MxMo XXVI: Fruit Liqueur

Posted by TraderTiki on April 13th, 2008 — Posted in Brandy, MxMo, Trader Vic

MxMo round… twelve hundred at this point? No, just 26.  This time hosted by Anna at Morsels and Musings, an Australia-based Cuisine blog.  The theme this go-round is Fruit Liqueurs, which opens a helluva lot of doors and makes the cocktailians mind boggle with possibilities.

A lot of options are available with this round, and I chose to go a path I’m both ecstatic and not so pleased with.  I am ecstatic because I get to cover a favorite topic of mine, mainly, old-timey drinks.  I am not so pleased because, well, I feel I cheated a bit on the liqueur portion of it, seeing as Calvados isn’t technically a liqueur.  Well, I put my conscience at ease by exchanging the lemon juice for house-made Limoncello, which makes for one hell of a kick.

Daisies are one of those old-timey drink categories we don’t see much of on modern cocktail menus (though if you do, please let me know).  Imbibe! has a great description of the drink, even categorizing it into old-school (orange cordial) and new-school (grenadine).  Trader Vic’s early-edition bartender’s guide seems to streamline the daisy, from the early 1900s half-lime, half-lemon, powdered sugar and grenadine, to just the lemon juice and grenadine, which makes for a very tart drink.  I tried a bit of an experiment using Bundaberg Ginger Beer, and it worked fine and dandy for a damned delicious Daisy.


Star-Eyed Daisy (adapted from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide)

  • 2 oz. Calvados
  • 1 tsp. Grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. Limoncello

Shake with cracked ice and strain into double-cocktail glass or old-fashioned. Top with Ginger Beer or tonic water and serve.

A bit tart, a bit sweet, and entirely refreshing.  My wife describe it as spicy apple-juice.  I think you’ll describe it as a great summer drink.

Next MxMo is going to be hosted right here!  The topic is… RUM!  I’ll put more details into a future post.  See you then!

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”.

Updates and events

Posted by TraderTiki on March 7th, 2008 — Posted in Bilge, Events, MxMo, Site

Just a few notes on up and coming events and site changes.  Nothing so thrilling as opening a new bottle of Ron Añejo Aniversario, but just some niftys nonetheless.

First off, I’m going to give the old heave-ho to the google ads.  This should speed up the site a bit, which is worth a bit more to me than what the ads generate (just less than a bottle of bottom shelf booze).

Second, a reminder that Mar. 18th is the next Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge!  Yes, it’s a recurring monthly event, with a special menu of tiki drinks and tropical cocktails put together by yours truly and slung by the magnificent bastards behind the bar at Teardrop.  The special menu is available all night long, and rumor has it the drinks may even show up as nightly specials now and again, so be sure to drop in and let them know I sent ya.  I’m not even sure I can express in words my gratitude for their dedication to the evening, and the culture of the cocktail,so head over there and express it for me with cash!  The cocktails and conversation you trade it for are well worth the investment.

Last, I’ll be hosting Mixology Monday in May, with the theme of RUM!  So post a review of an exceptional rum, make a fancy new rum drink, grab an island and talk about its various rums, work up a rum combination that’d make Donn Beach drool, just go for it!  Damn you Rick for coming up with such a fantastic theme for this month, I’ll have to whip up something really deadly for that.

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!

MxMo XXIII, Corpse Reviver

Posted by TraderTiki on January 14th, 2008 — Posted in Brandy, Morning Cocktails, MxMo

MxMo XXIII: Brandy

Another Mixology Monday has come upon us, this them: Brandy, and this host: Marleigh at Sloshed!

Now, besides its use as a sub-ingredient, or a breakfast or holiday tradition, I have to admit my knowledge on Brandy goes about as far as, well, not nearly as far as the Dominik’s MxMo contribution. But I do like a snifter of the stuff every once in a while, and with Clear Creek Distillery being local, my eyes are opening to the joy that is eau-de-vie.

I went searching for a recipe to highlight for this MxMo, but sadly all my Tiki books were, well, pretty dry. Other than matching it evenly with rum, or being one ounce in a 7 ounce drink, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of the stuff in the tropical cocktails world. So, I checked the Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic, in the Brandy Cocktails section. There are plenty of interesting drinks here (this post was almost about the Bosom Caresser), but nothing that hasn’t been covered elsewhere, so, I looked to the The Savoy Cocktail Book for the final verdict, and wound up chosing that lesser of the two siblings, the Corpse Reviver #1.

Corpse Reviver #1

Corpse Reviver #1  (”To be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed”)

  • 1/2 Brandy
  • 1/4 Calvados
  • 1/4 Italian Vermouth

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

The Trader Vic’s version suggest Cognac, but Cognac stock here has been getting low, so I went with my typical (and well stocked) Christian Brothers VS.  The Calvados was Boulard Pays d’Auge, and the Italian Vermouth, Punt-E-Mes, because it just seems that nothing can go wrong with a bit of Punt-E-Mes.

It’s a lovely little cocktail, and I must say, its use as an invigorator is not without merit.  I must say the looming workday is becoming much less  so with every sip.  There’s almost no harshness in it, despite its alcohol content, with the Calvados adding a bit of juiciness to it (and your daily apple), and some spicy and deep rich notes off of the Punt-E-Mes.  I also added a schvitz of Grapefruit oil to the top, as I am wont to do.  It tends to brighten up the flavors, particularly in a juiceless cocktail.

I can see why it fell behind in the race with the Corpse Reviver #2, but it certainly holds its own as a damned decent drink.