• Mixology Monday LXXXII: The Hanalei Sour

    sour5Mixology Monday time again! And not a moment too soon. We were getting a bit one-dimensional with our cocktails here at the farm (playing with Old Fashioned variants mostly), so it is always good to get the creative juices flowing (pouring?). Here is the theme from the excellent Ginhound Blog (they took the name before we could):

    mxmologoSome of the most iconic cocktails are Sours… There is a reason for this: A perfectly balanced sour is a work of art. What has happened to the Margarita shows exactly what is at stake when mixes replace bartender skill. For this month’s MxMo I suggest that we test the sour to the limit: Are there citrus besides lemon, lime and grapefruit that works in a Sour? Is citrus the only possible souring ingredient? Could vinegar or other tart fruits or vegetables be used? Let’s also include the Daisies and the Fizzes – that widens the playing field with eggs and whatever makes you fizz to play with. Let’s play with the garnish – or just take Jerry Thomas’s advice from The Bon Vivant’s Companion: In mixing sours be careful and put the lemon skin in the glass.

    Ah, sours, one of our favorite types of cocktail. And just like last month’s theme of Highballs, it is a good reminder that there are only a few “families” of basic cocktails and that most creations are just riffs on a common core. So with this in mind, we got to work.

    sourThe cool thing about a sour is the basic construct is so easy: spirits, sour and sweet. The hard thing is making them all play nice together. Too much of any ingredient can make a sour into a mess. And while we are not big fans of the term “balanced”, it is the right term for a good sour. The sour brightens your palate, the spirits give some kick and the sweet smooths the flavor. Alchemy.

    sour1sour8Now we just needed some inspiration. In our case, since some of the crew are in Kauai (with a much smaller bar to work with), we chose to use local ingredients as our core. And in Hawaii that means sugar and pineapple, at one time both were the primary crops of the islands. We also have a bounty of local citrus (Tahitian and Calamondin limes) and local rum, Koloa from here in Kauai (good stuff). We also got some local coconut flavored sugar…hmmm. Time to make a local daiquiri variant….that may delve into the realm of tiki. But both daiquiris and tiki drinks tend to be sours, so when in Kauai……

    sour3The Hanalei Sour combines fresh muddled pineapple, lime juice, coconut sugar (or just superfine sugar), Koloa Gold Rum and Tiki Bitters (Angostura in a pinch). We also garnish with fresh pineapple, lime, rim the glass with the coconut sugar (vanilla sugar would also do well here) and add some bitters to the foam on top of the drink. Is this really a sour? Or more tiki? Not sure. But we are sure it tastes good.

    sour4 Continue reading

  • Weekly Cocktail #57: The Kona Castaway

    The Kona Castaway.

    The Kona Castaway.

    More tiki here at the farm. Why? Well….why not? When is it a bad time for a tiki drink? In winter, tiki drinks remind you of summer. In summer, tiki drinks are a celebration of summer. And in spring or fall they are something to enjoy wistfully, or as a harbinger of the warm months to come. Besides, they give you an excuse to pull out that Hawaiian slack-key guitar CD that’s been gathering dust…

    castaway1The other reason to enjoy tiki is that you get to play around with all sorts of crazy ingredients. Special rums, orgeat, falernum, pineapple, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit, absinthe, passion fruit and just about anything else you can think of. Not surprisingly, the ingredient list of some tiki drinks looks like a congressional appropriations bill (and the likelihood of you making one at home is about the same as the odds of that bill passing congress). We do mix tiki drinks at home, but  we can’t stop buying cocktail ingredients we are silly that way. Occasionally we actually find a simple tiki drink with just a few common ingredients. So what do we do? Add more ingredients, of course…

    castawaycastaway5In this case we took the Castaway, a Beachbum Berry concoction of gold rum, Kahlua and pineapple juice, and decided to experiment. The Castaway is a good drink, as the pineapple and coffee play together way better than you might expect. A good sipping cocktail. But since we are often in Hawaii, and the local coffee is awesome, we decided to nix the Kahlua and use leftover Kona coffee as our base.

    castaway3And after some (mostly) enjoyable trials, we got the Kona Castaway. The Kona Castaway combines aged Jamaican rum, light rum, coffee syrup, pineapple juice, Tiki bitters with crushed ice and a lime wedge for garnish. The main change here is making coffee syrup with a 1 to 1 ratio of leftover coffee and sugar. The coffee syrup is much smoother (and tastier) than Kahlua and gives you room to add more layers of flavor.

    castaway6In this case, the aged Jamaican rum and Tiki bitters add spice and funk, and the lime wedge garnish (squeeze it into the drink) adds a nice citrus note to the coffee and pineapple. Overall you get a sweet sip with smooth, spicy coffee notes. The other cool thing you get is a nice frothy head from the pineapple juice. In some ways the Kona Castaway reminds us of a pint of Guinness with the frothy head and the coffee notes, but that only goes so far. It’s still a Tiki drink, after all….

    castaway9The Kona Castaway:

    • 3 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
    • 1 oz. aged Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 yr.)
    • 1 oz. light rum (Bacardi)
    • 3/4 oz. coffee syrup (see below)
    • 2 drops Bittermen’s Tiki bitters
    • Lime wedge


    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake until well-chilled and pour everything into a chilled wine glass or highball. Garnish with a lime wedge.
    • For the coffee syrup, combine a 1 to 1 ratio of coffee (preferably Kona coffee) and sugar. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until it reduces by 1/3. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

    The Castaway:

    (From Beachbum Berry)


    • 3 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
    • 3/4 oz. Kahlua
    • 1/2 oz. gold rum (Virgin Islands or Puerto Rican)


    1. Shake well with crushed ice. Pour unstrained into a pilsner glass. Add crushed ice to fill, if necessary.