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.
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!
The second stop on our San Francisco trip is the sweet and petite Bamboo Hut on Broadway. The Bamboo Hut is unassuming from the outside, seated between a few adult DVD stores, but once inside the Tikis realy stand out, as well as a few poles, Lauhala matting, and puffer fish scattered about.
Volcano Bowls are regularly brought down from the shelf for excited patrons, ready to share a drink with a few friends (or sneaky strangers with excessively long straws). The Bamboo Hut serves a decent amount of Tiki Themed Drinks (though note, I did not say decent drinks), with their signature being finger-lit Volcano bowl. If you don’t know the finger trick, well, let’s just say learn the ways of 151 from a pro before attempting at home. Bad things can happen .
The Bamboo Hut is the end of the Tiki Adventure on Friday night, and tomorrow brings us to Forbidden Island and a few more East bay drinking spots.
And now, the winner of the Forbidden Island Cocktail Contest, Blackstrap Betty, by TikiWahine! This drink is on the specials menu at Forbidden Island from now through November! Cheers to the champion! This captivating blend of the ultra-smooth Cruzan Single Barrel, with just a dash of Blackstrap makes this a surefire second order. The Pineapple take the brunt of the flavor, with the rest of the ingredients making the tart, texture, and tasty aspects of the drink. Well done!
- 1 ½ oz Cruzan Single Barrel
- ½ oz lime juice
- ½ oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- 3 oz Pineapple Juice
- ¼ oz Koko Cream
- ¼ oz Licor 43
Blend with crushed ice in pulses for no more than 5 seconds in a blender. Pour into a goblet, and garnish with a Mint Sprig.
Big Congrats to TikiWahine! Head on over to Forbidden Island and enjoy one today. Or meet up with me and the rest of the kukumongas this Saturday on the Tiki Central Tiki Crawl. Hope to see you there!
The fourth and final runner up of the Forbidden Island Cocktail Contest, Mrs. Howell’s Spicy Side, by JenTiki! This drink is on the menu at Forbidden Island from now through November! This one’s a sweet little number I like to think of as the best spicy lemonade I’ve ever had. Truly, so the saying goes, eminently quaffable. Cheers to the runner up!
Mrs. Howell’s Spicy Side
- 1 1/2 oz White Puerto Rican Rum (Sub Cruzan Light)
- 3/4 oz Spiced Rum (Cpt. Morgan at the request of JenTiki)
- 1 oz Orange Curacao
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Ginger syrup
- 1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
- 1/4 oz Orgeat
Shake the hell out of it, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed lemon peel and paper parasol.