MxMo Rum, three little rums

Posted by TraderTiki on May 12th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Grog Log, MxMo, Rum, Sippin' Safari

Mixology Monday Rum!For my own, and to be made very brief, foray into this Hulabalooza we call Mixology Monday, the subject is Rum, and is being hosted here at Tradertiki.com! I have decided to descend down the dark path of some pitch black and fiery rums, and their cocktail interpretations as developed by Don the Beachcomber. Each drink features only the one rum, and not the usual blended variety of rums Don was known for, but the man could take one note and make a symphony (and a few bucks as well).

Donga PunchThe first rum up is the ever-increasingly hard to find Aged Martinique. In this instance, I am using St. James Extra old, one of my favorite mixing rums, known for its smoky, spicy and wooden notes. I am, alas, an ounce or so away from another empty bottle. This is my sacrifice to you, Don the Beachcomber’s Donga Punch (Sippin’ Safari, page 35). Taking notes from the spiciness of the dram, Don added a mellowed and sweet spice with his Don’s Mix, a blend of Grapefruit and Cinnamon. Unfortunately, it was never written down exactly what grapefruit was used, but I feel that Melogold tends to work wonders in all things tiki. There is the aftertaste of bitter, but none of the harshness that can come with the red of its kind. When you’re working with this much lime, one souring ingredient can be quite enough. Of course, lime makes its way into the drink, giving the palate a refreshing breeze to open it up to feel the notes of the rum. This is a beautiful drink, and a strong example of Don’s mastery of mixing with Rum.

Rum, Gomme, and LimeNext on the list to try, the Ron Pompero Aniversario, making its way to take place of Infierno, a long defunct 20 years aged Rum of Cuban Origin. This is a very dark and sweet aged rum, a product of Venezuela. It has plenty of the dark smoke and wood tones, as well as an almost tangy maple. The Aniversario pairs very well with a nice cigar, Partagas Black if you’ve got ‘em. Don took this Rum, well, the Infierno, and matched it with two of its best friends, Gomme and Lime, in a drink, very aptly titled Rum, Gomme, and Lime (Sippin’ Safari, page 40). Put in white or gold rum, you have a nice Daiquiri. Match the Gomme and Lime with a well-aged dark rum, and you’ve got a testament to the very foundations of Tiki culture, the modern cocktail, and Liquor et al. Yes, that’s plenty of ice filling that cup… the rum can take it, and still smile all the way down your throat.

151 SwizzleFinally, in the cavalcade of Rums and Libations is that great old bugger that adds depth and kick to just about anything, Lemon Hart 151, from Lemon Hart. This well-utilized Demerara Rum tends to make its way across the Tiki drink spectrum, mixed in everything from its own 151 Swizzle, to Don’s infamous Zombie. By itself, this stuff is one helluva kick, smooth up front with plenty of burn in the back. The flavor, well, to be honest is about as smokey as an overused ashtray. Once put into a glass with a few ingredients, however, this spirit opens up like nothing else, adding depth and warmth and a true spirit of the islands to all it touches. The drink I’m putting this sucker in tonight is, for the third time on this site, the 151 Swizzle (Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, page 45), consistently my last drink of the night whenever I visit Forbidden Island. Spice, syrup, lime, Herbsaint, and plenty of ice round out the spirit, giving it more sweetness, longevity, and enhancing the natural flavors. It calms the 151 down, and brings it right back up into full flavor. It’s a fantastic drink I highly recommend.

Well, that does it for this MxMo Rum! entry. I hope you enjoy the wrap up to be posted tomorrow. As of this time, there are 27 entries, and still a few heavy hitters that haven’t pitched in. I can stay up as late as you can fellas, I’ve got plenty of bottles of 151 left.


MxMo Limit One: Wisdom of Pele

Posted by TraderTiki on March 16th, 2008 — Posted in Concoctioneering, Don the Beachcomber, Drinks, MxMo, Original Drinks, Recipes, Rum, Tiki Drinks

MxMo: Limit OneFirst 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.

Don the Beachcomber 1956 Hawaii menu

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 Pele

The Wisdom of Pele, at Forbidden Island

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”.


Test Pilot

Posted by TraderTiki on March 1st, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Drinks, Grog Log, Recipes, Rum, Teardrop Tiki Menu, Tiki Drinks

When celebrating Don the Beachcomber’s legacy, or his recent birthday (Feb. 22d), what better way to remember the man than through his signature 1-2 punch of Bitters and Pastis (Herbsaint preferred, Pernod in a pinch), and the drink I think really brings it out best, the Test Pilot.

The bitters/pastis combination adds a lot of complexity and roundedness to the drink. Pastis, Herbsaint in particular (drop the R, rearrange the letters to find the origin), in small amounts, adds the strange sweetness of anise, while extending the life of the flavor. For my palate, it’s almost like an envelope, wrapping a bit around the rest of the flavors, keeping them together. The bitters, in this case Angostura, gives a nice spicy start and clove and sarsaparilla-like depth to the drink. Combined, the two are a bit of a circle and spike to the drink, if I can be allowed to make such a visual example of the taste.

The Test Pilot, according to the Grog Log, is by Don the Beachcomber circa 1941, and for my money, is one of the top examples of Don’s mastery of mixology.

Test Pilot

Test Pilot (source Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log)

  • 1/2 ounce Lime
  • 1/2 ounce Falernum
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau (3 tsp in Grog Log, same measurement)
  • 3/4 ounce Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal recommended)
  • 1 1/2 ounce Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba recommended)
  • dash Bitters
  • dash Herbsaint

Mix/Blend with 1 cup crushed ice, pour into Double Rocks glass. Add crushed ice to fill.

One thing I notice while making this drink is that it really makes the falernum shine. Using more of a sweetening falernum, like Velvet Falernum, makes a very good drink, but using a spicy homemade, like Paul’s Falernum #8 really brings out all the spice and complexity the drink has to offer. My last batch of Falernum, similar to Paul’s but double the spice, and adding one whole star anise, comes heavily and heartily recommended.

And of course, this will be on the menu for the March 18th Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge! Shameless self-promotion? You got it!

Of course, I’m not the first cocktail blogger to put up my take on this drink. Enjoy Rick and Paul’s takes on this delicious drink!


Trader Vic’s Aku Aku

Posted by TraderTiki on February 26th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Rum, Trader Vic

The word Aku-Aku can refer to a few things, one being the movement of a heavy flat bottomed object, and the other being a spiritual guide. It appears to be a rarotongan term, so the reality is anybody’s guess. But certainly you’ll be guided, spiritually to get your flat-bottomed object to a Trader Vic’s sometime for their delicious frozen concoction, the Aku-Aku.

Aku Aku

Trader Vic’s Aku-Aku (Source: Trader Vic’s Tiki Party!)

  • 1 ounce white rum
  • 1/2 ounce peach liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 2 ounces fresh pineapple chunks
  • 8-10 large fresh mint leaves
  • dash simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed ice

Blend until smooth, garnish with mint sprig and pineapple wedge

It’s a tasty drink, not a lot of booze but plenty of flavor.  The mint makes it really nice and refreshing, and since it’s blended, the mint leaves aren’t a thready or interruptive texture.  As well, as the bum pointed out, it’s a direct rip-off of Don the Beachcomber’s Missionary’s Downfall, with just a bit of difference in the amount of lime used (add about another ounce).  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say.

Blend, drink, and enjoy!


Nui Nui, on the Menu Feb 19th.

Posted by TraderTiki on February 15th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Rum, Sippin' Safari, Teardrop Tiki Menu

Originally known as the Pupule (Hawaiian for crazy), the Nui Nui  was one of Don the Beachcomber’s original creations in his 1930s bar in Hollywood, and seems to have been fairly exclusive to the Don the Beachcomber restaurants and other of his haunts and creations.  There don’t seem to be any copies of this on the non-Don tiki bar menus I’ve seen.  Perhaps it’s because of the secrecy of the ingredients, or perhaps the name didn’t catch on.

You’d be lucky to find another like this classic on the menu at most tiki bars these days, but it holds a special place at Forbidden Island, and will be available on the special menu during Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop!

Nui Nui

It’s a true call to tropical islands, with some cinnamon, dark rum, and a mixture known only as Don’s Spices #2.

Nui Nui in Hawaiian means very very, or very large.  I think you’ll like this one very, very much.  Be sure to be at Teardrop Lounge on Feb 19th and have one!