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.
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.
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.
The third Runner up of the Forbidden Island Cocktail Contest, Golden Monkey Grog, by Patrick Callahan! This drink is on the menu at Forbidden Island from now through November! A blend of some traditional ingredients, it’s got a lot of spice, and very little burn for all the booze. The addition of coconut cream gives it a heckuva texture. Cheers to the runner up!
Golden Monkey Grog
- 2 oz Cruzan Dark rum
- 1 oz Lemon Hart 151
- 1 oz Pineapple juice
- 1 oz Fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz Coco Lopez
- 3/4 oz St Elizabeth Dram
- 1/4 oz Maple Syrup (grade B)
Blend with crushed ice in pulses for no more than 5 seconds in a blender. Pour into a Double Rocks glass, and garnish with a swizzle stick.