Kōloa – A Handcrafted Rums from Hawaii

koloa dark label

Hailing from the “garden island” Kaua`i in Hawaii – Kōloa rum is a unique single batch handcrafted rum that is made from Hawaiian sugarcane and pure mountain waters of Kaua`i. It`s not made from molasses but from crystalized sugar with a high level of molasses in it setting it apart from other rums.

The making of rum has a long history on this island dating back to 1835 when the first harvest of sugar was made producing produced two tons of raw sugar from the Kōloa Plantation in Kōloa Town.

Today, Kaua`i’s  sugarcane still thrives in the rich volcanic soil typical for Hawaii, nurtured by the pure waters of Mt. Wai`ale`ale, the wettest spot on Earth.

Visitors to the island can taste the rums at the plantation-style Tasting Room & Company Store, located on the grounds of the Historic Kilohana Plantation.

The first batch of rum was distilled and bottled in September 2009. All of the rums are distilled twice in a 1210 gallon copper pot still.

The company have made rum since 2009 and have already won no less than 11 awards – most of them at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami and then at the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Tasting the rums

What i got here to try out is their coconut, spiced, dark, white and gold rums! these are quite intriguing rums so where to start?

The bottles labels shows the plantation-style Tasting Room & Company Store and at the top of the necks of the bottles is drawn the map of the Hawaiian islands.

The bottles have plastic screw corks and even though real cork the old fashioned way is more “rummy” and romantic the screw corks are more practical – here´s to personal preference….

I think the one i was the most curious about was the coconut rum – because i have yet to find a good coconut flavored rum…most flavored rums honestly tastes like crap..

They either taste artificial or they taste too much and are cloyingly oversweet and i often find it to be the same with many spiced rums – and i got a spiced rum here too so this gonna be interesting…

This tasting have been done after tasting the rums several times which doesn´t show in this post and the rums have been tasted neat, with ice, water and in cocktails.

koloa dark and coconut

Kaua`i Coconut (80 proof)

On the nose it has light and sweet hints of coconut and it´s not too much either and i like that.

Taking a sip reveals a surprisingly smooth and natural tasting coconut rum which doesn´t have any of the cloyingly sweet and artificial flavors i have come across many times before.

The flavor also have a light crispness to it and it´s mild and sweet but not too sweet.

What i can feel on the palate is coconut and hints of vanilla and sugarcane. This is just fresh! and i`d say it´s a very good coconut rum, very enjoyable!

Kaua`i Dark  (80 proof)

It has a rich nose with hints of coffee and burnt sugar which makes me wanna have a sip…

The flavor to me is that of wood, vanilla, molasses and burnt sugar. Funny how i can feel coffee in the nose but not in the flavor…

Even more interesting is how i can find wood in the flavor when this rum have not been aged at all. Must be the blend of “spices” and caramel used to produce the dark color? and what spices they are i have no idea. It`s heavy on the vanilla too and something charred or toasted – maybe this is what i feel tastes like wood…

To me it´s a mixing rather than sipping rum unless you like vanilla a lot! And this rum is dark in every sense of the word – great for tiki drinks in my opinion.. I tried this rum in a coconaut and i think it was great.

I have a feeling that this rum is gonna grow on me when i continue to try it in various tropical rum and tiki drinks but also wanna try it with sugarcane coke. You`ll see it more on this blog.

koloa spiced, white and gold

Kaua`i White  (80 proof)

The white rum is distilled fresh and not aged and it´s a very pure rum with a clear color.

On the nose is a light whiff of vegetal notes and sweet sugarcane.

On the palate it´s rather dry, just a slight sugarcane sweetness, some vanilla, maybe a hint of citrus. Should be good in a daiquiri and i`m gonna make one because the daiquiri is to me is a sort of test drink for rums – a bad rum cannot possibly make a good daiquiri!

And as i suspected – it made a great daiquiri…

My conclusion of the white rum is that it´s good for both sipping and mixing and should be good in many other cocktails.

Kaua`i Gold  (80 proof)

This is a pale golden rum and the color comes from caramelized sugar and just like the white rum it has not been aged.

The nose is light with sweet sugarcane and a hint of vanilla paired with a little bit of fresh vegetal notes.

The flavor is light and sweet with hints of molasses. It`s a light rum and goes well in a daiquiri just like the white. It`s surprisingly mild and best to use in simple drinks, and i found that it pairs very well with pineapple juice.

Kaua`i Spice  (80 proof)

And so finally we get to the spiced rum. As for with flavored rums i`m always a bit suspicious when it comes to spiced rums. But i still try to approach every (to me) new rum with an open mind.

It sure does have a spicy nose…to me it´s hints of cinnamon bark, vanilla bean and maybe clove? there´s a lot going on here and i cannot detect all the flavors.

Then my mouth is filled with spice….it´s like an explosion of spice actually.

It´s sweet but not too sweet,  it´s spicy but well balanced – and there´s some hints of  roots and nuts? I wonder what`s in it? there´s also something astringent, i guess that´s what brings me to roots.

I used this as float in the Spicy Coconaut and it added quite some spice to the drink so the next time i should use a little bit less. Spiced rums can easily be overpowering and a little usually goes a long way.

This spiced rum is good and it definitely is a balanced blend of spices and what i`m guessing – roots and nuts. It also has long finish.

They have made a great spiced rum but i wouldn´t use it as sipping rum, only to mix with, trying to sip it would simply be too much.

To wrap it up:

What amazes me is that the The Kōloa Rum Company is so young – they have been producing rum for only a short while and already producing solid rums that has won 11 medals!

Overall i think the Kōloa rums are good, especially for mixing even though they do sip well – especially with some ice added – except for the spiced.

First i couldn`t point out what it was that made these rums taste differently from other rums but then i read that they use crystalized sugar produced at the nearby Gay and Robinson Sugar Factory with a high level of molasses in it – and that explained it!

And then of course the terroir* is always an important factor to any rums flavor.

*Terroir – the complete natural environment in which a particular spirit or wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.

So now on to the drinks! No less than 3 of the drinks contains coconut flavor so here´s for the coconut lovers! but there´s a tasty rum sour there too…

Coconut Kula

Coconut Kula

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)

0.5 oz fresh orange juice

0.5 oz honey mix (equal parts water and liquid honey gently heated up to mix and then cooled to room temp)

0.25 oz demerara syrup

2 oz Kōloa coconut rum

Crushed ice

Shake together and strain into a tall zombie glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with pineapple leaf and tropical flower.

Kōloa Rum Sour

koloa rum sour

1 oz Kōloa Kaua`i white rum

1 oz Kōloa Kaua`i gold rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

1 egg white

0.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup ( or you can also use simple syrup)

Garnish the foam with Peychaud`s or Creole bitters forming the shape of a “Hawaiian wave”

Shake this hard and long to emulsify the eggwhite and create a good foam, then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and add as much of the foam as possible to make it thick.

Garnish with the bitters. Create a “Hawaiian wave” by first carefully drop the bitters in the middle and then form the wave with a straw.

Spiced Coconaut

Spicy Coconaut

2 oz Lopez or Coco Real Cream of Coconut

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz Kaua`i Dark rum

Float Kōloa Kaua`i Spice ( about 0.25 oz)

Shake it hard to get the Cream of Coconut well mixed in and strain into a coconut mug with ice cubes.

Garnish with a tropical flower and pineapple leaaves.

Kōloa Pina Colada

pinacolada instagram

2 oz Kōloa Kaua`i white (or coconut rum – or use 1 oz each of white and gold or dark for a more flavorful colada)

2 oz cream of coconut (Coco Lopez or Coco Real)

2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh)

1 cup crushed ice

Blend or shake and pour into a suitable glass and garnish with pineapple and cherry or tropical flower.

Enjoy! Okole Maluna!

You can read more about  Kōloa rum on their website.

Happy RUM DAY!

national rum day

Today we celebrate the (Inter) National Rum Day and of course i must make something that contains this noble spirit and make a toast for everyone that have had any part in the invention and creation of this sugarcane spirit called rum, ron or rhum and all who enjoy it and promote it!

This is one of the most varied and versatile spirits on this planet and it´s no secret which spirit i enjoy the most of all – RUM!

So let´s toast for the Rum Day and enjoy a glass or two! i`m in a summer mood so i`m gonna make one of the most common summer rum drinks there is – the Pina Colada which – in my opinion is an underrated drink.

And i`m gonna use a rum that i just recently got to try and which i will review here in a while, the Koloa coconut rum from Hawaii which is made with real coconut.

Also the cream of coconut i`m using here, Coco Real is made with real coconut and not artificial flavorings same as Coco Lopez. If you can`t find cream of coconut (NOT the same as coconut cream which is the thicker coconut milk) the use of coconut milk as substitution or a coconut syrup won`t be the same thing – so try get cream of coconut, it´s a key ingredient.

The name ‘Pina Colada’ literally means ‘strained pineapple’ – a reference to the freshly pressed and strained pineapple juice used in the drink’s preparation. Three Puerto Rican bartenders contest the ownership of their country’s national drink.

Pina Colada

PINA COLADA

2 oz white rum (or you may use gold or dark rum…for a darker more deep flavored version)

2 oz cream of coconut (Coco Lopez or Coco Real)

2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh)

1 cup crushed ice

Blend or shake and pour into a suitable glass and garnish with pineapple and cherry. (i didn`t have any cherries on hand so i used a tropical flower instead)

There ya go! Happy Rum Day!

pinacolada instagram

MxMo XLVIII: Pain in the Ass Drinks!

mxmologo

This months Mixology Monday has a fun topic – pain in the ass drinks – hosted by McSology.

This Month’s Theme is: Drinks that are a total pain in the ass to make!

Pain in the ass drinks..sure i can deliver that;-) actually i have no less than three for this MxMo which urges us all to come up with the most laboursome drinks you can think of. But laboursome doesn´t mean that they aren`t tasty, rather the contrary – often you´ll be greatly rewarded.

Its definetily a good idea to make these i`ll post here at home when you have plenty of time.

I`m lucky to be a cocktail blogger. That permits me to mix up my drinks at any pace i want and stop mixing when i`ve had enough, or play with the most impossible ideas for garnish. Its fun – but even me takes shortcuts and avoid certain drinks more often than not, especially when i`m about to mix drinks that are not for a blog post.

As most people already know, the worst drinks to make are the TIKI cocktails – not all – but many, say 6 out of 10, something like that. Its not uncommon with 8-13 ingredients and of course normal simple syrup will not do –  you need to at least make sure you have orgeat, falernum, grenadine, Donn`s spices #2, several flavored syrups and various tinctures and drams – like pimento dram. Not to mention the amount of rums, liqueurs and other spirits that are needed, some in very small quantities like say – drops. (absinthe) But for how to master all these exotic drinks there`s help.

I haven`t yet mentioned the garnish these drinks very often require to be properly crowned.

My drinks for this MxMo aren´t any specific and known tiki drinks though, its actually a few twists on the Pina Colada which isn`t a tiki drink – but the way they are made puts them into the tiki cathegory of labour i think.

So if you are lazy stop reading.

The drinks here are a bit labourous yes – but not difficult. If you have the time to elaborate a bit you`ll be rewarded with tropical extravaganza.

The Pina Colada is a very nice drink and i like it a lot but i don´t make it very often, maybe it has to do with that i prefer coconut milk in cooking rather than drinking and for drinking when it comes to the coconut i prefer the green coconut water. Anyway, i decided to make a few twists of the pina colada and after some experimenting i came up with three coladas that basically are very similar yet very different.

Another thing in this post is that many measurements are quite approximate, i try to be exact when i can but it doesn´t always work out, especially not with these kind of drinks.

playing-with-the-colada

TEPACHE COLADA

0.5 pineapple peeled and cored and cut into chunks. Save 2 chunks for the garnish along with 2 leaves. Puree the chunks and strain so you get fresh juice.

1.5 oz white rhum agricole
0.5 oz aged rhum agricole
2 oz coconut milk
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz tepache (made with an extra pinch of palmsugar)
4 cups ice

Blend in blender until smooth and pour into ice filled glass. Garnish with pineapple chunks and leaves.

Tepache

The basic recipe for tepache or pineapple beer is sugar, water, and pineapple skins. Its a Mexican fermented pineapple drink traditionally made with fresh sugarcane juice – known as guarapo and spices. But you can make tepache with raw sugar as well as fresh sugarcane juice is hard to find in many places.

The key is to use a pineapple that is ripe.There are some ways to see if a pineapple is ripe and what not to do is to base your judgment on its colour. Instead pick it up and sniff at the base, it should smell sweet. Next, the leaves should be fresh and green and the leaves in the middle should be easy to pull out. If the pineapple has brown soft spots, leave it and find another, it should be firm.

So now you have found a ripe nice pinapple, here´s what to do next:

Peel with about half inch of pineapple flesh attached to peel. Then chop into 1 inch pieces.

8 – 12 cups water

2 cups raw unrefined sugar plus a tsp palmsugar dissolved in 1 cup very hot water. The palmsugar is optional, but i l´like the deep flavour it gives.

1 lime, juiced (optional)

8 ounces ginger root, cut into small chunks (optional) or a few cinnamon sticks, cloves, and/or star anise

Place peel, sugar and spices  in a one gallon container that has a cover. Add enough water to top it off and seal the container. Leave the bottles in a sunny or warm area minimum overnight and maximum 5 days (more days = more fizz) its a clear advantage to have warm temps (for the fermentation) so unless you live in a warm place do this in the summer. Then add the lime juice. To serve, chill in refrigerator.

The leftover of this tepache can be served as is or why not mix it with some rum? I think the tepache goes very well with the rest of ingredients in this colada, it adds a bit of a mellow spiciness.

The next colada is using Crema de Mezcal. You can use any good quality mezcal you like in it but i think the crema is the one for this drink – giving to it a smoky flavour and then using some roast coconut milk to combine adds some charred nuttiness:

MEZCOLADA

05-1 pineapple peeled and cored and cut into chunks. Save 2 chunks for the garnish along with 1-2 leaves. Puree the chunks and strain so you get fresh juice.

1 oz reposado tequila
1 oz Del maguey Crema de Mezcal
2 oz roast coconut milk
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
1t orgeat
4 cups ice

Blend in blender until smooth and pour into ice filled glass or serve in pineapple shell. Garnish with roasted coconut chips (or why not a mezcal soaked cherry) and pineapple leaves.

coconut-chips

Roast Coconut milk – Toast a handful of shaved fresh coconut chips until well brown and mix with 1 can lukewarm coconutmilk in blender, leave to sit for a while, then strain through cheesecloth.This is my own way to make it easier.

The traditional way to make roast coconut milk is to first roast chunks of fresh coconut in a charcoal fire until blackened on all sides.Then brush off the charred exterior and grate the flesh before adding it into a bowl and add 2 cups of lukewarm water. Then squeeze and knead the coconut thoroughly for 1 minute, then strain through cheesecloth into a bowl to obtain thick coconut milk. Probably the traditional way makes for a tastier roast coconut milk but i haven`t tried as i have no place to make a fire. There`s a lot of yummy flavours in this drink, the agave from the tequila and mezcal plus the smoke, roast coconut milk, almond and pineapple.

The task of opening a coconut, shave the flesh and toast it may seem laboursome but it actually isn´t, here is a link on how to do it easily.

HONEYCREAM COLADA

HONEY CREAM COLADA

The last colada is flavoured with baked banana honeycream. That is a mixture of baked banana, honey, sugar and water. It was used in a cocktail comp in Copenhagen and their version used water not cream. But in this drink i use heavy cream instead of water to cream it up with the coconut milk.

Here`s how to do it: Bake your bananas in the oven untill they get a bit of color and blend it with equal parts honey and heavy cream, add a bit of  sugar ( i used muscovado) to bring out the banana and reduce it in a pan.

0.5 pineapple peeled and cored and cut into chunks. Save 2 chunks for the garnish along with 1-2 leaves.
1.5 oz rhum agricole blanc
0.5 oz JWray overproof
2 oz  coconut milk
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 tsp baked banana honey cream
4 cups ice
Hibiscus tincture (optional, just for that little extra ( labour)

Blend in blender until smooth and pour into ice filled glass. Garnish with the pineapple chunks, and pineapple leaf and a few dashes hibiscus tincture for a little extra flavor contrast and color.

Hibiscus tincture

Mix 1oz crushed dried hibiscus flowers (jamaica) with 5oz highproof grain spirit or overproof rum like JWray and leave for a few days, then strain and bottle. Use it in drops.

To play further with these coladas you may use vanilla beans, demerara rum, muscovado sugar, cinnamon syrup, cachaca, macadamia nut syrup, Trader Tiki`s syrups to name a few ingredients.

Have fun! thanks Mike for hosting with a fun topic!