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).
The 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.
Next 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.
Finally, 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.
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!
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!
Another one, already covered in an earlier post, but certainly worth a few more makings, and revisiting!
I must tell you, I’ve had the damnedest time with this one. It’s a bit of a nightmare to make right, but a real killer-diller once it’s made. The drink was developed by Don the Beachcomber circa 1937, and was replaced in later years by a stripped-down version called the Pearl Diver. The gimmick of this drink was a Pearl in every fifth one! I’ll have to talk with the staff at Teardrop Lounge about this, might be a bit off the budget.
It’s a smooth, sweet and tart drink, with a lot of depth from the rums. It’s no joke to mix, no fooling, with a lot of different measurements, but the result is pure Donn Beach.
The recipe for both the batter and the drink can be found in Sippin’ Safari. The real punch with this one is the Don’s Batter, great for a hot drink, but the butter can just be heckfire in a nice cool Pearl Diver’s Punch. Here are some tips that work for me, after a LOT of trial and error (ghee, clarified butter, hot, cold, you name it).
- Clarify the butter, or use Ghee if you can find it. This just helps minimize the milk solids to be found.
- Use the batter at just above room temperature. A 5-second jaunt in the microwave works well.
- Using a cocktail shaker with ice, give it 15 seconds in the DRINKMASTER or other top-down mixer.
- Strain with a hawthorne strainer into a chimney or pilsner glass filled with crushed ice.
This seems to minimize the “clumpiness” the drink can acquire, saves pulling out the fine-mesh strainer, and, if you’re using a top-down mixer, saves you from pulling out the blender.
This is another entry on the special menu on Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop, Feb 19th. See you there!
After a damned decent break (that last Zombie Punch hit a little too hard), it’s time to get back into the Bum’s own Sippin’ Safari.
This evening started off with the Kamehameha Rum Punch, page 81 in Sippin’ Safari.
It’s a pretty number, with a lot of sweetness, and pretty heavy on the pineapple. The blackberry brandy doesn’t work much magic, but the float of dark Jamaican gives it a nice kick at the end. Its got a number of sweeteners, but not much depth within them. It might be that I haven’t put together my own grenadine for a while. I’ve got to say, I’ve lost a bit of my love for the sweet stuff. I blame the Fog Cutter for that.
Next is one of my new personal favorites, the Nui Nui, page 92 (now on the menu at Forbidden Island!). This is one of the drinks that features the recently re-discovered ingredients covered in Sippin’ Safari. There’s Cinnamon Syrup, my new favorite ingredient in everything, matched with the fantastic ingredients from Donn’s Spices #2. The Allspice and the Cinnamon bring out a bucketload of flavor in the rum, it’s like Amber Cruzan was made just to mix with them. The orange spiral on top is a unique garnish, and, when properly squeezed, releases that fantastic orange oil to the drink.
Here’s where I rant for a second. If your drink has got citrus in it, any of it, chances are you’ll be cutting into the skin of a nice fresh piece of fruit. There’s oil in that there skin, which can round out, brighten up, and entirely alter a drink from sloppy sweet to light and refreshing. Just a quick spritz on top of the drink will do it, squeeze it or slice it, just do it already!
So we continue on from sweet, to savory, to sweet as all get out. The Macadamia Nut Chi Chi, from Intoxica, page 50. This one is my wife’s favorite, with the Lei Lani Volcano coming in a close second. It’s a blended drink, which makes a fun texture, using Vodka, Pineapple Juice and that star of the tropical drink, Coco Lopez. Accept no substitute, Coco Lopez is the real deal. If I even so much as see a can of Coco de Casa in your bar, I will find myself in the need to confiscate all rum in the proximity. It’s sweet, it’s slushy, the Macadamia Nut Liqueur and Coco Lopez mix like some sort of devil’s Macadamia Joy bar. It’s why I always have to keep my Macadamia Nut Liqueur in stock.
I’ve got a special visitor arriving in November, just in time to open up the Rum Shrub I just put in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also doing some heavy research into the Fog Cutter. If anyone’s got an older Trader Vic’s menu, or a Vic’s Bartender’s Guide or other cocktail book with the Fog Cutter before or after 1948, I’ll pay for shipping to and fro, or cut you a good deal on a bottle of something special.
Champagne, the delight of the aristocracy, signatory in celebration, and often the ultimate inducer of morning-after headaches. I’m no champagne connoisseur, but I know it to be a tasty tipple, often subtly sweet, and always with the beautiful bubbles which tingle over the lips and past the tongue, and effervescing through the nose, adding texture to taste.
I have to say I am in utter agreement with Trader Vic in his assessment of Champagne, in the “Colonel’s Big Opu” drink recipe:
You may have gathered by now that I like Champagne. Incidentally, it’s my favorite nightcap, preferably after I’m already in bed - to hell with that hot milk stuff!
Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, p. 120-121
I’m a huge fan of the stuff straight (I drowned in the new year of 2007 with 3 bottles of Mumm’s… a great start!), but it goes without saying it’s great in a mixed drink. Kir Royale, Champagne Cocktail, Mimosa… you can find plenty of recipes on CocktailDB. Champagne was even the featured ingredient at the Tales of the Cocktail 2007 cocktail competition. It’s a fantastic ingredient that goes well in just about everything. I was once at a pizza joint in San Francisco that had a rather creative Champagne cocktail menu which consisted of Champagne + half of something from the Thomas Kemper craft soda variety pack + candied ginger at the bottom, all with various fun names. I picked the Rock Star cocktail (Champagne, cream soda). Cheesy and cloying, but it was one of those kind of nights, and the pizza made up for it.
Champagne is the alcohol of choice in the Bali Hai cocktail (p.82 Sippin’ Safari). This is a rather sweet but swell drink which calls for Rum, Champagne, and Hanalei house mix. The house mix is a nice contrast of citrus and syrup, with the Orgeat present and playing well with the other ingredients. The house mix is also used in the Hanalei Rum Punch, which is another fantastic drink with Banana puree, which adds an interesting but nice texture.
Of course, now that I’ve posted about Champagne, and the Colonel’s Big Opu, I’ve absolutely got to have one for lunch. Trouble is, I’m all out of Champagne!