NAVAN – NATURAL VANILLA LIQUEUR

navan-vanilla-liqueur1

As a real vanilla geek i was happy to receive this vanilla liqueur – now i got a perfect excuse to indulge myself and everybody in vanilla flavored cocktails..

Navan is made by Grand Marnier and is made with natural ingredients and as we know vanilla isn`t the cheapest spice. The quality of  Navan is good and the bottle is handsdown gorgeous, the flavour is very embracing, warm and aromatic. Sweet yes but still less sweet than you may expect due to its cognac base. Picture an exotic climbing vanilla orchid in bloom embracing you..then sending you whiffs of aromatic sweet vanilla fragrance – that´s its nose, until you dip your nose deep into the bottle, then the cognac heaviness takes over but with a sweet overtone.

The vanilla beans used to make this product is the bourbon vanilla beans from Madagascar. The process in pollinating and curing vanilla is a long complicated and burdensome affair and thus the price is high. The vanilla orchid flowers does only bloom for a few hours in the morning once a year and thus needs to be hand-pollinted very quickly.

After the green beans has grown ready to be picked they need to be treated for several months in order to become the fragrant oily dark brown vanilla pods as we know them from the shops.

The aroma of vanilla is pure pleasure..its warm, fragrant and embraces you with its lingering scent and the flavour is sweet and aromatic. Its well known that a bit of vanilla liqueur serves very well as component that ties things together in many cocktails and especially in Tiki drinks.

In the year of 1827 the first liqueur was created for the house of Grand Marnier and at a time when were expensive and hard to find. Now some 200 years later this cognac based liqueur is made with vanilla. Its not brand-new, its been here for a while but its the first time i get a chance to try it. There´s a village on the northeast coast of Madagascar called Navana and the name comes from it and its also from here the beans in the liqueur is from.

The beans are shipped to France and then they are macerated in neutral spirit for a few weeks to extract all the flavour. After that the vanilla beans are combined with aged French cognac using the same procedure as is used in the creation of Grand Marnier.

This is a nice vanilla liqueur and if you like vanilla then i recommend you try to get your hands on a bottle of Navan.

SCENT OF AN ORCHID

scent-of-an-orchid

2 oz tequila reposado
1/4 oz raw sugar syrup
0.5 oz Navan
0.75 oz fresh lime
Club Soda

Shake over ice, (not the Club Soda) strain into a glass with ice, top with a little Club Soda. Garnish with vanilla bean.

MADAGASCAR

madagascar

1.5 oz Bourbon
0.5 oz Navan
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
juice of ½ lime
1t hibiscus grenadine
1 oz passionfruit juice

Shake everything except grenadine over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with cracked ice. Add grenadine and more ice to fill. Garnish with 2 vanilla beans.

MYSTIQUE

mystique

2 oz rhum agricole blanc
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz Navan
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1/4 oz cinnamon syrup

Mix things together in a shaker with ice, strain into a glass with crushed ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.

MIXING THROUGH GROG LOG – 1 The Ancient Mariner

I`ve been thinking about it for a very long time now – to mix every single drink in the Grog Log and blog about them.

This is going to be similar to what my fellow blogger Erik Ellestad over at Underhill Lounge is doing with his enourmous “Stomping through the Savoy project” which means he is mixing every drink from the book from A – Z, take pictures of them and write about them on his blog. I don`t think i would have the patience to go through such a book as the Savoy, the much thinner Grog Log is more suiting my pace i think.

I`m doing this for 5 reasons, one is that it will ensure i never run out of topics for my blog, (not that it has been happening to me yet and probably never will but still) Second – i`haven`t made all the drinks from the Grog Log, now i`ll make sure i do. And third, i have for a long time felt inspired to go through all the drinks in the Grog Log and blog about them. Then fourth – i`ll learn a lot during the process and will be able to share the knowledge i find. Finally and last but not the least – i really like like Tiki drinks!

I`m going to make this a little bit different though from how Erik is doing his project. I`m going to make 2 versions of many of the drinks, first the original version and then a little twist of it, just for the fun of it. I`m intending to try to make the drinks with the ingredients called for to the best of my ability and when i can`t find an ingredient, or make it – which will happen, then I´ll sub it with what i can find here that is the closest.

So let the fun begin with the first drink in Grog Log which is “The Ancient Mariner” which is an original creation by Jeff Berry. Its made with 6 ingredients – 2 rums, lime, grapefruit, sugar and pimento liqueur. As the recipe calls for Pimento liqueur which i don`t have, i`m gonna sub it with homemade pimento dram.

ANCIENT MARINER

ancient-mariner

¾ oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz sugar syrup
¼ pimento liqueur – i used a little bit less of my pimento dram
1 oz demerara rum (i used El Dorado 12)
1 oz Dark Jamaican rum (i used Appleton Extra)

Shake and serve in old-fashioned glass with crushed ice and garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig.

This drink surprised me a little, i find it reminding me of a lighter and fruitier version of a demerara Mai Tai. And when you check the ingredients many are the same, its just the grapefruit juice and pimento liqueur or dram instead of orgeat and orange curacao. Different – yes but the flavour still has that familiar Mai Tai note to it. I find this drink very tasty indeed.

As my homemade pimento dram is quite strong i took down the measurement a bit.

Now its time for a twist of this drink – i call it Polynesian Triangle. The idea of making a twist of the drinks is not so bad – when have you ever heard of someone having just one tiki drink?

POLYNESIAN TRIANGLE

polynesian-triangle1

¾ oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz tahitian vanilla syrup
dash barrel aged bitters
1 oz demerara rum (i used OVD  (Old Vatted Demerara) which has a woody flavour)
1 oz aged rhum agricole ( Clemènt VSOP)
0.5 oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

Shake, strain and serve in a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh Gardenia.

Tahitian Vanilla Syrup: The recipe is in the left sidebar of this blog.

Okole Maluna!

Sugarcane bar

 

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TIKI DRINK NOSTALGIA

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To me there will always be something very special with Tiki drinks, they are so much more than beautiful to look at and so bloody tasty! – and a pain in the ass to make sometimes, especially if you need to make many but if you just hang on and go through with them you are greatly rewarded.

Actually the Tiki drinks doesn`t just deliver great flavours to you, often in a layered fashion allowing you to discover new flavours one after another, they also impart a feeling, a sense of “mystery” and of course the inevitable escape to far away Pacific islands which at least i need, now in these gloomy days which turns darker for each day.

The hunting down of obscure ingredients can sometimes be another problem, which can be solved by making things yourself or sub ingredients with the closest you may have at hand and making flavored syrups, pimento dram, falernum or orgeat is easier than most people think. Good recipes are also easy to find on the many cocktail blogs.

When i started this blog a year and half ago i made only Tiki drinks at the time – which has changed to be all kinds of drinks. While browsing around my old tiki drink pictures i felt i wanted to visit them again and make a few of the old ones.

Here`s a range of  drinks i made in my early blogging-days and a new twist of the Jungle Bird with demerara rum which was very tasty. In the Sumatra Kula i have added an extra oz of white agricole to spice it up a bit. I first made it with 1.5 oz white rum as it is in the original recipe  but i found it a bit tame and i think it needed that extra splash of agricole to really  come to life.

So if you grab your shakers let`s start with the “Kulas” – if anyone knows why some Tiki drinks has that kula in the name please let me know, i`m curious about it. This is supposed to be one of the first drinks served by Don the Beachcomber at his bar in Hollywood, circa 1934. But if you wanna be really genuine omit the rhum agricole.

SUMATRA KULA (From Sippin Safari)

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0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.5 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, warm up to mix, let cool and bottle, keeps in the fridge for about a week)
1.5 oz light rum
1 oz rhum agricole blanc
3 oz crushed ice

Put everything in blender, saving ice for last, blend at high speed for no more than 5 sek. Pour into a pilsner glass, add crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig. (which i didn´t –  i used pineapple leaves.)

CUBA KULA From Sippin`Safari

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This drink is from the personal notebook of Ray Buhen dated 1935.

And this is another drink i made an ice mold with, i think chimney glasses are very good for these kinds of molds where the ice is supposed to raise itself up from the glass. You make these by placing preferably shaved ice in a pilsner glass in the freezer overnight, just make sure the mold is a bit thinner than the glass you`re gonna serve the drink in and that there`s space for the straw.

2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz honey
1 oz orange juice
1 oz dark rum, the recipe calls for Myers but i used Coruba12
1 oz Lemon Hart demerara
1/2 oz Bacardi 151
Dash Angostura bitters
6 drops Herbsaint or Pernod

Dissolve the honey in the limejuice and then place it all in a shaker and shake with plenty of ice.

GUATEMALA COOLER From Sippin`Safari

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I used different rums in this one as i don`t have the rums called for, so instead of a gold Puerto Rican i used my Jamaican Lemon Hart and then i used Appleton VX. I didn`t use an old fashioned glass with ice cubes either, i used a small pilsner type of glass and made an ice mold where you raise the ice up on the sides by pushing it down in the middle, finally i placed a shy orchid in the middle of the ice.

0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz Lopez coconut cream
1 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
¾ oz gold Jamaican rum
6 oz crushed ice

Put everything in blender, saving ice for last, blend at high speed for 10 sek and pour into a double old fashioned, add ice cubes to fill.

GUYANA BIRD

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This is a twist on the Jungle Bird which is one of my favorite Tiki drinks. I replaced the dark rum with demerara rum and also added a float of overproof demerara and some fresh orange juice,  it turned out really tasty. My friend thought it was too strong which allowed me to have the whole awesomeness for myself;-)

This is a drink that like the Mai Tai let the spirits shine and its that kind of tiki drinks i have found out that i prefer. The 1934  Zombie Punch is another example of such a drink, strong but well balanced.

0.75 oz campari
0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz simple syrup
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz demerara rum
1 oz overproof demerara rum to float

Shake and pour into a highball filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime rose.

SPINDRIFT

1-old-spindrift

Here`s an old favorite, i really like this drink, its strong and fullbodied with a perfect balance of flavours.

3 oz orange juice
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz passionfruit syrup
¾ oz simple syrup
0.5 t vanilla extract
2 oz dark Jamaican rum
1.5 oz demerara rum
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum

Blend with 2.5 cups srushed ice and pour into a large snifter.

I always come back to the tiki drinks, no matter how long i`ve been away to mix other kinds of drinks – i always return because these drinks are a part of me they`re in my blood.

How do you like tiki drinks? and what about all the mess with mixing them? is it worth the effort or not?

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RHUM AGRICOLE AND CACHACA

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RHUM AGRICOLE AND CACHACA?

I´ve read so many articles and seen so much confuison when it comes to what exactly is the difference between rhum agricole and cachaca. And then there`s rhum Barbancourt, is it or is it not a rhum agricole?

So i got the bright (?) idea to write a blog post and try to see if i can sort out what the differences are. I might not have it all clear either. To a large part i have Ed Hamilton and all the fellow members of the Ministry of Rum to thank for what i today know about rums. If i have missed anything or have something wrong here, or if there´s more to it, please feel free to comment.

Cachaça is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice while most (but not all ) rum is a distillate of fermented molasses.

Cachaça is typically distilled to between 38 and 48% abv while rhum agricole in the French islands is distilled to about 72% abv. Then of course, Cachaca must be made in Brazil while rhum agricole if made in Martinique must carry the AOC mark. Some people says cachaca should be called rum and others says rum should be called cachaca..I myself call rum for rum and cachaca is cachaca and rhum agricole is, well..rhum agricole. And sensorial – they taste completely different.

RHUM AGRICOLE

Rhum agricole is made from pure sugar cane juice which has been fermented and fermentation begins within hours of the cane being harvested.

Martinique is the only geographic area in the sugar cane spirits industry, with an Appelation and rhum agricole made in Martinique carries the AOC or Appelation d’origine Controlée mark. Rum from molasses is also produced and its called ‘rhum industriel’ or ‘rhum traditionnel’. Rhum agricole is distilled to about 72% abv.

The rhum agricole that is made in the other french islands such as Guadeloupe, la Reunion etc would probably not meet the AOC requirements since one of the requirements is the type of cane and then geographic areas, drainage, soil type, etc

Rhum agricole is also made in French Guyana and two of the most known brands is La Belle Cabresse and La Cayennaise. These rhum agricoles has a slight different flavor than the agricoles made in Martinique.

La Belle Cabresse for instance is less refined with a spicy floral note and a lot of flavor. I have only tried La Belle Cabresse, but La Cayennaise is said to be sweeter and rounder and a bit less herbal but with a distictive agricole flavor. Very interesting rums.

On the whole, rhum agricoles are very diverse even within the same island. As for the “terroir”, its not just the soil and type of cane that is used, its also the tradition of the spirit which includes the fermentation, distillation, and blending and its not limited to that.

The rhums from Martinique are lighter and more refined than the rhums from Guadeloupe for example, which are heavier and in my own opinion much more “grassy”.

THE AOC

The AOC or Appelation d’Origine Contrôlée mark was adopted by the Martinique distillers in 1996 and it is unique to the rhum of Martinique.

Rhum agricole can be bottled in Martinique or France but i`ve heard they may tighten the regulations so that the AOC mark can only be carried by rhum agricole bottled in Martinique. The Martinique AOC regulations were adopted to improve the quality and value of their products.

RHUM BARBANCOURT

Rhum Barbancourt isn`t considered a rhum agricole even though its made from sugar cane juice. It seems to be in a class of its own. It has been suggested that sometimes the sugar cane juice is mixed with concentrated sugar cane syrup, but i dont know if there´s any evidence for it. There isn`t much information on how this rum is made. It certainly is a very fine and good rum.

There is two versions of the 15 year old Reserve du Domaine. Its the first version that has a serial number on the back and a newer version that is labeled Estate Reserve and that do not have any serial number.

The old Reserve du Domaine is said to be darker, richer and smoother while the new version is a bit sweeter, lighter and a bit less smooth. i haven`t been able to compare them myself.

The difference between them is most likely to be because of the chill filtration on the rums that are for export to non-tropical countries. The chill filtration technique is used to avoid the deposits or haze which could temporarily occur when the bottles are subject to colder temperatures. Its also a commercial process to standardise the product, its even written on Barbancourts home page that they use chill filtration.

Unfortunately the chill filtration removes esters and aldehydes, as well as some of the rums natural oils, which leads to a altering of the flavor profile and general mouthfeel of the rum.

CACHACA

According to Brazilian law cachaça must be distilled from 38 up to 54% alcohol by volume and its bottled at 38-48% abv. Up to 6mg sugar can be added. Cachaça can be made from fresh sugar cane juice or melado which is sugar cane juice which has been reduced but without removing any crystalline sugar out of the juice.

The harvested sugarcane is washed and pressed through large metal rollers to extract the juice and its this first pressing that makes cachaca. The juice is then filtered to extract any cane fragments etc before the process of fermenting. Cachaca is fermented in wooden or copper vats and then boiled down three times and the result is a sticky concentrate.

The aging process yields a cachaça with a smoother taste and most often a yellow or caramel color. Premium cachacas are distilled in such a way that the sugarcane flavor isnt lost. To be labeled “aged” a cachaca must be aged at least one year according to Brazilian law.

Cachaca is traditionally aged in native Brazilian woods that adds distinct flavors and characteristics to the final product and this aging in various rainforest woods is something i find very interesting and i would like to further reserach that topic…

As far as i know they use at least 26 different woods…woods with exotic names such as balsam wood, jequitibá, guarandi, umburana, ipê, jatobá, imburana, cedar, freijó….or garapeira which is used to age for example Abelha Gold – an artisanal  cachaca with lots of flavor and personality that i really like.

Garapeira is a type of native Brazilian Ash which adds it´s own sweetness and spiciness – but without changing the flavor of the cachaca itself contrary to what oak barrel aging does which adds that familiar vanilla or toffee notes that we are used to from molasses rum.

But cachaca isn´t only aged in Brazilian woods, Leblon for example have their cachacas rested or aged in cognac casks while Moleca Gold is aged in oak barrels.

Most often the cachaca producers uses a leavening agent in the production of their cachaca, meaning that during the stage of fermentation they will add corn meal, corn flour or rice bran, to the sugar cane must. And that these grain additions will add distinctive flavors and aromas to the cachaca besides producing the alcohol.

This is a fermentation starter mash that is made from cane juice and toasted corn meal which is generally and tradtionally practised. Traditionally cachaça is fermented using indigenous yeast strains that are naturally occurring in the cane.

Artisanal cachaça is typically made in batch potstills, while industrial cachaça is made with continuous column stills.

Then there is also a third type of cachaca that is made by adding caramel or wood extracts without any aging – called “yellow” cachaca – and the addition of the wood extracts and caramel gives the “yellow” cachaca a much sweeter taste.

So these are the main things that differentiates cachaca from rhum agricole as far as i know. Then when it comes to rum, apart from rhum agricole, its made from molasses, a totally different way to produce this sugar cane spirit.

To round this up i made a ti punch with palmsugar and a ginger caipirinha.

DIRTY VIEUX PALM SUGAR TI POOONCH

1 oz rhum agricole blanc

1 oz rhum agricole vieux

A slice off the side of a lime or as much as you prefer

0.5 oz palm sugar syrup

Start squeezing the lime and drop into the glass. Add the palm sugar syrup and the rhums and stir to mix. Add a cracked ice cube if you like.

FRESH GINGER CAIPIRINHA

2 oz cachaca

0.5-1 oz simple syrup or 1 heaped tblsp raw sugar.

I use raw sugar even though its not dissolving as easily as the traditionally used superfine sugar because i like the flavor of the specific raw sugar i have (Billingtons golden natural unrefined cane sugar) better.

1/2 to 1 lime depending on size. Cut the ends off, then the pith and cut it in pieces.

2 cm piece of fresh ginger,sliced.

Muddle lime, sugar and ginger in a rocks glass, add crushed ice and cachaca, stir well. Fill up with more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Is there anything aside from distillation abv, terroir, AOC and the use of leavening agents that is distictly different about the production of rhum agricole and cachaca? also if there is anything in this post that is not accurate i wanna know so it can be updated if needed, so please comment…

 

J WRAY & TING ! and a Pineapple Delight…

TING AND JWRAY ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER..

There are a few things that just seems to be made for each other, like JW&N Jamaican overproof rum and the likewise Jamaican grapefruit beverage called TING! Just pour some ice, fresh lime juice and Ting in a glass and top with JWray…i mean can it get much better?

Ting was first created by Guinness of Jamaica, later acquired by D & G (Desnoes & Geddes) brewers of Red Stripe Beer. It contains a small amount of sediment consisting of grapefruit juice pulp. A relative newcomer to the citrus clan, the Jamaican grapefruit was originally believed to be a spontaneous sport of the pomelo.

James MacFayden, in his Flora of Jamaica in 1837  separated the Jamaican grapefruit from the pomelo, giving the Jamaican grapefruit the botanical name, Citrus paradisi Macf. About 1948, citrus specialists began to suggest that the Jamaican grapefruit was not a sport of the pomelo but an accidental hybrid between the pomelo and the orange.

The botanical name has been altered to reflect this view, and the Jamaican grapefruit is now generally accepted as Citrus X paradisi. The Jamaican grapefruit was first described in 1750 by Griffith Hughes who called the Jamaican grapefruit the “forbidden Jamaican grapefruit” of Barbados.

In Hortus Jamaicensis, it mentions the “Jamaican grapefruit” as a variety of the shaddock, (old name of the “pomelo” (Citrus maxima – which the now defunct “Forbidden fruits liqueur” was made of ) but not as large; and as forbidden Jamaican grapefruit – a variety of the shaddock – but the Jamaican grapefruit is much smaller, having a thin, tough, smooth, pale yellow rind.

Another wonderful drink that contains both Ting and JWray is a drink that i call Pineapple Delight. Its my take of the Mango-Pineapple Float. Its fresh muddled pineapple, honey cream mix , fresh lime juice, orgeat, JW&N overproof rum, dash of grapefruit bitters and rhum agricole topped with Ting.

PINEAPPLE DELIGHT

1 cored pineapple. In mixing glass add:

A few large chunks of pineapple – muddled

2 juiced limes

1 barspoon orgeat

1.5 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc 100 proof

2 tblsp fresh honey cream-mix* with a splash JWray overproof rum

Dash of grapefruit bitters

Shake hard and fast, strain and serve in the pineapple with crushed ice Top with Ting. Garnish with 2 pineapple leaves and a piece of pineapple. Believe me..this drink is worth the effort..

HONEY CREAM MIX

Equal parts Sugar, butter and liquid honey

Add to pot, heat and stir until it gets creamy. You want a smooth creamy sauce. Keep a bit above room temp. The problem with honey cream mix is the milk solids from the butter that forms when the mix gets chilled. It may help to use clarified butter or to dry shake first (without ice) before shake over ice.

After discussing with friends who cannot find the JWray rum i also made another version using Lemon Hart 151 Demerara instead of the JWray. Tasty too.

Nothing made with Ting can go wrong – Ting is the universal cocktail redeemer!