This weekend it was all about the Puka Punch! and that`s a nice drink using many rums so you can play around a bit with it!
The Puka Punch was made by Ray Buhen of the Tiki Ti in the 1960s (in 1961 Ray opened the Tiki Ti, now owned by Ray`s son Mike and grandson Mike Jr)
For this Challenge, I made two Puka Punches, the first one (in the picture on top of this post) was made with the recipe above but using different rums, Old New Orleans white rum, Blackwell rum and floats of demerara and blackstrap.
The second one is Puka Punch double! a wicked combination of Smith and Cross, Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark, Rhum JM agricole blanc with big rich floats of Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Cuban and Cruzan Blackstrap! to round up the#PukaPunchChallenge2015
This rum combo turned out fantastic! and the recipe is a twist of the classic one:
Puka Punch Double
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz mango juice
0.75 oz passion fruit syrup
0.75 oz orange honey mix
0.25 oz falernum
1 oz Smith and Cross
1 oz Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark
2 oz Rhum JM agricole blanc
Floats of equal amounts of Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Cuban and Cruzan Blackstrap, to taste
2 dashes Angostura bitters
14 oz crushed ice
Blend in blender at high speed for no more than 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a 25 oz snifter and add more crushed ice if needed. Pour the floats and don`t be shy! Garnish with 2 speared pineapple chunks and 2 maraschino cherries, two orchids and two tropical leaves.
I don`t usually post press releases on my blog, but here is one that might be of interest:
20 years in 6 days – the future of Aged spirits – California distillery unveils PROVEN disruptive new technology.
LOUISVILLE – KY, Lost Spirits LLC – California based Lost Spirits has built a new type of chemical reactor capable of making aged spirits with a near identical chemical signature to 20 year old barrel aged products. The new reactors are compact, portable, and will be deployed to 5 distilleries in a beta-test this summer. Currently, there are several patents pending that cover their approach.
While rapid aging of spirits is not a new idea, the Lost Spirits method is the first to accomplish a near identical chemical signature to a similar product aged conventionally for decades. The project has built on more than 5 years of research and investment to develop the approach that finally succeeded.
“Our compact reactors combine a series of alternative aging approaches, taking the best parts of each and then tuning them using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy to clone the natural effects of age on a spirit. The end result offers a 98%-99% percent reduction in evaporation losses and a near perfect match to the semi-volatile organic fingerprint of the traditionally aged product. The reactors offer an average 6-day turn around time from fresh white spirit to the shelf, and no chemical additives are involved in the process.”
“The new technology will allow us to reshape the industry. As a consequence, expect prices to fall and quality to rise dramatically.” Said Bryan Davis the inventor of the new technology.
After completing the beta-test cycle, the team anticipates being able to fabricate 50 reactors per year. Empirical evidence to support the claims was published this morning under the science heading at www.lostspirits.net. The results of the project were made public yesterday at the American Distilling Institute Conference, in Louisville KY.
End of Press release
So Bryan took me through a presentation of this and as usual as is with his presentations it required your full concentration and was quite mind blowing…..
And no this is not an april fools joke…despite the date of the day.
I`m not going to try to explain what he`s doing with all these chemical terms, there are others that does that better but in short – (taken from their web site)
THE MODEL 1 IS A CHEMICAL REACTOR CAPABLE OF CONVERTING FRESHLY DISTILLED SPIRITS INTO WORLD CLASS PRODUCTS WITH THE SAME SMVO CHEMICAL PROFILE AS A 20 YEAR OLD PRODUCT – VERIFIED BY GC/MS (FORENSIC CHEMISTRY).
THIS IS NOT SMALL BARRELS OR ULTRASOUND TRICKS. THIS IS THE THING WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR. THE REACTOR RUNS USING ENERGY AND OAK. THERE ARE NO CHEMICALS ADDED TO THE SPIRIT.
THE MODEL 1 IS PROVEN TO BIND THE VOC RANGE ESTERS. IT ALSO PARTLY DISINTEGRATES POLYMERS IN THE OAK RELEASING PHENOLIC ACIDS AND ALDEHYDES ALONG WITH ADDITIONAL CARBOXYLIC ACIDS. IT THEN ESTERIFIES THE FREE CARBOXYLIC ACIDS AND PHENOLIC ACIDS EXTRACTED FROM THE OAK, FORMING BOTH SHORT AND LONG CHAINED ESTERS.
WHILE WE ARE PLAYING COY WITH EXACTLY HOW THE PATENT PENDING PROCESS WORKS, IT HAS BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY SHOWN TO MATCH THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF TRADITIONALLY AGED SPIRITS, UP TO 20 YEARS IN AGE.
IT DOES THIS BY FORCING ALL THE SAME REACTIONS TAKING PLACE IN THE BARREL IN THE CORRECT SEQUENCE – AN ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT HAS, TO OUR KNOWLEDGE, ELUDED INDUSTRY UNTIL NOW.
WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY
Also they are soon releasing a new rum that is called Prometheus Rum – Promotheus was a Greek mythology figure who stole fire and technology and gave it to the humans and Prometheus stands for “Human Invention” – quite a fitting name right?
According to Bryan the rum is 45% ABV something they haven`t released before since all of their rums have been high proof rums but there might be a higher proof single cask expression made of this rum as well. The Prometheus rum has a nose of barbequed caramel and it´s related to the Bounty Hunter rum (the Colonial Inspired) but with more taste notes of caramel and it´s also slightly sweeter. The espresso coffee notes from the Bounty Hunter is still there but less pronounced due to the lower proof.
The Lost Spirits Distillery have done it again! made a geeky rum that blew me away…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…albeit 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 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 very interested to see where their rum developments takes them.
I really like the Colonial Inspired rum, 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.
It`s a strong dark rum and 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.
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…. 151 Cuban which also had pineapple notes and rich vanilla and which I personally find 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 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 i 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…..
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 tiki 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.
1/2oz fresh lime juice
1/2oz grapefruit juice (yellow)
1/2oz cinnamon syrup
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….
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. I`m looking forward to see what they gonna make in the future.
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.
The Lost Spirits Rums hit the world with a bang! I have already seen and read several great posts about this rum and have written myself also about the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums.
The Lost Spirits latest addition – the 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – has already been spoken about as well but I`ve been unable to write about until now since I been away to New Orleans and California including a road trip with Bryan and Joanne from the distillery to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego and where I got time to get to know this rum a bit better but time alone with it was needed.
One thing is clear, it`s a very pleasant overproof rum and it both mixes and sips well, even though, if you sip it for a while you will get a “fried” palate due to it`s strength typically what happens when you drink overproof rums neat, which mostly I do not – I use them most of the time in drinks as floats or combined with other rums – but you should not let this rum fool you – it`s way too easy to sip.
That said, I recommend it to be used like you use other overproof rums, in drinks, as floats etc.
This femme fatale comes dressed up in a very innocent looking outfit…the stunning label is a work of art with light pastel colored retro style 1930s pre-Castro Cuban theme with palm trees and a Pan Am (?) plane taking off to the sun….(and Cuban daiquiris…) and there`s a lady dressed in fashionable 1930s tropical wear. It`s like the other labels from Lost Spirits, very detailed and in all it`s a stunning label made by Bryan himself.
1930s Cuba….isn`t it beautiful? makes me wanna go back in time…or at least have a couple of cold daiquiris which btw is one of my favorite rum drinks.
I suspect that the curved end of the label is inspired by the same curved pattern you see on top of the copper still, you can see it in this post by Cocktailwonk, it´s pic number seven from top.
Of course your mind goes straight to the daiquiri when you see this rum but it´s good for all sorts of drinks both classic, modern and tiki. And here is what i like so much about it, it gives enough flavor to the drink to make things happen, to make it exciting, yet it´s smooth as silk but it kicks your butt!
If you have never heard of Lost Spirits Rums before I advise you to go and read about them here, and here and here……..plus check out their own website. It`s well worth the time reading all the posts because Bryan Davis is like the “mad scientist” up there at the distillery producing both rums and whiskeys. I have noticed that posts about this distillery have a tendency to become quite lengthy and there´s a reason for that, so keep reading the posts…
You might see some fancy tiki drinks with their rums here on my blog – but this is where it starts:
Manipulating the biochemistry of the yeast or stressing the yeast, is one important part of the production, read more about that here. Picture Bryan Davis.
I asked Bryan how the idea came about making a 151 Cuban style rum? he said when making the navy style rum is was mostly about making rum with the biggest range of flavor from the fermenter coming through.
But how about making the opposite? With this Cuban style it was the opposite end of the spectrum starting with the super flavorful high quality molasses and then highly rectify it like a Cuban from 100 years ago and then age it using his own scientific approach. Bryan tried lots of different woods and finally blended the Cuban from all the experiments.
The Cuban inspired 151 proof rum differs greatly from the Polynesian Style and Navy Style rums in that it has less of those higher alcohols giving the other two rums their “heavy” type of flavor, this rum here has a totally different flavor profile, more “clean” but I wouldn`t say “light” because there is nothing “light” about any of the rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery. But at the same time as the 151 Cuban differs from the others they still have clear bonds of being from the same “family”.
Well, i have to say the end result is nothing but spectacular!
They are only three people at the Lost Spirits Distillery, Bryan Davis, Joanne Haruta and Joanne`s brother James and if you haven`t seen the distillery and the hand built pot still with it`s smoking dragon head check it out here and here
And check out this video, (click on the left play button at the bottom) :
The smoking dragon pushing out the steam from the still at night….(video by Bryan Davis)
Pretty cool eh? it´s all hand built on site.
The nose is to me fruity (slightly like pineapple and apricot but not at all as pineapple forward as the Polynesian style, and here´s also vanilla) with a wonderful whiff of lovely soothing butterscotch.
The flavor is intense and has the same fruitness beautifully rounded out by the aforementioned butterscotch, vanilla and toffee aromas. It`s so strong yet it caresses your palate like silk!…that`s why it´s so dangerously sippable.
With a little water in the glass i think it becomes much more Pineapple flavored but compared to the Polynesian (also with a few drops of water in it) it`s actually smoother despite it´s higher strength.
I have used their rums specifically in tiki drinks simply because well, I love tiki drinks – and because they fit so well in these kind of drinks because the bold flavors of these strong rums stand up so well against the fresh mixers and us tiki drink loving folks we just LOVE bold rums don`t we?? At the Tiki Ti we had Nui Nuis made with it and they were nothing but awesome!
But Lost Spirits rums are not only fit for tropical and tiki drinks, they can be used in any kind of cocktails thus making this rum very versatile. One example is the classic daiquiri…so I made one and of course it made an excellent daiquiri that also packs a punch! drink one of these and you`ll dance!
Also, use it as a float in a variety of cocktails..
Then i was pondering what to do next and got to think about two of my old favorites, the Missionary`s Downfall and the classic Pago Pago.
The Missionary`s Downfall is a very tasty drink but it´s not a strong one…so I decided to make a twist of it and change that with the 151 Cuban rum. Be warned though, this drink is potent!
The Drunken Missionary
This drink is so potent it makes the tiki mug “sweat” and “moan”!
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
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!
This drink packs a punch and is VERY tasty!
The Pago Pago dates to at least 1940, when it appeared in a book called The How and When, andthis classic cocktail is a longtime favorite of mine and i`ve had it on this blog before but not with this rum though – so i decided to give it a try. What makes this drink so nice is the addition of Green Chartreuse which not only adds lively vibrant herbal aromas to the drink but also goes very very well with rum!
1 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
3 squares of fresh pineapple (about 1 oz)
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz green Chartreuse
0.25 oz white crème de cacao
Add all ingredients except the rum in a cocktail shaker and muddle the pineapple with a muddler. Add the rum and a lot of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (double-strain through a mesh tea strainer in order to filter out the little bits of pineapple)
Beware of this drink`s strength…
151 Cuban Nui Nui
Another favorite of mine is the Nui Nui….and with the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban it becomes a high octane real treat!
1.5 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz Don’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice, blend for 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a chimney or tiki glass with more crushed ice. Insert a long strip (6+ inches) of orange peel into the drink and let some of it hang out.
Well I poured mine into a tiki mug and also added fresh mint.
I was pondering what next to make ( yeah that`s what happens when i have Lost Spirits rums in my hands…) and then i remembered that yummy Coconut Punch i had in London made by Martin Cate at the last years UK Rumfest and decided to make a twist of it starting with making a baked pineapple syrup.
Flaming Coconut Punch
1.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Coconut and pineapple juice
5-6 dashes Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters* for that pineapple and coffee touch. (sub with some coffee flavored bitters and use dashes depending on how bitter they are)
Baked pineapple sugarcane syrup*
Shake all ingredients well and strain into a coconut filled with crushed ice, that is placed on top of a larger coconut that is filled with cracked ice. (or use a tiki coconut mug)
Garnish with pineapple leaves.
Fill a lime shell with overproof rum or drench a few sugar cubes and set alight, dust with cinnamon powder to get the volcano effect.
Baked Pineapple Sugarcane Syrup
Place 5-6 chunks of pineapple in a pan and bake them on high heat until they get brownish, then lower the heat and add dark sugar syrup on top, let it sizzle for a few seconds then take off heat and mash the pineapple chunks with a fork. Set aside to cool and leave for about 15-20 min for the flavors to set.
Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters is a homemade product by Oriol over at the Three of Strong blog, write to him and see if you can get some. They are not sold commercially. You can sub with some other coffee flavored bitters, or make a different variety by for example muddle fresh coffee beans to get the coffee flavor. Do not use any coffee liqueur as you cannot omit the baked pineapple syrup in this drink.
This drink turned out pretty good! actually VERY tasty! I really like it and I`m gonna keep this one. I think the rum married so well together with the rest of the ingredients. And I love that it also packs a punch…
Now I should be very drunk right? well no…not really…the truth is I don`t make all the cocktails for a post like this in one evening…I prefer to sip and savour over a week or two because with rum it works like this – you need to re-visit a rum several times to get the flavors of it and to make cocktails too.
And since this rum is overproof it´s better to pace it…actually I recommend to drink just one of these in one sitting.
So…the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum…have you not tried it yet and are able to get it? – my advice…do not wait!
So now i have got to try out two very nice rhum arrangèes made by Cèdric Brement and Benoit Bail, and since i wrote my reviews of Benoit´s exotic Zwazo ananas-vanille rhum arrangè and Cèd`s award winning Banane-Cacao, i feel i want to make more drinks with them and see what`s good – starting with the tropical Zwazo.
Even though the traditional way is mostly to drink these rhums neat since they contain so much flavor of their own, they are also used to make tropical punch style cocktails.
I don`t think they have been used very much in tiki style drinks….or have they? in any case it doesn`t hurt if i try right? i`m curious to see how they mix with other rums.
Don the Beachcomber was a master of creating balance with many exotic ingredients – and he was especially skillful when it came to the art of blending rums and so was the original Mai-Kai mixologist Mariano Licudine. One person today that i come to think about getting close in that direction is Martin Cate. (Smuggler´s Cove)
Starting with Zwazo ananas-vanille i needed to find drinks that had ingredients that would harmonize with the pineapple and agricole flavors of the rhum and then switch out the rums used in those drinks for the Zwazo and some other rums that i figured would go well with it.
So i dived into the Bum`s new book the Potions…of the Caribbean for inspiration…and i sure found a lot.The book is filled with the one mouth watering drink after another (apart from all the interesting things there is to read in it) and the first drink that i decided to experiment with was the Siboney, which is a drink by Trader Vic circa 1950`s.
It`s basically a twist on the daiquiri with pineapple juice added and lemon instead of lime plus passionfruit syrup, mixed with Jamaican dark rum (but only 1 oz) I decided to simply just add 1 oz of Zwazo to give the drink more tropical depth.
The result was absolutely delicious! since the recipe called for dark Jamaican rum i took my Denizen Merchant`s Reserve which is a blend of plummer style pot still Jamaican rum and Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique.
Now Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique is not rhum agricole even if the name sounds like it – instead it´s molasses based rum.
The reason why it´s in the blend of the Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is that when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.
Note, that it says “likely” so there´s no proof whether Vic used molasses based Martinique rum or rhum agricole in his blend with Jamaican rum in his Mai Tai`s when the 17 year Wray and Nephew rum was finished.
So here we got a rum that contains pot still Jamaican rum and a molasses based Martinique rhum, and then Zwazo – a rhum arrangè with pineapple and vanilla macerated in a rum base of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana.
And don`t forget the overproof Polynesian Inspired float…
It`s a lot of rums going on here…but to my joy the drink tasted fantastic, cool and refreshing yet with a strong rum bite. Deep flavor of mature tropical fruits, and then something “earthy”, maybe from the float of the Polynesian Inspired rum…I like the different layers in a tropical cocktail.
Siboney – Swazo Style
1 oz dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
Float of Jamaican style overproof dark rum
Shake well with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. (if you like)
Now unfortunately, for the time being, Zwazo is only sold in Europe, locally in Luxembourg and then in Paris at Christian de Montaguère and it´s a small batch seasonal product – so if you cannot find it, my best advice would be to either try to find a pineapple-vanilla rhum arrangè from one of the French islands, such as Martinique (or a pineapple rhum arrangè paired with vanilla syrup) or make your own. (google how to make rhum arrangè, and there´s a great french site with a forum containing tons of recipes here)
Likewise when it comes to the Lost Spirits rums, they are only sold in the US but not Europe or elsewhere…so i would sub them with Smith and Cross mixed with Lemon Hart 151, to get that strong punchy flavor – even though the flavor will not be the same, but since Smith and Cross mixed with LH 151 is a great combo i believe it will still taste fantastic!
Next cocktail to play with was the Island of Martinique Cocktail, which is a Don Beach drink circa 1948. This drink is actually a tikified ti-punch…
It was described in Beachcomber´s 1948 menu as a drink with “Lusty Martinique rums aged in casks for 120 moons. Subtly combined with falernum, wild honey, Angostura bitters and Maui mountain limes”
How does that sound?? mouthwatering to me…
The original recipe which is found in the book Potions of the Caribbean was handed to the Bum by ex-Beachcomber bartender Tony Ramos.
Island of Martinique Cocktail – with a Pineapple Twist
1 oz rhum agricole vieux
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
0.25 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, gently heat it up so the honey dissolves in the water, then cool to room temp)
Dash Angostura bitters
A handful (3 oz) crushed ice
Float Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum on top (or Lemon Hart 151)
Blend at high speed in a blender for 5 seconds, then strain into
a hollowed out pineapple and float the Navy style rum on top.
The drink tasted fruity and spicy, the flavor of fully matured tropical fruit from Zwazo came through and this drink was not as fruity and earthy as the first one but more mellow and spicy, with a kick from the float.
Now let`s dive deeper into this amazing book…
On page 164 i found the Voodoo Grog, a concoction created by Trader Vic, circa mid 1950`s. A drink containing equal parts lime, grapefruit and pimento.
First time i made it i was a bit overwhelmed by the pimento/allspice flavor so i took the Pimento dram down from 0.75 oz to 0.5 and it was better for my palate, but if you like a strong allspice flavor the 0.75 will be good.
Also it matters what brand of pimento dram/allspice dram you are using, the best i think are either homemade or St Elisabeth`s or Bitter Truth. For the moment i have St Elisabeth.
1 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum
1 oz Swazo
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz grapefruit juice (white)
0.75 oz honey
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
1 egg white
1 cup (8 oz) Crushed ice
Dissolve honey in lime juice and place this mixture plus the rest of ingredients except for nutmeg in a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.
Dust with freshly ground nutmeg and garnish with mint and pineapple. (I also wrapped a pandan leaf around the glass)
Last cocktail is the quintessential rhum agricole drink…a ti-punch but with aged rhum agricole and therefore it´s called a punch vieux.
Petit Punch Vieux
1 oz Zwazo
1 oz rhum agricole vieux
0.5 oz sirop de canne
One half of a fresh lime
Cut the lime half in two and squeeze both edges into an old fashioned glass. Drop in the first spent wedge in the glass, then rub the rim of the glass with the other and then discard the second wedge. Add sirop, rums and ice and stir to chill. I also did rim the glass with brown sugar and added a sugarcane stick and roughly cut lime peel as garnish.
Rimming the glass with sugar and adding a lime peel is not traditional punch vieux but this is all about experiments!
Sirop de Canne is a thick, dark syrup made from a slow reduction of fresh sugar cane juice. Exported by brands such as Clèment, Dubois, Depaz, Dillon and La Mauny.
You can make a similar syrup by making a rich syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to water) with dark raw sugar.
Punch Vieux is always a nice treat as is the regular Ti-Punch…
Zwazo definitely mixes well in this style of tropical drinks, it gives a deep pineapple/tropical fruit flavor into the drinks which for tiki drinks fits so well into the flavor profile of a lot of them.
The aim with this particular post is to show that you can do a lot with rhum arrangè that goes beyond the traditional use…