Another month, another MxMo, so they say. And who are they? I cannot say. But for sure, this is a challenging MxMo idea, as hosted by The Scribe over at A Mixed Dram. So, broaden my horizons, eh? Well, the first thing that came to mind was, thankfully, the first thing in the description, Tequila!
As happens to so many of us, a bad incedent with Tequila at a tender age involving a few Margaritas in red solo cups, little people dressed as KISS, and a hot Los Angeles day did not bode well for my favor with the spirit. I’ve come to respect it, surely, through continued application of the good stuff (Del Maguey Mezcal, Cazadores Añejo), but can’t say I’ve had anything other than a straight shot in a good decade or so.
Well, the liquor fairy arrived at my doorstep a few weeks back with a delivery of what I’m hoping will pull me out of this particular mixological slump, in the form of Inocente Platinum Tequila. Inocente is a triple distilled tequila with an emphasis on removing the “nasty bits” that can easily lead to a hangover, and arrives in a nifty blue “twist” of a bottle that could make a nifty vase, or cheap christmas present. The nose is a sweet but clear tequila scent, with a bit of pear to it. The flavor is a bit relaxed, really only coming in a moment or two into the sip, but is an unmistakable smokey, fruity tequila, with almost no burn. This is definitely a great platinum to ease my way back into tequila mixology.
To mix it up, the emphasis on the smoke and fruit will be brought out by a very simple mix of orange oil, Grand Marnier, and Regan’s Orange bitters in a drink called the Cadillac Coupe. This one’s a bit of a tribute to a chef friend of mine, who, after work, enjoys nothing more than a bit of Platinum Tequila with just a splash of “Grandma” (Grand Marnier).
- 2 oz Platinum Tequila
- 1 oz Grand Marnier
- Regan’s Orange Bitters
- small square piece of orange peel
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with a 3 dashes of orange bitters. Stir the spirits with ice until well chilled, and strain into the glass. Finish by flaming a bit of orange oil over the surface of the drink. This can be accomplished by slicing an inch by inch piece of peel from an orange, holding it over a flame over the drink, and giving a generous squeeze. This will release the oils, and create lovely aromatics, as well as a real crowd-pleasing burst of flame.
The drink is a kick, don’t get me wrong, but the smooth tequila and Grand Marnier mix incredibly well, just as they would in a Cadillac Margarita, of which this is a condensed version (none of that cheap garbage, just booze please!). The flavors are primarily smoke, and orange, with a nice silken mouthfeel from the stirring.
Got your own mixological challenge, a spirit not stumbled upon, or liqueur not liked? Trying mixing it up sometime, there’s nothing like a good challenge to stir your spirits!
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.
Like some sort of vicious cycle, Mixology Monday rears its lovely head again, this time hosted (for Murder!) by Doug over at the Pegu Blog, where he makes a killing… at your cocktail parties! Seriously, watch the commercial, it’s great.
Of course Doug, being used to the murder game, decided to make all us wacky cocktail connoisseurs hit our kitchens for MxMo: made from scratch! Whipping together your own ingredients, because cheap labor and High Fructose Corn Syrup just don’t taste like they used to.
As you may know, I make a thing or two here and there. Let’s do down the list of what’s home made in the larder:
- 10-month Aged Egg Nog
- Falernum Bitters
- Bridgetown Bitters Batch 2
- Dry Fly Bitters
- About 8 jars of tinctures ready to make more bitters
- Allspice Syrup
- Cinnamon Syrup
- Vanilla Cane Orgeat
- Extra Thick Orgeat
- Falernum #9
- Falernum #10
- Coffee Syrup
- Passion Fruit Syrup
- Five Spice Syrup
- Ginger Syrup
- Dark Ginger Syrup (don’t check e-mail with a pot on the stove)
- Lime Cordial
- Don’s Spices #2
- Pimento Dram
- Amer Picon
- Apple-Infused Bourbon
- Lavender/Vanilla Infused Vodka
- Kola Tonic
- and a partridge in a pear tincture
Okay, that last one, while a joke, sounds both disgusting, and accomplishable. But as you can see from the above, I do things. Perhaps too many things, and go through more sugar in this house than I really should afford to, health or otherwise. For Doug’s MxMo, I’m reaching down into the dark recesses of my brain to put together something really special. Trader Tiki’s Dark Falernum.
The idea for this Dark Falernum came around after trying a friend’s Jet Pilot and finding it… lacking. Almost everything else that went into it was from the manufacturer’s bottle, and the cinnamon syrup was alright, but something wasn’t quite there for the Falernum. The homemade Falernum was complex and interesting, but not quite ready to match with all the flavors in the Jet Pilot. So, I set out to make something a little more complimentary to the drink. My regular Falernum would suit fine, but I needed something EXTRA special. So, here are the results of my quest for Dark Falernum.
Trader Tiki’s Dark Falernum
- zest of 12 limes
- 1/4 lb. chopped ginger
- 2 Tbsp Whole Cloves
- 2 Tbsp Allspice Berries
- 4 leaves Star Anise
- 1 5″ Ceylon Cinnamon stick
- 2/3 cup lightly toasted almonds
- 8 oz. J.Wray Overproof
- 8 oz. Lemon Hart 151
- 16 oz. Cruzan white
Zest the limes, chop whole ginger, and use a mortar and pestle to grind the Cloves, Allspice, Star Anise and Ceylon Stick. Roughly chop whole, blanched almonds, and toast in a pan until lightly browned and strong smelling. Sit ingredients with Rum mixture in a glass jug to age for 3 days to 1 week. After time is up, strain solids (Several runs through a Brita or coffee filters highly recommended) and set aside. In a pot over medium heat (no boiling!), mix the liquid 2:1 by volume with white sugar until sugar is dissolved. Makes just over 3/4 gallon.
This makes for a very sweet, extremely spicy Falernum that goes pretty damned well in a Jet Pilot, or just about any other drink calling for Falernum. It’s a little tougher to work with for new drink development, as its flavors can overpower quickly, but I’m finding I love the damned stuff. Hell, with good Falernum and a nice selection of rums, it’s hard to get past a Corn ‘n Oil most days. I think you’ll find the stuff above just dandy in the drink below.
Jet Pilot (from Jeff Berry’s Sippin’ Safari)
- ½ oz Lime Juice
- ½ oz Grapefruit Juice
- ½ oz Cinnamon syrup
- ½ oz Falernum
- 1 oz Coruba
- ¾ oz Cruzan Dark
- ¾ oz Lemon Hart 151
- dash Angostura Bitters
- 6 drops Herbsaint
Mix in a top-down mixer with 1 cup cracked ice, pour into Double Old Fashioned glass. Add crushed ice to fill.
Spicy, sweet, complex and simply out of this damned world. For more blabbity-blab on the drink, check these posts at DrinkDogma, KaiserPenguin, and Dr. Bamboo and his damned adorable illustration.
Enjoy the rest of your MxMo, just keep your dishwasher handy, because it’s going to get messy.
Oh Stevi, what have ye done? What mad Pandora’s box has been opened as the entire cocktail blogosphere confesses their sins as Lemon Drop downing Sour Apple Pucker Fans. Okay, it hasn’t gotten that bad, but there are a few confessors in this MxMo Guilty Pleasures that I’m on the borderline of giving a comforting hug, a Vieux Carré, and a brief smack upside the head.
Of course, I deserve a bit of a smack up the head myself (okay, an entire reenactment of the Three Stooges career, but anyway), as I’ve got my own niggling demons of self-doubt, as splayed before you below.
Okay, so I’ve been known to arrive at a party or two, here and there, when the need to roam outside of the Galley seizes me. Inevitably, my repayment for the inevitable smashed window or glass is, of course, bringing something for the Tiki-lovin’ tipplers (I keep my friends close, and drunk on Rum). Being the lazy bastard I am though entails bringing something simple, universally delicious, and that can be made without any more effort than I’d be able to put into it after the first few rounds. My fall back is Jeff Berry’s Coconaut, as published in the Grog Log.
- 8 oz Coconut Cream
- 2 oz Lime Juice
- 7 oz Myers Dark
Fill Blender with Ice and Blend for 20 seconds or until smooth. Recipe serves 2-4. Garnish with Lime Shell filled with 151 for a “Flaming Re-entry”
“But Trader Tiki,” as one may ask, “what is so guilty about that? It’s Tiki, it’s by a noted mixologist, what could cause you such shame?”. Well, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your monocles for these shocking revelations.
Revelation the first: I *LOVE* Tiki Mugs. You may not have noticed that I don’t do a helluva lot of pics with tiki mugs. Part of this is due to my, shall we say, collector’s dire fear of losing them to the concrete floor of the galley forever. I’ll make excuses about wanting to honor the drink, show color, frost… bah, whatever. Give me something in ceramic and I’m a happy fellow. For all the this and thats about it, Tiki mugs have been around for quite some time, and evoke a lot of happy memories for me. You can actually see a few of my collection over at Ooga Mooga. There are a few unlisted though, everyone has their own private stash of something.
Revelation the second: Fire Fire Fire! Set a beverage on fire, chances are you’ll see my eyes light up. Like so many of the other native urges, it’s just a primal thing. I do a few fire flicking tricks at home and abroad, and know the pain of not being quick enough with the 151, but it still amazes me when I see a creative new way to set liquid ablaze.
Revelation the third and final: Coconut Cream! It seems whether a person dislikes coconut, tiki drinks, rum, or anything else I’m generally passionate about, they love anything made with coconut cream, and I’m just as big a goober about it. It’s the Tiki equivalent of driving a marathon, no complexity or mysterious combinations, just straight up front sugary goodness.
There are a few other things hiding in there… specifically calling for Meyers’ Dark which I once rallied so against, the simplicity of it, the (oh noes!) use of a blender… but no, I fear I can take no more of this confessional. At least, and I can say this with all truth, I am not a Jimmy Buffet fan. There, I’ve taken a little bit back there, and feel a bit better. Here’s to hoping my pride gets back into strength for the next Mixology Monday. See you then!
Many thanks to this Mixology Monday’s hosts at Bibulo.us, sending us back in time (and into the library) for some 19th Century Cocktails!
As read in Imbibe! by David Wondrich, in 1860, diplomats from Japan made a few weeks stay in New York City. While there, they stayed at the Metropolitan hotel, about a block away from Jerry Thomas’ Palace bar. The likelihood of the legation stopping in was about 100%, given their penchant for cocktails, and The Professor’s renown.
Created to commemorate this occasion was the Japanese Cocktail. A tender and delicious little concoction of Orgeat, Brandy, and Bitters.
Somehow, years later in Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual (1934 edition), the recipe changed dramatically. This version adds a good dallop of shaved ice and Maraschino Liqueur, and replaces the Brandy with Eau Celeste (Himmels Wasser), which in searches shows as a sort of plant fungicide.
Seeing as I don’t appear to have a ready supply of large quantities of Copper Sulfate, Ammonia, and whatever the heck Sal Soda is to make the eau celeste, I think we’re going to have to go with the original good Professor’s recipe, adapted by David Wondrich, with some further adaptation of technique.
- 1 Tbsp Orgeat
- 1/2 tsp Bogart’s Bitters (sub Fees or homemade Boker’s)
- 2 oz of Brandy
Stir with Ice, strain into champagne saucer. Garnish with 1 or 2 twists of Lemon Peel.
It’s a delightful and creamy little bite of a drink. The large amount of Bitters adds a lot of flavor, making a sort of mulled Brandy, while the Orgeat balances out the harsher notes in the bitters and any burn in the brandy. Daniel at Teardrop Lounge made a lovely variation with Filbert Orgeat and Barsol Pisco, garnished with shredded chocolate.
I can’t recommend this drink enough. It’s easy to concoct, and extremely pleasing to just about any palate. Drink and enjoy!