Castries and the Half-Harted Jezebel

Posted by TraderTiki on January 5th, 2009 — Posted in Drinks, Product Reviews, Recipes, Rum

Cross-posted from the Mixoloseum blog

When searching through the liqueurs available at your local (or internet local) liquor store, there are some liqueurs that immediately catch your eye. After skimming over the peach brandys, various schnapps and Curaçaos available, there are quite a few selections that just make you wonder how the hell they came up with that idea. One that particularly comes to mind, and thankfully arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back, is Castries Peanut Rum Créme.

Yes, Peanuts and Rum together again for the first time. Formerly known as “Nuts ‘n Rum”, this was relabeled sometime after 2005 as Castries, named for a region in St. Lucia, where it is distilled and bottled. The rum base is from St. Lucia distillers, makers of some regionally popular but difficult to find in the U.S. rums.

As a liqueur by itself, this stuff is, plainly said, just damned delicious. The nose starts off with a fair hint of vanilla and peanut, with the rum coming in to play if you take a real big whiff. The flavor is extremely well phased, with the cream initially blocking the peanut, making the peanut come into play later in the flavor, but it lingers ever so long. The flavor is like freshly roasted and crushed peanuts, like the peanut butter you’d get fresh made at a natural foods store. I’m as excited about this stuff as I was when I first found out about Thai Peanut Sauce. It’s like Peanut Butter in your dinner! Other flavors that come in to play are a slight bit of cinnamon at the end of the flavor. It’s an exquisitely well-balanced liqueur, with no flavor dominating, and a wonderful mouth feel without leaving you reaching for your toothbrush.

The bottle is, to say a few words, distinct. Resembling, perhaps, a peanut pod, it ends up a bit near the line of sex toy. Well, distinctive is better than being lost in the crowd I suppose.

You can read more great information here at Scottes Rum Pages, or at the Ministry of Rum.

As for mixing, I decided to give a shot to Rumdood’s Heartless Jezebel. However, being out of Amarula, I decided to give it a more potent edge. I present, the Half-harted Jezebel.

Half-Harted Jezebel

Half-Harted Jezebel

  • 2 oz Castries Rum Cream
  • 3/4 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Hart 80 Demerara Rum
  • .5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • Fresh Cinnamon

Shake or Mix in top-down mixer with crushed ice. Pour into Old-Fashioned. Top with Cinnamon, and Garnish with a Cinnamon stick.

It’s a combination of that calm, mellow peanut flavor with a bright burst of cinnamon and allspice, backed by a hearty and rich combination of rums. I think you’ll like it. Try it against the original Heartless Jezebel, or have your own interesting Castries cocktail? Post your thoughts in the comments!

MxMo Spice!

Posted by TraderTiki on December 15th, 2008 — Posted in Bitters, Concoctioneering, Drinks, MxMo, Recipes, Rum, Tiki Drinks

mxmologoThe 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.

Hot Buttered Rum and Cider

Posted by TraderTiki on November 7th, 2008 — Posted in Classic Cocktails, Drinks, Hot Ones, Recipes, RotLC

Cross-posted from the Mixoloseum Blog, which you should damn well read some time.

I’m stuck up, fed up, and sick.

That sounds like the start of a great rant, but no, really, I’m sick. My head is stuffy, I’ve got a never ending headache, and an unfortunate tendency towards horrible whining. The good news of this is, however, that I’ve got a big bad stock of that good medicine we know as Kill Devil.

There are so many ways to chase away the nasties though, how best to reformulate the booze into something a bit more palatable than a straight shot? The first thing that came to my mind, and that comes to my mind just about every time more months start ending in “-ember”, is Hot Buttered Rum Batter. Now, last fall around this time, I had a post about making the stuff, and you’re damned right I’m getting to it… just as soon as I kick this damned thing.

Thankfully, a new batch of Harvey’s has hit the shelves here in the Pacific Northwest, allowing the sick and lazy too to enjoy in the goodness. So, taking a good dallop of Harvey’s Batter, some hot apple cider, and jigger full of medicine, I whipped up one of these. We’ll see tomorrow if this actually helps with my recovery, in the meanwhile, I seem to care quite a bit less about being sick!

Hot Buttered Rum Cider

Hot Buttered Rum and Cider

  • 1 1/2 oz Ron Pampero Aniversario
  • 1 Tablespoon Harvey’s Rum Batter
  • 10 oz Apple Cider (non-alcoholic)
  • Whole Spices

Heat glassware by filling with near-boiling water. Heat Apple Cider on the stove or in the microwave until near boiling. Empty glassware and add Rum Batter and 1/2 the glass full of hot apple cider. Stir until batter is dissolved. Add rum, and fill with hot apple cider. Top with cinnamon stick, whole allspice, a bit of star anise, cardamom pod, whatever suits your fancy.

Old Gold

Posted by TraderTiki on September 19th, 2008 — Posted in Drinks, Events, Original Drinks, Recipes, Rum, Tiki Drinks

This here’s a new drink I whipped together for the recent Forbidden Island cocktail contest on Tiki Central, held by Martin Cate of Forbidden Island!  I revealed this last night at the Thursday Drink Night.  No awards for this one, but I still think it’s a doozy of a drink.

Old Gold

Old Gold

  • 1 1/2 oz El Dorado 12 (sub Lemon Hart 80)
  • 1/2 oz Clement VSOP
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Ginger Syrup
  • 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!

On Demerara Rum

Posted by TraderTiki on September 5th, 2008 — Posted in Don the Beachcomber, Product Reviews, Rum, Trader Vic

When you’re thinking about tiki drinks, and rum, one of the things that comes to mind is how Donn and Vic were able to blend rums to make such potent potables.  Everyone else surely had a rum or two up their sleeve, why didn’t they think to grab the rum off of the shelf, and make the next great Rum-dinger?

One of Donn’s secrets was reaching for the unknown categories of Rum, bringing in different flavors to each blend.  Probably his most used secret was Rum coming from Guyana, known as Demerara Rum.  In the past, there were a number of distilleries operating under various labels, but nowadays the sole distiller on Guyana is Demerara Distillers, Ltd.  Their signature line, El Dorado, boasts one of the largest product lines in Rum today, including a 151 proof, a dark, gold, white, and five different aged rums.  This doesn’t even include the numerous rums they produce for other labels, and the products from the distillery that go into numerous other brands, including Pusser’s and Lemon Hart.  At production rates of 26M Liters per year, that’s a lot of rum!

This smokey, rich molasses-based Rum was the secret sauce behind a number of Donn’s most famous creations, such as the Zombie, Coffee Grog, and the Demerara Dry Float.  Vic had this to say about the stuff in his “Book of Food and Drink:”

“Demerara rum… has its own class.  It is similar in some respects to dark Jamaica, but it has a dry burned flavor along with the aromatic and pungent flavor of the Jamaica rum.  The makers of Demerara rums take great pride in obtaining distinctive flavor in their products and it is interesting to try to detect their flavoring agents.”

One of the biggest contributing factors to the unique flavors brought about from Demerara Distillers has to be the use of a 200 year old Coffey Still that’s been in continuous operation for around 150 years.  The products of this still go into their finest rums, and is a particularly high selling point for Pusser’s, which gets a lot of its flavor from the unique combination of Demerara and Jamaican Rums.

Now, I couldn’t tell you precisely what brands Donn or Vic were using (Lemon Hart, Lamb’s Navy, and Hudson’s Bay were available at the time), though there are some hints in this Rebirth of the Zombie post on TikiCentral.  These days though, the Demerara most available (and highly recommended) for mixing is Lemon Hart, which is available in 80 and 151 proof.  The 151 can be distinguished solely by a red triangle in the upper left side (while facing) of the label denoting “151″.  After a few rather sloshy mistakes, I now put a bright red speed pour on the top of my 151 bottle to distinguish the two.

I was given a few samples of the 12, 15, and 21 year rums by the folks at Demerara Distillers, and had imbibed plenty of the stuff down at Tales of the Cocktail.  I am very pleased to have such good stuff generally available, if not locally, online, and am proud to boast almost the entire collection now at the Galley.

The 12 year rum starts off with a bit of a punch of smoke to the nose, but calms down after a few minutes in the glass.  The taste is a bit of butterscotch, honey, and vanilla, with a sweet floral bite on the end.  The viscosity of this rum is just pure joy.  The 15 year is a touch dryer than the 12, still with a lot of the honey flavor.  The nose is noticeably calmer, and almost floral.  It is only slightly viscous, and has a gorgeous woody cinnamon finish to it.  The nose on the 21 year old is almost transparent, with only the vaguest hints of a floral cologne, and honeycomb.  The flavor is sharp, with a hefty alcoholic punch at the front, making way for cedar and citrus notes on the tongue.  The 21 year is definitely one to try, but I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed with the younger rums.  Now if only I could get my hands on a bottle of the 25 year, wouldn’t that be a treat?

While the higher aged rums can be a touch pricey to mix with, like Gary Regan says, crap in, crap out.  The 12 year actually falls around the same price point ($24) as the Lemon Hart 80, and is quite a bit smoother, while maintaining that same sharp smoke note at the front.  The biggest intial tell between the two is the rich, syrupy viscosity of the 12 year compared to the Lemon Hart 80.   After sitting a few minutes, the notes of the 12 still stand strong, while the Lemon Hart 80 has lost a bit of its initial punch, but still packs a bit of burn on the end.

The 12 year El Dorado, while a lovely sipping Rum, absolutely shimmers and shines in this adaptation of a Trader Vic original, the Rum Pot.

Rum Pot

Rum Pot

  • 1 1/2 El Dorado 12 year
  • 1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Orange Juice
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake well and pour into Double Rocks Glass.

The depth and sweetness of the Demerara Rum and the light citrus notes from the Lemon and Orange clash in mysterious and surprisingly complex ways.  This is one of my favorites as of late, and has even been added to the permanent selection for the Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge menu.

For more info the fine rums of Demerara Distillers, be sure to visit the Demerara Distillers site, or their page on the Ministry of Rum.