MxMo Bourbon

Posted by TraderTiki on June 15th, 2008 — Posted in Bourbon, MxMo, Trader Vic

MxMo BourbonTime for another mixology monday. This has to be one of my favorite parts of the month, for no matter what I’m doing, sitting and reading through my cocktail books, or sitting in the galley trying out a new recipe becomes a required part of my To Do list.

This month’s theme, Bourbon, is hosted by the fine friendly fellas at Scofflaw’s Den, the second most googleable site for “concoctioneering”.

Bourbon, of course, isn’t in heavy use in the Tiki circuit. There are a few, to be sure (an Eastern Sour and Suffering Bastard come to mind), being that rum is the brown, clear, or “other” spirit of choice. Searching around Trader Vic’s book of Food and Drink, though, brings out a rather interesting looking drink recipe. As well, seeing as it calls for Shaved Ice, and I just happen to have a shiny new shaved ice machine, well, this one ain’t going where the Monkey put the Peanuts, so to speak.

Here’s the recipe and writing straight from the horse’s mouth.

Bourbon Squash

Bourbon Squash

A fancy-pants if there ever was one - the only bourbon drink I really enjoy.

This should be mixed and served in a 14-ounce mixing glass, for the reason that this glass tapers and permits proper stirring.

  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 ounces bourbon whisky (Four Roses or P.M.)

Squeeze orange and lemon into glass, dropping in the shells; add sugar and dissolve in the juice. Pack with shaved ice, add whisky, and stir thoroughly. Serve with straws. I recommend Four Roses or P.M. because they are good blended whiskies and I think blended whiskies make better mixed drinks than straight ones.

It’s a lovely and refreshing drink, perfect for this time of year. Almost like an Old-Fashioned for the summer weather, very simple, very good. I used Bulleit Bourbon for this, and was certainly not disappointed. I’ll have to admit that my Bourbon collection is vastly outshined by rum (and I like to keep it that way), but it’s one hell of a spirit, and I’m always eager to try another. Any suggestions for another Bourbon to try for this refreshing drink?

Mint Julep

Posted by TraderTiki on May 4th, 2008 — Posted in Bourbon, Rum, Trader Vic

April showers bring May flowers, and this weekend brings about that time honored tradition of horse racing, the Kentucky Derby, and its drinking counterpart, the Mint Julep.

There’s not much on this subject I can tell you about that hasn’t been written already. In fact, Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Mint Julep post has just about everything you need to know about it. There are a few further twists that can be picked up (if you can find it) in Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Em. There’s a multitude of stories and julep recipes. Seems like everytime you cross a state, county, city, or even street in the south, someone’s got their own way to make a Mint Julep, and a cross-eye towards any variance in their time-honored tradition. I have to go with Stanley’s first recipe though, a nice in-between that serves damn nicely.


Mint Julep

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 dozen mint leaves
  • 1 jigger Bourbon whiskey
  • 1 pony rum

Put the mint leaves into a tall glass in which the julep is to be served. Add the sugar and crush in a little water. Pour in the Bourbon whiskey, then the rum, and fill the glass with shaved ice. Jiggle the mixture with a long-handled spoon (do not stir) until the outside of the glass or metal goblet is heavily frosted. Arrange a bouquet of several sprigs of mint on top just before handing to the recipient, who will ever after bless you.

I’ll have to admit to throwing in a few tricks from Chris McMillan’s Mint Julep video, as I tend to incorporate his authority in any New Orleans (or, well, just about any) drink I make. Ice first, then booze through the ice for that extra cooling effect. As well, being gentle with the mint, so as not to arouse any of the bitterness in the mint. Oh, and if using a 1:1 simple syrup instead of sugar, be sure to use a bit extra… there’s quite a bit of water in there.

You’ll notice a bit of a variation from the standard of an all-Bourbon drink above, which is, the inclusion of rum. After all, for an all-American (with European and Arabic influences) drink like the Mint Julep, which has been around since who knows when, Rum was once the American spirit, and bound to be in a few recipes. Even Jerry Thomas’ bon Vivant’s Companion lists a “dash of Jamaica Rum” as a component in a proper Mint Julep. Of course, even then there are variations with Peach Brandy and Brandy, and even Cognac. Long live the variations.

Trader Vic even has a recipe for a full Rum Julep in his Book of Food and Drink. Bourbon Juleps, as he says, can go “where the monkey put the peanuts”. I don’t agree with him entirely, but must agree that Rum and mint tend to go together as well as any Bourbon I’ve had. He recommends 3 ounces of light rum, prepped the same, and served with the mint sprigs and a slice of lemon.

Whichever style you have it, whether Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, or even Blue Bayou (sprite and mint syrup… for the kids), now’s the time to have one.

MxMo XXIV, Variations on the Mai Tai

Posted by TraderTiki on February 10th, 2008 — Posted in Bourbon, MxMo, Rum

MxMo XXIV, VariationsAnother Mixology Monday is again upon us, this time hosted at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour. The theme this MxMo is Variations, an intriguing thought, particularly for Tiki mixology. For all of the Drinks that Don or Vic developed, there were many different recipes at Tiki Bars and exotic lounges all across the country. To give an idea of what this would have been like, consider the Flaming Moe episode of The Simpsons. After obtaining the secret recipe Homer develops, Moe gets the stranglehold on the product, but once the secret ingredient is out, the Flaming Moe becomes as readily available on every street corner as a cup of coffee. Of course, the Hotels, restaurants and lounges that sprang up during the Tiki craze didn’t even wait to get the secret ingredient, as more often than not a simple name would suffice. If the clientèle had never been to the real Don the Beachcomber’s, how would they know what to expect in a Zombie? Alls I’m saying is that recipe variations in the Tiki world are plentiful.

But enough rambling, onto the mixology! For this round of MxMo, I went with Trader Vic’s classic Mai Tai. Now, the Mai Tai itself has a few variation you’ll get depending on where you go, such as the Vic’s Mai Tai, the purported Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Swizzle, and the Hawaiian Mai Tai, not to mention every bar or lounge’s guess of a drink. Each of these, supposedly, of their own origin. But, that’s not the variation I went for. The Mai Tai, as served at Trader Vic’s these days, usually involves their house Mai Tai Mix, rum and lime. There’s plenty of the house Mai Tai Mix flowing at Trader Vic’s, and because of its ease of use, a few classic recipes have been adapted to use it. These “variations” create 5 different drinks, each simply by changing the amount or style of liquor.

Suffering Bastard, Honi Honi, Menehune Juice, Vodka Mai Tai, Mai Tai

The drinks above, in order:

Trader Vic’s Suffering Bastard : Mai Tai with extra rum (2 ounces dark, 1 ounce light), garnished with cucumber

Honi Honi : Mai Tai with Bourbon in place of rum

Menehune Juice : Mai Tai with light rum

Vodka Mai Tai : Mai Tai with Vodka

Mai Tai : Trader Vic’s classic, using 2 ounces of aged Jamaican rum, or in the modern recipe, 1 ounce dark and one ounce gold

Besides the Menehune Juice and Vodka Mai Tai, these drinks each have further variations, or are variations of earlier recipes. The Suffering Bastard recipe was altered heavily from the original Shepherds Hotel recipe, likely for the simplicity of use. The original Honi Honi, developed by Trader Vic in the early 40s, also had nothing to do with the mix above, but was a mixture of lemon juice, apricot brandy, and rum. Hmm… apricot brandy, I’ll have to use this for the upcoming Raiders of the Lost Cocktail.

And, if you don’t know the original formula for the Mai Tai, well… first, you’re missing out. And second, the recipe, from Trader Vic’s:

Mai Tai

  • 2 ounces 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 ounce French Garnier Orgeat
  • 1/2 ounce Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao
  • /4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup
  • juice from one fresh lime

Hand shake and garnish with half of the lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass.

Typically I’ll use Appleton V/X for a damned fine Mai Tai, though I’ve made it with the Appleton 21, and I have to say, that was expensive, but truly Mai Tai Roa Ae.

Okole Maluna, or, Bottoms up!

Holidays in the bottle

Posted by TraderTiki on October 21st, 2007 — Posted in Bourbon, Hot Ones

As the month of October beings to wane, and the weather grows cooler, the desire to build a hefty layer of fat and hibernate until spring grows ever stronger. And what better way to nurture this craving than with alcohol and dairy products!

Two products now appearing on shelves, at least in the local liquor stores, are Evan Williams Egg Nog, and Coronado Rompope.

 Evan Williams Egg Nog and Coronado Rompope

Egg Nog has a long standing tradition as a fine holiday (or anytime) drink with uncertain origin. Certainly an old egg flip and egg nog have something in common, but the actual inspiration and name are unknown. I’d suppose the first chicken farmer with too much time and Brandy on their hands, but I’d prefer to let that dog lie, and enjoy what we have before us. The stores are just beginning to fill with Premium Egg Nogs from local dairies, but sadly bereft of the alcohol! Well, Evan Williams has corrected that oversight with their Original Southern Egg Nog. Unfortunately for those seeking more information,  this product is not listed on the Evan Williams website, so my information has to come straight from the bottle. The liquor mixture is a bit different than what I’m used to in an Egg Nog, the usual for me being Brandy and Rum. Here, the producer has listed Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Rum and Brandy. Strange, wouldn’t adding straight Bourbon to blended Bourbon just make blended Bourbon? I may need to call in the experts on that one. Either way, it’s a delicious product drunk straight, or as I prefer to use at, as a bit of tipple in my morning coffee. I usually prefer my egg nog hot, but this is recommended to be served chilled, with a garnish of nutmeg, cinnamon or mint. The flavor is very eggy with a rich texture, and at 19% alcohol, it’s got a little bite. The only thing missing is the bit of cinnamon or nutmeg, but that’s likely to allow the imbiber to spice as desired. It’s no homemade egg nog (a subject to be tackled later), but it’s ready to serve at a moment’s notice.

The next item spotted is the bottled version of a Mexican tradition, known as the Mexican Egg Nog, Rompope. Rompope is a traditional drink in Mexico, served on Holidays and other festivities. There are a few key differences to Rompope, in that it is traditionally rum based, and given vanilla flavoring. The flavor is definitely strong on the vanilla, with no spice to it, and at 10%, the alcohol offers no bite or kick, so it is nothing but rich smooth vanilla. This is still a relatively new discovery for me, so I’ll have to spend some more time with it, and I’ll certainly be trying my own batch this winter. The dairy produced here in Oregon is exceedingly spectacular, and I expect will serve very, very well.

I’ll have to finish these bottles soon and begin making my own version of these classics. May my KitchenAid last the season!

Out for Breakfast

Posted by TraderTiki on October 2nd, 2007 — Posted in Bourbon, Brandy, Morning Cocktails

The midnight darkness stays through morning as autumn has descended upon our fair city, yet still the cry is heard in and just outside of every ham ‘n eggs shop from Albina to Burnside. BREAKFAST!!!

If there’s one thing that is truly a Portland, OR mainstay, it’s breakfast. Most recently some adventurous friends and I hit up Screen Door, a lovely little stop with the best southern-style breakfast I’ve ever had. Well, other than 4am visits to the Waffle House, but those were good in a whole different kind of way.

Brandy Milk Punch from Screen DoorThe best part about it though was the morning cocktail menu, and a damn fine one at that. For our party of four, two Ramos Gin Fizz were ordered, and for myself, a Burnside Brandy Milk Punch. The difference between this Brandy Milk Punch and the recipe I’d made in an my Brandy Milk Punch post was a nice dash of Pernod on the bottom, which worked very nice with the brandy. As Samuel Johnson said, “Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.

The bartender and I had a nice chat about the Ramos, as they used whole milk, orange juice, and only shook it for a few seconds, but still it was damn tasty. After the Brandy Milk Punch, I tried to get the Bartender to recreate the Applejack Old-Fashioned I’ve become so fond of, but there was no Applejack or Whiskey Aged bitters in the house. So, from what we had, somewhere between the Applejack OF and the Tombstone (well, really a Proper Old Fashioned with Maple Syrup), comes the NW Old-Fashioned.

NW Old-Fashioned

  • 2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 1 small orange slice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Muddle the orange slice at the bottom of the glass, add ice, build the drink and stir. Garnish with orange slice, serve with slice at 2pm*

Just an old-fashioned with Maple Syrup, but man what a flavor. The maple syrup and bourbon make an almost too sweet hit on the palate, but the orange oil and bitters kick in to smooth out the mixture into some sort of wonderful Sunday morning perfection in a double-rocks glass.

*2pm as if the customer were facing a clock. A little trick learned from M&S Grill, a chain with a damn decent bar menu.