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.
Posted by TraderTiki on October 10th, 2008 — Posted in In Other News
If you missed the broadcast this past Saturday on Pirate Cat Radio, Judd was kind enough to provide an audio file.
Martin chats about his own tiki roots, as well as the origins of PolyPop and Forbidden Island, while Judd talks tiki tunes and wails away with his ukulele.
The edited audio file (also available for download), coming in at about 66 minutes without music, can be played using the player below.
If you’re looking to fill in the music yourself, I’ve got to highly recommend two of my favorite modern bands. They’re not particularly exotica, but have a good mix of cool classics and peppy Hawaiian Tunes. Ape, headed by frontman and tiki carver Crazy Al, tends to vary wildly, moving from a spicy riff on the classic Miserlou, to calypso with Barbados Carnival, and the new classic I’m Pau. The tracks are on their album Jungle Gems, which comes highly recommended from me. If you get a chance to see these guys in action, DO IT. Crazy Al carves a tiki during the performance. Hell, you can see the one carved from a performance a few years back, now on display at Forbidden Island (you’re welcome Martin!)
The Mai Kai Gents have a few peppy little tunes, and are fantastic to see in concert. The classic Okole Maluna (Bottoms Up!) is one of the few Hawaiian drinking songs you’ll hear in your life, and you’ll never forget the chant. The hips of the mysterious Miss Mauna Loa sway and hypnotize to Hawaiian classics like Little Grass Shack and The Luau Song. So go on over and buy their CD!
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!