• 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

    Assemble:

    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)

    Ingredients:

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

    Assemble:

    1. Shake well with crushed ice. Pour unstrained into a pilsner glass. Add crushed ice to fill, if necessary.
  • Mixology Monday Cocktail: Alone, Bitter at the Beach

    Alone, Bitter at the Beach

    Alone, Bitter at the Beach

    mxmologo-2It’s time for Mixology Monday, and if you couldn’t guess already, this month’s theme is “Humbug”. Firstly we want to thank JFL at Rated R Cocktails for hosting this month and Fred Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut for reviving Mixology Monday. Now lets get to the theme:

    Lets face it the holidays suck, yeah I said it. You put yourself in debt buying crap people will have forgotten about in a month. You drive around like a jackass to see people you don’t even like, or worse they freeload in your house. Your subjected to annoying music, and utterly fake, forced kindness and joy. Plus if you work retail your pretty much in hell, so don’t we all deserve a good stiff drink? So for this Mixology Monday unleash your inner Grinch. Mix drinks in the spirit of Anti-Christmas. They can be really bitter and amaro filled. They filled with enough booze to make you pass out in a tinsel covered Scrooge heap. They could be a traditional holiday drink turned on it’s ear. Or they could be a tribute to your favorite holiday villain. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa then you still suffer through the holidays, so feel free to join in with your Anti-Holiday drink as well. Whatever it is add a hearty “Humbug!” and make your drink personify everything annoying or fake about the holidays.

     humbug6While “some people” here at the farm have similar crabby feelings about the holidays, some of us don’t (ahem), but we both immediately said “tiki” when we thought of “anti-Christmas” cocktails. And when you are in a long holiday line at the store and the items won’t scan, and the kids are starting to squirm, and nobody can find the manager, and the next person in line is sneezing on you and yapping about their sex life on the phone, and and now you will be late for dinner, and you just can’t listen to one more fu…..umm, you need a trip to the beach. And, if anything, a tiki drink is a trip to a beach. Far, far away…maybe by yourself.

    humbug3So now that we had a direction, we started in on our “anti-Christmas” cocktail. The Alone, Bitter at the Beach combines, light rum, golden rum, aged Jamaican rum and Lemon Hart 151 rum with lime juice, pineapple juice, passion fruit syrup, a dash of absinthe and a big dose of Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit bitters over crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and the most cutesy, annoying holiday-themed item you can find. The Alone, Bitter at the Beach starts with pleasant notes of rum and citrus then you get the sweet / tart kick of the passion fruit and some heat from the booze. Standard tiki. But on the finish you get the herbal and anise flavors of the absinthe and a dry, almost tannic note of the hopped grapefruit bitters. We think the Alone, Bitter at the Beach fits the holiday season perfectly- too much good stuff that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth (literally and figuratively) and a bit of a headache.

    humbug1

    Our kind of reindeer.

    How did we get here? We stared with the Zombie as a template and then made sure to tune it to match the theme. Boozy? Oh yes. We took one of the booziest cocktails and added another ounce of aged Jamaican rum. Is that too much? Probably, but it is the holiday season, after all. Bitter? Medicinal? Well the absinthe and grapefruit bitters took care of that (and many tiki drinks do include grapefruit and absinthe, so we aren’t too far off the reservation). And we made sure to keep Falernum and allspice liqueur out of the drink- no pleasant holiday spices allowed. The garnish and cocktail napkin were our own special touches. Now if we only had a Grinch mug……

    humbugAlone, Bitter at the Beach:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 oz. light rum (El Dorado)
    • 1 oz. gold rum (El Dorado)
    • 1 oz. aged Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 yr.)
    • 1 oz. Lemon Hart 151
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 1 oz. pineapple juice
    • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup
    • 2 dashes absinthe
    • 6 dashes grapefruit bitters (Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit)
    • Lime wheel, for garnish
    • Christmas ornament, for garnish (optional)

    Assemble:

    1. Place all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a large glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Top with more ice if needed. Garnish with a lime wheel and something holiday-themed and overly cheerful. Serve with a loud “harumph!” or “humbug!”.
  • Bonus Cocktail: The Lani-Honi

    Lani-Honi Cocktail.

    Some cocktails we expect to be good. They are famous, they are everywhere, people write songs about them, name bars and casinos after them. Yes, I am talking about Margaritas, but the same can be said for Martinis, Mai-Tais and Manhattans. These cocktails are icons. And they are (mostly) great drinks.

    But then there are surprises. Cocktails you would never think of, often with somewhat esoteric ingredients, but that just taste great. This week’s bonus cocktail, the Lani-Honi is one of the surprises. And a very pleasant surprise, at that.

    The Lani-Honi has only three ingredients and is easy to make.

    The pleasant surprise is that the Lani-Honi is, technically, a tiki drink, but it includes just three ingredients: Benedictine, white rum and lemon juice served on the rocks. It tastes like a rich, lemony and slightly herbal punch- a simple drink but a good one. And it goes down very, very easy. And not only is the Lani-Honi an easy drink to like, it takes almost no effort to make, and you can make/serve it in batches. The Lani-Honi’s only real downside is that it could be a “dangerous” drink. And perhaps one extra downside is that you need some Benedictine.

    A good excuse to get some Benedictine.

    Benedictine is a French herbal liqueur that’s been around (depending on who you believe) since the 16th century. The provenance and the recipe are somewhat in question, but we do know that Benedictine was mass-produced (and well-marketed) starting in the 1860’s. With sweet, spicy and herbal notes, that some liken to cola, Benedictine became a very popular cocktail ingredient until the middle of the 20th century, when it started lose favor. But many home bars will have a bottle of Benedictine gathering dust somewhere, and the Lani-Honi is a good reason to break it out, or even buy a bottle.

    We found this recipe in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s iPhone Tiki Drink app. We bought a bottle of Benedictine for some classic cocktails, but we didn’t find anything we loved (yet), so we started to look at other uses and searched the Tiki Drink app for Benedictine. More famously, Benedictine is in the Singapore Sling, but the Lani-Honi looked tasty and easy to make. And it was. Carolyn and I both loved the Lani-Honi and we plan to serve it at a few summer parties. We think almost everyone will enjoy it, the Lani-Honi just feels like a cocktail that will please a crowd. Continue reading

  • Tiki Drink for Memorial Day: The Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Cocktail

    We can’t resist tiki drinks for long here at the farm, and Memorial Day provides a good excuse, so here we go again. Although for this tiki drink, we need no excuse. The Ancient Mariner is one of our favorite cocktails, period. And unlike most tiki drinks, the Ancient Mariner is a recent creation from a mixologist in his prime, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. We’ve mentioned Berry’s books on tiki drinks and culture and his excellent iPhone app. Berry is well-known for chronicling the world-famous tiki bartenders “Trader Vic” Bergeron and Don the Beachcomber,  but he also makes his own recipes and the Ancient Mariner is his creation. And it is a great drink.

    A mix of dark rum, light Demerara rum, allspice dram, lime juice, grapefruit juice and simple syrup, the Ancient Mariner has all the fruit and sugar flavors of a classic tiki drink, but with a dry, spicy finish from the allspice dram. Mixologists like to talk about “balance” a lot, and it is often hard to define. (Often I think balance means “what I like”). But whatever balance is, the Ancient Mariner has it. Sweet, sour, tangy and spicy with just a touch of boozy heat, the Ancient Mariner is a lovely sip. The only downside we see is that it might be tempting to have way a few too many.

    Note the “ancient” jelly jar for a glass. We need some lowball glasses…

    But there is one part of this drink that kept us from posting it sooner, the allspice dram. We try to avoid more obscure cocktail ingredients in the blog, but this one is worth finding. Allspice dram (also known as pimento dram) is an allspice and rum-based liqueur from Jamaica. It is a low-alcohol (45 proof) ingredient used to add spice and a touch of almost tannic dryness to cocktails. Widely used in tiki drinks, allspice dram is also used in regular cocktails like The Lion’s Tail and the Balm Cocktail. But about 25 years ago the Jamaican importer stopped bringing allspice dram to the States. So unless you wanted to make your own (and many a mixologist did) you were out of luck.

    Allspice Dram

    Continue reading

  • Tiki Cocktails: The Sumatra Kula

    Oh yes, we had to buy the tiki mug. But more on that below, let’s get to the drink first.

    The Sumatra Kula is a tiki drink from Don The Beachcomber, who along with “Trader Vic” Bergeron led the tiki craze in the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s. If I can summarize, Don was the Socal guy, Vic was the Norcal guy. Both liked rum and created lots of tiki drinks. Vic had the Mai Tai, Don had the Zombie. Both created chains of bar / restaurants in very un-tropical places- most, but not all, are gone now. But tiki is coming back and many of Don and Vics’s drinks are coming back as well, and we think that is great news.

    As for the Sumatra Kula, this is supposedly one of Don the Beachcomber’s first tiki creations from the 1930′s. And as it was early in his career, the recipe is still very simple. But this is a tasty drink and has the added bonus of using ingredients that are easily available. The Sumatra Kula combines lime, orange, grapefruit, honey syrup, light rum and crushed ice. The honey syrup is a 1-to-1 mixture of honey and water, heat until the honey dissolves, thus making it easier to mix in drinks. And in this drink the honey is the key, surprise ingredient. It is sweet, but clearly not sugar, and brings that mystery to the drink. The other thing you will notice is the use of just light rum, as tiki drinks evolved multiple types of rum were used for extra complexity. As it is, the light rum lets the fruit juice shine- so this is a nice refreshing tiki drink.

    Oh, and it comes with a "hat", too...

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