This past Saturday, the Oregon Bartenders Guild and host David Wondrich provided drinks and discussion at Teardrop Lounge for an enthusiastic group of imbibers, bar professionals, and journalists. Really, I can’t say much more on it than hasn’t already been said by Jeffrey Morgenthaler (A brilliant fellow, by the way). However, I do have a few things to add.
All drinks served, from the Rocky Mountain Punch to samples of the Blue Blazer were just fantastic, and really representative of various bits of the history of drink. Mr. Wondrich and the members of the OBG presented the drinks to a delighted crowd, with bits of discussion from IMBIBE! and even some new updates about the Professor’s life and times, with more than a few toasts being raised to his honor. While all the drinks were fantastic, some really stood out for me. The Improved Whiskey Cocktail, it was noticed, had the Don the Beachcomber 1-2 punch of Absinthe(or Pastis) and Bitters, which made it just as improved as any Don drinks should be, though developed well before the Beachcomber was born.
One of the niftier things, of which I believe Craig snapped a picture, was the original Hawthorne strainer that Mr. Wondrich had brought with him. He had brought quite a few interesting toys, all shiny and silvery and strong, made to last, as opposed to the snap-off julep strainers we can get nowadays. Hooray for eBay, I suppose.
Another drink that stood out for me was the Buck and Breck, a drink named for th 15th American President James Buchanan and his vice president, John C. Breckenridge. Besides the drink being a lovely mix of Champagne and Cognac, and me being a sucker for the bubbly, this drink had great presentation with its sugar-frosted glass. The glass is wetted, coated with sugar, and dried, for a lovely frosted effect.
After the event, much fun was had by a few locals and visitors touring the various places in Downtown Portland, including Ten 01, Red Star, Clyde Common, and Gilt Club. The most exciting part was being served a Moscow Mule in actual copper cups at Gilt Club, again, toy-jealousy rearing its ugly head.
I would highly recommend getting on the Oregon Bartenders Guild mailing list for info on any upcoming events. These ain’t no Jaeger Double-shot special nights, no sirree.
Since it’s the day past now, I thought I’d share my official entry for the Tales of the Cocktail punch contest. The winning recipe will snag a few bucks, and will be the official drink of the 2008 event. I put together this dandy with much testing, some Old NOLA Rum borrowed from Lance, and some “things” I had sitting about. A few drinks into the development, I hit upon this dandy, and think it’s one nifty sipper, and packs a pretty pulverizing punch while pampering the palate.
The name, by the way, comes from the cajun term for a get together, conversation.. I think the description in Boudreaux’s Cajun Party Guide describes it better than I could.
Routinely, in the wintertime, Cajun families and neighbors get together for a Veilleés (vay-yay). Everyone passes a good time talking to each other, sharing stories, and singing songs over coffee and deserts.
This drink was made alongside a few good evenings of conversation, and after a few of these, you’ll definitely be vay-yaying all over the place.
- 2 parts White Grapefruit Juice (Oroblanco)
- 2 parts Strong Black tea (cold)
- 1 part Pimento Liqueur (substitute allspice syrup if none available)
- 3 parts Old New Orleans Amber Rum
- 1 part Martell VSOP Cognac (float)
Single: Use 1/2 Ounce as the part. Shake all ingredients except cognac with ice, strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Float cognac.
Punch: Portion with 1/2 Ounce as the part, as many servings as you estimate guests will imbibe. Fill a punch bowl halfway with ice, pour all ingredients except cognac in a separate container and stir. Pour the mix over ice. Keep the cognac in a decanter on the side for guests or bartenders to float for each guest.
Allspice Syrup: (slow method) steep ground allspice berries in water for 3 days. Strain the water with a coffee filter and pour into a pot, add heat, and mix 1:1 with cane sugar to make a simple syrup.
Allspice Syrup: (fast method) Place whole allspice berries in a pot, cover with water and add heat. Once it hits a boil let it simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out the berries, and mix 1:1 with cane sugar to make a simple syrup.
What I tried to do here is capture the essence of the New Orleans Amber rum. It’s a good product by itself, and its characteristics lend towards a spicy concoction. It doesn’t have much in the way of bitterness, so I thought the Oroblanco would lend its subtle bitterness to the complexity of the drink. I may have committed a mortal sin in floating the cognac, but the flavor didn’t play well intertwined with the other ingredients. As a float, the entryway to the drink, it acts as a bit of a high-class buffer. It gives the drink a lot of character on the nose, which works very well with the flavor of the rest of the drink, and adds a nice finishing note as well.
The Pimento Dram is tops, giving a bit more heat and the allspice character to the drink. I used Chuck Taggart’s recipe, as featured in Imbibe magazine. The Allspice syrup is still fantastic, and actually makes for a slightly smoother, even eminently quaffable drink. The Dram is best for full complexity, slow method allspice better than fast, but I think that’s generally expected. Time is so often a great contribution to flavor.
Well, here’s to crossing my fingers that this sucker gets tried and tried right. Cheers to a fantastic event, no matter whom the winner of this contest may be.
First things first, I’ve got to give Rick over at Kaiser Penguin what the kids are calling “mad props” for coming up with this doozy of a Mixology Monday. And let me tell you, after a week of testing, my liver is well versed in exactly how much of a doozy it is.
So, here’s a bit of a historical take on this. The limit one per customer, as far as has ever been told, started with Don the Beachcomber. His menu, shown below, has a number of drinks with special “restrictions” on them. This is a 1956 souvenir menu mailer from Hawaii. Mahalo to Mimi at Arkiva Tropika for the imagery.
As you can see, there are quite a few drinks there with a bit of a limit on them, and for some damned good reason. These drinks are killer-dillers in the literal, or LIVERal sense. Oh ho, fun with words.
Anyhow, one of the Beachcomber’s most famous stories comes from the time a man wagered Don, betting he could down 5 Zombies (limit two) without breaking a rum-soaked sweat. So, they both put 100 bucks in the kitty, and agree to the challenge the next night. The man shows up, Don starts mixing, One Zombie, two Zombie, and as he’s sucking down the third, the fella’s head hits the table with a mighty thump. Don won that wager, but not without a trick or two up his short sleeves. Don had mixed some glycerin, a sugar alcohol, into the drink for its property of hitting the system mighty quick. Never bet on another man’s game, Don’s saying goes, and I can’t find a better example of it.
Moving onto the now, seeing the potential for this Mixology Monday, the question that came to my head is, how many Zombies are we going to see? I’ve actually been rather surprised by the innovation, after reading posts and talking with a few bloggers and bartenders. There are some great, full to the brim with booze drinks out there I hadn’t seen covered before. In the hopes of avoiding wearing the same dress another belle at the ball, I decided to whip up this little concoction. This thing’s the real deal, and as I’ve certainly discovered, as Don and Vic once did, it all begins with the right Rum.
Wisdom of Pelé
- 1 oz Demerara 151
- 1 oz Dark Jamaican (Coruba)
- 1 oz Light Virgin Islands (Cruzan)
- 1/2 oz Aged Martinique (St. James extra old)
- 3/4 oz Lime juice
- 3/4 oz GrapeFruit juice (Oroblanco)
- 3/4 oz Falernum
- 1/2 oz Honey Mix
- 1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
- 2 dashes Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
- 1/4 oz. Navan Vanilla Liqueur (float)
Put all ingredients except Navan into a Shaker and mix 6 seconds on a standing mixer. Pour with ice into 14 oz. Zombie glass and float Navan.
Okay, so I put a few too many ingredients in. It’s tiki, things like to get complex. This drink is worth the effort, smooth as silk, and hits like a sledgehammer. This is definitely a onesy, maybe even for the whole evening, and not just because the bartender had a hell of a time putting the damned thing together. Like I say, it’s all thanks to the rum. The rest of the stuff is just notes taken from what the rums were saying… and yes, a few tests into this the rum started talking (maybe literally, it was a lot of rum). Yes, the booze outweighs the others with this one, but it goes down like Polynesian lightning.
The Wisdom of Pelé? That comes the morning after having two of these. I’ve got a punch version I’ll be putting on the site soon as well, the Wrath of Pelé, as soon as I can get a few more “volunteers”.
Trader Vic concocted a lot of good drinks, the Mai Tai, Honi Honi, Fog Cutter, and a few other here and theres. For all the flack he gets for setting up his bar following Don the Beachcomber’s lead (and, if some books are to be believed, with $8,000 of decor from Don himself), he really was one helluva mixologist. Other than the Japanese, there aren’t many cocktails I can think of with Orgeat that really stick out until Vic got his hands on the stuff.
This drink comes from Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, one of his first books, and certainly the first to focus on “tropical” fare, including a nifty little icon on Trader Vic’s signature originals. This particular drink, a short hoist in a tall glass, doesn’t appear with the logo, but damned if I can find it anywhere else. A few other versions have appeared though, and I’d like to go over these variations here.
Shingle Stain (source Trader Vic’s Books of Food and Drink)
Now don’t take a shingle off the roof. This is really good. No fooling.
- 1/2 lime
- 1 ounce dark Jamaica rum (Red Heart or Myers’s)
- 1/2 ounce St James Rhum
- 1/4 ounce Pimento Dram
- Dash of pomegranate syrup (grenadine)
Shake with cracked ice and pour over cracked ice in a 12-ounce Chimney Glass.
One thing you may notice about this drink, this sucker’s about two and half ounces at best, and sitting in one hell of a lot of ice! This brings up an upcoming post I’m planning on, regarding Ice and its part in Tiki Drinks. Basically, these suckers stand up to dilution a lot better than most cocktails, partly because of the strength and depth of the rum, partly because of the complexity of the juice, bitters and booze in most of these drinks. I’ll get into more detail in an upcoming post.
This is a pretty deep drink, and takes one hell of a balancing act, particularly with the dark Jamaican Rum, Pimento Dram, and Grenadine. For the Dark Jamaican, the Myers’s Dark really stands out, where usually I would use Coruba. This drink needs that extra molasses boost from the Myers, and it’s well worth using it. The Pimento Dram is best on the sweeter side, and the Grenadine should be rich, and not watery. Basically, make sure the ingredients you’re using are fully punched up and not watery in the slightest. Of course, that goes without saying for anything, but the delicacy of this drink really needs it. I finally had to toss out the stirrings grenadine and make my own again to make this just right (yet another upcoming post).
For reasons unknown, this drink changed after a few decades, hitting some very different notes, but still keeping its tawny-red color, which is where the name comes from.
Shingle Stain (from Trader Vic’s Tiki Party!)
- 2 ounces Dark Rum
- 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/4 ounce grenadine
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and pour into double-rocks glass. Garnish with Mint Sprig.
Quite a lineup change here, hell, no Pimento Dram, no St James, and adding cranberry and pineapple juices and bitters. Nertz to that, it’s a whole different drink! Then again, a lot of Trader Vic’s drinks have morphed recipes. Still, that’s an awful lot of change from the original drink. It’s still a damned nice drink, with plenty of tang from the cranberry and a bit of sweet from the pineapple juice, sitting on top of dark rich Coruba. The times they change, for better or worse.
Word has it there’s another version in the Revised edition of Trader Vic’s bartender’s guide, but I’m going to have to leave that out until I find a copy.
Many thanks to Rupe33 on TikiCentral for the picture of the Shingle Stain illustration above, taken at Trader Vic’s Emeryville.
The classic version of this drink will be on the menu Mar. 18th at Teardrop Lounge. See you there!
Here’s what’s on the list for Mar 18th, the next Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge!
- Beachcomber’s Gold
- Cobra’s Fang
- Lei Lani Volcano
- Mai Tai
- Nui Nui
- Shingle Stain
- Suffering Bastard
- Test Pilot
- Penang Afrididi #1
- Zombie (limit one per customer)
A few items switched out since the last Tiki Tuesday, but it’s a rotating menu, so feel free to provide input on your favorites. This menu is a little more exploratory than the last, with a few drinks that haven’t made much noise in the tiki community, but that I think are just swell, and think you’ll like too. That Penang Afrididi… just hits my flavor profile perfectly. If you’re in for a short hoist, ask for version #2, the cocktail-glass sized version of the drink.
Hope to see you there!