Summer, is it here? Who knows here it Portland. In a matter with Nature’s cruel irony, the June Tiki Tuesday just happened to be on the one cloudy day after a weekend of sunny weather. Luckily, the NW Tiki Crawl was bright and sunshiney, making the pool (and basement bar) at the final stop feel all that much better.
Hot weather brings about inspiration for the Tikiphile in all of us. What better than a full complement of tropical weather and drinks to make ones feet feel lifted, out of the office chair and into a hammock, slung with leisure, and some care, between two native palms. A chilly tropical drink in one hand, and not a damned care in the other.
This drink, as printed in the pages of Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, is the first in his tall ones section. Though listed alphabetically, I think it’s a damned dandy drink to start of a tour of Tropical Tall Ones.
Barbados Red Rum Swizzle
All that stuff about fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, isn’t just so much hokum. There was more swashbuckling in and around the Barbados Islands, and in all the British West Indies in general, than anyone will ever be able to write about. The natives down there developed a terrific red rum and this little potion is a great way to enjoy it.
- 1/2 lime
- 2 ounces Barbados Rum
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Squeeze lime and drop in 10-ounce glass; fill glass with shaved ice; add rest of ingredients and swizzle.
Of course, the trader had quite a bit to say about the technique this drink is named for.
Before we go any further, a word about swizzling. I think it’s a hell of an idea. You get your drink and you stir it with a spoon but you don’t get the proper dilution to make it taste good. With your pet swizzler you work it up and down in the drink between the palms of your hands and you get a good chill on the drink and the proper dilution of any strong drink.
The original swizzle sticks, a natural product of the West Indies, consisted of a dried stem of a planty having radiating branches. When the stem is twirled rapidly between the palms of the hands, the forked branch ends induce a perfect mixture.
To give you an idea of the indicated result, here’s a nice little close up of a well-swizzled drink.
If you were to ask this Trader’s opinion (and you’ll get it, asked or not), swizzling appears to be out of fashion. Why that is, who is to say. The Swizzle Stick has been knocked down from bar tool to novelty-wear, a blunt cocktail pick with a doofy flamingo sporting a corporate logo on the top. Perhaps once the muddling of the Mojito madness dies down, this simple but elegant method (and the drinks it is named for) will come back into its proper place in tropical libations.
If you’re looking for a good (and inexpensive) swizzle stick designed in the classic functional fashion, well, best of luck to you. There are a good number of Cocktail Stirrers that have a nice wide shape which work well when swizzling with an up and down technique. A bar spoon can do fine, if the handle is round and not straight. And if you do find a bewitching swizzle stick in your travels, I be willin to share, I be!
Update: Many thanks to Chris at Rookie Libations for pointing out his excellent post on the swizzle. Also, turn on your jealousy hats because I gots me a real one now!
After a few full reads of Sippin’ Safari, tonight was the night to syrup the night away!
Still having a few of the leavings from Tiki Kon V, I was ready to mix, boil, muddle and strain. Good thing is, I only had a few things to do!
So, now with Vanilla Syrup, Donn’s Mix, Donn’s Spices #2, Cinnamon Syrup, Pimento Dram (a bit immature still), and Hanalei House mix, I am ready for my own personal Sippin’ Safari!
The first adventure began tonight. Well, almost. It began with an awful stumble. Too late into the night, and weary from the syrups, I mixed a rather off Nui Nui. I’ll just say this. Mason Jars, while fine for storing, are no pouring devices. Still, a lot of the flavors coming out in it are new and exciting. I do believe, however, this will have to be explored much more thoroughly. Perhaps even nightly.
It tears me I won’t be able to make it to San Diego for Tiki Oasis. Oh well.
Our own adventures await!
Just an amazing event this year all around.
SO many people to thank, so much fine rum drank, fun and fantastic all around.
Still recovering, so I’m working on the wrap-up, including the featured Drink Recipes! You can see some pics at the TikiKon Flickr Group.
Special thanks to Pyrat, Cockspur, Voodoo Doughnut, Sputnik Housewares, Munktiki, The Jupiter, Thatch, the Alibi, Rum Demon, all the organizers and the best people of all, the attendees. Thank you, from the bottom of my rum-soaked heart.
The kitchen smells entirely of Citrus. Limes, lemons, and Oranges, all hand squeezed. Somewhere over 300+ oz. of juice were hand-squeezed Thursday evening, the stor ‘n pours filled, and several tupperware, to get things prepared for the home bar tour. Syrups mixed, in no particular order: Passion Fruit, Coffee, Honey, Simple Syrup, Grenadine, and Et Cetera Syrup, which was just bits and pieces of whatever wouldn’t fit into the other containers.
Is it sacrilege not to freshly-squeeze each drink? Perhaps. Up and coming, I do believe an experiment is necessary to see exactly how much the Stor ‘n Pour’s plastic affects the flavor of the juice, but until then, with 60+ people crowding the home bar, it’s a necessary evil.
The Kon itself is rolling smoothly. Last night was a whirlwind tour of some of Portland’s lounges. For starters was the Galaxy Karaoke lounge. A fully modern lounge, with televisions playing CSI: Miami and a karaoke setup with Large Screen TV. Not exactly Tiki, well, not actually anything at all Tiki, but a good meeting place, as it introduced guests to the location of the Jupiter, where Saturday’s main event is being held. The one great feature of the Galaxy that was available was the in-wall aquarium, which sets a nice relaxing tone throughout the bar.
Next up was Tonic. Tonic used to be an Irish pub, complete with fully-outfitted wait staff, but now serves as a local dive with just enough pub grub to keep you planted. The rear of the place sports a small arcade room, which then opens up into a surprisingly roomy concert venue with another bar. While there, Mark Axton allowed me to sample a drink he had made himself, partly inspired by his foray into the pirate world.
- 2 oz. Cruzan Black Strap
- 12 oz. Porter
The flavors of the Black Strap and Porter were unbelievably pronounced in this drink, with many hints of banana, cinnamon, molasses, and a lot of other unexpectedly sweet and layered flavors. I do believe this will be my new afternoon delight for a bit.
After Tonic was settled into, the expedition continued to the Pagoda. The Pagoda is simply fascinating. A Chinese-American restaurant serving the finest in Deep-Fried, neon orange food, every single inch of this place stands out in a singular theme. Even the drop-tile ceiling is thematic, with metallic gold panelling, and dragons in a square. Mirrors surround the bar and lounge, which features another Pagoda on top of the liquor shelf. While the decor was amazing though, the vibe of the location was sad. Strange for all the patterned red and gold wallpaper, but the regulars, many of whom have been around for quite some time, found the 50 some odd strangers entering their regular haunt quite disturbing. There’s something inside, like you can almost sense that the place will soon give way to become another karaoke bar or perhaps even a mortgage and real estate office. But, while it’s around, it’s a little slice of treasure for those who like their Chinese food with MSG, and their ambiance themed.
The evening ended shortly thereafter, and was finished off at Union Jacks. Well, a tour of Portland wouldn’t be complete without one of the towns strip clubs, eh?
Tomorrow: The tour continues, with stops at the Alibi, Thatch, and the Cannibal feast at the Jupiter!
42 hours until the official start of Tiki-Kon V!
In order to prepare myself as host of one of the home bars, I’ve been pushing to mix a bit more frequently. Here are tonight’s entries….
- 2 ounces Cockspur 12-year rum
- 1/2 ounce Navan Vanilla Liqueur
- 1/2 ounce Maple Syrup
- 1/2 ounce Tawny Port
- 1 ounce Lemon Juice
- 1 ounce Pineapple Juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Blend with Crushed Icein a top-down mixer for 6 seconds, or pulse in a blender for no more than 5 seconds. Pour with Ice into Chimney Glass and top with Seltzer. Garnish with Mint Sprig and Lemon Spiral.
Wow. There’s a strong mix of sweet ingredients, which, when cut by the lemon juice creates a very strongly phased, time-lapse release mixture of sour and sweet. A nearly sublime concoction, with recipe by Martin Cate of Forbidden Island. Really, I am wishing I had a better quality Tawny Port than Christian Brothers, but it does just fine. This is our featured drink on the home bar crawl, and will be premiered at Reynolés Galley, my home bar.
Millionare Cocktail, Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide
- 1½ oz. Sloe Gin
- ½ oz. Jamaican Rum (Appleton Gold)
- ½ oz. Peach Brandy
- dash Grenadine
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Frankly, this came out a bit like Robitussin flavoring. I used Mr. Boston’s Sloe Gin, which is very nice in a Sloe Gin Fizz, but tended to come out kicking with an almost Campari-like bitterness in this cocktail. The rum used was Appleton Special, and the Grenadine is a homemade mixture. I have a feeling a stronger dash of grenadine was in order.
Speaking of cocktails, there are a number of Original Recipes that I and fellow Tiki Kon organizers have developed. I will be posting a list here shortly. Just so you know, the sponsors this year were Pyrat and Cockspur, so we’ve got at least two islands worth of Rum covered. Pyrat, sadly, has discontinued their Blanco line, which made for one of the smoothest white rums around, with a wonderful bouquet of citrus. Pyrat is owned by Patron Spirits, and because of this, unfortunately Pyrat is the sideshow to Patron’s 5-ring circus. Though, that’s not a bad circus to be a part of. I’ve still got a few bottles of Blanco in reserve. It’s strange to me when something that was $6.99 at BevMo is now a scarce commodity, precious and rarely used but for aficionados and friends.
On a side note, thanks to Rick and Paul for inspiration to start a cocktail blog. While I hold no qualms about never being the Beachbum I hope I can at least inspire, inform, and mostly, share my love of a properly mixed drink.
Tomorrow’s plan: Wake up 12 minutes early for a proper Ramos Gin Fizz