Making Rhum Arrangè

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE4 BOTTLE SIDE PINEAPPLE

First time i saw rhum arrangè being made by suspending the fruits above the rhum in large jars was when i saw a video from La Rèunion and i got quite curious. There were all kinds of fruits hanging there with all kinds of things (spices) sticking out of the fruits. I had known about rhum arrangè before but not being made that way. So i decided to try some day and now it´s the time.

The style is called in french –  “ananas qui pleure”  (the crying pineapple) since the pineapple is suspended in the jar above the rhum agricole as to not touch the rhum and thus avoiding any flavors from the skin to get into the rhum. This is typically done with citrus fruits which carries bitter flavors in their skin.

But also this kind of maceration above the rhum can be done with any fruits and in the French islands only the imagination is the limit, you see ALL kinds of things in intriguing jars…some you have NO idea what they are…

And there´s for example rhum arrangè with shrimp and snake…i`m actually wondering how it would taste with a crawfish rhum?

The one i`m experimenting with here has New Orleans community coffee pecan-praline coffee beans stuck into one side of the fruit and Tahitian vanilla beans in the other and the beans are cut in the ends so the juice from the pineapple can pass through like a “funnel” through the vanilla bean bringing some of the tiny vanilla seeds along down into the rhum.

And all the pineapple, vanilla-coffee goodness will slowly drop down to flavor the rhum…thus the name “ananas qui pleure…The whole thing will sit like that in the closed jar until the fall, at least 4 months.

I wrote a post about rhum arrangè before and i that post i included that video from the island of la Rèunion where there is a restaurant called Le Saint-Bernard that contains ONLY rhum arrangès (about 400 rhums) of all kinds of flavors made with fruits, roots, spices and God knows what…and many are suspended this way.

Unfortunately (very) the video i first saw is not there anymore but the article (in french) is. The place looks like a veritable laboratory of rhum arrangè, absolutely amazing and a place i`d love to visit.

In my earlier post i wrote about this method of hanging the fruit above the alcohol explaining it:

There´s two different ways of macerating, one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.

The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.

Here`s a link to a case study with limoncello.

This method is called D.S.M – or Delicious Scientific Magic!!

DSM – or diffusion – The alcohol, exerting a vapor pressure, will diffuse into the lemons saturating the lemon, thus the loss of alcohol in a closed system.

In turn, the lemon oil will also exert a vapor pressure; the lemon smell you get when you cut the skin. It will diffuse out of the lemon and saturate the alcohol.

In the Limoncello post they are talking about high proof or overproof spirits but the traditional rhum arrangè isn`t necessarily done with especially high proof  rhums, i think the common proof is between 45-55%

Here´s one of the videos about the rhums arrangès at Le Saint-Bernard:

Here`s also a link to some pictures of the rhums.

As you can see there´s absolutely no limit of what you can do with rhum arrangè…but what you need is a lot of patience because this ain`t no quick fix!

So here`s what i did to make this variation with pineapple, vanilla and coffee:

1 – Prepare everything you need, jar, rhum or rum, fruit (not too ripe), spices, a string to tie the fruit with. Cut the vanilla beans in half pieces and cut off the top ends. Make sure the jar and the string is clean and the fruit washed.

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE 1

2 – Cut up the fruit to a size that fits the jar and discard the leaves, then cut small holes in the fruit and stick the coffee beans in one side and the vanilla beans in the other (the skin side) I had to cut up this pineapple because it was too big for the jar but one can also use whole fruits with this method.

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE CUT UP FRUIT COLLAGE

3 – Add the rhum to the jar, then the sugarcane syrup (i took one bottle (75 cl rhum) and add 2-3 tsp of sugarcane syrup. (or 15 cl/o.5 oz)

4 – Suspend the fruit to the cover of the jar with strings so that the fruit do not touch the rum and close the jar good and SEAL it hermetically with tape and leave to macerate for a minimum of 4 months ( it can go 6 months without problem or longer, there are rhum arrangès that have been sitting 3-4 years…)

But i think 4-6 month is good for this one. I`m planning to open the jar in the fall and see what i got – exciting…

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE 3 PICS COLLAGE

And that is all!

Cocktails with Rhums Arrangèes – Zwazo

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé 2

More rhum arrangè cocktails!

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.

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Book Potions

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.

And top it off with a generous float of something overproof…and my stomach feeling told me to grab my bottle of the Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum.

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

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Siboney 5

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

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Island of Martinique Cocktail

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.

Voodoo Grog

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Voodoo Grog filt

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
Grated nutmeg
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

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…

Go and check out the Zwazo page on Facebook!

Resurrecting Old Posts – Vanilla and Trinidad Especial

As a fun idea i thought i should dig up a few old posts that has been “buried” since the beginning of this blog. So i start with the very first post i made – the start of this blog – that was back in 2008 posted june 29th – and will tell yall that i`m a vanilla freak.

Here is also my take on the cocktail that won the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge in 2008 and was created by Valentino Bolognese, which gives me a chance to dig up another post from that time.

There is another famous cocktail too – the Trinidad Sour which is a variation on the Trinidad Especial and was created by Giuseppe Gonzalez and that one is a VERY nice cocktail and contains 1.5 oz of Angostura Bitters.

Since then i have learnt so much about cocktails and spirits, it´s fun to dig up old posts like this one.

Here is my post from 2008 :

Vanilla and a Very Special Cocktail

WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

In this blog i`m going to write about my drink (and occasionally some food) experimenting, rums and other spirits and liqueurs. Its going to involve quite a bit of Tikidrinks. But also the making of syrups, bitters and infusions…and whatever else i may come up with.

I do this for fun and i hope you`ll have fun too!

I LOVE VANILLA…

Its something special about Vanilla..maybe its the warm sensual fragrance and flavor of this beautiful exotic tropical climbing orchid…or the beauty of the flowers which only opens for a few hours in the morning. Maybe its the rich fragrant and oily darkness of the cured beans which at first are green. Vanilla flowers once a year in a period of about two months.

I love Vanilla and i always have my favorite beans at home which are the Tahitian beans, from vanilla tahitensis. They are fatter, more “oily” and somewhat shorter than other beans and have a very special floral aroma and flavor.

I`ve made my jar of Vanilla sugar with these beans since many years back. I mix 1 pack each of Tate&Lyles – or Billingtons dark and light Muscovado sugars with 3-4 Tahitian beans which i split on the length and scrape out all those lovely tiny black seeds which i mix with the sugars.

The longer they stay in the sugar the more flavor the sugar takes on from the beans. When the sugar is finished i just add some more and it goes on and on..

I also make my Vanilla syrups using 1:1 ratio sugar and water and add a couple of split beans to the pan, let it simmer and then cool before i discard the beans (rinsing them and moving them to the sugar jar that is) and bottle my syrup.

A friend to me did mention that the Trinidad Especial Cocktail, made by Valentino Bolognese who also won the European Angostura Cocktail Competition 2008 with this unusual cocktail, which indeed is a very special cocktail, using no less than 30 ml of Angostura bitters, is nice poured over Vanilla ice cream…

Such a brilliant idea is one i cannot resist trying out. So i made both the cocktail and then the Vanilla ice cream with some of the cocktail poured over it..and indeed this cocktail tastes good! It wasn`t that bitter as i first expected but rather aromatic and spicy with a heavy dose of clove. On the ice cream it was a real treat!

TRINIDAD ESPECIAL


10 ml. Pisco Mistral
20 ml. fresh lime juice
30 ml. barley syrup
30 ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
Shake hard and long, and strain in a Martini glass.

 

 All rights reserved

A cocktail and a dessert in one, i remember this was a real treat. Do you like vanilla and what do you do with it?

YELLOW BOXER & RUM BOXER

Here´s a little drink i´ve been curious about for a while but never had the time to try out until now when it´s time to get back to normal work after the Tales is over for this time.

The Yellow Boxer i found in Remixed by Jeff Berry – but who made it?  where is it coming from? what inspired it or made it happen? – well… i have no idea. Browsing through the interwebz  for research didn´t lead me to any much info, just recipes but no info on it´s history. In any case fresh lemon juice, tequila, galliano, lime and orange must be tasty right? and also this is such a drink that you can play with and have some fun.

So what do you do with a drink which you cannot find any info about apart from the recipe? well, you mix it up… it better taste good since it`s just the drink i can come up with in this post..

YELLOW BOXER

3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz orange juice

3/4 oz Rose´s Lime Cordial

1/4 oz Galliano

1 2/4 oz tequila (i used a reposado, Los Tres Tonos)

Shake with a scoop of crushed ice and strain into a tall glass filled with fresh crushed ice.

It was a while since i did something with tequila, it´s mostly rum being poured here…With tequila and many other spirits  i´m more like a periodic user, i don´t know why it´s that way but i guess it´s just the way i roll.

Anyway, back to the drink, how did it taste?

Hm…it was good…refreshing…and nice…but not WOW – and so i was dying to make a twist of it. Some drinks just calls for that and it´s something i really enjoy doing. Now i wanted something spicy, paired with something fruity, tart and sweet and then something dark..mellowed by something soft..

So i decided to use two rums i like very much, unfortunately one of them is impossible to find outside of the States or maybe even New Orleans, it´s the ONO Cajun Spiced rum i`m talking about. The other rum is Coruba dark, a very handy and versatile rum i always want on my shelf, i`m sure many of you readers agree on that.

I don´t know how to sub the ONO Cajun Spice though..but maybe a lightly cayenne and cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove infused dark Jamaican rum would add a similar spice but it wouldn´t be the same thing of course.

I don´t know exactly what goes into the Cajun Spice – on their website it says – “A blend of rums are combined with the kick of cayenne and cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves to create this truly unique, truly New Orleans flavor”

It`s a pity this rum isn´t sold worldwide, it´s such a good rum and i`m sure it would sell well too, i haven´t yet met anyone who have tried it and not really liked it. It`s this kinda rum that once you try it you`ll keep coming back for more.

RUM BOXER


0.5 fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz passionfruit juice

1 passionfruit, one half goes into the shaker, the other half is for garnish

0.25 oz Navan vanilla liqueur

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne)

1.5 oz Coruba dark rum

Float 0.5 oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

Shake with a scoop of crushed ice and pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass and add up with more fresh crushed ice. Float ONO Cajun Spiced rum and garnsih with a speared half passionfruit shell and either mint or other green leaf.

Well this was a very tasty drink! it`s fruity, sweet and sour, tart, spicy, rummy and layered. I think i`m lucky today!

I hope you can try it out with the ingredients listed, if not, try to get as close as you can. Also this is a drink that allows much experimentation, i bet this would be nice with a float of mezcal as well or aged rhum agricole.

So there i got my passionfruit and vanilla drink which i wanted to invent ever since i went to that vanilla session at Tales.

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 – part 3 – Mai Tai – A Paternity Test & Vanilla Vanilla baby!

MAI TAI – A PATERNITY TEST


This seminar was led by Jeff Beachbum Berry, Ian Burell and Steve Remsberg – a trio guaranteed to both enlighten and amuse.

Since the Mai Taii is my favorite cocktail this also was a must seminar. The contoversy of the who made the Mai Tai has been going on for so long but after this seminar the whole thing is a bit clearer at least to me.

I have always been of the opinion that the Mai Tai is Vic´s but how it became his has been a bit blurry, was it a copy of the QB Cooler or not? well now i know – it was a drink in it´s own right inspired by the QB Cooler which by the way we also were served during this seminar. I will never cease to be amazed at how alike they taste – the Mai Tai and the QB Cooler despite the different ingredients.

The seminar took us through the history of the great Tiki bars and then the Mai Tai controversy which now is pretty much cleared up. It`s amazing how a topic can keep being discussed year after year after year and still manage to fascinate people all over the world, that says something about the power of the Mai Tai..

Despite it´s appeal, the Mai Tai wasn´t an immediate success like the Zombie was which also is the very first Tiki drink. It wasn´t until in the year 1954 with the Matson Line that the Mai Tai became famous and the Mai Tai did for Vic what the Zombie did for Don.

So Trader Vic´s Mai Tai is a drink in it´s own right folks! and is one of these drinks that has a perfect balance and flavor.

The 1937 QB Cooler

Remsberg`s oh do cool portable blender.


Ian did bring along a big antique style shaker which he used to ROCK and SWING the drink instead of shaking it…i told ya these guys are amusing!

We also tasted the Florida daiquiri #2 which is very alike the Mai Tai, only a few ingredients differ.

It was a very interesting and also amusing session with a solid trio in the tiki drink and rum world.

VANILLA VANILLA BABY!


This seminar was another not to miss session since i love vanilla and find the vanilla to be one of the most interesting plants and spice on earth.

The session was held by Philip Duff and he took us through how vanilla is made, it´s history and chemical components – this orchid is iamazing. Since i´ve been growing orchids for over a decade and have vanilla as my favorite spice i`m very familiar with it but there´s always something more to learn when it comes to this exotic spice.

Is there any more exotic and sweet smelling mellow spice on this planet? i don´t think so and Philip did a great job presenting it with both knowledge and humour. Of course we were served some  good cocktails as well as tasting samples of vanilla extract, Cariel vanilla vodka, Licor 43 and Stoli Vanil who were the sponsors of this seminar.

One of the cocktails had fresh passionfruit in it and a half shell for garnish and i have never tasted such yummy, fresh and s´crsip passionfruits before, those we get in sweden does not have that same great flavor, these were amazing!

Those who knows me and/or read my blog knows that i use a lot of vanilla in my cocktails and to make syrup and extract. Vanilla is so versatile and my favorite is the Tahitian bean which is fatter, thicker and more floral.

Beautiful, intriguing, sweet smelling, expensive, sexy and irresistible – that is vanilla…and in combo with passionfruit as in this cocktail we got it´s a killer! maybe it´s time to try to dream up a vanilla and passionfruit cocktail?

 

VANILLA SMASH to beat the cold

vanilla-smash-close1

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.

LET´S MAKE SOME LOVELY TAHITIAN VANILLA BEAN SYRUP

vanilla

Have anyone who knows me missed that i love vanilla? I use it all the time and i even grow 4 varietes of vanilla orchids but not to try to get any beans of course, i just find those climbing plants lovely and exotic also without flowers.

Vanilla is apart from a flavour and aroma booster both a beautiful and fun garnish, i mean really.. just look at this.

I have more than once received the question how to make a good vanilla syrup, and so i decided to write about it, its really simple. First – there are different vanillas and they taste differently.The most common is the bourbon or Madagascar vanilla.It’s a nice vanilla – with that lingering warm – inviting and exotic flavor typical for the vanilla bean after its cured.

The Tahitian vanilla bean is a different variety and is highly prized among chefs for its unique lovely floral character, probably developed over many years in the rich volcanic soil in the Tahitian islands. Its believed that the Tahitian vanilla – vanilla tahitensis has evolved from the original vanilla planifolia and developed into its own species with its own flavor and character.

The beans are fatter, shorter, more plump and oily than other vanilla varietes and the fragrance and flavor is really special.This is the vanilla of choice also for me.

Its usually not cheap, not if grown on Tahaa also known as the vanilla island in French Polynesia. But the species vanilla tahitensis as its called is also grown on Papua New Guinea and those grown there are less costly but they are also very flavorful with the typical character of the Tahitian vanilla bean. Still these cannot exactly compare to those from Tahaa even though very good. The difference isn´t that big though but its the soil creating a slight difference and nuance in aroma and its also about the feel.

It was a while ago that i had beans straight from French Polynesia, after that i`ve had those from Papua but these are certainly not bad at all.

So when i make my vanilla syrups i use the Tahitian vanilla bean almost all the time, but why not mix the two sometimes? Or even adding a third, the Mexican bean? Which is also regarded in flavor to be close to the bourbon vanilla.

I always let my syrups boil for about 2 mins and then simmer for a while before finally being taken off to cool. I prefer the boiled syrup for two reasons – one is that the 2 minute boiling helps to prevent molding, and second -–a boiled syrup has a thicker more viscous and rich mouthfeel than syrup made with the cold method (shaking the sugar and water in a jar until it disolves) At least that`s my own experience.

To make the vanilla syrup here`s what to do:

vanilla-syrup

Take 2-3 beans and split them lengthwise and scrape out all those wonderful tiny little black dots – the seeds. Add to a pan 2.1 or 1.1 sugar to water and add the beans and seeds. Choose a good sugar, like a finely textured light or dark raw cane sugar. Heat up and boil for 2 mins, then let simmer on low heat for about 10 mins and stir sometimes.

A little trick i`m frequently using for a tasty syrup when using a light sugar is to add a pinch of light muscovado – that is nom nom.

Take off the heat and cool. The longer you leave it to cool and steep the more vanilla flavor you`ll get. Then strain and pour in clean bottles. I sometimes leave the beans in the bottles as well.

So what are you waiting for? Get working on the stove and before you know it you`ll have a wonderful vanilla syrup  – vanilla syrup really enchances the flavor in many cocktails.