FI Runner Up, Gantt’s Caipirissima

Posted by TraderTiki on October 3rd, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Drinks, Events, Recipes, Rum, Tiki Drinks

The second Runner up of the Forbidden Island Cocktail Contest, Gantt’s Caprissima, by Craig Hermann! This drink is on the menu at Forbidden Island from now through November! This drink is a simple and simply delicious combination, the Grapefruit and Cinnamon combo is truly a Beachcomber classic.  Watch out for the grapefruit though, the thinner the peel the better it’ll be.  Craig also has his own writeup on the drink. Cheers to the runner up!

Gantts Caiprissima

Gantt’s Caiprissima

  • 2 oz Rhum Clement VSOP
  • ¾ oz Cinnamon Syrup (adjust to taste, depending on grapefruit sweetness)
  • ¼ Grapefruit cut into pieces

In a mixing glass, muddle the grapefruit chunks and syrup.  Add rum and crushed ice, shake, and pour the contents into a Double Old Fashioned glass.

September Tiki Tuesday Menu

Posted by TraderTiki on September 14th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Events, Teardrop Tiki Menu, Trader Vic

This is going to be a good one. Drop on in and check it out at Teardrop Lounge in Downtown Portland. Drinks from this menu will be served 4pm to closing!

Tiki Cocktails
September 16th, 2008

Amuse bouche ~ The Mai Tai 3000, by Jamie Boudreau

Coconut Kallaloo
Lime, coconut, and rum, the trinity of tropical tastes!

Ginger Grant
A Beachbum Berry Original, featuring Ginger Liqueur and Trader Tiki’s own Tiki Bitters!

Lei Lani Volcano
This drink hails from Disney’s Polynesian Village resort. A balanced sweet and sour combination of Guava, Lime, Coconut Rum and Pineapple juice is no Mickey Mouse cocktail.

Mai Kai Barrel o’ Rum
A heaping helping of Rum, Citrus, and Honey, as served at the Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Mai Tai
Trader Vic’s most famous creation, and easily the most recognized tiki drink in the world. This lightly sweet combination of aged Rum, Lime, Curacao and Orgeat put Trader Vic’s on the map.

Navy Grog
That good old Don the Beachcomber classic, with a mix of aged rums, grapefruit, and agave nectar.

Nui Nui
Don the Beachcomber’s spicy classic, with Aged Rum, Orange and Lime juices, and Don’s Spices #2, a secret only recently unearthed by Jeff “BeachBum” Berry.

A blend of light rum and passion fruit, from the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Watch your hair, it’s served flaming!

Pirate’s Grog
A Forbidden Island interpretation of the Pirate Grog from Blackbeard’s Galley in Newport Beach, CA. Strong Citrus and a bit of spice.

Puka Punch
A boisterous blend of booze from the sons of the ninja down at the Tiki-Ti, featuring a blend of light, dark, and Jamaican Rum, topped with a paper parasol, in case of impending rain.

Rum Pot
Trader Vic’s sweet and complex original, recently unearthed for Tales of the Cocktail 2008.

Trade Wind Cocktail
A non-rum drink? Blasphemy! Well, the Gin and Citrus won’t do you wrong. From the Trade Winds on Long Island.

The most infamous of all Don the Beachcomber’s creations, any more than two and you’ll be joining the living dead with this combination of tropical juices, passion fruit, and plenty of dark and light rums.

On Demerara Rum

Posted by TraderTiki on September 5th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Product Reviews, Rum, Trader Vic

When you’re thinking about tiki drinks, and rum, one of the things that comes to mind is how Donn and Vic were able to blend rums to make such potent potables.  Everyone else surely had a rum or two up their sleeve, why didn’t they think to grab the rum off of the shelf, and make the next great Rum-dinger?

One of Donn’s secrets was reaching for the unknown categories of Rum, bringing in different flavors to each blend.  Probably his most used secret was Rum coming from Guyana, known as Demerara Rum.  In the past, there were a number of distilleries operating under various labels, but nowadays the sole distiller on Guyana is Demerara Distillers, Ltd.  Their signature line, El Dorado, boasts one of the largest product lines in Rum today, including a 151 proof, a dark, gold, white, and five different aged rums.  This doesn’t even include the numerous rums they produce for other labels, and the products from the distillery that go into numerous other brands, including Pusser’s and Lemon Hart.  At production rates of 26M Liters per year, that’s a lot of rum!

This smokey, rich molasses-based Rum was the secret sauce behind a number of Donn’s most famous creations, such as the Zombie, Coffee Grog, and the Demerara Dry Float.  Vic had this to say about the stuff in his “Book of Food and Drink:”

“Demerara rum… has its own class.  It is similar in some respects to dark Jamaica, but it has a dry burned flavor along with the aromatic and pungent flavor of the Jamaica rum.  The makers of Demerara rums take great pride in obtaining distinctive flavor in their products and it is interesting to try to detect their flavoring agents.”

One of the biggest contributing factors to the unique flavors brought about from Demerara Distillers has to be the use of a 200 year old Coffey Still that’s been in continuous operation for around 150 years.  The products of this still go into their finest rums, and is a particularly high selling point for Pusser’s, which gets a lot of its flavor from the unique combination of Demerara and Jamaican Rums.

Now, I couldn’t tell you precisely what brands Donn or Vic were using (Lemon Hart, Lamb’s Navy, and Hudson’s Bay were available at the time), though there are some hints in this Rebirth of the Zombie post on TikiCentral.  These days though, the Demerara most available (and highly recommended) for mixing is Lemon Hart, which is available in 80 and 151 proof.  The 151 can be distinguished solely by a red triangle in the upper left side (while facing) of the label denoting “151″.  After a few rather sloshy mistakes, I now put a bright red speed pour on the top of my 151 bottle to distinguish the two.

I was given a few samples of the 12, 15, and 21 year rums by the folks at Demerara Distillers, and had imbibed plenty of the stuff down at Tales of the Cocktail.  I am very pleased to have such good stuff generally available, if not locally, online, and am proud to boast almost the entire collection now at the Galley.

The 12 year rum starts off with a bit of a punch of smoke to the nose, but calms down after a few minutes in the glass.  The taste is a bit of butterscotch, honey, and vanilla, with a sweet floral bite on the end.  The viscosity of this rum is just pure joy.  The 15 year is a touch dryer than the 12, still with a lot of the honey flavor.  The nose is noticeably calmer, and almost floral.  It is only slightly viscous, and has a gorgeous woody cinnamon finish to it.  The nose on the 21 year old is almost transparent, with only the vaguest hints of a floral cologne, and honeycomb.  The flavor is sharp, with a hefty alcoholic punch at the front, making way for cedar and citrus notes on the tongue.  The 21 year is definitely one to try, but I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed with the younger rums.  Now if only I could get my hands on a bottle of the 25 year, wouldn’t that be a treat?

While the higher aged rums can be a touch pricey to mix with, like Gary Regan says, crap in, crap out.  The 12 year actually falls around the same price point ($24) as the Lemon Hart 80, and is quite a bit smoother, while maintaining that same sharp smoke note at the front.  The biggest intial tell between the two is the rich, syrupy viscosity of the 12 year compared to the Lemon Hart 80.   After sitting a few minutes, the notes of the 12 still stand strong, while the Lemon Hart 80 has lost a bit of its initial punch, but still packs a bit of burn on the end.

The 12 year El Dorado, while a lovely sipping Rum, absolutely shimmers and shines in this adaptation of a Trader Vic original, the Rum Pot.

Rum Pot

Rum Pot

  • 1 1/2 El Dorado 12 year
  • 1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Orange Juice
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake well and pour into Double Rocks Glass.

The depth and sweetness of the Demerara Rum and the light citrus notes from the Lemon and Orange clash in mysterious and surprisingly complex ways.  This is one of my favorites as of late, and has even been added to the permanent selection for the Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge menu.

For more info the fine rums of Demerara Distillers, be sure to visit the Demerara Distillers site, or their page on the Ministry of Rum.

Potions of the Caribbean

Posted by TraderTiki on May 20th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Events, Tales 2008, Trader Vic

Cross-posted from, the official blog of the 2008 Tales of the Cocktail.

Tales of the Cocktail is only a two months away, even a bit less at this point. At this time, thoughts of drunkenly gallivanting about, discussing the business of the boozeness, and many handshakes and business card exchanges swirl about in my head. Between the lectures and the briefings, the tastings and the dealing, where can a guy just relax and get a drink?

Good thing someone thought to talk to a bum about this. A Beachbum, in fact, who, along with a few other panelists, will be providing a trip through the tropics on Saturday, July 19th, with their presentation “Potions of the Caribbean: Lost Cocktails from America’s Post War Playground“. Here, the crowd will be whisked away from the muggy Louisiana summer to a cool Caribbean isle (or at least a room with decent air conditioning), with tropical libations all around.

Along with featured presenter Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, the four panelists are all widely traveled personae with their own take on tropical libations and the Caribbean scene. These prestigious paragons of paneling are Wayne Curtis, author of the essential book And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails; Martin Cate, owner of the celebrated Forbidden Island Tiki bar by the San Francisco Bay; Brother Cleve, the Boston-based mixologist who kick-started the 1990s “Cocktail Nation” movement with his band Combustible Edison; and Steven Remsberg, owner of the world’s largest private rum collection. They’ll be backed up by some real firepower behind the TOC bar as well, since our sample drinks will be mixed by three of the Blogosphere’s premiere Tiki drink experts: Rick Stutz of Kaiser Penguin, Blair Reynolds, aka Trader Tiki, and Craig Hermann of Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments.

The welcoming drink, as in the days when a bowl of punch was expected when dropping by a neighbor’s, will be the 17th-century Meeting House Punch. Contrary to popular belief, during the great age of piracy the buccaneers’ drink of choice was not a bottle of rum, but a bowl of rum punch. Punches were all the rage even among cut-throats like John Rackham. After all, what goes better with plunder than sugar and a few slices of lime?

The presentation will begin in the Caribbean after WWII, when Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico all developed their tourist industries to compete with Hawaii as the “other” exotic vacation paradise. They built lavish resorts, where they served inventive tropical cocktails inspired by the Tiki drinks served in America’s wildly popular Polynesian-themed bars. The bum and the other presenters will be talking about the people behind this era … a story which actually starts hundreds of years before, when the first visitors to the area also brought their own drink recipes with them.

Since the Spanish “discovered” the Caribbean, invading hordes have continually tried to turn it into something else. For the Conquistadors, the Caribbean was “New Spain”; for the Edwardian English, Jamaica was “The New Riviera”; for 1940s Americans, Havana was “The Las Vegas Of The Caribbean”; and for the multinational resort developers of the 1960s, the Caribbean was “Hawaii In The Atlantic.” And whatever the incarnation, there were always new drinks served.

La FloridaJeff “Beachbum” Berry will start the seminar off by tracing Caribbean drink history up to Cuba’s transformation into America’s playground during Prohibition, when famous bartenders like Constantine Ribailagua invented drinks like the La Florida Cocktail (the next drink sample). The bum will also take a look at Sloppy Joe Abeal, who created exotic cocktails for thirsty American celebrities like Ernest Hemingway.

Martin Cate will then take the floor to detail the native spirits, spices and fruits that are unique to the Caribbean, which Don The Beachcomber encountered on his travels to the region in the 1920s — and brought to Hollywood, using them as his inspiration for the first “Tiki Drinks.”

Rum PotAs the third sample is served, a Trader Vic concoction called the Rum Pot, Wayne will reveal how the Tiki cycle went full circle with the story of Trader Vic in the Caribbean: Like Don The Beachcomber, Vic learned how to make tropical drinks by travelling to Cuba. When his restaurant expanded into a chain, he opened a lavish Trader Vic’s in Havana — just in time for Castro’s revolutionaries to storm it.

In the next round, Brother Cleve will delve deeper into the post-WWII “Hawaii In The Atlantic” tourist pitch that led to Caribbean resorts creating their own Tiki-style Drinks, such as the oeuvre of St. Croix’s Weston Huggins and Puerto Rico’s Joe Scialom.

Jasper's JamaicanThe final drink sampled will be a Jasper’s Jamaican cocktail, served while Stephen Remsberg recounts the aftermath of “Atlantic Hawaii”: When the Tiki craze fizzled in the 1970s, Caribbean bartenders went back to their own kind of indigenous cocktails. Stephen, who sampled these bartenders’ wares back in the 1970s, will demo how to properly make a Jasper’s Jamaican, a drink developed by the most legendary of these bartenders, Jasper LeFranc.

Tickets for the session are available on the Tales of the Cocktail website. Hope to see you there!

(note - special thanks to the bum for providing such great information!)

May 20th, Tiki Tuesday menu

Posted by TraderTiki on May 15th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Events, Teardrop Tiki Menu, Trader Vic

Hey folks, here’s a look at the menu for the May 20th Tiki Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge.

Hope to see you there!

Aku-Aku Gold CupAku-Aku Gold Cup
A spicy citrus and rum concoction from Don the Beachcomber’s Aku-Aku restaurant in the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas.
Beachombers Rum BarrelBeachcomber’s Rum Barrel
A lovely libation of rum, tropical juices and exotic spices. This hails from Don the Beachcomber’s at the Sahara in Las Vegas. The drink is a doozey, and best shared with Ohana (close friends and family).
Chilled Coffee and tropical rum make up this libation developed by Don the Beachcomber in the early 1930s.
Jet PilotJet Pilot
A spicy sweet drink from The Luau in Beverly Hills. The Luau was owned by Steven Crane, who also owned the now defunct Kon-Tiki here in Portland.
Lei Lani VolcanoLei Lani Volcano
This drink hails from Disney’s Polynesian Village resort. A balanced sweet and sour combination of Guava, Lime, Coconut Rum and Pineapple juice is no Mickey Mouse cocktail.
Mai Tai
Trader Vic’s most famous creation, and easily the most recognized tiki drink in the world. This combination of aged Rum, Lime, Curacao and Orgeat put Trader Vic’s on the map.
Nui NuiNui Nui
Don the Beachcomber’s spicy classic, with Aged Rum, Orange and Lime juices, and Don’s Spices #2, a secret only recently unearthed by Jeff “BeachBum” Berry.
Pain KillerPainkiller
Pusser’s Rum is the feature in this coconut and pineapple drink. One of these to relive the pain of the work-a-day world, two to numb, a third and you might find yourself sailing the seven seas.
Queen's Road CocktailQueen’s Road Cocktail
Ginger, gold rum and citrus make the mix for this Don the Beachcomber classic. This was once served at his Colonel’s Plantation Steakhouse, featuring a private treehouse for two.
Trader Vic’s tangy mix of Orange, Lemon, Rum, Brandy and Orgeat. This drink is most famous as a bowl for four, but works quite well when served for one.
Suffering Bastard
From the Sheperd’s Hotel in Cairo, where a “poor, suffering barsteward” would put this together for the British officers who frequented the establishment. It’s a tart and rich combination of Gin, Bourbon, Lime and Teardrop Lounge’s own Ginger Beer.
Zombie Punch, 1934Zombie
The most infamous of all Don the Beachcomber’s creations, any more than two and you’ll be joining the living dead with this combination of tropical juices, passion fruit, and plenty of dark and light rums.