Nothing beats the mid-afternoon blur like a little pick me up.
In my case, however, after the latest Tiki Kon I need something to wake the dead.
As I was searching through other cocktail blogs, I found the perfect solution in the Corpse Reviver #2.
Corpse Reviver #2
- 3/4 ounce Dry Gin (Bluecoat highly recommended for this)
- 3/4 ounce Cointreau
- 3/4 ounce Lillet blanc
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes absinthe (sub. Herbsainte)
Combine in a shaker with cracked ice; shake and strain. Garnish with a stemless cherry.
What an incredible balance. It’s funny, in drinks such as this, and The Final Word (which I still need to go up to Seattle to get from Murray), having an even blend of ingredients makes it just fine and dandy. With tropical cocktails, not to discount the rest, there is so much balance with the fruit and liqueurs. I think working with juice can tend to make the difference. To tart or too sweet and next thing you know out comes the simple syrup to balance it out. It’s refreshing to have a nice drink made out of ingredients that won’t go bad in two days.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why the Maraschino cherry came out so dark? Well, that ain’t no corn syrup and red #5. That’s the real deal. Made by Luxardo, and found at the Uptowne Liquor Store in town. $15 far a small jar, but the difference makes all the world. I was introduced to real Maraschino cherries by Martin Cate, and I haven’t been the same since. The surrounding syrup is thick like blood, it clings to the cherries delicately, and moves around in the drink, without harming the flavor, but encouraging the berry and citrus to come out. And when that delicate little morsel is finally partaken of, it leaves the memory of itself on the bottom of the glass. Red, thick, and fantastic.
While it can be painful, a truly masterful Ramos Gin Fizz is a thing of beauty.
I’m not quite there yet, but man oh maneschevitz, did magic come out of my shaker today.
A little while back, researching the Sazerac, I found this NOLA’s best cocktail video series from NOLA.com starring Chris McMillian of the Library Lounge.
My first cocktail ever was a Ramos Gin Fizz. I don’t mean when I was 21 everyone at the bar was buying me fancy cream drinks. I mean, when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, sitting at Jocko’s Steakhouse, I remember taking a look at the pretty drink they had brought out for my mother. I wondered if it tasted as good as it looked… all frothy on top, with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top for fragrance and color. It did, even better in fact. I’ll never shy away from an offered Mimosa, and I’m still trying find pleasure in a Bloody Mary, but the Ramos Gin Fizz is, for me, the king of morning cocktails.
After watching the Ramos Gin Fizz video a few times, I was utterly convinced I had to make one, and soon! A first attempt after finding the recipe in Trader Vic’s bartenders guide came out.. well, tasty. But just not quite there. After watching the Ramos Gin Fizz video though, I was ready to try again.
Ramos Gin Fizz
- 2 oz Old Tom Gin (Substitute Bombay Dry with 1 drop simple syrup)
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 2 tbs Cream
- 3 drops Orange Flower Water
- 1/2 oz Lemon
- 1/2 oz Lime
Shake vigorously for two minutes with finely cracked ice; strain into Chimney Glass. Fill with Soda and agitate to develop foamy head.
This time? Success. The presentation is great, nothing really beats a bit of meringue perched on the side of the glass. Frothy and thick from the egg white, you really can’t beat the drink for its charm. But the flavor and texture combine wonderfully, coating the tongue with hints of vanilla and orange, the alcohol bringing the citrus and vanilla up through the nose. Just pure delight in a glass. Did I really shake it for 12 minutes? I have to admit my hands aren’t adapted to it just yet. But, I’ve got a lot of Ramos Gin Fizzes yet to make in my lifetime. There’s always time for practice.
Just an amazing event this year all around.
SO many people to thank, so much fine rum drank, fun and fantastic all around.
Still recovering, so I’m working on the wrap-up, including the featured Drink Recipes! You can see some pics at the TikiKon Flickr Group.
Special thanks to Pyrat, Cockspur, Voodoo Doughnut, Sputnik Housewares, Munktiki, The Jupiter, Thatch, the Alibi, Rum Demon, all the organizers and the best people of all, the attendees. Thank you, from the bottom of my rum-soaked heart.
The kitchen smells entirely of Citrus. Limes, lemons, and Oranges, all hand squeezed. Somewhere over 300+ oz. of juice were hand-squeezed Thursday evening, the stor ‘n pours filled, and several tupperware, to get things prepared for the home bar tour. Syrups mixed, in no particular order: Passion Fruit, Coffee, Honey, Simple Syrup, Grenadine, and Et Cetera Syrup, which was just bits and pieces of whatever wouldn’t fit into the other containers.
Is it sacrilege not to freshly-squeeze each drink? Perhaps. Up and coming, I do believe an experiment is necessary to see exactly how much the Stor ‘n Pour’s plastic affects the flavor of the juice, but until then, with 60+ people crowding the home bar, it’s a necessary evil.
The Kon itself is rolling smoothly. Last night was a whirlwind tour of some of Portland’s lounges. For starters was the Galaxy Karaoke lounge. A fully modern lounge, with televisions playing CSI: Miami and a karaoke setup with Large Screen TV. Not exactly Tiki, well, not actually anything at all Tiki, but a good meeting place, as it introduced guests to the location of the Jupiter, where Saturday’s main event is being held. The one great feature of the Galaxy that was available was the in-wall aquarium, which sets a nice relaxing tone throughout the bar.
Next up was Tonic. Tonic used to be an Irish pub, complete with fully-outfitted wait staff, but now serves as a local dive with just enough pub grub to keep you planted. The rear of the place sports a small arcade room, which then opens up into a surprisingly roomy concert venue with another bar. While there, Mark Axton allowed me to sample a drink he had made himself, partly inspired by his foray into the pirate world.
- 2 oz. Cruzan Black Strap
- 12 oz. Porter
The flavors of the Black Strap and Porter were unbelievably pronounced in this drink, with many hints of banana, cinnamon, molasses, and a lot of other unexpectedly sweet and layered flavors. I do believe this will be my new afternoon delight for a bit.
After Tonic was settled into, the expedition continued to the Pagoda. The Pagoda is simply fascinating. A Chinese-American restaurant serving the finest in Deep-Fried, neon orange food, every single inch of this place stands out in a singular theme. Even the drop-tile ceiling is thematic, with metallic gold panelling, and dragons in a square. Mirrors surround the bar and lounge, which features another Pagoda on top of the liquor shelf. While the decor was amazing though, the vibe of the location was sad. Strange for all the patterned red and gold wallpaper, but the regulars, many of whom have been around for quite some time, found the 50 some odd strangers entering their regular haunt quite disturbing. There’s something inside, like you can almost sense that the place will soon give way to become another karaoke bar or perhaps even a mortgage and real estate office. But, while it’s around, it’s a little slice of treasure for those who like their Chinese food with MSG, and their ambiance themed.
The evening ended shortly thereafter, and was finished off at Union Jacks. Well, a tour of Portland wouldn’t be complete without one of the towns strip clubs, eh?
Tomorrow: The tour continues, with stops at the Alibi, Thatch, and the Cannibal feast at the Jupiter!
42 hours until the official start of Tiki-Kon V!
In order to prepare myself as host of one of the home bars, I’ve been pushing to mix a bit more frequently. Here are tonight’s entries….
- 2 ounces Cockspur 12-year rum
- 1/2 ounce Navan Vanilla Liqueur
- 1/2 ounce Maple Syrup
- 1/2 ounce Tawny Port
- 1 ounce Lemon Juice
- 1 ounce Pineapple Juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Blend with Crushed Icein a top-down mixer for 6 seconds, or pulse in a blender for no more than 5 seconds. Pour with Ice into Chimney Glass and top with Seltzer. Garnish with Mint Sprig and Lemon Spiral.
Wow. There’s a strong mix of sweet ingredients, which, when cut by the lemon juice creates a very strongly phased, time-lapse release mixture of sour and sweet. A nearly sublime concoction, with recipe by Martin Cate of Forbidden Island. Really, I am wishing I had a better quality Tawny Port than Christian Brothers, but it does just fine. This is our featured drink on the home bar crawl, and will be premiered at Reynolés Galley, my home bar.
Millionare Cocktail, Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide
- 1½ oz. Sloe Gin
- ½ oz. Jamaican Rum (Appleton Gold)
- ½ oz. Peach Brandy
- dash Grenadine
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Frankly, this came out a bit like Robitussin flavoring. I used Mr. Boston’s Sloe Gin, which is very nice in a Sloe Gin Fizz, but tended to come out kicking with an almost Campari-like bitterness in this cocktail. The rum used was Appleton Special, and the Grenadine is a homemade mixture. I have a feeling a stronger dash of grenadine was in order.
Speaking of cocktails, there are a number of Original Recipes that I and fellow Tiki Kon organizers have developed. I will be posting a list here shortly. Just so you know, the sponsors this year were Pyrat and Cockspur, so we’ve got at least two islands worth of Rum covered. Pyrat, sadly, has discontinued their Blanco line, which made for one of the smoothest white rums around, with a wonderful bouquet of citrus. Pyrat is owned by Patron Spirits, and because of this, unfortunately Pyrat is the sideshow to Patron’s 5-ring circus. Though, that’s not a bad circus to be a part of. I’ve still got a few bottles of Blanco in reserve. It’s strange to me when something that was $6.99 at BevMo is now a scarce commodity, precious and rarely used but for aficionados and friends.
On a side note, thanks to Rick and Paul for inspiration to start a cocktail blog. While I hold no qualms about never being the Beachbum I hope I can at least inspire, inform, and mostly, share my love of a properly mixed drink.
Tomorrow’s plan: Wake up 12 minutes early for a proper Ramos Gin Fizz