• Monthly Cocktail #1: The Midnight Daiquiri

    mid5Happy Tuesday! And we choose to celebrate this auspicious day with something new, the “Monthly” cocktail feature. It was weekly, but we were having a hard time keeping up. So “Monthly” it is…

    In any event, is there any better flavor combination in cocktails than rum, lime and sugar?  So simple, so perfect and yet so flexible. The basic daiquiri is still a classic and one of our “go-to” drinks in any season. But like most classics, one you fully embrace the basic structure, one starts to riff and experiment. And with rum, probably more than any other spirit, the possibilities are endless.

    mid1Rum has more varieties than almost any other spirit. Molasses vs. cane juice, pot vs. column still, country of origin, aging, blending and filtration all come into play. And in the end, every nation, every island, every distiller has it’s own distinct flavor. And unlike whiskies, the range is incredibly broad. Scotch and Bourbon have many flavor profiles, but you know exactly what they are. Meanwhile there are rhum agricoles and cachacas that taste grassy like tequila, white rums so light in flavor that they are closer to vodka, aged rums that sip like whiskey and dark / black rums that are something else altogether….and that is where we have been playing lately.

    mid2While it may have a questionable reputation, (a few too many Meyers ‘n Pineapples in your youth can leave a mark) dark rum is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, the flavors range as widely as rum overall. Most dark rums will have bittersweet molasses core, but they also feature spice, vanilla, funk, chocolate, coffee and even maple syrup notes. And these are all flavors that make for tasty, complex and sometimes memorable cocktails.

    We often wax poetic about Appleton 12-year-old, our favorite rum, and one that may be called “dark”. But recently we started playing with something cheaper and a lot funkier, Cruzan Blackstrap rum. And this is fun stuff to play with. The Cruzan has all the dark molasses flavors along with notes of spice and maple, and with a lighter mouthfeel than you might expect. And at under 20 bucks a bottle, a real deal.

    midSo what did we do with the stuff? Experiment, of course. But after a while we made our own creation, the Midnight Daiquiri. The Midnight Daiquiri uses Cruzan Blackstrap rum (you could sub Gosling’s or Meyer’s), lime juice, falernum syrup, coffee liqueur and bitters. The sip starts with a bittersweet molasses nose and then a sweet, spicy “rum, lime and coke” flavor that ends with a slightly bitter note that cleans the palate. A very easy sipper, more refreshing than you might think and certainly worth a try.

    mid4The inspiration for the Midnight Daiquiri comes from a few excellent cocktails. The falernum (spiced lime syrup) and dark rum are from the Corn ‘n Oil, the coffee liqueur from the Port Antonio and the extra bitter notes from Comal’s Black Daiquiri. In each cocktail the common thread is to embrace the flavors of the dark rum, and not hide them. And in the Midnight Daiquiri you get the full spectrum, spice, coffee, maple and, of course, molasses, all playing well together.

    mid3So the next time you see that bottle of dark rum gathering dust on you shelf, take it down, pull out some limes and get to work. You never know what you might find…

    The Midnight Daiquiri:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. black or dark rum (Cruzan Blackstrap)
    • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
    • 3/4 oz. falernum syrup (you can sub Velvet Falernum in a pinch)
    • 1/4 oz. coffee liqueur
    • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 2 dashes Bittermens Tiki bitters (optional, but good)
    • Lime wheel, for garnish

    Assemble:

    1. Combine the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupé or cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wedge and serve. You can also serve this cocktail on the rocks in a lowball glass.

     

     

     

  • Cocktails for Memorial Day: The Pegu Club

    Pegu Club Cocktail and ingredients.

    Another classic cocktail for the weekend. And after posting the Ancient Mariner, a tiki drink with a hard-to-find ingredient in allspice dram, we decided to go for a cocktail you can make almost anywhere. And the Pegu Club has been made and enjoyed just about everywhere.

    The Pegu Club is named after an old-time (and now defunct) British colonial club in Rangoon, Burma Myanmar. As with many colonial clubs they had their own cocktail, in this case a mixture of London dry gin (the British need their gin), Cointreau (or orange curacao), lime juice and a few bitters. A simple drink, but a very good one. And if you just thought “margarita with gin”, you are onto something. The Sidecar begets the Pegu Club and soon enough you get a Margarita. Old recipe + new booze= new cocktail. And so it goes.

    Pegu Club Cocktail.

    Cocktail historians track the Pegu Club back to at least the 1920′s, when the drink became popular worldwide. It is listed as a popular cocktail in Harry Craddock’s Savory Cocktail Book from the 1930′s. Then after World War II, the Pegu faded from view as other cocktails emerged. But good cocktails never die, and sometimes they don’t fade away either. They re-emerge. Luckily the Pegu Club is making a comeback. It certainly helps that Audrey Sanders, widely considered one of the best bartenders in the world, opened her bar “The Pegu Club” in NYC many years ago and helped spur the cocktail revival. If you name your bar after a drink, it had better be good.

    And it is very good. Openly sour, but smooth and with enough sweetness from the Cointreau and spice from the bitters, the Pegu Club goes down almost too easy. But as it was a “club” drink, the Pegu Club is still an elegant creation. If you have to put on a collared shirt (or, god forbid, dress-up) this weekend, the Pegu Club would be an excellent companion. And if you are grilling and listening to baseball on the radio with your family, and we hope you are, the Pegu Club can hold its own.

    Pegu Club Cocktail ingredients.

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