Forbidden Island Alameda

Posted by TraderTiki on August 30th, 2007 — Posted in Bilge, Places, Rum

Here’s a short video I found on YouTube, shot at Forbidden Island, starring Martin Cate, the man, the myth, the martiki.

I have no idea what’s with the music though.

I am passionate about Forbidden Island, because so is the man behind it. Martin took his hobby, and made it his profession. Every square inch of the place shows his dedication to perfection in attempting to recreate the atmosphere of a classic Tiki bar (within the restrictions placed by the cuonty of Alameda). Not to mention that a few of my collectibles are still on “permanent loan”. When my wife and I were moving to Oregon, I distinctly remember searching for my big pufferfish… only to recall it had been left in Alameda. The better for the bar, for Ohana!

If you haven’t been, I strongly encourage you to visit, and throw some dollars down for drinks made in the true classic tiki style.

DragonFruit Syrup

Posted by TraderTiki on August 29th, 2007 — Posted in Concoctioneering, Rum, Tasting

What a nightmare. A beautiful, delicious nightmare.

Here’s some basic information on DragonFruit, also known as Pitaya. It is the fruit of a cactus, and is native to South America, but commonly planted in SouthEast Asia. There are three colors, white flesh with pink skin, red(magenta) flesh with pink skin, and white flesh with yellow skin. You can read plenty more on them at the Wikipedia Dragonfruit page.

I picked up a few of these expensive (10.99 per lb.) fruit at New Seasons, a local chain with lots of great selection on organic, tropical, and niche ingredients. This was after the produce manager gave me the whole sample fruit to eat, as it was near closing time and as of yet untouched. I couldn’t say no to such a bright colored and expensive gift. The flavor of the unmodified fruit is sweet, with almost a pear and apple flavor to it. For its looks, the taste is not very exotic. But, in hopes of experimentation, and lending its beautiful color to drinks, I absolutely had to have a few to take home.

DragonFruit and Tools

Getting the juice from this thing wasn’t difficult at all. It’s very juicy. As well, it’s also pulpy, with lots of tiny seeds. So, I cut out the flesh, stuck it in my strainer by 1/8 pieces, and muddled. Well, really crushing it to strain, but involving the same motion. The juice comes out quick, but a lot of the seeds and pulp made it through the strainer. So, into the coffee filter it went, and then began the waiting… and waiting… and waiting…. and refill, and wait, and change the filter, and wait and…. yeah, at this point the idea of a juicer, once fended off as another useless gadget, seemed to me the apex of civilization. But so, I waited, with great patience, until the last drip had dropped.

DragonFruit GutsI decided to mix it into a syrup, as I am wont to do. The flavor of the juice wasn’t punchy enough to bring itself to a drink, so I mixed it in equal parts with cane sugar and water, boiled, reduced, cooled, and refrigerated, with just a dash of Cruzan light as a preservative. The color of the syrup itself is a beautiful magenta, not quite as electric as the raw fruit, but certainly something lovely.

Of course, now the true test, the drink! The taste is not to sweet, and actually had a mild hint of citrus to it, almost like a candy orange. As well, I did not whatsoever want to disturb the color. Still, cocktail above all. So, the challenge was set. Bring out the flavors, don’t block the color. I decided to go with a bit of rum because, damnit, that’s what I do. I used Pyrat Blanco, as it is very light, and won’t burn through the flavor. I used a quarter ounce of lime to give it some kick, Parfait Amour to complement the color and the sweet flavors, and just a dash of St. Germain for some perfume.

The Pyrat Blanco, sadly, is the first of three bottles before it’s gone forever. Somewhere in California I know a few who stashed the bottles away when they were 6.99 at BevMo. So, while not wholly irreplaceable, the Blanco is no longer being produced. The good news is that by dropping the Blanco, the XO is still being made. Still, tiny rum soaked tear drops.

I enjoyed it, but the biggest test was getting it to pass the wife test. Whereas I can drink 5 rums mixed together (two of which being 151s) and call it light and crisp, she has a much more delicate palate. The verdict? “Make me one!”. Success, indeed. Perhaps if I make a few more, I can convince her a juicer is a good idea. Any product recommendations are of course invited.

Kiss of the Dragon

  • 1 oz. DragonFruit Syrup
  • 1 oz. Pyrat Blanco (sub Cruzan Light)
  • 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime
  • 1/4 oz. Parfait Amour
  • dash St. Germain

Shake with crushed ice and strain into cocktail glass.

Kiss of the Dragon

A tour of the Galley

Posted by TraderTiki on August 29th, 2007 — Posted in Bilge, Galley

I’ll be adding this to the Galley page as well, but in the meantime, enjoy a quick video walkthrough of the Galley. You’ll see the treasure trove, main bar, side bar, liquor shelves, a few bits of wall decor, and the Marquesan tiki.  The sound is from the actual sound system in the bar.

This is the place I go to mix a drink, read from my library, and relax. If I had my druthers, I’d never have to go back upstairs.


Posted by TraderTiki on August 28th, 2007 — Posted in Site

Yes, a few of the dirty buggers have been added to the site.

As well, I’ve got a few amazon affiliate links on the sidebar and in the library. Because if you don’t celebrate the entire Beachbum library, you really should.

Great American Distillers Festival

Posted by TraderTiki on August 27th, 2007 — Posted in Brandy, Events, Gin, Rum, Tasting

This past weekend was Rogue’s Great American Distillers Festival. There were over 40 local distillers on site, sampling their wares. A lot of the distillers were part of the Oregon Distiller’s Guild, a guild supporting and promoting local Oregon distillers. There was also a mixology competition put on by Imbibe Magazine. Bartenders from a few of the finer restaurants and lounges were there competing for a cash prize, trophy, and a subscription to Imbibe magazine. The mixology competition was separated into several liquor categories. Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for the first day, but, most importantly, I was there for the Rum competition.

My initial impression was enthusiastic. The event ranged over 4 stories of the Gerding Theater (an old National Guard Armory from 1891). The ground and top floor had the distillers, and the bottom most floor contained the mixology competition. I was really impressed when the first thing on the menu was the Aviation, followed by Satan’s Whiskers, La Floridita, and other classic favorites.

There was a great mixture of various liquors available. Most notably were the number of vodka options, but there was a surprising (and surprisingly good) number of Gins available. I was able to sample about half of the variety that was there, and I wrote down a few quick notes to share.


  • Prichard’s Fine Rum: non fragrant but needs to sit for a small time to open up. Hints of butterscotch, oak, caramel and vanilla. Made in Tennessee, and tasted like it. A lot of strong Bourbon notes. This was the only rum used in the Mixology competition. It mixed well with other strong flavors.
  • Rogue Dark Rum: A lot of strong hazelnut flavor in this, which is probably why they now make a hazelnut spiced rum.
  • Triple Eight Hurricane Rum: Pear and vanilla front taste, slightly bourbon middle with a light vanilla scent.
  • Cockspur 12 year old: The classic, from Barbados, and so much of what a rum should be. Sweet, savory, slightly smoky, just fantastic stuff.

Other news is that House Spirits will be offering up a Rum next year, and given their talent with their Aviation Gin, I look forward to it.


  • Philadelphia Distilling Bluecoat Gin: The Sweetest Dry gin I’ve ever tried, with a lot of berry to it. Very tasty, very sweet.
  • House Spirits Aviation Gin: Notes of citrus, spice, and strong juniper. I need a bottle of this.
  • BenDistillery Desert Juniper: Lightly alcoholic (very low proof), with a nice juniper flavor.
  • Rogue Spruce Gin: Another conifer-based liquor, the spruce tips mixed very well with the Gin, giving a lot of sharp bold notes and spiciness to it.

I really, really need to get a few more bottles of Gin around the house. Ever since my first experiments with Tanqueray as a teenager, this is a liquor I truly love and need to know more about.


  • Clear Creek Distillery Douglas Fir Eau de Vie: Like drinking a Tree. I can understand why the distiller doesn’t want this being mixed with (and at its pricepoint, I understand from my own perspective). It’s a wonderful and surprising flavor that I could see pairing amazingly wel with Pimento Liqueur.


  • House Spirits Krogstad: Fairly light caraway flavor, would mix really well in a drink that called for Aquavit.

The Mixology competition, hosted by Imbibe magazine, featured a number of talented and experienced bartenders from the Portland. The restaurants represented included SauceBox, Teardrop Lounge, and a few other local imbiberies. Rules involved 15 minutes to mix 4 drinks, and a liquor from one of the distillers at the event had to be used as the base liquor. The concoctions brought for the event were a pretty strong mix of the classic and the nouveau movement. David from Teardrop, who I had the pleasure to mix words with over the inclusion of Falernum in their Mai Tai, even represented Teardrop with a Gin and Tonic. The Gin was Aviation, and the Tonic a homemade blend made specifically to pair with the Aviation. Having had a sample of both, I must say they would indeed blend well, with lots of spice and citrus notes. I will definitely be dropping by Teardrop in the near future. There is a passion to the drink there, and that is definitely after my own heart.

There were quite a few drinks using Rosemary. Something I would never think to use, and something I don’t see looking for in the flavor profile of a drink, but on trying the “Portland Streetcar”, I found the mix of Rosemary and Lemon Verbena really interesting and complex, almost like Chartreuse in character. I could really see using these savory herb in a nice bitters.

Sadly, no Tiki bars were represented. The two in town being Thatch and The Alibi. Thatch is still up and coming, and needs a few original drinks, but the Alibi has given way to the Rum and Coke wants of a Karaoke bar. Sad but true about the old Tiki haunts of times past, but it never was famous for its original drinks, as far as I know. Maybe someday I’ll step behind the bar, but meanwhile I’m pretty happy down in the Galley.

The GADF was a very nice event, where I got to meet a number of fantastic people, the owner of my favorite liquor store, the fine people at Imbibe, and a few more of the local bartenders and mixologists. I very much look forward to next years event.

 Update, more writeups on the event.  Thanks to Phil from Lamb Martini.