More safari, and one for the ladies.

Posted by TraderTiki on October 17th, 2007 — Posted in Rum, Sippin' Safari

After a damned decent break (that last Zombie Punch hit a little too hard), it’s time to get back into the Bum’s own Sippin’ Safari.

This evening started off with the Kamehameha Rum Punch, page 81 in Sippin’ Safari.

Kamehameha Rum Punch

It’s a pretty number, with a lot of sweetness, and pretty heavy on the pineapple. The blackberry brandy doesn’t work much magic, but the float of dark Jamaican gives it a nice kick at the end. Its got a number of sweeteners, but not much depth within them. It might be that I haven’t put together my own grenadine for a while. I’ve got to say, I’ve lost a bit of my love for the sweet stuff. I blame the Fog Cutter for that.

Nui nui

Next is one of my new personal favorites, the Nui Nui, page 92 (now on the menu at Forbidden Island!). This is one of the drinks that features the recently re-discovered ingredients covered in Sippin’ Safari. There’s Cinnamon Syrup, my new favorite ingredient in everything, matched with the fantastic ingredients from Donn’s Spices #2. The Allspice and the Cinnamon bring out a bucketload of flavor in the rum, it’s like Amber Cruzan was made just to mix with them. The orange spiral on top is a unique garnish, and, when properly squeezed, releases that fantastic orange oil to the drink.

Here’s where I rant for a second. If your drink has got citrus in it, any of it, chances are you’ll be cutting into the skin of a nice fresh piece of fruit. There’s oil in that there skin, which can round out, brighten up, and entirely alter a drink from sloppy sweet to light and refreshing. Just a quick spritz on top of the drink will do it, squeeze it or slice it, just do it already!

Macadamia Nut Chi Chi

So we continue on from sweet, to savory, to sweet as all get out. The Macadamia Nut Chi Chi, from Intoxica, page 50. This one is my wife’s favorite, with the Lei Lani Volcano coming in a close second. It’s a blended drink, which makes a fun texture, using Vodka, Pineapple Juice and that star of the tropical drink, Coco Lopez. Accept no substitute, Coco Lopez is the real deal. If I even so much as see a can of Coco de Casa in your bar, I will find myself in the need to confiscate all rum in the proximity. It’s sweet, it’s slushy, the Macadamia Nut Liqueur and Coco Lopez mix like some sort of devil’s Macadamia Joy bar. It’s why I always have to keep my Macadamia Nut Liqueur in stock.

I’ve got a special visitor arriving in November, just in time to open up the Rum Shrub I just put in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also doing some heavy research into the Fog Cutter. If anyone’s got an older Trader Vic’s menu, or a Vic’s Bartender’s Guide or other cocktail book with the Fog Cutter before or after 1948, I’ll pay for shipping to and fro, or cut you a good deal on a bottle of something special.

Okole Maluna!

Mai Kai Calendar a day, at the Swankpad

Posted by TraderTiki on October 17th, 2007 — Posted in Places

If you’ve never been, and admittedly I’ve never been.. hey, we should plan a road trip… to the Mai Kai, then there’s a good going on over at Swanky’s Blather, the Mai Kai Calendar a day.

The Mai Kai is one of the last established business on Gods green goodness you can get an authentic Tiki drink, as made in the manner and style of Don, Vic, and other restaurant proprietors from the Polypop craze. One of the Mai Kai’s grand traditions is the presentation of the Mai Kai Mystery Bowl by the Mystery Girl. I’m still working on the feature in the Galley, I just don’t look right in a sarong… it might be the moustache.

Here’s a nice video on youtube of the presentation. It’s very, very mysterious.

So go check out the calendars. There are Mystery Girls a plenty.

MxMo XX: Pairing

Posted by TraderTiki on October 14th, 2007 — Posted in MxMo, Rum

MxMo XX: PairingAnother MxMo has arrived, and this time bringing in the gourmands, as solid refreshment, also known as food, is brought in to play.

Now, were I Trader Dive Bar, writing of the lost souls who inhabit the darkened bars where animal heads perch upon the walls and the jukebox hasn’t worked since ‘82, I would have most likely gone with a nice Kentucky bourbon and pretzels. But, what a joy that some strange bug called Tiki bit me so long ago. For this MxMo: Pairings, hosted by The Liquid Muse, the challenge was put out to match a cocktail with food.

Most bars, heck, likely all bars have a gnosh or bar bite of some sort. In this state, having food in an establishment with spirits is enforced by law, and what better way to slow down the intoxication of a patron, or keep people around for more cocktails, than to serve a nice appetizer-sized portion. Tiki bars were started, in the days of Don and Vic, as not just lounges, but full service restaurants. A Nui Nui and some Crab Rangoon? Maybe a Navy Grog, some Cheese Bings, and Bongo Bongo Soup. There’s a lot of fascinating information about the heated competition and serving methods developed in Sippin’ Safari. Don the Beachcomber is infamous for the dreaded yet beloved Rumaki, as pretty much anything wrapped in bacon will sell. Most Tiki-themed restaurants served a heaping helping of Cantonese or other asian foods, as they were as exotic as anything. Heck, throw a pineapple in there and the Orient becomes the south pacific.

For this competition, I strayed a bit out from that combo, but still made a nice match of South American and Tahitian. The drink, La Floridita Daiquiri, and the grub, Poisson Cru. I gotta tell you true, I’d have a far road to travel to work my way to Master Sommelier, but I seem to have done pretty good with this pairing.

La Floridita and Poisson Cru

The matching, and strongest key ingredient in these two items is the lime. The fish soak in it, and the drink contains a good half of one. This connected the dish and the drink. The real key notes that got me were the unexpected and wonderful combination of the coconut milk from the Poisson Cru, and the nuttiness of the Maraschino Liqueur in the Floridita. The milk really sticks with you for a bit, and when the drink hits you, it sticks the the coconut milk, making for a wonderful flavor and texture that is spot on. So the components from both become a sweet, nutty, citrus pleasure. This is bound to become a lunchtime favorite, particularly with the ease of whipping up a batch of the Poisson Cru.

Now, without further ado, the recipes:

La Floridita Daiquiri

  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 oz. White Puerto Rican Rum (Cuban if you can swing it)
  • 1 tsp. Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 tsp. Simple Syrup

Blend with ice until thick, pour into Daiquiri or Cocktail glass.

Poisson Cru

  • Juice of 6 limes
  • 1 pound of fresh saltwater fish (I personally prefer sushi grade tuna, but just about anything will do)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 1 sprig scallions (chopped)
  • 4 oz. coconut milk

Cube fish, and place fish in non-metallic bowl. Sprinkle salt on fish and cover completely with lime juice. Leave fish in lime for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on how cooked you prefer (me, I like it quick). Drain the fish, and combine in bowl with garlic, scallions, and coconut milk, adjust to taste, and serve in small portions. Serves two for a meal, 6-8 as a snack.

One thing to note about the Poisson Cru, is you can truly make it your own. Use whatever fish you prefer, add or subtract seasonings, it’s just a quick easy dish. The lime denatures the proteins in the fish, essentially cooking it. It can’t burn, but it can start to really soak up the lime juice.

I can’t wait to see what else is on the table over on The Liquid Muse. I won’t be delving into food too much, but next time I do, I’m betting it’ll be rich, fatty, soaked in teriyaki and covered in bacon.

Update: All of the entries are now available on this MxMo post at The Liquid Muse.  I will be eating very, very well for the next two weeks, at least.


Posted by TraderTiki on October 11th, 2007 — Posted in Concoctioneering, Events, Rum

USAPears is holding a cocktail competition, well, was holding a cocktail competition. Last day for entry was yesterday.

I spent a good amount of time contemplating this one. I wanted to stick to roots (rum!) but really complement and enhance the characteristics of a really good pear. I am a huge pear fan, but I’ve rarely seen it used in cocktails. Moreso I’ve been exposed to pear brandy and pear eau de vie, which are fantastic just for sipping and staring at the pear in the bottle. More recently, I’ve seen Pear and Gorgonzola pizza and used caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese in a salad. The sweet and spice flavors of the pear complemented by the sharpness of the cheese, so good. For this cocktail though, I wanted it to be focused on the pear. There are a lot of ingredients here, each hitting individual aspects of the pear to enhance and extend the flavor.

My entry, the Belovéd.

  • 1.5 oz Pear Puree (Bartlett)
  • Dash Pernod
  • Dash Vanilla Syrup
  • Dash Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1.5 oz Pyrat XO Rum
  • .25 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
  • 2 dashes Fees Lemon Bitters
  • Cinnamon/Sugar (for rim)

Chill a cocktail glass with Ice and Water. Place all ingredients except Lemon Bitters into shaker and shake with crushed ice until chilled. Remove ice and water from glass, squeeze a bit of pear around the edge of the glass, and rim glass with Cinnamon/Sugar mixture. Strain cocktail into glass, and dash the Lemon Bitters on top. Garnish with a think slice of pear, Red Bartlett if available.

Vanilla Syrup:
This is simple syrup mixed with Bourbon-based Vanilla Extract. I use 1 tsp of Vanilla extract to 1 cup of Simple Syrup.

Cinnamon Syrup:
This is simple syrup mixed with ground cinnamon sticks. I use 2 ground sticks to 1 cup of Simple Syrup. Heat the mixture, then strain to remove chunks and larger bits of cinnamon dust.

Pear Puree:
Looza Pear Nectar can be used in place of fresh Pear Puree.

Hot Buttered Rum Batter, and what it can do.

Posted by TraderTiki on October 8th, 2007 — Posted in Hot Ones, Rum

And so he goes on again about the dwindling daylight, the halcyon days of summer sunbeams fading like the dead leaves on the road…

No, I’m not doing that again. What do I like about the summer? Well, other than the brief relief from utter darkness, there’s not been much to it since summer meant no school, just that I’m still working like a schlub, but it’s hot. So I’ll skip the reminiscing for all of 5 minutes ago and get to the good stuff.

Winter drinks, the stuff that warms your insides like a hug from a loved one, and still manages like hell to keep the conversation flowing. The best thing to have on hand, come about this time, is a nice big batch of Hot Buttered Rum Batter. There are a few decent storebought varieties available. For one, you can get Trader Vic’s, but I haven’t been able to vouch for the stuff since a few years back. Ever since the debacle with the Passion Fruit Syrup, my look on their foods company hasn’t been the same. In the Northwest, there’s a fantastic brand called Harvey’s, that, inevitably will be shoveled into your mouth with a spoon, it’s just that good.

For me, it’s getting into the home grown territory. Why? More control over quality, the chance to make something my own, avoid some preservatives, and of course just being the bum that I am, I’m too impatient to wait for Harvey’s, and don’t want to go to the store for Vic’s anyhow. What else would I do with all the Brown Sugar and Butter sitting around the house, bake cookies?

Okay, I can make some fantastic cookies, but that’s beside the point. Good ingredients mixed with plenty of good time, gets you a good drink. Now, if you’ve read any of the bad bar tending bibles out there (and there are plenty), you might read a Hot Buttered Rum as Rum, Sugar, Water, and a pat of butter on top. I’ll just leave the quipping to Trader Vic, though.

It pains me to drink some of the concoctions offered in the name of hot buttered rum. I generally find little globules of fat floating around in a not too hot drink, served up in a dainty little glass cup that you can down in one swallow and damn near swallow the cup along with it.

As I have stressed all along, you can’t make anything good unless you take the time to do it properly. Mixing the batter for my hot buttered rum is the initial and final trouble and it will give you the finest drink you ever tasted.

-Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, p. 116

So here’s the recipe, adjusted a bit from the book. If you’ve got a kitchenaid or other mixing device, use this, otherwise expect a fantastic forearm workout creaming the butter and sugar. Go ahead and make it in the early part of the month and store it in the fridge. It’s great for company, expected or otherwise, and always brings a smile.

Hot Buttered Rum Batter

  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
  • pinch of salt
  • Ground Spices (Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove)

Cream the sugar and butter together in a standing mixer until smooth. Mix in the spices and salt, and stir until spices are well distributed.

So, you’ve now got a little packet of joy in your fridge, so, what to do with it?

A few recipes are offered: Hot buttered Rum, Coffee Grog, Hot Buttered Rum Cow… I’ll go over these in time. Meanwhile, here’s my pick, the Northwest Passage.

Northwest Passage

  • 1 heaping tsp Hot Buttered Rum Batter
  • 1 oz. Demerara 151
  • boiling water
  • lemon rind

Put 1 heaping teaspoon of the batter in a 10 ounce goblet or pre-heated mug. Add the rum, stir until smooth, and add boiling water and lemon rind.

Northwest PassageThis is just the way to kick off an autumn evening at home, with the rich smoky (and high proof) demerara being accentuated with the lemon, the boiling water bringing the rum and citrus to the nose, the spices, the lemon, the butter adding a bit of thickness. This is just a damned fine concoction.

There’ll be more. Can’t walk away from tipping a Hot Buttered Rum Cow every so often.