A Peek at Rational Spirits First Rum – Santeria

RS Santeria

Picture credit for this awesome picure of the Santeria bottle surrounded by two of Mark Holts tiki mugs: Cocktail Guru

SANTERIA

So how to tame this beast?? that was my first question to myself when I had my first sip of the Santeria rum that was made by the Lost Spirits distillery for Rational Spirits, a Charleston based distillery focusing on rum and which was founded to exploit the new technological improvements made at Lost Spirits in California and the first licensee of Thea One.

This is not an “easy” rum, this is a full fledged ester bomb and a strong one too. It´s a wild beast that needs to be tamed…but how to do that will be a real challenge and at 57.5 it sure packs a punch. I believe the ones that gonna like it the most is the tiki community because it really does shine in certain even if not all, tiki drinks! but it also mixes well in other cocktails of the type that has fresh juices and syrups and stuff – like for example rum swizzles but also rum sours and to me, it`s in mixed drinks it makes it`s real magic ….

I find the bottle very cool and the label is beautiful and really does reflect the spirit of this rum! the label is made by a Swedish graphic designer, Christian Bjurinder.

Santeria Rum Bottles for blogy

To start from the beginning of the making of this rum, the first batch is made in a limited edition of 500 bottles and according to Bryan Davis it´s a pot stilled dunder pit style rum and he have used several strains of bacteria not used in rum before.

But I suspected that being the Lost Spirits Distillery it will of course have something of a signature taste to it and I think I`m right on that because there`s a flavor note that I have also found in their Colonial and Navy Style rums (minus the pronounced espresso coffee notes in the Colonial)

There has been a lot written already about the Lost Spirits Distillery and their way of rum making with their advanced post distillation technology and you can read about all of that here and here. In the Lost Spirits Distillery alchemy meets mad-science….

Its run through their new Thea One reactor, (Targeted Hyper-Esterification Aging) post distillation – and it`s a bit of “black magic” how he does it, hence the name of this rum, or partly  – because the Santeria rum was actually inspired by the Jurassic Park movie.

Here`s what Bryan has to say:

When humans develop new technologies, they first replicate the past or the world we know.  Then they begin to imagine and use their newfound capabilities to craft dreams into reality. Sometimes those dreams lead to glorious results and sometimes to tragic consequences.

Santeria Rum is designed, more born, to reflect this most human of aspirations. The rum begins its life by brining the most arcane of spirits production techniques, the dunder pit, into the lab environment.

In nature, dunder pits host a specific family of bacteria that grow natively in the Jamaican soil.  The bacterium ferment the residue in the pit into a rich broth of precursor molecules. Later during yeast fermentation and during the obligatory barrel-aging period, those precursors develop into the dense rich signature flavor that we know as Jamaican high ester rum.

Santeria reproduces this process in the lab using bacteria that have never been used in rum fermentation before.  Those bacteria were carefully selected, incubated, and nurtured to both survive in the new environment but also to create an equally rich aroma and flavor profile to their Jamaican cousins. Yet with completely different precursor molecules.

The dense white spirit was then matured with new American oak in a Thea One photocatalytic reactor. The result is a whole new category of rum never seen before. Will our dream be glorious, or an abomination?  Only time will tell.

So actually it`s 21st century science technology behind it paired with quite a bit of the mad scientist……..

Obviously not everybody will like this method while others find it very interesting, exciting and quite mind boggling. I think that this whole thing what Lost Spirits are doing is interesting and fascinating….What`s important to know is that there are no additives in this rum, no coloring or sugar etc, it`s just pure pot still rum made from grade A molasses.

I think traditional made rum and this kind of rum are two entirely different animals though, and personally I like both – but this type is to me best for mixing rather than sipping and to me it`s like how the old saying goes – variety is the spice of life – and new and exciting experiences make life more interesting.

What I find intriguing is to see where all this gonna go? and this the first Rational Spirits release – Santeria is a whole new category of rum.

Wax seals

Wax seals for the Santeria rum, picture by Cocktailwonk

Nose and taste of the Santeria

So on to the nose and flavor of this rum, I find it having slight notes of creme bruleè and mature tropical fruits and then something “wine-like”, and then a bit of sweet butterscotch.

In the mouth there´s a lot going on…it`s a strong ester bomb for sure with hints of molasses, burnt sugarcane, wood, astringency, sharpness, wood, tropical fruits, apricot, dark plums and then something I cannot define. It`s very strong, almost overwhelming and has a sharp kick to it, it´s like a wild horse….there´s no delicate refinement it`s just BOOM!  – very wild…..

It`s not very sweet but that`s no surprise since there`s no added sugar but there`s still a hint of sweetness though, just not very much. The color of the rum is that of dark mahogany, almost switching to black in certain lights and yet there is no coloring added either.

This – like I said, is to me – a mixing rum, even though certain pirates (like Bryan and Mark Holt) like to sip it 🙂 Mark for example found it to have heat that kept increasing, yet it never burned. But me – I think it`s quite brutal when sipped neat even though it has great and complex notes without being inaccessible – but it really does better in mixing, and it mixed well in a variety of cocktails even though there´s a challenge with it there too.

It doesn`t fit with all tiki drinks for example but those it fits with it really makes them shine, so it takes quite some experimentation to find out which drinks it mixes well with, but on the other hand, experimenting with rum is fun.

It`s strong and can easily overpower other ingredients and I like to tame it a bit with either another “softer” rum to round it out a bit or use multiple fresh juices a la Don the Beachcomber.

Would I buy me a bottle? yes I would – because I find it “a great rum to make real tiki bombs!!”… (to quote my friend Oriol over at Three of Strong)

Cocktails….

That it`s like made for tiki drinks is clear and it`s great in many other cocktails except for one thing – with coke, for some reason Santeria and coke does not like each other.

After the California Rumfest there was a Tiki Party over at Mark Holt`s amazing Tiki House high up in the hills in a place called the “Top of the World” where the Santeria was served and it also made it`s way into Paper Plane where marvellous drinks were made with it and here is one such drink, it´s a gorgeous swizzle called Swizzle My Nizzle.

The recipe originated from Jasper’s Corner Tap in San Francisco, but the rum was switched to Santeria.

I think it looks pretty incredibly tasty…………. !!!

Swizzle My Nizzle 2

Picture courtesy  Cocktailwonk

Swizzle My Nizzle

1.5 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum

1 oz vanilla agave syrup

1 oz passion fruit juice

0.75 oz lemon juice

4 dashes Habanero bitters

Build in footed pilsner/cobbled ice/swizzle/top with ice and garnish with mint sprig  and top with 10 dashes peychauds

Here´s a take on a few tiki drinks that I made with it for this post, they are well worth the effort.

Santeria Spindrift

Santeria Spindrift

Here`s a really good tiki drink that for some reason you do not see very often, it´s underrated in my opinion. It´s one of the boozy ones thus fit for the Santeria rum!

3 oz orange juice
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz passionfruit syrup
¾ oz simple syrup
0.5 t vanilla extract (I didn`t have that, it was still good)
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum
Blend with 2.5 cups crushed ice and pour into a large snifter.

This turned out really really tasty….rummy, fruity and zesty! the Spindrift is strong and fullbodied with a perfect balance of flavours.

Banana Boo Loo

Beware of it`s quiet strength…….

Banana Boo Loo for blog

A few small fresh pineapple chunks
2 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz banana-demerara syrup*
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum

Put pineapple chunks, banana-demerara syrup and lime and pineapple juices in blender and blend without ice until liquefied. Pour unstrained into a hollowed out pineapple filled with crushed ice (or goblet) add rum and stir until well chilled.

As for the syrup – make a rich simple syrup (it takes 5-10 minutes) with 2:1 (or make a 1;1 syrup if you prefer a lighter one, but personally I prefer a more rich viscous syrupy syrup, it just add that mouth feel to the cocktail and richness) with dark demerara sugar and water and when the sugar is dissolved by heating it up, add banana chunks to it from one half fresh banana and mash it with a fork then take off from heat and leave to cool and set for a couple hours or overnight ( I did overnight, it deepens the flavor)

This drink tasted AMAZING………holy batman wow! it was the first drink I made with this rum and I`m blown away……..

It`s quite rum forward and don`t be tricked by the banana syrup and pineapple smoothness – it will creep up on you, it´s boozy in a quiet way…

Aku Aku Lapu

Aku Lapu Lapu with Santeria

1 oz lemon juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Falernum
1 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1.5 oz Rational Spirits Santeria rum
Float Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum or Hamilton 151
16 oz crushed ice

Blend at high speed for about 20 seconds. Pour into large snifter, tiki mug or bowl and add more ice to fill. Traditional garnish is a gardenia but I a tropical orchid works too.

This Aku Aku Lapu was served in the supercool “Sexy Colada” pineapple mug from Nu Lounge Bar, courtesy of Daniele Dalla Pola.

The Living Dead

Here`s a take on my old Guyana Zombie which I made for the TDN in 2009. The living dead might come and hunt you down…

Living Dead for blog

1 oz pineapple juice
0.5 oz passionfruit juice
0.5 oz rich demerara syrup
1 tsp cream of coconut (Lopez or Real)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with pineapple leaves, speared pineapple chunks and tropical flowers. Dust a little cinnamon on top

Let the Living Dead transport you to the land of mystery……..

Passion Fruit Daiquiri

Daquiri….one of the best rum cocktails ever made and the base for so many other drinks in it´s simpleness.

Passionfruit daiquiri

1.5 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup*

Shake together with ice and strain into a well chilled cocktail glass or coupe.

Boozy…..if you like boozy daiquiris this is for you….

You can also easily make your own passion fruit syrup, just add the fruit meat from 2-3 fresh passion fruits into a simple syrup making and leave to set a couple hours and preferably overnight for a really bright zesty flavor. I used the same dark demerara sugar in both syrups and it came of super tasty.

Conclusion – Santeria can be sipped (if you`re a pirate 🙂 but it´s in tiki drinks and other suitable cocktails it really shines and oh my does it shine!!

The Santeria is not yet launched but a press release will be posted here when it does, it will be released to select cities currently anticipating Charleston, Boston and a few in California.

This specific post is an unbiased and independent review by A Mountain of Crushed Ice same as all other rum reviews on this site.

LOGOS

Puka Punch Challenge 2015

Puka Punch 4

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!

Puka Punch Challenge recipe logo collage

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  3

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.

TIKI 2

The Floating Rumshack tiki is happy! belly full of Puka Punch…..

If you want to join the Challenges or just take a look at all the nice drinks, follow @el_nova_1 on Instagram for updates! and for the drinks, the hashtag #pukapunchchallenge2015

Professor Cocktail`s Zombie Horde

Zombie book cover

A book entirely devoted to one of my favorite tiki drinks – the Zombie!!

For the first time ever (as far as i know) has an entire book been written about ONE tiki drink, the famous Zombie. That`s how much this drink fascinates…

Now the book does of course not contain only one Zombie recipe – it contains no less than 86 different recipes…..starting with my favorite the 1934 Zombie Punch – the original version. This was the one that started it all, as served at Don the Beachcomber’s famed Hollywood restaurant. This was the drink that made Don’s reputation and secured his place in cocktail history.

86 different Zombies? that could keep you busy and boozed out for a long time, especially seen to that the old saying “two at the most” was stated for a reason.

The author professor Cocktail about Jeff “Beachbum” Berry:

This book could not have been written without Jeff’s extraordinary efforts at resurrecting Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie. He truly is the Indiana Jones of Tiki Drink Archaeology.

PROFESSOR COCKTAIL’S ZOMBIE HORDE

Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink – by David J. Montgomery aka Professor Cocktail

zombie book - napkin

The book starts with a presentation of the Zombie which was the drink that launched a Tiki empire. Created in 1934 by a former bootlegger named Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt – better known to the world as Don the Beachcomber – the Zombie was a revelation.

“I originated and have served this ‘thing’ since 1934…Anyone that says otherwise is a liar!” —  Don the Beachcomber

A potent mix of different rums, fruit juices, and exotic spices, the Zombie was to become Don’s signature drink and, eventually, a key part of his success and that of his namesake restaurant.

Don’s genius was found in rum and the varying ways in which it could be combined with other ingredients. Not only was he the first bartender to invent Tiki drinks, he was among the first to use rum itself in a serious way.

Out of all of Don’s creations, the Zombie reigned supreme. It was the drink that everyone wanted to try. The book goes on telling us how reportedly the Zombie was invented – whether true or not – and goes on to telling us about how many years later our beloved Beachbum (Jeff Berry) managed to crack the code for Don the Beachcomber’s original Zombie.

And that`s why – thank you Jeff! – i have been able with many others, to enjoy this drink from it´s original recipe albeit with different rums than was used at the time.

After the introduction there´s a note about ingredients explaining what they are and where you can try to find them. The composition of the Zombie varied over the years depending on who was making it – but there are certain ingredients, however, that popped up most frequently and they are listed in the notes.

And then – on to the recipes, all 86 Zombies! and it`s not just the recipes, there´s stories, anecdotes and pictures – all written in an entertaining style.

zombie book don beach ca 1950 in Hawaii

Don Beach in Hawaii cirka 1950

Conclusion:

In Zombie Horde, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over the decades.

Zombie Horde includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, and the Luau Room in San Diego.

It also includes recent cocktails that were inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), and Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

I`d recommend this book to anyone who`s interested in tiki drinks and of course – the Zombie. With such a gold mine of Zombie recipes from the 1934 original Zombie Punch to Bar Agricole’s Cap Haitien Zombie you just can`t go wrong.

zombie book shrunken head mugs

Otto’s Shrunken Head mugs

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at ProfessorCocktail.com He is also a nationally renowned book critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has written for USA Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications.

His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.

The ebook will be available exclusively through Amazon (as well as various international versions of Amazon), and costs just $2.99 to download. There are no plans for a print edition at this time, although it’s possible that could change.

You don’t need a Kindle to read the book, though. You can also use the Kindle app that’s available for various platforms, including PC, Mac, various tablets (iPad, Android, etc.), and smartphones (iPhone, Android, etc.).

Obviously it has a lot of rum in it. So what’s not to like? Go get it!

And for your drinking pleasure, here´s two recipes:

The Undead Gentleman (2011 by Martin Cate)

Undead Gentleman

As served at the high-end Tiki and rum bar located in San Francisco, CA.
Martin Cate’s Note: Simplified slightly and served on the stem, for the sophisticated savage.

Instructions:

In a cocktail shaker:
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice (white or pink)
1/2 oz. Falernum
1/2 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz. Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1 1/2 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with absinthe blanc. Garnish with a lime and grapefruit twist that have been twisted together.

And then i brought back my old Guyana Zombie which i made in 2009 for the TDN Zombie. It doesn`t contain more than two rums but one is overproof to give the drink that kick it needs. It`s not an authentic Zombie, more a drink that is Zombie inspired.

Guyana Zombie

guyana-zombie1

2 oz demerara rum

1 oz pineapple juice

1 oz honey-mix ( equal parts honey and water, dilute the honey in warm water)

1 tsp cream of coconut ( Lopez or Coco Real)

0.5 oz fresh lime

A decent float of 151 demerara.

Serve in goblet with crushed ice. Sprinkle demerara sugar on top.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.