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.
A few weeks ago, my friend David of the Oregon Bartender’s Guild hosted the bar for a charity event. A woman in Camas, WA was very suddenly struck by an infectious disease that took one of her legs and almost took her life, and here friends had hired him to help them raise funds with a bar and original cocktail menu. He put a call out on the OBG message boards for any donations, raffle giveaways, et cet. When I asked what I could give, all he asked for was a recipe, and so I set out to make something extra special for the event.
Inspiration finally came at 4:30am on a blurry Wednesday morning two weeks before the event. I had just bottled a batch of Falernum the night prior and, came up with this little dazzler of a syrup for something a bit different.
- 2 cups Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
- 1 1/2 cups White Cane Sugar
- 2 Tblsp Rum-soaked Falernum Spices (lime zest, allspice, clove, toasted almonds, ginger)
- 1 crushed Ceylon Cinnamon stick
- 2 Horns Star Anise (the seed pods, not the whole star)
Place juice and spices in a pot and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out spices. Add Sugar to Juice and bring to gently heat to a rolling boil while agitating. Syrup is done when spoon comes out smooth.
Note here the use of Rum-Soaked Falernum spices. Which, yes, means used spices. There’s still plenty of flavor in those suckers, and the Rum they’ve been soaking in just adds a bit of zip to it.
Here is the cocktail, as was on the menu at the Charity event.
- 1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican
- 3/4 oz Lime
- 3/4 oz Pa’avaetuli Syrup
- 3 drops Bridgetown Bitters (sub. Bittermens Tiki Bitters)
Shake and strain into cocktail glass
The event was apparently a smashing success, and it was reported that my drink sold until there was no syrup left! Good thing I’ve got a few bottles to spare, and a big batch of Falernum about to be finished.
Oh, and the name? It means… whatever you think it means. Tell you what. I’ll send a bottle of Pa’avaetuli to the first person who can figure out the inspiration for the name, and post it in the comments section of this post. Good luck!
“I’m tired of Gin, I’m tired of Sin, and after last night, oh boy, am I tired.“
Yes, ladies and/or gentlemen, another month has passed, and the next Mixology Monday is already nigh past! This month’s, hosted by Jay at Oh Gosh!, leads us through the very exciting world of Gin.
My personal favorite, other than the only 1/4 oz sampled Bluecoat, has to be the locally made Aviation Gin. This is just fantastic stuff, very aromatic and delicately balanced, but still man enough to put some hair on your chest, or wherever you might find yourself in need of warmth. Changed my Gin Fizzes for life, I can tell you that much.
Now, being that this is could be considered a primarily Tiki drink site, Gin, well, didn’t find itself a primary liquor in too many, or, pretty much any drinks. It’s in the Fog Cutter, Colonel’s Big Opu, Suffering Bastard… oh, wait a moment. It is the primary in a Trade Winds cocktail (Grog Log, p. 84). Well, seeing as the drinking’s done for the night, I may have to do a second post on that one later. For this MxMo, I decided to roll with a Trader Vic original, the Gilded Lily.
- 1/2 oz. Modern Dry Gin (Aviation Gin recommended)
- 1/2 oz. Puerto Rican Rum (sub. Cruzan White)
- 1/2 oz. Peach Brandy
- 1/2 oz. Orange Juice
Shake and strain into cocktail glass.
It’s a nice light cocktail, and I love the fact that it’s a good two ouncer, not so much of the tipple as not to be able to put together sentences, but just enough to think the ones you do put together are quite charming indeed. If you can make any sense out of that last sentence, you may need another drink. Yes, the umbrella with the orange twist may be a bit much, but for this drink I think there’s no harm in gilding the lily.
One issue with the above drink though, the Gin shares an equal part with the Rum! Vic, ever the Rum fetishist, has failed me in trying to make a nice, entirely gin-centric write-up. Oh well, guess I may have to roll my own on this one. I must admit, inspiration had struck from the blogosphere today… and if I ever type that word again, slap me upside the head with a Gin and Tonic. Craig had a recent post on Ceylon Cinnamon, and Scottes somehow forced me out of the bar to pick up some Ginger Beer. Well, why not have the two shake hands over a nice bit of Gin? So I whipped up this little concoction, the Gin and Cin.
Gin and Cin
- 2 oz. Aviation Gin
- 1 oz. Ceylon Cinnamon Syrup
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 2 dashes fee bitters
- 1/4 tsp Fresh grated Ginger
- Ginger Beer (Ginger People STRONGLY advised)
Shake all ingredients except Ginger Beer in a shaker, strain into ice-filled chimney glass. Top with Ginger People Ginger Beer. Garnish with ginger slices and powdered cinnamon.
This is a great digestive, and damned tasty drink, with the spicy ginger giving a sharp spike of flavor, while the Ceylon cinnamon keeps the taste buds active. The lemon provides a touch of a sour note, and the gin and bitters wrap all the notes together. Oh, and you might want to get some Ceylon syrup together, here’s the deal:
Ceylon Cinnamon Syrup
- 1 part water (16 oz. by volume)
- 1 part organic cane sugar (16 oz. by volume)
- bag (4 sticks) Ceylon Cinnamon
Put all ingredients in a pot on the stove. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes or so, cool, strain and bottle.
That stuff will go fantastic in any Nui Nui, Jet Pilot, so on an so forth. Hell, pour it on some waffles, it’s just damned good.