Old Gold

Posted by TraderTiki on September 19th, 2008 — Posted in Drinks, Events, Original Drinks, Recipes, Rum, Tiki Drinks

This here’s a new drink I whipped together for the recent Forbidden Island cocktail contest on Tiki Central, held by Martin Cate of Forbidden Island!  I revealed this last night at the Thursday Drink Night.  No awards for this one, but I still think it’s a doozy of a drink.

Old Gold

Old Gold

  • 1 1/2 oz El Dorado 12 (sub Lemon Hart 80)
  • 1/2 oz Clement VSOP
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Ginger Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Grapefruit juice (1:1 white and red, if available)
  • 2 dash Fees Bitters
  • 2 drops Vanilla Extract
  • 2 drops Don’s Spices #2

Mix with 6 oz crushed ice in top-down, and pour into a small Hurricane glass (sub chimney).  Garnish with a dash of Cinnamon and piece of Candied Ginger.

If you’re looking for something to hit your sweet spot, this’ll do the trick.  It needs a few moments in ice to cool its jets though, so let it sit a spell, it’ll still be there waiting for you.

I just can’t stop mixing with the El Dorado 12 lately, it’s a bit addictive.  I may have to start weaning myself away with Mount Gay Extra Old.  A new shipment of bottles just got into the galley, these are exciting times indeed!
Like it?  Tried it?  Got a tweek?  Post a comment!

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.

Talking Rum

Posted by TraderTiki on August 21st, 2008 — Posted in Events, Rum

If you haven’t already seen the rather colorful (and blinking and scrolling) note at Cocktailnerd.com, there will be a Rum Discussion this coming Monday at the Mixoloseum Bar (okay, it’s a chat client, not a bar.  Still, drink away).

I will be joining the throng of drunks panelists, which includes such luminaries as Scott Steeves of Scottes’ Rum Pages, Matthew Robold of Rumdood.com, Phil Gomes of Cachacagora, and Rick Stutz of Kaiserpenguin.com.  Just register at the Mixoloseum and join on in, pick our brains, get our addresses and send us free booze, whatever you’d like! Just make sure you’re there!

More info on Cocktailnerd.com

August Tiki Tuesday Menu

Posted by TraderTiki on August 17th, 2008 — Posted in Events, Rum, Teardrop Tiki Menu

Here’s the selection for the August Tiki Tuesday at Teardop Menu, this time featuring a few of my favorite takeaways from this year’s Tales of the Cocktail.  The Luau Coconut will be in limited supply, so get there early!

Dead Reckoning
A Martin Cate original, featuring tawny port and maple syrup in a surprising balancing act, this drink was developed for and premiered at NW Tiki Kon 2007.

The REAL Pat O’Brien’s Original, not that sloppy red “stuff” you’ll see in the stores. Tart, sweet, and deep.

Jet 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 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.

Luau Coconut
Served by Beachbum Berry at the Tiki Spirited Dinner, this one’s a real treat, served in a real coconut! Be sure to ask for a spoon, the inside’s the best part!

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 Martin Cate Original, as served at the Cocktail Hour at Tales of the Cocktail. This one’s rich and tart, with a lot of molasses and dark rum.

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

Sidewinder’s Fang
Watch out, this one’s got a bite to it! This mixture of citrus, passion fruit and dark rums will really sink its fangs into you.

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.

Celebrating Rum

Posted by TraderTiki on August 17th, 2008 — Posted in Rum

Unless you’ve spent a bit too much time off of the internet, you may just well know that August 16th (yesterday) is being celebrated as National Rum Day.  A holiday declared… somewhere, by someone (my earliest references being from 2006), but like any other occassion, the desire to celebrate is fine cause to do so.  It’s almost perfect timing too, as International Tiki Day takes place on the second saturday of August!  Now, unless my Gregorian calendar skills deceive me, the two may never occur on the same day, but nonetheless it’s a fantastic time to celebrate the spirit with our Ohana as the summer days melt by.

Seeing as both of these occasions have been, well lets just say, noted in an untimely fashion, I will suggest a Sunday sip and a drink in continuing regard to the spirit.  After all, Rum is something to be celebrated daily, if not by the hour.

Whenever I am asked what my favorite mixing spirit is, the answer is inevitably Rum.  When asked what my favorite sipping spirit is, I again have to go with Rum.  But Rum is such an all encompassing term for a wide and diverse selection of spirits.  There’s Jamaican Rum, Demerara Rum, Rhum Agricole, Whites, Aged whites, Dark, Gold, Aged, Amber, Red, Black Strap, Screech , Añejo, rums aged by Solera method, pot-distilled funky rums, rums from Australia, the Caribbean, locally distilled Rums, Louisiana Rums, New England Rums, Trinidadian Rums, Spiced Rums, Naval Rum… and so on, and so forth.  Each an entirely different spirit than the next, and each with its own variations per distiller, country, or otherwise.  Even a few lifetimes might not be enough to get a taste of all the rums available.  But for those interested in getting a good go at it, there’s always the Forbidden Island Kill-devil Club, a celebration of over 90 variations of the spirit, complete with a checklist.  Everything from Anguilla to Scotland is represented, and those who complete the list are celebrated with a placard on the rum shelf.

I’ve been treated to a good number of rums lately, thanks to a few friendly folks representing Mount Gay, El Dorado, New Orleans Rum, Rhum Clément, and even a bottle of the Rhum JM 1997 presented to me by the Bum hisself.  Mount Gay, however, has been the focus of the month, having sent a countdown calendar of cocktails for National Rum Day.  While the numeric days have passed, there’s always time for a wee bit of catchup.

Rum Day Countdown Calendar

Chesterfield Browne, representative for Mount Gay in Barbados, was one of the panelists at Rum, Ron, Rhum at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail.  While the branding was heavy, his passion for the spirits he represents (with a beaming smile and booming voice) can be a touch infectious.  It’s a fine brand he’s representing, so no wonder he’s so pleased.  When asked about his favorite drink, his answer was Mount Gay Extra Old.  While a fine sipper, he encouraged mixing as well, as it is a very versatile spirit.  Mount Gay Extra Old is a blend of rums aged in Kentucky Oak barrels, blended to a resulting maturity of 17 years.  It speaks very strongly of the barrel, with the softened sweetness of the molasses working together with the barrel aging for a readily sippable spirit.

Mount Gay has a large spirits portfolio, but their flagship is Mount Gay Eclipse.  First batched in 1910, this is a golden spirit with a rich floral aroma and light, spicy flavor.  When Barbados Rum is specifically called for in a mixed drink (Bermuda Yacht Club, Dead Reckoning, Barbados Red Rum Swizzle), the Eclipse mingles magnificently.  For a bit of catch up, let’s try Monday the 4th’s drink, and a Mount Gay signature, The Red Cap.

The Red Cap

The Red Cap

  • 2 oz Mount Gay® Rum Eclipse
  • 1 wedge fresh lime
  • Dash bitters
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grenadine
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Ginger ale
  • Maraschino cherries

In a rocks glass, muddle 4 cherries with mint leaves and sugar. Add ice. In a cocktail shaker, mix Mount Gay® Rum Eclipse, a squeeze of lime, a dash of bitters and a slurp of grenadine. Shake well. Pour over ice and muddled mixture. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a cherry.

The name comes from the signature Red Cap of the Mount Gay Eclipse.  The drinks itself is excellent, combining muddled mint and cherry for sweetness, a bit of tart lime, and the Mount Gay Eclipse for a touch of spice and plenty of rum goodness.  It’s a light sipper, perfect for a red sky at night.  You’ll notice mine is a bit murkier of a red than on the calendar.  That’s the effect of my homemade grenadine combined with super fancy real Maraschino Cherries.  That’s with a “sk” sound, not a “sh” in the Maraschino.

If you wisdom of rum lasts only ’til the end of the bottle, I have a few suggestions if you need to play catch up.  First, for all the rum information you could possibly shake a swizzle stick at, there’s Ed Hamilton’s Ministry of Rum.  There you can find rum information by country, distiller, or pick the brains of the experts at the MOR Forums.  If you’re more of a paper person, and I’d have to agree that a sip of rum goes better with a book than the internet, you’ll have to give a read to Wayne Curtis’ And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.  There are quite a few selections available regarding rum and its place on the stage of history (check the library), but this is probably the most compelling read of all of them.