Cross posted from the Mixoloseum Blog.
Wassailing, now known mostly as that strange word in that one Christmas song, was once a holiday tradition so filled with mildly hidden threat, the Victorians banned the festivities. Laborers, ne’er do wells, and whoever else happened to be in the vicinity would drop by the boss’ or governor’s manse, wishing joy and peace in trade for a bit of tipple. Of course, in the lack of tipple, there could also be a lack of joy an peace, if you get my drift. A bit of the Trick or Treat, just more wintry. For more information on the history of the tradition, check out Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas.
Of course, what could be a better pick me up during a night of drunken revelry on a winter night than a warm bath of mulled ale or cider, known then (as now) as Wassail.
In my research on this tasty winter beverage, I found two clearly distinct lines of Wassail. One, such as exampled in my copy of Joy of Cooking (1963), and another at Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Wassail post. This Wassail omits the Ale or Cider, and instead hefts up the Brandy, and adds a whole lot of egg. This seems more in the tradition of an Egg Nog or Tom and Jerry, with a big foamy dope hefting the liquid about. I’ll admit to not having yet made it, as I’m far too fond of the more traditional method, which is that of a warm mulled ale or cider.
Here’s the recipe I used at a recent holiday feast. The original recipe comes from Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Em. For a bit of a traditional twi, I added hard cider, to apple things up a bit, and increased the proportions to satisfy all guests as well as fill the crockpot. It went over smashingly (by jove!), and I think you’ll like it too.
’tis the Season to have a crockpot, for sure.
- 3 Baked Apples
- 1/2 cup fine sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground Allspice
- 1 Tbsp whole Allspice Berries
- 1 lemon, juice and peel
- 1 Liter Hard Cider
- 1.5 Liter Brown or Winter Ale
- 1 pint warm sherry
Spiral slice the apples (or however you can maximize surface area), coat lightly in brown sugar, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes until browning begins. Place apples in a crockpot with all other ingredients, and set the crockpot to Hot for about 30 minutes. Leave the Crockpot on warm to serve. Serve in warmed punch mugs. Makes about 3.5 Quarts
This drink warms to the toes, and fills your brain with just enough bubbles to start tossing out the holiday cheer left and right. The first batch I’d tried, the apples weren’t imparting enough flavor for me, hence the addition of cider. The Cider used was Blackthorn (cheap and good!) and the beer was Pyramid’s Snowcap, a nice full-bodied, mildly spiced winter warmer.
Got your own holiday classic crockpot drink? Post your favorite in the comments!
The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday, hosted by my great friend (and nearby neighbor) Craig over at Tiki Drinks and Indigo Firmaments, is Spice! What a time for it too, with all the weather we’ve been having here in Sunny (snowy) Portland, there’s no better time for a bit of hot mulled something.
Though, if you’ve got a Tiki bar in the basement, and a decent furnace, then it’s a quick jot downstairs to create a tropical escape from the winter weather. Crank up the thermostat and close all the windows, next thing you know it’s time for a tall, cool, and spicy one.
Since this is such an all-encompassing MxMo topic, I thought I’d not focus on not just one or two spices, but Five Spice! Yes, the lack of pluralization is correct. I got turned on to Five Spice syrup thanks to Martin Cate, who uses it in the Forbidden Island specialty drink, the China Clipper. I twisted it a bit with a darker sugar. We all gotta make it our own, eh?
Five Spice powder, bought or freshly ground, is generally a mix of Cassia, Cloves, Szechuan Pepper, Ginger, and Anise. There appears to be a bit of here and there regionally, with the ingredients, omitting ginger, adding cumin, adding Cassia Buds, but the overall approach is a sort of all in one flavor profile. This spice hits all five points of flavor (omitting Umami), and is usually used for meats and stews in Chinese Cuisine.
These flavors are already used separately in drinks, and apply themselves quite well combined with a a nice blend of rich dark rums. I utilized these flavors for these extremely inspired drink that I can barely take credit for, which I like to call, FIN.
- 4 drops Falernum Bitters
- 4 drops Hebsaint
- 3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Rich Five Spice Syrup
- 3/4 oz Coruba
- 3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151
- 2 oz Soda Water
Place ingredients with 1 cup of cracked ince in tin shaker and mix with top down mixer for 3 seconds, or pulse blend for no more than 5 seconds. Serve in a tall tiki mug, with an orange spiral.
It’s hard to recognize the juices in this, as they almost reach an orange flavor, aided by the cassia in the five spice. There is no burn to the drink, but an overall smoothness that is almost unsettling. There is a note of the peppercorn in the end flavor, but not enough to recognize it if you didn’t know it was in there. It’s spicy and mellow, and I like this drink a helluva lot, you should too.
I suppose you want to know how to make Rich Five Spice Syrup, eh?
Rich Five Spice Syrup
- 1 TBSP Five Spice Powder
- 2 cups Natural Cane or Demerara Sugar
- 1 cup Water
Combine Dry Ingredients. Bring Water to a boil, add sugar and spice, and reduce heat. Stir until clear and take off of heat. Strain through a fine metal strainer to remove any of the larger bits of five spice powder, let cool, and refrigerate. Makes about 24 ounces, and can keep for a damn long time.
Just a fun bit of bilge, Reynolés Galley was featured in the most recent On The Rocks column in the Portland Tribune. I’m going to have to go hit the store for a physical copy… to send to me mum, of course.
On the rocks: The bar’s where you are
With the upcoming gift giving season, I thought I’d throw out this little gift guide. Consider this your shopping list for the Tikiphile or Mixologist in your life. Hell, just give yourself a little something this hoilday season, you deserve it. The following items are tried and true, tested, touched and tamed and approved by me personally.
|Waring Ice Crusher Pro
Coming in around $80, this sucker’s just the right thing for throwing a tiki-drink party or two. Not great for the day to day one round evenings, but this sucker saves hours and a few wrists before full-fledged events. We used this at Teardrop for a few Tiki Tuesdays, so it can take whatever abuse you’ve got for it.
|Rhum Clément XO
Possibly the best high-end Rhum I’ve ever had. Coming in around $150, this would be a gift for someone REALLY special in your life, and hopefully someone with a strong inclination for sharing. Seriously, liquid gold.
|St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
One of the most useful substances known to bartenders, this Allspice Dram carries plenty of funk and a lot of allspice punch to whatever it touches. One quarter ounce goes a long way, so it’s the gift that will keep on giving. Used in classics, classic tiki cocktails, and even a few new drinks, this is definitely one for everyone’s liquor cabinet. Priced around $30.
|Orange Bitters Collection
Love a Martini, but not sure that Regan’s is the right Orange Bitters for you? This collection gives you a thorough sampling of Orange Bitters currently on the market. Angostura just came out with their product earlier this year, and it’s already quite the sensation. Sells for $21.95 through Kegworks.com.
|Anchor Hocking Ypsilon Acqua
Used by the fine folks at Teardrop, the improvements over the traditional cocktail glass are VAST. Let me tell you, when carrying a big tray of glasses, this is a drastic improvement over the easily spillable traditional cocktail glass. Doesn’t look that great with a rim, but they’re quite durable. They’re priced anywhere from $72 to $130, depending on where you go. Best to find them at a local restaurant supplier.
|Trader Vic’s Glassware
I’ll have to admit, these are not the sturdiest pieces of glassware, and they’re a bit pricey, but damned if they don’t add a touch of the debonair to any drink that fills them. A Mai Tai just don’t look right without one. Don’t forget to enter “MaiTai” at checkout for a 10% discount.
|Vintage Barkcloth shirt
My closet is filled with these suckers, and I don’t mind sharing the look. Originally developed to imitate Tapa, barkcloth is a sturdy material with a unique woven texture. You’ll usually find these in your local mid-century modern store, or vintage clothing store. Goodwill or Salvation army can be a tough find, though there’s always a large selection of SOME kind of Hawaiian shirt there. The bonus feature on these shirts? Shiny gold buttons. Dig it!
|Bon Vivant’s Companion from MudPuddle Books
Someone somewhere at sometime ago decided he could just reprint some out of copyright material off of PDFs from google books, rewrap it in plastic and make a mint. These are not they. The classic cocktail book selection from MudPuddle Books are extreme quality reproductions, down to the typeface, binding, and cover. Reading these online is fine, holding a real quality reproduction in your hand can be down-right breathtaking.
|Fugu Sipper from Munktiki
Strong ceramic, lovely coloring, and a bit of whimsy. These are what I’ve come to expect from Munktiki over the years. These Fugu Sippers are the perfect addition to a mug collection, or way to start a new one. Besides, how else are you going to hold your Fugu for Two?
Well, there’s what I’d get for myself if I didn’t already have most of the stuff above already. If none of these are quite floating your boat, you can always check out the Forbidden Island 2008 gift guide, the Tiki Talk Holiday Gift Guide, and of course, interesting reads on the Library page.
if you haven’t noticed, it’s been a bit quieter around these parts lately. Nothing but the internet version of tumbleweeds rolling across the screen. Well, my apologies for that, it’s been quite a bit busy here at Trader Tiki headquarters. So I’m sure you’re wondering, in your dreams and during the day, just WHAT have I been up to? (and seriously, if you’ve had any Trader Tiki related dreams, don’t blame me, blame the Rum!)
Lately, I’ve been working on a cocktail consulting project, where I was able to assist my friend David with menu and ingredient development for a new restaurant location. After many weeks of work, today, I’m beyond pleased to announce the Grand Opening of Tommy O’s in Camas, WA on Friday, December 5th!
If you’ve ever been to Tommy O’s in downtown Vancouver, you know the quality of the food and service to be barnone. The cocktail menu though, maybe not so much. The drinks were decent, but a bit behind the times. Well, times have changed, and the cocktail menu for the Camas restaurant is now robust with cocktail classics, and bold new drinks, and a few seasonal delights. Beyond the standard cocktail menu, the bar staff is armed with 30 classic and modern drinks to please any palate. If you thought that was enough, the bartenders are also being trained in classic technique, stirring and shaking and jiggering, taught by one of the best bartenders I know, David Shenaut of Teardrop Lounge.
Here’s a look at the new cocktail menu.
Rum, Lime, and Gomme Syrup
Vodka, St Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon and Egg White, garnished with a Housemade Hibiscus Tincture
Tequila, Chambord, Passion Fruit, Freshly made sour mix, and a Li Hing Mui rim
Rye, Sweet Vermouth, and Housemade Macadamia Bitters
Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Orange Bitters, garnished with Lemon Zest
Dry Fly Gin, Chartreuse, Sweet Vermouth and Campari. Misted with a Flamed Housemade Old Wood bitters
A Housemade Tonic made for winter weather, served with your choice of base spirit.
Tommy O’s Mai Tai
A blend of aged rums, Lime, Curacao, Orgeat, and Falernum.
Hot Buttered Rum
Cider, Rum, and Housemade Hot Buttered Rum Batter
Lime, Lemon, Pineapple, Passionfruit, Bitters, and a blend of three aged rums.
You may be able to point out a few particular points of influence I had there. Yes, the Mai Tai is branded. Changing the name of a classic to suit a recipe tweak is fine by me. Feel absolutely free to order it Trader Vic style.
The new Tommy O’s is located in Camas, Washington, at SE 34th and SE 192nd. Hope to see you there sometime!