It`s pandan time in my kitchen and this day I wanted something really tasty and refreshing in a summer-kinda-way to accompany my lunch with spicy chicken biryani.Â I was inspired by Emanuele Codispoti`s latest drink the Missionary`s Colada, that I also made and posted on this blog here. So I came up with this pandan flavored version of a Missionary`s Downfall – a very famous classic Tiki cocktail.
And it IS tasty!! incredibly refreshing, tangy, zesty and yummy, I wish I had made two…. but the recipe is there and now I want to share it with you my readers, so here it is. Pandan leaves is the leaves from a type of pandanus plant and is used extensively in Asian cuisine. These leaves are incredibly fragrant. Finding fresh pandan leaves can maybe be tricky in these times depending on where you live. Luckily for me Sweden has a lot of Thai shops and online too. Pandan leaves can also be frozen which is very useful. I have now both pandan and kaffir lime leaves in my freezer. The pandan syrup I made from fresh leaves though. It`s very easy, just make a simple syrup with a raw sugar and add some chopped pandan leaves into it and let it simmer for a minute. Then take it off the heat and let it sit for a while until you find the flavorÂ and fragrance strong enough. I let mine sit for 30 minutes before straining and bottling.
1 oz/30 ml GunRoom 2Ports light rum
0.5 oz/15 ml Rhum JM XO
0.5 oz/15 ml RumFire overproof rum
1 oz/30 ml pandan syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur
0.5 oz/15 ml apricot cinnamon syrup
2 oz/60 ml fresh lime juice
2 oz/60 ml fresh pineapple chunks
10 mint leaves
1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice
Pulse blend at high speed for 10 seconds. Pour into a cocktail coupe or snifter and garnish with pandan leaves and a pandan rose. (how to make those you can learn on Youtube) Sprinkle a little bit of cardamom on top.
Cut up a handful of ripe apricots with a strong orange/reddish color, a “handful” depends on size and type of apricot. But you should end up with about 2 dl of cut up apricot pieces. Crush 1 large Ceylon cinnamon stick (not cassia.) Make a 2:1 simple syrup with light muscovado sugar and water. Add the apricot pieces and the crushed cinnamon stick. Heat it up on medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and mash the apricot pieces with a fork. Bring to a very quick boil, then immediately take it off the heat. Set aside and leave for a few hours. Strain and bottle.
Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow! and flowed it did…rum here, rum there, rum everywhere – the UK Rumfest & Cane Spirits Festival is heaven for rum lovers and it shows people that rum is more than a spirit – itÂ´s a lifestyle with a whole culture surrounding it.
The UK RumFest brings together the industryâ€™sÂ plethora of blenders, distillers, bartenders and mixologists, writers, bloggers, brand ambassadors,Â rum enthusiasts – all joining in to celebrate all things rum.
Here you get a chance to try out both new and old, known and unknown rums and many cocktails , tiki drinks and rum punches of course, (oh the rum punches…) listen to sessions, dance with tropical dancers, taste caribbean food, watch bartender competitions – all to the rhythms of the caribbean and in the company of people who have that one thing in common – they all love rum!
The UK Rumfest 2011 took place from friday to sunday oct 14-16 at the Kensingtonâ€™s Olympia in LondonÂ with the friday reserved for the Boutique Rumfest (for the trade with tastings and sessions.) Saturday was the official Rumfest starting day and i donÂ´t think iÂ´ve seen a crazier crowd before when it comes to a room being packed with rum-lovers.
Also it was the London Cocktail Week starting the week before with 3 days left when i came into town:-)
But back to the friday and Boutique Rumfest. There was of course lots of rum to be tasted and since it was a calmer event we also got a much better chance to meet and talk to the producers about their products.
And apart from the big brands i got to try some of the to me unknown rums and other rums i`ve never tried before.Â Some of my favorites among those iÂ´d not tried before are st Nicholas Abbey from Barbados, a top notch fantastic rum! (a review of their 12 yo will follow)
Also Rumfire was new to me. That is a Jamaican overproof white rum from theÂ Hampden Estate which in Jamaica is knownÂ for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums sold in bulk. Today`s Rumfire that now is released to the public is yesterdayÂ´s JB rum which was on the black market.Â The Rumfire is like a smoother version of JWray overproof, it has hints of that flavor but it`s not as upfront. A very interesting and tasty rum.
They made me a daiquiri with it and that was a nice daiquiri indeed, this rum mixes wonderfully. Also it won silver medal at the Ministry of Rum Tasting competition this year.
Interesting but a bit odd was the Madagascar rum Dzama, it was quite good i think but i couldnÂ´t be friends with the aftertaste which is what i found to be odd…so i have mixed feelings about this rum. An exotic bird…i wouldnÂ´t mind taste the rums again and take more time.
Also i finally got to try out Elements 8 Spiced, which i found to be quite tasty.
New for 2011 rumfest was the Tropical Food Market which was an entire area downstairs devoted to tropical food and delicacies – thatÂ´s where i got my freshly cut coconut! – with rum in it of course…There was also a shop entirely dedicated to muscovado sugar…
Also there was sessions and masterclasses andÂ the oneÂ´s i got a chance to attend first was the “Don`t Fear the Blender” with Beachbum Berry and then the El Dorado.
DONÂ´T FEAR THE BLENDER
I`m a friend of the blender, let me tell you that first.With the blender you get that aerated frothy thing you cannot really get with a shaker plus it does good things at the same time for you – it mixes, chills, dillutes, creates a froth)
The blender was first used in Havana in the Floridita, dating back to 1817 when it was first opened as “La PiÃ±a de Plata” – The Silver PineappleÂ in the place it still occupies, in the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets. It got itÂ´s name “El Florida” a 100 years later.Â The bartenders used to use 11 drinks shakers and you can just imagine the work…so when the blender appeared it wasÂ like a lifesaver and now it became easier to serve the never ending hords at Floridita. At the time the ice for the daiquiris was shaved.
Then Don the Beachcomber started to use the Hamilton Beach blender and more would follow.The blender aerates and dillutes some of the crushed ice just enough to “wake-up” the spirit. Some drinks requires just a quick flash blending while other wants 15-30 sek. In the BumÂ´s books the exact time for the blending is always written out.
This session was a real pleasure to attend and i wish it could be a weekendly habit…but alas…or if i could at least live neighbour with the Bum! i would go and borrow sugar…errr…rum…um…a tiki drink…
We got some tasty blended drinks too of course and here are the Bum`s recipes:
Let the blender go for a long time, 20 sek. Fine strain into a bitter-sugar rimmed glass, gently pressing the liquids.
Mix 4 tbsp demerara sugar with FeeÂ´s aromatic bitters (4 big dashes)
HONEY BUTTER MIX
Unsalted butter and honey in equal proportions, heated up to dissolve the honey and melt hte butter, leave to room temp before using it.
Also you can make a delicious honey-butter-cream by using sugar, butter, heavy cream and honey.
The butter-honey-mix or cream mix gives a silky mouth feel to the drink that unless you already know – will never know what it is…
We also got some other nice drinks to imbibe like the always so tasty MissionaryÂ´s Downfall.
I donÂ´t think i need to present what this rum is, if you donÂ´t know already go read my earlier post and check their website.
The session was hosted by Dave Broom (author of Rum) and Stefanie Holt, (El Dorado Global Brand Ambassador)
They took us through a journey to the land of many rivers, Guyana where the demerara rum is made. An interesting thing i learnt was that when the sugarcane fields are burnt a side effect is that the sugar in the cane is dissolved in the water that evaporates and thus makes the sugar content more concentrated and sweeter. The yeast is put in a molasses solution to get happy and multiply.
Further they spoke about the different stills and since i`m a DDL still geek i always find that interesting. What DDL does is simply to put as much Guyana as possible into the rum..
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – RUMFEST!!
So saturday and sunday was the 2 days of Rumfest and these were 2 very intense days…rum tastings, cocktail and rum punches, tiki bartender of the year, sessions on rum, rum punch, rum, rum…and then the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.
This blog was one of four nominated “Rum Blog of the Year (Europe) and i`m very honored and wanna thank everyone who did vote for me. It didnÂ´t make it all the way though..the prize was given to my good friends Peter and Pauline over at the Floating Rum Shack, who i think really deserved it!Â There was also four nominated blogs for the USA cathegory and the winner was Rumconnection.
All the awards you can read about at the bottom of this blog post.
Also there was the Tiki Bartender of the Year contest with the final on the sunday. There was 3 bartenders in the final and the winner was Mahiki`sÂ head bartender Georgi.
What i particularly like about the Rumfest is that it is such a people thing, itÂ´s relaxed and laid back with that caribbean feel spiced with quite a bit of tiki vibes, an environment i feel right at home in.
Yes thereÂ´s food too! i did eat some real good Caribbean food at Ian`s restaurant CottonÂ´s – a place i really can recommend if you go to London! i hadÂ their famous Mixed Jerk Fish Grill – parrot fish, tilapia, snapper and tiger prawns served with fried plantain and rice & peasÂ and it was lovely! Washed down with cold Carib and Blue Marlin beers.
Also theÂ awards dinner was an amazing experience – the Caribbean style dinner with the Butterscotch Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds was really tasty.
And then came the Coconut Crumbled Chicken with Sweet Potato mash and Sauteed Spinach…finished off with a Rum drenched fruit dessert, coffee and plain dark chocolate…hmmmm…
We could get fresh cut coconuts too…with rum in it!
St Nicholas Abbey from Barbados
Elements 8 Spiced
Black Tot Last Consignment sold by the Whiskey Exchange
In the Rum Frat House – itÂ´s like the Mixohouse in New Orleans but with rum lovers.
Rum Punch with Kraken Black Spiced
Dzama from Madagascar
God for Tiki drinks..
No Rumfest without Ting…and with Banks Five Island it`s wonderful.
Like a lighter and smoother version (flavorwise) of the JWray overproof…but don`t let that deceive you – this rum is strong.
And here`s the original JWray and Ting! which was my corps reviver on the sunday…backed up with chocolate muffins.
Don Q Rum – good for a lot of things
Ian Burrell – the one and only – Global Rum Ambassador and founder of the UK Rumfest.
THE GOLDEN RUM BARREL OF THE YEAR 2011 WINNERS
Rum Distillery of the Year 2011
The Foursquare Distillery, Barbados
Rum Distiller of the Year 2011
Richard Seale (Four Square, Barbados)
Rum Blender of the Year 2011
Tito Cordero (Venezuela: Diplomatico)
Rum Blogger of the Year (Europe) 2011
The Floating Rum shack
Rum Blogger of the Year (The Americaâ€™s) 2011
Rum Ambassador of the Year (UK) 2011 sponsored by Bar Life UK
Meimi Sanchez (Havana Club)
Rum Ambassador of the Year (International) 2011 sponsored by Drink International
David Cordoba (Bacardi Rum)
Jim Wrigley (Ron St.Teresa)
Best New Rum (Gold) 2011 sponsored by Coco Reâ€™al
Abuelo Centuria, Panama
Best New Rum (White) 2011 sponsored by Coco Reâ€™al
Banks 5 Island, Several Countries
Best New Rum Package 2011
Boutique RumFest Award 2011 sponsored by Imbibe Magazine
Doorly’s XO Rum, Barbados
The Rum Experience Rum Pioneers Award
Joy Spence from Appleton Jamaica rum. The first female Rum master blender.
Ed Hamilton from the Ministry of rum. Founder of the pioneering web page and rum forum.
I wanna raise a toast of El Dorado 15 Year Old rumÂ forÂ George Robinson, the head man at the Diamond Distillery in Guyana who passed away just a little while before the UK Rumfest. A toast was also held at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.