Archive for the ‘Rum’ Category

November 8th, 2007

Beantown Sippin’ Safari at Pho Republique 11/18

In case you missed it, Christine Liu of the Weekly Dig penned a neat profile of Brother Cleve last week. She aptly observes, “You’d be hard-pressed to deny the influence on the nightlife scene by this music obsessive and cocktail connoisseur.” And for the benefit of rum connoisseurs everywhere, she prints the recipe for Cleve’s tasty creation the Maharaja’s Revenge (see below. Also note that in the Dig’s photo, Cleve happens to be reading the Savoy Cocktail Book, which has been popping up in conversation lately).

Waitiki albumIn his latest marriage of exotic cocktails and exotica, Cleve joins with tiki drink historian Beach Bum Berry and the band Waitiki to host a full-on tiki fest at Pho Republique in the South End on Sunday, November 18. Admission is free, but you have to RSVP at sippinsafari “at” waitiki “dot” com. See Beach Bum’s slideshow of lost tiki artifacts, including once-upon-a-time tiki bars around Boston. And shake your lei to Waitiki‘s “Exotic Tiki Entertainment from Polynesia and Beyond.” Most important, find out what a real tiki cocktail — with fresh-squeezed juices and aged rums — tastes like. You’ll no longer dismiss these as syrupy “umbrella drinks.” Cash bar opens at 6:00 p.m. See ya there.

Maharaja’s Revenge

2 oz Old Monk rum
1 oz apricot brandy
3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Note: Old Monk is an Indian rum with a unique, smoky flavor, so no substitutes. According to the Dig, you can find it at Martignetti’s in Brighton, Marty’s in Allston, Jerry’s in Union Sq, Libby’s in Central Sq and Liquor Land in Roxbury.

I can’t resist adding another rum cocktail that Cleve told me about recently. Here’s the recipe, in the words of the DJ himself.

Jet Pilot

1/4 oz honey*
1/4 oz passion fruit syrup
1/4 oz Lemon Hart 151 rum
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz club soda
1/2 oz dark Puerto Rican rum**
3/4 oz Lemon Hart Demerara rum
3/4 oz dark Jamaican rum ***
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine everything but the club soda into a shaker with crushed ice. Stir vigorously first to mix honey in, then shake and pour into an Old Fashioned tumbler with a lime shell on the bottom. Add club soda and stir gently. Garnish with speared maraschino cherry. Refill at 30,000 ft cruising altitude.

* honey can be heated first to soften.
** St. Croix Cruzan Dark can be substituted for Bacardi Dark
*** Appleton Extra is recommended

Posted in Cocktails, Events, Rum | 2 Comments »

October 24th, 2007

And a bottle of rum

A bottle of rumWayne Curtis could be the best drinks/history/travel writer working today. You probably already know this if you have read And a bottle of rum: A history of the New World in ten cocktails. I picked up an autographed copy at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this summer after prancing like a schoolgirl up to Curtis’ table at an authors’ reception and introducing myself as a fan.

He gets that drinking is both a sublime and shiftless pursuit, and he chronicles the history of rum with an appropriate mixture of fondness and cheek. He traces the spirit’s ups and downs, from its origins in the pirate-riddled trade routes between the Caribbean and the Colonies to Medford, Massachusetts’ once-bustling rum distilleries to the long-lived tiki drink craze to today’s cocktail-of-the-moment, the Mojito.

The narrative is engaging and solidly researched. It contains a lot of nuggets surprising even to those who know a thing or two about spirits — like that the daiquiri caught on in Cuba in the early twentieth century because of an ingredient that had only just become widely available: ice. Also, even though I knew the Andrews Sisters song “Rum and Coca Cola,” I had no idea how big that drink was during and after WWII. It marked the early phase of a trend toward bland and sweet drinks that continues to this day with our myriad vodka-based alco-pops. Luckily, the back of the book has several good rum cocktail recipes that serve as an antidote to that silliness.

Incidentally, one of the people Curtis acknowledges in the back of the book is Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, historian and resurrector of tiki drinks and the culture that surrounded them. He talks about his latest book, Sippin’ Safari, and the legitimacy of the original versions of drinks like the Zombie and the Mai Tai, in this recent Salon article. Give it a read while you’re waiting for And a bottle of rum to arrive in the mail.

Posted in Books & resources, Rum | 5 Comments »

July 10th, 2007

Martha Washington Punch & Champagne Juleps

Martha WashingtonI was lucky enough to be present at a July 4 roofdeck party where Misty Kalkofen appropriately brought along a batch of Martha Washington Rum Punch. The stuff was to be admired on principle alone; picture our first First Lady serving the mixture to dignitaries at Mt. Vernon, probably using rum from the estate’s own distillery(!). Give it up for Martha and that badass husband of hers. But the punch didn’t just get by on its historic coolness. It was actually delicious. Misty writes about Martha and her punch, as well as re-creates the recipe, on the LUPEC-Boston blog. (For convenience’s sake, I’ve copied the recipe below. Frankly, I would call the grated cinnamon and nutmeg on the finished drink optional.) When I heard “nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves,” I thought, ‘Uh-oh, this is going to taste weirdly wintry.’ But the flavors of the spices, juices and rum were perfectly melded together to create an almost tea-like iced drink that was a thing unto itself — a dangerous thing unto itself, since it didn’t taste anywhere near boozy as it is.

Martha Washington’s Rum Punch

4 oz lemon juice
4 oz orange juice
4 oz simple syrup
3 lemons quartered
1 orange quartered
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks broken
6 cloves
12 oz boiling water

In a container mash the lemons, orange, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add syrup, lemon and orange juice. Pour the boiling water over the mixture. Let it cool. Strain out the solids. Heat the juice mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool and refrigerate over night.

In a punch bowl combine:

3 parts juice mixture
1 part light rum
1 part dark rum
1/2 part orange curacao

Serve the punch over ice. Top with grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

Champagne Juleps were simply something I discovered on I happened to have a bottle of pretty good champagne on hand, plus a tall, vintage glass pitcher, and I wanted to serve a crowd-pleasing, summery cocktail to some dinner guests. Champagne Juleps were the answer. These are essentially Mojitos made with brandy and sparkling wine instead of rum and soda water, and served over crushed ice. I saw one of my guests the following night, and — mind you this guy rarely veers out of Guinness-and-Jameson territory — he said, “I can’t stop thinking about Champagne Juleps.” They were quite tasty if may say so myself. Here’s the recipe, followed by my modifications.

Champagne Julep

Build, fill glass 1/2 with crushed ice
1 1/2 oz brandy
1 tsp sugar, muddle with several mint sprigs in a splash of water (4 dashes)
Fill with Champagne
Add mint sprigs
Serve in a double rocks glass (12.0 oz)

I used superfine sugar, and a little more than half of the amount called for, which made the drink plenty sweet. I also only used about 2 mint leaves per serving. Since I was using a pitcher, I muddled the sugar, water and mint right in there, then added the brandy and stirred. The 40-lb bag of crushed ice I bought at Acme Ice was overkill, but I stuffed the rest of it in the freezer for future summer libations.

Posted in Brandy, Champagne, Cocktails, Rum | 5 Comments »

June 27th, 2007

July 4th reading assignment

Pilgrim Rum - Boston

As Independence Day nears, American drinkers, and particularly New England drinkers, will find validation for their passion for booze in the 2005 Salon article “The spirits of 1776.”

“The American Revolution was not about tea. It was about rum: the real spirit of 1776 … The real conflict between the colonists and Britain began over taxes on molasses, not tea. And that’s where the French come in. The Founding Fathers not only loved the French, but they also loved the molasses that Paris’ Caribbean colonies produced — and they loved even more the rum that New England distillers made from it,” writes Ian Williams.

I can’t flippin’ believe I didn’t know this. Maybe that’s because, as Williams puts it, “years of temperance pressure and Prohibition — and probably the Walt Disney Co. and Hollywood — have essentially shoved the real history of the Revolution down a memory hole.”

If you, like me, were in the dark about this bit of history, mix yourself a rum punch and give this article a read. Then go to your Fourth of July cookout and repeat the info to everyone there.

Extra credit: pick up today’s New York Times, whose Dining section is devoted to drinks of all kinds, and read “A Bit of History, Reborn in a Glass,” an article on bitters. The story is anchored on recent attempts to re-create Abbot’s bitters, which you may already have read about somewhere.

Posted in Bitters, Booze in the news, Rum | 2 Comments »

June 23rd, 2007

How to stock a tiki bar

Tiki Bar

I saw Brother Cleve at Devlin’s in Brighton recently (he was playing with his band, Dragonfly) and mentioned casually that I was getting curious about tiki drinks. Like, what do you have to have on hand to mix them up at home? A couple days later, I got an email from Cleve with a long list of rums, juices and other ingredients, plus opinionated commentary on the do’s and don’ts of stocking your own tiki bar. It’s valuable advice, and I just had to share it. Warning: with what it’ll cost to buy all the ingredients below, you might as well shop around for a liquor license and open a bar.

How to Stock a Tiki Bar — by Brother Cleve
Well, you may hate me for this — cuz it’s not cheap to do your initial setup — but here’s a standard list of what you’d need to be able to flip open a Trader Vic’s guide and make a Polynesian drink. A lot of the mixers are available at Martignetti’s on Soldiers Field Rd., including Fee Brothers Falernum and also an alcoholic Falernum as well. Orgeat is best bought at an Italian shop like Capone’s, which has the real deal made without corn syrup (just like Mexican Coca Cola!). Good sources of odd rums include Wine & Cheese Cask, Downtown Wine & Spirits, Martignetti’s, Beacon Hill Wine, Atlas in Medford.

grenadine (not Rose’s; pomegranate syrup from Middle Eastern groceries can work)
passion fruit syrup (difficult to find; available via mail-order from Trader Vic’s)
rock candy syrup (see above)
orange curaçao (Bols is best, followed by Marie Brizzard)
simple syrup
Angostura bitters

Meyer’s dark (jamaica)
Meyer’s white – plantation style (jamaica)
Meyer’s Legend
Lemon Hart Demerara 84 proof (Guyana. There is a Jamaican lemon hart but very difficult to find)
Lemon Hart Demerara 151 proof
Rogue white rum (Oregon)
Clement rhum agricole (Martinique)
Cruzan 2 yr. old (St. Croix)
Mt. Gay Eclipse gold (Barbados)
Brugal gold (Dominican Republic)
Barbancourt, 3 or 5 star (Haiti)
Wray & Nephew Overproof (Jamaica)
Trader Vic’s brand white and gold
Pusser’s Navy rum (B.V.I.)

orange juice
pineapple juice
passion fruit juice
lime juice
grapefruit juice
coconut cream

When buying juices, go for the single variety rather than the blends. Goya brands are always a good bet. Beware many of the “tropical blends” such as V8 brand, as they contain carrot juice as well, which tends to curdle with rum.

Try to find orgeat without corn syrup. (Unfortunately, Fee Bros. brand has corn syrup in it.)

Some Polynesian cocktails also call for gin, brandy or scotch.

I find Bacardi pretty bland, but some of the other Puerto Rican rums are … well, they’re bland too, but they’re less than mainstream bland (such as Ron Rico). If you stumble across Ron de Barrilito, buy it.

Rums from the French West Indies are “agricole” or “agricultural” rum, made from sugar cane juice as opposed to molasses like all other rums. Tough to find here, although Clement and J.M are slowly appearing. A very different taste. Not essential for tiki drinks, but good to have on hand, and they do blend nicely with fruit juice.

Cane sugar syrup is good to have as well; not that easy to find here, but you can make it from brown sugar and water.

That’d make a good start!

(Um, thanks, Cleve. I think.)

Posted in Cocktails, Drinking supplies, Rum | 9 Comments »

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