion: These are great rums! all of them, if  i shall pick a favorite or two it has to be the 50% white and the coconut but they are all good rums and made with local and natural ingredients. I`d say St Aubin rums is a pleasant surprise!

Here is St Aubin`s website.

See other St. Aubin White rum reviews on RumRatings