A lot of drinks come with some form of goofy garnish, whether it be a Menehune in the Menehune juice, or Trader Vic’s Potted Parrot. Garnish can, in some instances, really sell a drink. One is ordered, and patrons ask “What is that!?!”, particularly with something garishly garnished, or even better, set on fire. This next drink was something I only recently tried, but fell entirely in love with due to its combination of wonderful flavor, and unique, overdone garnish. As written in Jeff Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari, I present to you, from Steven Crane’s Kon-Tiki, the Tropical Itch.
- ½ oz Lime Juice
- ¼ oz Cinnamon Syrup
- 1 ½ oz crushed mango (sub mango puree)
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum
- 2 drops almond extract
Blend quickly in a top-down blender for three seconds, serve tall, and garnish with a backscratcher, and kumquat and pineapple slice.
Sadly, Kumquats were a bit out of season while I was serving those, so a cherry did quite nicely. The backscratcher, oh the backscratcher. Give people something fun to play with while drinking, and funny things will happen (and, hopefully, noone’s eye will get poked out). The Mango adds a nice, and frankly, rather rare touch to the drink. Fresh Mango has a nice sweet but mostly tart flavor, and was a joy to use in this drink. If you happen to run out of Almond Extract, a few drops of Orgeat adds a nice touch, without being overpowering.
The Tropical Itch is, however, one of “those” drinks, in the same vein as the Mai Tai and Zombie, invented at one place by some grand mixologist, in this case Harry Yee, and imitated over and over until it became a shadow of its former self. Luckily, Crane’s version is still damned tasty, and just a joy to make, and to drink!
While reviewing an upcoming rhum, some embellishment on the bottle suggested its excellence in a classic Planter’s Punch, and provides a recipe:
- 1/3 Rhum
- 1/3 Orange Juice
- 1/3 Pineapple Juice
- dash of Grenadine
This got me to thinking a bit about Planter’s Punch.
The name itself is evocative, recalling the history of the five ingredient punch, as well as the planter… who was the proverbial Planter who would drink this potion on sweltering days spent under the sun. It’s a simple drink we all seem to know of, and maybe have heard a recipe or two. This seems to be a drink without origin, not attributed to any person in particular. In the late 19th century, the drink starts to appear in a few London periodicals, typically in reference to Jamaica or some parts of South America.
The earliest reference I could find comes from an 1878 edition of Fun, a satirical magazine published in London.
The next few references I found in my library have fairly similar concepts, albeit different names. In Modern American Drinks (1895), it is referred to as “Jamaican Rum Punch“, and by the time the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) rolls around, it’s become the Planter’s Cocktail #2. Planter’s Cocktail #1 is a variation skipping the sugar and adding orange juice. Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide (1948) gives 4 variations, changing up the lemon to mostly lime, and with 3 of the recipes calling for grenadine. As we can see, the recipe starts morphing and evolving through the decades.
When looking to consider how drinks are being made nowadays, I like to reference the “Big Book of Dumb Drinks” (aka – The Bartender’s Black Book ), which starts off with something similar to the original recipe, but veers into the realm of today by, after mixing the other ingredients, pouring in Orange Juice and Pineapple Juice. I am starting to see where adding Orange juice started, but have yet to find the origin of the Pineapple Juice.
Well, apparently the label makers for this rhum that so got me to thinking are of the modern school of this classic concoction, albeit keeping the proportions still very simple, a classy maneuver if ever there was one. I took a few sips and found their version, while quite sweet, rather refreshing, and certainly evocative of a more tropical clime than here in Portland, OR.
Do you have a favorite Planter’s Punch recipe? Have you tried a few? Found an early reference that asks for pineapple juice? Let me know in the comments!
Hard times are all around us right now. The job market is slumping, real estate values are dropping, there’s a global economic crisis looming on the horizon. What better time for a drink? Come rain or shine, they ain’t called “spirits” for nothing, and I’ve got a real dandy drink made on the cheap for this Mixology Monday, Hard Times, hosted by my good friend Matt Rowley over at Rowley’s Whiskey Forge.
The cocktail that hit my mind instantly was the Chauncey Cocktail, a favorite of mine, as introduced to me at Teardrop Lounge. In my research, the furthest back I’ve seen this referenced was in the book The Catering Industry Employee, Official Journal of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees’ International Alliance and Bartenders’ International League of America, published 1934. I didn’t quite find this in time, and used the proportions from the CocktailDB entry, which is quite good. This is an all-boozer; time is money and I haven’t the time to waste on mixers when spirits are in need of lifting. As well, the booze involved can be found pretty cheaply, as it is all base spirits. No flight of fancy liqueurs or rarities here, this one’s a mix Gin, Rye, Brandy, and Sweet Vermouth. A damned good mix as well, I must say.
- 3/4 oz Rye
- 3/4 oz Gin
- 1/2 oz Brandy
- 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
- dash Orange Bitters
Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
I took a special note here to use the cheapest ingredients I could get my mitts on, and rounded up the cost for you. Without counting ice, barware and glassware, this drunk will run you a kingly sum of $1.05, American. I suppose the nickel over the greenback makes this a bit fancy of a cocktail (though not a “fancy” cocktail), and I could have gone a touch cheaper, but you’ve got to treat yourself every once in awhile. Despite the low cost, this is a delicious drink that makes even the cheap stuff taste like heaven (well, bootlegger’s heaven). If you do happen to find yourself back in dough, try it with the fancy stuff. It gets even better.
Muchos Mahalos to Rowley for hosting this MxMo, and we’ll see you next round!
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 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.
As read in Imbibe! by David Wondrich, in 1860, diplomats from Japan made a few weeks stay in New York City. While there, they stayed at the Metropolitan hotel, about a block away from Jerry Thomas’ Palace bar. The likelihood of the legation stopping in was about 100%, given their penchant for cocktails, and The Professor’s renown.
Created to commemorate this occasion was the Japanese Cocktail. A tender and delicious little concoction of Orgeat, Brandy, and Bitters.
Somehow, years later in Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual (1934 edition), the recipe changed dramatically. This version adds a good dallop of shaved ice and Maraschino Liqueur, and replaces the Brandy with Eau Celeste (Himmels Wasser), which in searches shows as a sort of plant fungicide.
Seeing as I don’t appear to have a ready supply of large quantities of Copper Sulfate, Ammonia, and whatever the heck Sal Soda is to make the eau celeste, I think we’re going to have to go with the original good Professor’s recipe, adapted by David Wondrich, with some further adaptation of technique.
- 1 Tbsp Orgeat
- 1/2 tsp Bogart’s Bitters (sub Fees or homemade Boker’s)
- 2 oz of Brandy
Stir with Ice, strain into champagne saucer. Garnish with 1 or 2 twists of Lemon Peel.
It’s a delightful and creamy little bite of a drink. The large amount of Bitters adds a lot of flavor, making a sort of mulled Brandy, while the Orgeat balances out the harsher notes in the bitters and any burn in the brandy. Daniel at Teardrop Lounge made a lovely variation with Filbert Orgeat and Barsol Pisco, garnished with shredded chocolate.
I can’t recommend this drink enough. It’s easy to concoct, and extremely pleasing to just about any palate. Drink and enjoy!