A quick history of tiki restaurant and drink, as narrated by Beachbum Berry.
Boy do I feel late to the party. After a few excellent shrub posts by Gabriel, Jamie, and Rick, and Chip and Andy, there’s not a lot more to say, but I’ve got a few tips that might come in handy when “rolling your own“.
The basic concept of a Shrub, other than preservation of the juice, is to impart a bit of sourness from acetic acid, developed by naturally occurring bacteria, to add a “kick” to the drink, as you might get with a carbonated beverage. A decent shrub should not be entirely vinegar, but should have just enough for a nice zing in the flavor and particularly in the late stages of the taste through the aftertaste.
I recently put together a Rum Shrub with Black Currants based on a recipe from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. The recipe noted that the shrub can be bottled and strained after “6 days or whenever”, so I gave it a good six weeks. After even this amount of time, the juice had still not begun to vinegarize, so taking some tips from the Vinegar man, I introduced a really nice apple cider vinegar to the mix. Within days, the mother of vinegar had started to develop, and it was getting quite pungent, so I strained and bottled it. The flavor was… well, I can really only reduce it to sound effects, with a lot of ZIPS and WOWS. It’s good stuff, and quite an unexpectedly delicious kick. It’s quite potent though, and can be added to hot or charged water, or just about anything else you can think of.
Here’s the recipe straight from the Trader’s mouth, though you may want to reduce quantities a bit.
Rum Shrub #3
- 1 gal. rum
- Juice of 10 lbs. cooked currants
- 2 lbs. sugar.
Dissolve sugar in a little water; mix with rum and currant juice; cover closely and let stand a week or more. Mix and strain through muslin bag and bottle.
The best way to do the muslin filter is by finding a place that sells canning goods and buying a Jelly bag and bag holder. They hold a lot more than a coffee filter, and do just about as good of a job. If the mother of vinegar (gooey stuff at the top) falls in with the bottle, it’ll continue to ferment until you’ve got a nice bit of pure vinegar. I wasn’t quite satisfied with the above recipe, and added some tartness and culture with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.
Now that that’s out of the aging jar, I’ve put in a formula from Classic Liqueurs said to mimic closely the long lost Forbidden Fruit Liqueur. Only 3 weeks of aging and agitating left!
Congratulations to the winners, of which my Belovéd was not one. I did, however, receive a note that it did place within the top ten.
“I’m tired of Gin, I’m tired of Sin, and after last night, oh boy, am I tired.“
Yes, ladies and/or gentlemen, another month has passed, and the next Mixology Monday is already nigh past! This month’s, hosted by Jay at Oh Gosh!, leads us through the very exciting world of Gin.
My personal favorite, other than the only 1/4 oz sampled Bluecoat, has to be the locally made Aviation Gin. This is just fantastic stuff, very aromatic and delicately balanced, but still man enough to put some hair on your chest, or wherever you might find yourself in need of warmth. Changed my Gin Fizzes for life, I can tell you that much.
Now, being that this is could be considered a primarily Tiki drink site, Gin, well, didn’t find itself a primary liquor in too many, or, pretty much any drinks. It’s in the Fog Cutter, Colonel’s Big Opu, Suffering Bastard… oh, wait a moment. It is the primary in a Trade Winds cocktail (Grog Log, p. 84). Well, seeing as the drinking’s done for the night, I may have to do a second post on that one later. For this MxMo, I decided to roll with a Trader Vic original, the Gilded Lily.
- 1/2 oz. Modern Dry Gin (Aviation Gin recommended)
- 1/2 oz. Puerto Rican Rum (sub. Cruzan White)
- 1/2 oz. Peach Brandy
- 1/2 oz. Orange Juice
Shake and strain into cocktail glass.
It’s a nice light cocktail, and I love the fact that it’s a good two ouncer, not so much of the tipple as not to be able to put together sentences, but just enough to think the ones you do put together are quite charming indeed. If you can make any sense out of that last sentence, you may need another drink. Yes, the umbrella with the orange twist may be a bit much, but for this drink I think there’s no harm in gilding the lily.
One issue with the above drink though, the Gin shares an equal part with the Rum! Vic, ever the Rum fetishist, has failed me in trying to make a nice, entirely gin-centric write-up. Oh well, guess I may have to roll my own on this one. I must admit, inspiration had struck from the blogosphere today… and if I ever type that word again, slap me upside the head with a Gin and Tonic. Craig had a recent post on Ceylon Cinnamon, and Scottes somehow forced me out of the bar to pick up some Ginger Beer. Well, why not have the two shake hands over a nice bit of Gin? So I whipped up this little concoction, the Gin and Cin.
Gin and Cin
- 2 oz. Aviation Gin
- 1 oz. Ceylon Cinnamon Syrup
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 2 dashes fee bitters
- 1/4 tsp Fresh grated Ginger
- Ginger Beer (Ginger People STRONGLY advised)
Shake all ingredients except Ginger Beer in a shaker, strain into ice-filled chimney glass. Top with Ginger People Ginger Beer. Garnish with ginger slices and powdered cinnamon.
This is a great digestive, and damned tasty drink, with the spicy ginger giving a sharp spike of flavor, while the Ceylon cinnamon keeps the taste buds active. The lemon provides a touch of a sour note, and the gin and bitters wrap all the notes together. Oh, and you might want to get some Ceylon syrup together, here’s the deal:
Ceylon Cinnamon Syrup
- 1 part water (16 oz. by volume)
- 1 part organic cane sugar (16 oz. by volume)
- bag (4 sticks) Ceylon Cinnamon
Put all ingredients in a pot on the stove. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes or so, cool, strain and bottle.
That stuff will go fantastic in any Nui Nui, Jet Pilot, so on an so forth. Hell, pour it on some waffles, it’s just damned good.
And so we continue from the previous post.
Thursday night found us warbling at The Alibi, a long-standing tiki bar, now featuring Karaoke. If you want authentic Tiki Bar, and can look past the sloppy drinks, Karaoke, and lottery machines, this is the place. How bad are the drinks? Try a Sailor’s Tattoo, which is Rockstar and Captain Morgan Tattoo. Yeah, and that’s one of the better ones.
Of course, what better way to soak up the booze then a nice trip to Voodoo Doughnut. Okay, I’ll admit it, we went TWICE. A few Tex-Ass donuts were consumed. It’s fried dough and sugar bliss.
New Old Lompoc is a brewery and pub with some great brews. If you’re into hops, their beers are very nice, with a lot of variety in the hop selection.
Meriwether’s, named for half of the Lewis and Clark expedition, makes their own produce at their farm, and their own ginger beer. I’m not sure if I was there on bad day, but the ginger beer in my Dark and Stormy was a bit flat and yeasty, with low carbonation and none of the sharpness and zest I look for in a ginger beer. The Fig Old Fashioned though, with a muddled fig at the bottom, was pure bliss.
We took a tour of Clear Creek Distillery, and I’d strongly recommend visiting any local distilleries you’ve got in your neck of the woods. Their products are outstanding. The Framboise truly captured the essence of Raspberry, the Doug Fir Eau de Vie was even better this time, with lots of perfume and sharpness. What really surprised me, however, was the Cassis Liqueuer. It’s pricier, but Kir Royales with this stuff and a bit of Veuve Clicquot will be on the menu for this year’s New Years party.
After touring the distillery, a visit to Daniel at TearDrop Lounge was in order. The drinks were just fantastic. My choice was the Winter Morn, made with egg, Vya vermouth, and a bit of the in-house grenadine. Amongst all the shared sips though, I must say there was no clear winner, just great stuff all around. I also got a nice Sazerac, shared a Last Word, TDL Toddy, and a drink with some smoked pear in it that was just a socks knocking interesting flavor. If you get a chance to visit, ask to sample some of the bitters.
Saucebox was visited actually as a sidenote, after knocking back a few PBRs at Mary’s. Bad strip club, but some fantastic wall murals. Saucebox was definitely the spot to be that evening, with the vibe a bit too trendy… not Portland trendy, but more Los Angeles trendy. The drinks were decent, but not spectacular. I had a very nice Alaskan, with Gin, Green Chartreuse and Bitters. There were a few Mai Tai variations on the menu, but I didn’t even want to dare it. I may have to sneak back in for a Mai Tai tour of Portland.
Apizza Scholl’s, well, if you’re anywhere in a 100 mile radius, you need to go, and go early. This is the place that was on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations that hand-mixes their dough, and only makes enough for the night. When they’re out of dough, they close. The pizza is like nothing you’ve ever had before, well, if you’ve never been to New York, and even then, it would fit into the top spots in the pizza for that city. They also have a damned decent beer menu, from which I had a nice Orval. Damn those monks and their magic with the brewing arts.
The Horse Brass Pub is one of those places you can sit on your butt, watch some darts, choose from an enormous beer and scotch collection, and just slowly sink in and turn English. Smoking is allowed, for now (johnny law’s changing that), and the food is pub grub. Had a Scotch Egg, which is a hard-boiled egg packed in sausage, breaded and fried. That’s a pretty unbelievable, but damned tasty item.
The Doug Fir was looked at, but briefly. There’s a chromed moose head, and the bathrooms are all done in marbled mirror. The drinks are nice, but the place is often so packed with hipsters and douchebags that your chances of getting a well measured one is about slim to none. Besides, why stay there when there’s a perfectly fantastic strip club the next block over.
Union Jack’s is, well, certainly one of my favorite strip clubs. I won’t go into any details, but I will say I found a new love that night. Amidst the smoke and the stripping, on the top shelf was a bottle of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23, which is some wonderfully smooth and sweet rum. I’d go into tasting notes, but that’s Scottes’ domain.
The next day, we (okay, I) had a few Brandy Milk Punches, and sent the kids up to Seattle to visit Murray and Jamie. The butterflies, whips and jingles were hitting a bit hard for me and the ms, so we were homeward bound.
Even outside of the places mentioned here, there was further drinking, and breakfast, and drinking, and mid-century modern thrifting, and drinking, and haircuts, and drinking. It was a good time! If you’re ever in the city and need a decent tour, now you might have a better idea of where to go.
And just a note to press, drinking at home is great, but don’t forget to get out there and support your local bars. Not the ones that’ll slug your liver with crap gin and fruitfly liqueur, but support those places that’ll make your Manhattan just how you like it, offer up some conversation about booze, whatever works for you, just get outside and drink in some life.