Cross-posted from the Mixoloseum blog
When searching through the liqueurs available at your local (or internet local) liquor store, there are some liqueurs that immediately catch your eye. After skimming over the peach brandys, various schnapps and Curaçaos available, there are quite a few selections that just make you wonder how the hell they came up with that idea. One that particularly comes to mind, and thankfully arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back, is Castries Peanut Rum Créme.
Yes, Peanuts and Rum together again for the first time. Formerly known as “Nuts ‘n Rum”, this was relabeled sometime after 2005 as Castries, named for a region in St. Lucia, where it is distilled and bottled. The rum base is from St. Lucia distillers, makers of some regionally popular but difficult to find in the U.S. rums.
As a liqueur by itself, this stuff is, plainly said, just damned delicious. The nose starts off with a fair hint of vanilla and peanut, with the rum coming in to play if you take a real big whiff. The flavor is extremely well phased, with the cream initially blocking the peanut, making the peanut come into play later in the flavor, but it lingers ever so long. The flavor is like freshly roasted and crushed peanuts, like the peanut butter you’d get fresh made at a natural foods store. I’m as excited about this stuff as I was when I first found out about Thai Peanut Sauce. It’s like Peanut Butter in your dinner! Other flavors that come in to play are a slight bit of cinnamon at the end of the flavor. It’s an exquisitely well-balanced liqueur, with no flavor dominating, and a wonderful mouth feel without leaving you reaching for your toothbrush.
The bottle is, to say a few words, distinct. Resembling, perhaps, a peanut pod, it ends up a bit near the line of sex toy. Well, distinctive is better than being lost in the crowd I suppose.
You can read more great information here at Scottes Rum Pages, or at the Ministry of Rum.
As for mixing, I decided to give a shot to Rumdood’s Heartless Jezebel. However, being out of Amarula, I decided to give it a more potent edge. I present, the Half-harted Jezebel.
- 2 oz Castries Rum Cream
- 3/4 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- 3/4 oz Lemon Hart 80 Demerara Rum
- .5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
- Fresh Cinnamon
Shake or Mix in top-down mixer with crushed ice. Pour into Old-Fashioned. Top with Cinnamon, and Garnish with a Cinnamon stick.
It’s a combination of that calm, mellow peanut flavor with a bright burst of cinnamon and allspice, backed by a hearty and rich combination of rums. I think you’ll like it. Try it against the original Heartless Jezebel, or have your own interesting Castries cocktail? Post your thoughts in the comments!
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.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, eh?
What about when life hands you a watery, low on flavor but not sure I’d want to taste it anyway liqueur? Well, in this case you make a cocktail. Much like the speakeasy bartenders making Alexanders out of Bathtub Brandy during Prohibition, a bit of creativity was called in to clean up the goop in this bottle.
Thanks a sponsored a little between-the-blogs contest, I received a few bottles of some Holiday themed spirits, namely Hiram Walker GingerBread Spice and Pumpkin Spice liqueurs. I appreciate the idea, but I have yet to see something on the shelf that gets these right (remember BOLS Pumpkin smash? uggh). Sadly, these are no exception.
Now mind you, I appreciate the bottle, and that attempt at this flavor, but nonetheless, I question how this ever got past quality control. This is a marketing sprung product that feels cheaply flavored and developed, a “mix Neutral Spirit A with Flavoring X and water down until underproof”. Thank goodness the contest called for the Gingerbread, which is salvageable. The Pumpkin Spice… well, I’ll wait ’til he’s done posting something, but Craig has got something homemade and to damn-well die for. Stick with the homemade.
So, like I say, time to make something out of this. The best thing to do in this case, for my creative palate, anyway, is to just go with it. The initial thought is to use this as a replacement for Pimento Dram in a Lion’s Tail or something similar, but the flavor is just not present, and gets washed away into the aftertaste rather quickly. So, I bring in Allspice and Molasses to really bring out the Gingerbread aspects of the liqueur. The Half and Half makes it a nice creamy rich dessert drink, and the Fee Bitters punch out that clove/cinnamon thing I expect from anything with a holiday flavor. The rum? Well, it’s just delicious. I recommend Cruzan Dark, but Coruba or Goslings could make a very interesting, if not even richer flavor (and probably darker than good tea).
- 1 oz Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
- 1 oz Dark Rum
- 1 oz Half & Half
- 1 oz Allspice Syrup
- 1 tsp Molasses
- 2 dashes Fee Bitters
Shake without Ice for thirty seconds. Add Ice to the shaker and shake until well-frosted. Strain into a Coupe, garnished with Spice Drops.
- 8 oz Water
- 16 oz Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Allspice Berries
- 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
Set water and Allspice in a pot over high heat until boiling. Add sugar and reduce heat to medium, stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool for 30 minutes covered, and strain into jar or bottle. Makes about 2 cups.
Sunday brought us into the East Bay, home of the Original Trader Vic’s, now an empty parking lot at 6500 San Pablo Ave in Oakland, CA. This was where the Magic happened, transforming a little rib shack called Hinky Dinks into the international Marvel it was then, and still is today.
There’s plenty of time to chat about Vic’s later though, for right now, we’re at a place I think I’ve chatted a time or two, Forbidden Island.
Opened in 2006 by Martin Cate and the folks behind the Conga Lounge, Forbidden Island is a vision to the tikiphile. Envisioned by Martin and built by Bamboo Ben, this is a PolyPop connoisseur’s delight of tropical drinks in tride and true fashion, with boundless decor and enthusiastic staff. Of course, if you drop in and miss out on the big lug what started it all, you’ll have to come back again to pick his rather impressive brain. Forbidden Island now features the Kill-Devil club, with a list of over 90 rums to sample. Have them all and your name goes on a bronze plaque on the wall, and no, you can’t play catch up at home.
Forbidden Island regularly holds fun events inside and in the parking lot, home of the giant Ku Bar. Whether it is a classic car show, the grand unveiling of a new Tiki Mug, or the Forbidden Island parking lot sale, chances are you’ll be dropping in on something exciting happening.
I know the first thing on my mind when I stopped in was the signature Forbidden Island. Probably the only recipe that hasn’t been printed in the San Francisco Chronicle, this is a Spicy and mysterious that keeps you coming back for more. It also is available in the Forbidden Island signature mug, based on the big Forbidden Island Tiki carved by Tiki Diablo.
Down to the music in the jukebox, every detail is down pat. My hat’s off to Martin, for opening the place I wish I would have but probably never could pull off, you magnificent bastard.
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!