Hey folks, here’s a look at the menu for the May 20th Tiki Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge.
Hope to see you there!
For my own, and to be made very brief, foray into this Hulabalooza we call Mixology Monday, the subject is Rum, and is being hosted here at Tradertiki.com! I have decided to descend down the dark path of some pitch black and fiery rums, and their cocktail interpretations as developed by Don the Beachcomber. Each drink features only the one rum, and not the usual blended variety of rums Don was known for, but the man could take one note and make a symphony (and a few bucks as well).
The first rum up is the ever-increasingly hard to find Aged Martinique. In this instance, I am using St. James Extra old, one of my favorite mixing rums, known for its smoky, spicy and wooden notes. I am, alas, an ounce or so away from another empty bottle. This is my sacrifice to you, Don the Beachcomber’s Donga Punch (Sippin’ Safari, page 35). Taking notes from the spiciness of the dram, Don added a mellowed and sweet spice with his Don’s Mix, a blend of Grapefruit and Cinnamon. Unfortunately, it was never written down exactly what grapefruit was used, but I feel that Melogold tends to work wonders in all things tiki. There is the aftertaste of bitter, but none of the harshness that can come with the red of its kind. When you’re working with this much lime, one souring ingredient can be quite enough. Of course, lime makes its way into the drink, giving the palate a refreshing breeze to open it up to feel the notes of the rum. This is a beautiful drink, and a strong example of Don’s mastery of mixing with Rum.
Next on the list to try, the Ron Pompero Aniversario, making its way to take place of Infierno, a long defunct 20 years aged Rum of Cuban Origin. This is a very dark and sweet aged rum, a product of Venezuela. It has plenty of the dark smoke and wood tones, as well as an almost tangy maple. The Aniversario pairs very well with a nice cigar, Partagas Black if you’ve got ‘em. Don took this Rum, well, the Infierno, and matched it with two of its best friends, Gomme and Lime, in a drink, very aptly titled Rum, Gomme, and Lime (Sippin’ Safari, page 40). Put in white or gold rum, you have a nice Daiquiri. Match the Gomme and Lime with a well-aged dark rum, and you’ve got a testament to the very foundations of Tiki culture, the modern cocktail, and Liquor et al. Yes, that’s plenty of ice filling that cup… the rum can take it, and still smile all the way down your throat.
Finally, in the cavalcade of Rums and Libations is that great old bugger that adds depth and kick to just about anything, Lemon Hart 151, from Lemon Hart. This well-utilized Demerara Rum tends to make its way across the Tiki drink spectrum, mixed in everything from its own 151 Swizzle, to Don’s infamous Zombie. By itself, this stuff is one helluva kick, smooth up front with plenty of burn in the back. The flavor, well, to be honest is about as smokey as an overused ashtray. Once put into a glass with a few ingredients, however, this spirit opens up like nothing else, adding depth and warmth and a true spirit of the islands to all it touches. The drink I’m putting this sucker in tonight is, for the third time on this site, the 151 Swizzle (Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, page 45), consistently my last drink of the night whenever I visit Forbidden Island. Spice, syrup, lime, Herbsaint, and plenty of ice round out the spirit, giving it more sweetness, longevity, and enhancing the natural flavors. It calms the 151 down, and brings it right back up into full flavor. It’s a fantastic drink I highly recommend.
Well, that does it for this MxMo Rum! entry. I hope you enjoy the wrap up to be posted tomorrow. As of this time, there are 27 entries, and still a few heavy hitters that haven’t pitched in. I can stay up as late as you can fellas, I’ve got plenty of bottles of 151 left.
First things first, I’ve got to give Rick over at Kaiser Penguin what the kids are calling “mad props” for coming up with this doozy of a Mixology Monday. And let me tell you, after a week of testing, my liver is well versed in exactly how much of a doozy it is.
So, here’s a bit of a historical take on this. The limit one per customer, as far as has ever been told, started with Don the Beachcomber. His menu, shown below, has a number of drinks with special “restrictions” on them. This is a 1956 souvenir menu mailer from Hawaii. Mahalo to Mimi at Arkiva Tropika for the imagery.
As you can see, there are quite a few drinks there with a bit of a limit on them, and for some damned good reason. These drinks are killer-dillers in the literal, or LIVERal sense. Oh ho, fun with words.
Anyhow, one of the Beachcomber’s most famous stories comes from the time a man wagered Don, betting he could down 5 Zombies (limit two) without breaking a rum-soaked sweat. So, they both put 100 bucks in the kitty, and agree to the challenge the next night. The man shows up, Don starts mixing, One Zombie, two Zombie, and as he’s sucking down the third, the fella’s head hits the table with a mighty thump. Don won that wager, but not without a trick or two up his short sleeves. Don had mixed some glycerin, a sugar alcohol, into the drink for its property of hitting the system mighty quick. Never bet on another man’s game, Don’s saying goes, and I can’t find a better example of it.
Moving onto the now, seeing the potential for this Mixology Monday, the question that came to my head is, how many Zombies are we going to see? I’ve actually been rather surprised by the innovation, after reading posts and talking with a few bloggers and bartenders. There are some great, full to the brim with booze drinks out there I hadn’t seen covered before. In the hopes of avoiding wearing the same dress another belle at the ball, I decided to whip up this little concoction. This thing’s the real deal, and as I’ve certainly discovered, as Don and Vic once did, it all begins with the right Rum.
Okay, so I put a few too many ingredients in. It’s tiki, things like to get complex. This drink is worth the effort, smooth as silk, and hits like a sledgehammer. This is definitely a onesy, maybe even for the whole evening, and not just because the bartender had a hell of a time putting the damned thing together. Like I say, it’s all thanks to the rum. The rest of the stuff is just notes taken from what the rums were saying… and yes, a few tests into this the rum started talking (maybe literally, it was a lot of rum). Yes, the booze outweighs the others with this one, but it goes down like Polynesian lightning.
The Wisdom of PelÃ©? That comes the morning after having two of these. I’ve got a punch version I’ll be putting on the site soon as well, the Wrath of PelÃ©, as soon as I can get a few more “volunteers”.
When celebrating Don the Beachcomber’s legacy, or his recent birthday (Feb. 22d), what better way to remember the man than through his signature 1-2 punch of Bitters and Pastis (Herbsaint preferred, Pernod in a pinch), and the drink I think really brings it out best, the Test Pilot.
The bitters/pastis combination adds a lot of complexity and roundedness to the drink. Pastis, Herbsaint in particular (drop the R, rearrange the letters to find the origin), in small amounts, adds the strange sweetness of anise, while extending the life of the flavor. For my palate, it’s almost like an envelope, wrapping a bit around the rest of the flavors, keeping them together. The bitters, in this case Angostura, gives a nice spicy start and clove and sarsaparilla-like depth to the drink. Combined, the two are a bit of a circle and spike to the drink, if I can be allowed to make such a visual example of the taste.
The Test Pilot, according to the Grog Log, is by Don the Beachcomber circa 1941, and for my money, is one of the top examples of Don’s mastery of mixology.
Test Pilot (source Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log)
- 1/2 ounce Lime
- 1/2 ounce Falernum
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau (3 tsp in Grog Log, same measurement)
- 3/4 ounce Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal recommended)
- 1 1/2 ounce Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba recommended)
- dash Bitters
- dash Herbsaint
Mix/Blend with 1 cup crushed ice, pour into Double Rocks glass. Add crushed ice to fill.
One thing I notice while making this drink is that it really makes the falernum shine. Using more of a sweetening falernum, like Velvet Falernum, makes a very good drink, but using a spicy homemade, like Paul’s Falernum #8 really brings out all the spice and complexity the drink has to offer. My last batch of Falernum, similar to Paul’s but double the spice, and adding one whole star anise, comes heavily and heartily recommended.
And of course, this will be on the menu for the March 18th Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge! Shameless self-promotion? You got it!
The word Aku-Aku can refer to a few things, one being the movement of a heavy flat bottomed object, and the other being a spiritual guide. It appears to be a rarotongan term, so the reality is anybody’s guess. But certainly you’ll be guided, spiritually to get your flat-bottomed object to a Trader Vic’s sometime for their delicious frozen concoction, the Aku-Aku.
Trader Vic’s Aku-Aku (Source: Trader Vic’s Tiki Party!)
- 1 ounce white rum
- 1/2 ounce peach liqueur
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 2 ounces fresh pineapple chunks
- 8-10 large fresh mint leaves
- dash simple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups crushed ice
Blend until smooth, garnish with mint sprig and pineapple wedge
It’s a tasty drink, not a lot of booze but plenty of flavor. The mint makes it really nice and refreshing, and since it’s blended, the mint leaves aren’t a thready or interruptive texture. As well, as the bum pointed out, it’s a direct rip-off of Don the Beachcomber’s Missionary’s Downfall, with just a bit of difference in the amount of lime used (add about another ounce). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say.
Blend, drink, and enjoy!