Quite busy for a lazy Sunday
First, just making sure it’s known… I’m legal! Well, legal to serve under an OLCC licensee, that is. You see, here in the great state of Oregon, all beer, wine, and liquor sales have to go through the state commission, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The state makes money off the sales and distribution, and the people of the state benefit by… well, I’m not always sure. The good news is, oftentimes there are stores that will allow a “special order” of anything, as long as it can be found in the U.S. The bad news is, you have to buy it by the case, which can be very, very expensive. But that’s a side note. What I got was a service permit application, which is a state run training program to make sure its servers at least have a mild idea of what they’re in for when they’re slinging booze or pulling draft. This is a remarkable difference from when I was in California, where the only reason I worked weekends as a bartender was because the manager knew I had gone to bartending school. Well, they taught me a bit there, but there’s nothing like being face to face with a VIP (Very Intoxicated Person), or, inebriates as I like to say.
This afternoon, some friends came over and we had a lovely time, as I was behind the bar, slinging drinks left and right. One of my greatest temptations as of late was to mix a proper Sazerac. The reason being I finally found a liquor store that actually carries Peychaud’s Bitters and Herbsaint. They also carry Sazerac Rye, which I have yet to try straight, but it seems to do the job proper. I have some Old Overholt, which I love on the rocks, and, as I read on Chuck Taggart’s Sazerac page, is used in most NOLA establishments to mix the Sazerac. But anyhoo, my good friend Noel had just recently been to New Orleans, so, I figured he would be as good a person as any to test with. So, studying up on gumbopages.com, watching the Sazerac video from NOLA.com, and reading Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix ‘em, I felt I was finally ready to test Noel’s palate.
I used a bit of an amalgamation of everything I had seen and read. Not dropping the lemon peel in, using simple syrup instead of sugar cubes, and not being too worried about the dashes of Peychauds. The results? Wonderful! Now please, take note, I screw up quite a bit when I mix. It’s all part of the learning and growing, but really, follow the recipe right and know your ingredients and the drinks practically make themselves. Noel was impressed, and let me know it was better than any he’d had there. Now, I can’t vouch for the places he has gone, but I am very happy to add to my repertoire, the Sazerac Cocktail.
Now, this was not the end of drinks for the day. In fact, not even the beginning! The day was started mixing my own creation, the Happy Hoti. This drink was made recently for a Pyrat XO Reserve promotion during Tiki Kon V. Here’s how it rolls:
- 2 oz. Pyrat XO Reserve
- 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon
- 1/2 oz. Falernum
- 1/2 oz. Rock Candy Syrup
- dash Fee Bros. Old-Fashioned Bitters
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and mint leaf.
I tried to go for a Mai Tai style item, really emphasizing the qualities of the Pyrat XO. Well, that an apparently making it sweet as the dickens. It’s not mouth puckering, but it really squelches any alcoholic burn, with the spiciness of the Fee Bitters adding to the cola-like kick. Someday, if my druthers are in line, I’ll be making a kola syrup for it, either using Coca-Cola from Mexico (cane sugar!), or actual Kola nut, of which I have found a source. I’ll be turning in the pictures I took of the Happy Hoti, next to its mascot, for Kaiser Penguin’s Tiki Photography Contest.
Other drinks from this evening, in quick review, most with pictures:
Flying Fish Cocktail, from Trader Vic’s Bartending Guide. Maraschino liqueur can be a bear of a flavor to mellow out, and in the case the peach bitters, which I had to double-dash for flavor, weren’t sharpening the flavors. A bit too sweet for my taste.
Joan Bennett, from Intoxica. The Parfait Amour adds a really fascinating wave of flavors, as it weaves through orange, and sweet, and grape. The color, while intoxicating in the jigger, becomes a bit sickly when mixed. Still, with the sweetness of pineapple juice and the kick of the rum, this is a very nice, refreshing drink. From my wife “I like my drink, and I would definitely request it”. Is there anything greater than the spousal seal of approval?
Lei Lani Volcano, from Intoxica. A true classic, and always a favorite of my wife and houseguests. Cruzan Coconut Rum is the way to go, I am finally convinced. A while ago, I used Malibu. I may never live that down.
Puka Punch, from Intoxica. I need… don’t want, but NEED to visit the Tiki-Ti one of these days. As the Beachbum would say, there are only 3 places you can get real tiki drinks, and I’ve only been to (many, many times) one of them. This is a fantastic blend that continues to tantalize from the teeth to the gullet. Honey as an ingredient can be a nightmare. Sticky, gloopy, and occasionally overpowering. I heat equal parts honey and water until clarified, then cool, bottle, and store. Lasts indefinitely, well, so far, and is very easy to use in drinks!
Jamoca, from Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber. I’m not sure this blended quite well, as it tasted a bit dilute. As well, I was really expecting the coffee to play a bigger role, but it just ended up as aftertaste. I believe it was because instead of a robust blend, a breakfast blend, on weak setting, had been used. Oh well, learn from my mistakes!
Cobra’s Fang, from Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber. This one ended up being the round closer, and what a closer it was. I ended up making 7 of these puppies. Strangely enough, we only had 5 people in the house… but I digress. There is only a bit of liquor in here, but it’s half Jamaican dark and half 151 Demerara. So, at least it’s potent and flavorful. Demerara is such a fantastic ingredient, and really my biggest eye opener to the different flavors in rum. I remember when I was able to get a bottle in Petaluma, at the off-premises liquor section at Gale’s Central Club. What an exciting day, and what fantastic stuff! I use Lemon Hart pretty much exclusively, but I wouldn’t say no to trying others. Anyhow, this drink mixed fantastically, and was truly a big crowd pleaser. It hit every palate, and there were some pretty picky ones in the crowd. One of the more interesting parts was using mint leaves during the blend, instead of adding them only as garnish after. It added a bit of mint oil to the drink, and really made it pretty as a picture… which, of course, is the one drink I didn’t take pictures of. Oh well, suppose I’ll have to make more!
Other than mixing, mixing, mixing, there was some food involved. A friend brought over some fresh Oregon Raspberries. Let me tell you, if there’s one thing this state has gotten right, it’s berries. Every berry of every season absolute delight. The bad news though, there were so many they would go bad before we could eat them all! No fear, Rum to the rescue! I have two quart jars now in my fridge. One of Raspberry Amber Rum, one of Raspberry Light Rum. Both are Cruzan Rums. We will see how this goes, but OH the recipes I have in my head! We’ll see in a month or so.
Two weeks until my Pimento Dram is properly aged! Hooray!