CAMPARI IN TIKI DRINKS

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I keep coming back to Campari over and over again, not too often but regularly because i really appreciate this bitter and very special tasting aperitif.

It goes perfectly with all kinda citrus fruits and traditionally its the lemon and orange that is used, naturally since that`s what`s growing in Italy – the home land off Campari. Did i say that one of my heros is Gaspare Campari?

As an aperitif with soda, orange or lemon its an aquired taste for many, but there are also many who loves it – me included. As a cocktail ingredient its both challenging and rewarding, and in the right place it can make some fantastic cocktails.

It goes very well with dark rum, gin, tequila – well most spirits actually but especially with those that also goes well with citrus. So how about Campari in tiki drinks? The classic tiki drink with Campari is of course the Jungle Bird, to be found on page 44 in “Intoxica” by Beachbum Berry but is there anything else?

There has been so much written already about Campari in other types of drinks like the negroni or Campari and dark rums but not very much about tiki drinks and there isn´t very much info to find either.

I went out to search..and ended up with the conclusion that if i want a  tiki drink with Campari other than the Jungle Bird or an occasional something i need to invent them myself. .not even in tiki central i found anything much..and that means there´isn`t anything much then.

So eventually, i ended up making these two cocktails:

ULA ULA PUNCH

campari-and-tiki-2

1.5 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum

0.5 oz aged rhum agricole, (like Clemènt VSOP)

0.5 oz Campari

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz *limone rosso (or regular lemon)

0.25 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz rich demerara syrup (2:1 demerara sugar and water)

1 tsp hibiscus grenadine

crushed ice

For garnish – 2 small pineapple leaves, 1 cherry, 2 lemon quarters, speared

Shake all ingredients and strain into a rocks glass filled to the brim with crushed ice and garnish with the speared fruits.

This is a grown-up drink…the rhum agricole flavor is nicely blending with the bitterness of the Campari and the sugarcane and molasses from the Jamaican rum is steady in the background. Its much flavors in this drink, but its not no easy flavors since both Campari and rhum agricole isn´t “easy” neither of them.

*Limone rosso is a lemon variety i recently found in our nursery, it has reddish and wrinkled skin and inside it looks a bit different too from the regular lemon.

The fragrance is also stronger and slightly more perfumed. I also found out by tasting the juices from both lemons that the rosso is much more aromatic, mellower and somewhat less sour.

I´m gonna make a tincture with this lemon and its peel, would be interesting to see how that would turn out. Booze nerds are always on the hunt for new flavors..and into experimenting with the sometimes most unlikely flavors.

I like this dink but i cannot say if the limone rosso makes the mixed drink more aromatic compared to a reular lemon but i know i did the taste test before with the juices alone and the rosso was more aromatic, perfumed and also sweeter and not so astringent tart as the regular lemon.

This is a fresh drink and packs a rummy punch as well. But you gotta like both Campari and rhum agricole to really appreciate this cocktail. After a while when the drink “settles” with the ice the flavors comes through mellower and quite wonderfully.

campari-and-tiki-lemons

On the left side is the ordinary lemon and rosso on the right. I think the regular lemon looks quite boring and sleepy in comparaison..

Of course i needed to use it for my cocktails! i accuired my lemon by picking it up from the ground where it had fallen from the bush. I wish it was a staple in our grocery…but i guess i´ll need to buy one of the plants if i want to have more of it.

Cocktail number two uses rye and Campari and turned out very nice.

POLYNESIAN RED

Muddle 1 small piece of Mexican canela (cinnamon) with 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne) and 4-5 chunks of fresh pineapple, then add:

campari-and-tiki

1 oz Rittenhouse bonded

1 oz Campari

0.25 oz lemon juice (limone rosso if possible)

a very small sprinkle of fresh lime

Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon quarter and a leaf.

This drink has a balanced mellow flavor and is a very nice cocktail indeed – at least to my palate. The rye, lemon and Campari mixes wonderfully. One i will make again.

And so we come to the last tiki style drink with Campari and this one is a swizzle. Its a twist on the negroni swizzle (made by Giuseppe Gonzalez at Painkiller in New York) turning it from negroni to a rum-swizzle type drink but with both rum and gin.

KAHILI SWIZZLE

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1 oz  gin (Martin Miller`s)

0.5 oz Pusser´s overproof

1 oz Campari

0.5 oz lemon juice (limone rosso if possible)

0.25 oz lime juice

0.5 oz pineapple syrup

1tsp hibiscus syrup

1 oz club soda

Fill a large glass or tiki mug with crushed ice and swizzle with a swizzle stick until frosty. Garnish with lemon peel.

I would define this campariliscious and bitterly fresh with strong undertones…if that makes any sense. I believe that if you like Campari you`ll like this.

I`ve gotten to really like the combo Campari-Pusser`s – the Pusser`s goes fantastic with Campari and then in this drink, there´s a background of an almost floral flavor of the gin that is excellent. One could also use Smith & Cross in this.

Add a straw, sip and enjoy!

campari-and-tiki-glass

VANILLA SMASH to beat the cold

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The fragrance of the lightly bruised mint that blends so well with the fresh lemon and warm vanilla scent is heavenly..

A mix of lemon, rye whiskey and vanilla syrup topped off with fragrant mint, is a sure good drink to beat the cold of the winter.

Its friggin`minus 11 degrees F (-24C) here now, or at least it was yesterday in the morning and i am not a winter person at all, i freeze under 60 and prefer temps in the 90s so i sure need something to keep me warm and the Vanilla Smash is a good drink. Its just my take on the Whiskey Smash, adding some warm fragrant and soothing vanilla in the mix.

Many recipes uses Bourbon but i found one in Jerry Thomas 1862 “How to Mix Drinks” that uses rye instead. This drink is very close to the Mint Julep and if you add some passionfruit syrup and grenadine you get the PortLight.

The Whiskey Smash from Jerry Thomas book is as follows:

WHISKEY SMASH

2 oz rye

2 tbslp simple syrup

1-2 dashes orange bitters

6 mint sprigs

3 lemon wedges

How to mix is the same as with the Vanilla Smash.

Usually i mostly drink rum but i also like whiskey…and in any case i like spirits that`s got natural flavor and personality.

The vanilla i´m using here is a homemade vanilla syrup made with Tahitian beans which i think are the best. I would also warmly recommend Trader Tiki`s vanilla syrup which is outstanding and would do the job just as well.

VANILLA SMASH

vanilla-smash

2 oz rye whiskey

2 lemon wedges

6-8 large mint leaves

0.5 oz vanilla syrup (mine is made with Tahitian beans and light muscovado sugar)

1 vanilla bean for garnish

In a shaker, muddle the lemon wedges to get the essential oils into the drink along with the fresh juice, then add the mint and lightly bruise the leaves but not too hard to avoid bitterness. Add rye and vanilla syrup  Shake vigoriosly  with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice chunks. Garnish with a vanilla bean.

There´s something i particularly like with this cocktail..the fragrance of the lightly bruised mint that blends so well with the fresh lemon and warm vanilla scent is heavenly..

The flavor is ridiculously tasty, i think i have a winner here! one of those that i will keep in rotation.

Try it! Enjoy!

vanilla-syrup-with-muscovado

Freshly made vanilla syrup with light muscovado sugar.