This months’ theme, as you may already be aware, is all about Infusions! That includes alcohol and sugar syrup infusions and in some cases both! This post, a post that precedes my week of infused vodka, is all about a sugar syrup recipe and the fresh new cocktail I created with it! I’m sharing both the recipe for the syrup and the cocktail and hope that at least a few of you try them both out and enjoy the drink! So, without further ado, here is my Blueberry Maple Syrup and my very own original cocktail: The Nova Scotia Sipper!
Blueberry Maple Syrup
200 grams Blueberries
230 ml Maple Syrup
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat.
Simmer until the blueberries soften and begin to burst.
At this point, gently mash the blueberries (not too much) and allow to simmer on a low heat for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain out the solids. Discard them.
If using this recipe for desserts you can mix in another 200grams of fresh blueberries and make a glorious syrup for you pancakes…
Cocktail: Nova Scotia Sipper
25ml Plantation 3 star white rum
12.5ml Blueberry-maple syrup
5ml Lime Juice
50ml Apple & Passionfruit Juice
Garnish: Skewered Lime twist & Blueberries*
Muddle the blueberries with the rum in a Boston cocktail shaker.
Fill with ice.
Add the other ingredients, top up with ice if needed.
Shake well, for around 15 seconds, or until the tin ices over.
Strain into a sling glass full to the brim with crushed ice.
Garnish & serve with 2 straws…
*this is my preferred garnish, although like the picture shows you can garnish it however you like, it’s all about the theatre for this cocktail…
So there you have one of the nicest cocktails i’ve ever made! It does have a slight twist to the flavour profile, thanks to the anise fro the Pernod, but used in such a small amount it merely coats the drink and the other flavours still make their presence known! Hope you all enjoy the recipe, feel free to tweak it if needed and please do let me know what you think! Until next time!!!
Whether you’re aware of it or not, if you’re an avid fan of cocktails then the chance are you’ve probably consumed an infused alcohol or sugar syrup at least once…
DON’T PANIC! This is not the end of the world, in fact it means you’ve more than likely consumed a great tasting cocktail!
After all remember that hibiscus Kir Royale you had last new years’ or that blueberry mojito at last years’ summer fete? Well drinks like these, more often than not, make use of infused alcohols or sugar syrups!
So as you probably guessed it, the next theme for this blog is Infusion! Whether it’s a sophisticated spicy vodka or a simple syrup with a touch of fruit there will always be a place in the world of cocktails and mixology for infused ingredients!
Starting with this introduction and ending with 10 of the more ‘odd’ infusion recipes out there, the next two months will showcase some of the best infusion recipes available and all their recipes will be divulged, allowing you to recreate (and/or tweak?) them to your hearts content!
So what exactly is an infusion?
There are three types of infusion recipe that I’ll be covering during the course of this theme:
Alcohol Infusions – Infusion recipes that involve a plain alcohol (like vodka) and result in either a straight up favoured vodka, or a flavoured liqueur (a spirit with a lower abv % than the base vodka)…
Basically this type of infusion is simply adding the chosen ingredients into a base alcohol like vodka and leaving it to steep (or sit) in that spirit for a required amount of time. Eventually the base spirit will draw the flavour profile of those ingredients out and into the liquid. This method can create a range of fantastic ingredients from complicated spicy vodkas to fun and colourful candy flavours!
Sugar Syrup Infusions – infusion recipes that involve the addition of flavour to a simple 2:1 or 1:1 ratio sugar syrup.
This second infusion type takes less time than the alcohol infusion but the end product does have a significantly shorter life-span. This process generally involves first creating your own (plain) sugar syrup as a base before adding a chosen flavour into the mix and allowing the flavours of the chosen ingredients to cook out and infuse the syrup.
Agua Fresca – Or fresh water. This method of infusing fresh water with fruits and vegetables is favoured in Mexico and was even covered in one of my posts a year or so ago (see here). This method is similar to that of alcohol only you leave the fruit in the water and serve immediately!
As a side note: I’ll also be looking at the creation of certain liqueur types, at least a way of re-creating them at home. These include liqueurs like limoncello and triple sec…
Hopefully that should have cleared up the two basic types of infusion I’ll be covering throughout the next 7-8 weeks and with any luck you’ll find some new and amazing recipes for you to try in your next batch!
Thank you for reading this post, it is a mere introductory post but I would dream of leaving you without a recipe you can get practicing with:
Homemade Blueberry Sugar Syrup
100 grams Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
100 grams sugar*
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Optional: 1 tablespoon vodka
Combine the blueberries, water & sugar in a saucepan and heat gently (low heat).
Stir often and after the sugar is dissolved (should take about 5-6 minutes) turn the heat up to medium. Continue to stir.
Whilst the syrup is boiling gently the blueberries will start to burst and shortly after the mixture should visibly thicken – take the mixture of the heat.
Strain the pulp and fruit excess out using a simple strainer. Gently press the fruit to get more juice out of them but do not press to hard as you’ll end up with a cloudy mixture.
Leave to cool and once it has cooled: stir in the lemon juice.
As an optional step you can also stir in a tablespoon of vodka. This won’t change the flavour profile of the syrup but it will allow it to keep for longer (it should add another 2-3 weeks onto the 4 weeks you get as standard).
Once the syrup has cooled and you’ve added in the other ingredients, cover and store in the fridge.
This sweet, fruity syrup has a host of uses, both in drinks and food. Its simple recipe is easy to follow and it acts as a great base recipe for you to tweak and add in other ingredients. This recipe can also be followed for other soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, simply use 100 grams of the selected fruit instead of the blueberries. Or a mixture of several to create a summer berry syrup (just don’t go over the 100 gram amount as it will not result in a well-balanced end product.
*in the UK granulated white sugar is our easiest to source ingredient, but you can use demerara sugar or maple syrup to give you a richer, deeper end product. If using maple syrup you need only use 75ml of syrup and 40ml of water – as maple syrup has a higher water content than solid sugar.
So all that leaves me to say is goodbye to the month of Tiki cocktails, and hello to the next 7-8 weeks of glorious infusion related articles and recipes! I’ll even be sure to throw in some great cocktails that make use of an infused ingredient!!!
The origin of that great tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai, is murky water at best. To fully understand the where, when, who, why and how of the matter you have to go all the way back to the 1930’s!
As it stands the where and when of the original Mai Tai is pretty much set in stone; it’s the ‘who’ that’s the biggest query…
So let’s state for a fact: The Mai Tai was created in California back in the early 1900’s and was created by one of two cocktail legends: Victor ‘Trader Vic’ Bergeron or Ernest ‘Don the Beachcomber’ Gantt.
I won’t regale you with their two highly intriguing stories, at least no more than to say that Trader Vic’s story is the more plausible (and also sounds more naturally true). That said, if you want to read Vic’s or Don’s Mai Tai origin stories then click here…
Arguably the most important factor in deciding who got the plaudits for the creation of the Mai Tai is that there are Trader Vic restaurants/bars across the world, and yet the same cannot be said for don the beachcomber establishments…
That result for them both has led to Trader Vic’s being the go to establishment for truly authentic tiki themed bars/restaurants and, by way of necessity; they also stock one of the wealthiest collection of tiki cocktails (Click here for a link to the cocktail menu of Trader Vic’s London branch)…
So why are tiki cocktails a thing? Well when they first came about they accompanied some fantastic food recipes that were Polynesian inspired and boasted some bold and wonderful flavours. Now both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic translated the flavour combinations of their food into their drinks. This led to some stunning, and some strong, tiki cocktails entering the world of mixology and becoming synonymous with both American and tropical culture since…
A brief history in a timely fashion (yes this will be quick)
The tiki cocktail started with the opening of the very first ‘tiki’ restaurant back in 1934. Regardless of who invented the Mai Tai, it is clear to see that Don Beach was the first person to start mixing fresh syrups, juices and rum. This practice is what makes cocktail a true tiki cocktail and was carried out by both Vic and beach throughout the renaissance of the tiki cocktail, leading to some of the great cocktails we now see plastered across almost every menu in every bar we ever go to!
Of course huge events like the world wars and American prohibition all had extremely potent effects on the course of the tiki cocktail, whether they precede the tiki era or simply occurred during their height. Inevitably the novelty of tiki cocktails and their almost teleportation-like effects wore off and they fell out of fashion during the 1960’s – mainly due to the Vietnam war and an increased sensitivity to indigenous peoples and; the former taking away the ideals of living out your days on a beach paradise pretty much nailed the coffin of the tiki culture firmly shut.
Fear Not! Like a phoenix from the ashes the tiki cocktail is back in full force (hurrah). The best thing about reboots is the ability to do something right. Mostly.
Tiki cocktails are certainly on a rise, and this is probably buoyed on by the astonishing firework of a rise that rum is currently experiencing. Although, as I have mentioned briefly in my earlier posts tiki cocktails of the present day are experimenting with other spirits…
This current trend of craft cocktails taking on the tiki cocktails and introducing new and exciting directions, shows how far the cocktails of the tiki theme have come since their rather humble beginnings…
So from their creation stemming from the blood of the first Mai Tai, tiki cocktails evolved to include some rather stunning concoctions. Granted there are some that may not give you the best of evenings but if we’re honest with ourselves, drinking absinthe in copious amounts is never a decent decision…
Look out for some of the best recipes from across the internet, from Classic Mai Tai’s to odd little Tequila-drenched Pina coladas, there is bound to be one cocktail for all tastes…
As a final note: This week will signal the end of my Tiki-Themed month and over the following couple of months I’ll be looking at something a little different. Keep an eye out near the end of the week for some (possibly) exciting news!
And here, finally, we have our 4th section of rum: Spiced. This is arguably the most important section of this list as the ‘spice’ in these rums can be what gives a tiki cocktail its kick!
There are a couple of rums on here you might need to scour online shops for, but for the most part the rums in this list are readily available in your local supermarket/off licence!
Kraken Spiced Dark Rum (USA) £21.95 – The Whisky Exchange
This 40% black spiced rum is somewhat of a genius. Its quality is unmistakable, earmarking it for greatness in the eyes of rum-tasters. But what really sets it apart from every other bottle of rum on the supermarket shelf is its old-style bottle shape. The traditional handle-necked bottle invokes visions of pirates and the romance often associated with the idea of a free life at sea.
Whilst the bottle makes it stand out, it does so knowing full well that the gloriously thick, molasses based alcohol contained within can more than hold its own; one of the only spiced black rums at home being sipped neat as it is swirling around a glass full of lime and cola. This is a perfect topper in a tiki cocktail too! Especially when you do not want to set the house on fire, but still want some theatre to your drink!
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Made in the USA from Caribbean rum and named after the mythical giant squid-like beast, Kraken rum is fantastic; a black spiced rum that is extremely reasonably priced! What’s more, for a limited time only, the whisky exchange is selling a special pack that includes an awesome looking mason-style glass! Perfect for Kraken’ your bottle open when you get in! Excuse the pun – Sorry, not sorry.
Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum (Jamaica) £17-20 Sainsbury’s
One of the favourites of my best mate at university, this rum truly has stood the test of time. In the past 10 years I’ve seen it go from strength to strength and literally fly of the shelves!
Perfect for combining with a mixer for a quick drink, this rum is often overlooked in its ability to fill out a cocktail or two. Regardless of your feelings towards it, Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum is a fantastic addition to any ones tiki-cabinet. Try substituting it into your next Mai Tai, it won’t taste like a classic mai tai, but it will be something a little special I’ll tell you that for nothing!
Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (Guyana) £20 – Tesco
Another original spiced rum, Sailor Jerry’s fits into the ‘classic’ tiki choice section as it comes under one of the mandates set out in my first tiki cocktail post: It’s from Guyana!
Although Sailor Jerry’s has changed its recipe several times, and some consider Kraken to be more akin to the recipe everyone loved, this rum is still something very, very special. If you’re not a fan of Captain Morgans, for whatever reason – I’m not one to judge – then you should definitely be setting your sights on this classic tiki-suited spiced rum…
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Ever tried a spiced mojito? Well you’re missing out! Try this recipe out the next time you have a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s knocking about…
This is the second Bacardi rum to make it into one of my top 5 lists, and it is by far the best of the bunch! I tried this a year or two back and it certainly did not disappoint! Combining a rich hearty gold rum with the heart of charred oak barrels this rum is smooth, spiced and even has a tang of smokiness about it! Wonderful in a Cuba Libre or ‘your own tweak’ on a dark n stormy ‘like’ cocktail this rum is best mixed with other ingredients for sure, but make use of it when creating your tiki masterpieces and you shall never be disappointed!
Fervent Shaker insider tip: If I’m honest, of the two Bacardi rums on my lists this should be the one you buy (if you have to choose)… Sweet, Smooth, Spicy, Smokey and damn good; this rum is perfect in a spiced Pina colada and even better in a rum-toddy…
Admiral Vernons Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum (England) £30-36 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange
Ok, so here’s another ‘danger’ warning. This rum, at 75.5%, is by far the strongest of all the rums included in any of the previous lists! Thus it should be treated with the upmost respect.
So with the warning let me share some info about this fine, high-proof, rum:
This rum was the brain child of Admiral Edward Vernon. He enforced a strength reduction on the rum the British Navy gave to its sailors (back in 1740). After hearing the complaints of his men however, ‘Old Grog Vernon’ suggested the addition of lime & sugar to help the flavour and make the drink more enjoyable.
This Old J rum was created in honour of ‘Old Grog’ himself and whilst the strength of the rum has been readdressed, it was increased back to 151-proof [75.5%], it has kept the same balance of spices, lime and sugar that made the original rum a great hit.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Although this rum is perfect for tiki cocktails (it has tiki in its name after all) it is a 151-proof rum and therefore highly flammable! Whilst it gets a little old for me to keep warning you, you seriously need to be careful when handling such high-strength rum. It may taste great, used properly, but when you mess around; things can and will go wrong!
So here we are, the second to last post, and it’s all about the rich and powerful: Dark Rum…
Now we move onto the Dark rum and here is where it gets a little special, some of these rums are aged for nearly a decade and most come with a pretty special little story or two… From the Highly prized Goslings Black seal to the highly flammable overproof Plantation Rum here is my top 5 Tiki Dark Rums:
Goslings Black Seal (Bermuda) £21.15 – The Whisky Exchange
This brand of rum is one of the best dark rums on the market; its rich, well-balanced flavours make it an ideal choice for tiki cocktails and enjoying with your favourite mixer.
Interestingly the Dark N Stormy cocktail (at least in the USA, Caribbean, UK & most of Western Europe) can only be made with Goslings Black Seal Rum! This is the result of a trademark Goslings started filing back in the 1970’s.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Goslings were the first alcohol company to put in for, and get, a trademark for a cocktail. The trademark covers the use of the name ‘Dark N Stormy’ and regardless of the amount of lime or ginger beer used; the rum has to be Goslings Black Seal!
Bacardi Black (Cuba/Puerto Rico) £18-£20 – Sainsbury’s
Made in the Cuban style, but exiled to Puerto Rico; Bacardi Carta Negra (Black Rum) is a rich full-bodied dark rum that can hold its own against some of the best. Whilst the price would indicate its relative ‘cheapness’ when compared to some other brands, this rum is intended for the general use of mixing. Whilst it can be sipped, it’s best served in long drinks with cola or juice.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: I don’t like this rum neat. But I do love it in a Cuba Libre. Its dark-nature shines through in the rich taste and you don’t lose it when it’s mixed with Cola. Definitely worth the punt if you can’t afford the top end dark rums…
Plantation Overproof Dark Rum (73%) (Barbados) £35.65 – The Whisky Exchange
Like the honourable mention of Wray & Nephews white overproof rum in my first post, this dark rum is also overproof. If you’ve ever made, or had made for you, a cocktail called a ‘Zombie’ (made famous by the Don himself) then you’ll know that there is a requirement for overproof rum and for it to sit on the top of this drink. Its primary function is to burn and add a deep charred, burnt alcohol flavour to the drink. A worthwhile addition to any bar, home or public house; this rum is an excellent rum and perfect for advanced mixologists/bartenders…
Fervent Shaker insider tip: As with all alcohol one should be always be careful. However seeing as this alcohol is overproof (it’s 73% abv) it’s extremely flammable and should not, in any way, be underestimated or used lightly!
Ron Abuelo 12YO (Panama) £31.80 – The Drink Shop
Made from their home-grown sugar cane plantation, Abuelo 12 year old Anejo rum is soft, complex and character-full and can challenge even the most sophisticated of palates. Now some aficionados might argue that to mix rum of this quality would be heresy, I for one like my cocktails full of class. And this rum provides some serious weight in that category…
Clarkes Court – Special Dark Rum (Grenada) £27-30 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange
Winner of 9 bronze/silver awards from 2002-2009 (as well as various gold medals) Clarkes Court Special Dark Rum is a 40% abv rum from the shores of Grenada. This dark rum is aged in ex-bourbon casks and is perfect for cocktails as it is considered to be a gentler style of rum; those preferring softer rum have a love for this particular bottle.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: This particular rum is perfect for adding a little tweak to your tiki cocktails. Being of the softer variety of rums, this bottle will supply you with an easy to mix rum and help you develop your prowess, in regards to tiki cocktails at least…
So there you have it, my 5 top dark rums to use for you tiki cocktails. If you ever get a chance to nab a bottle or two off that list then I suggest you go ahead and give them a go! Just be extremely wary of the Plantation overproof 73%!!!
Is there a Dark rum you prefer that didn’t make my list? Why not leave a comment below with your choice? Although please understand that tomorrow I’ll be looking at spiced rums as the 4 section and therefore any ‘spiced’ dark rums will possibly be on that list!
The colour is the first thing you’ll notice – it’s not called gold for the fun of it after all!
Ok so I covered the basic white rums. There were a few brands (and countries) covered but now we move onto my favourite type of rum: Gold Rum.
This section should allow you to expand your rum styles, and your geography knowledge, a little further. With Gold rums from Venezuela to Cuba and across the entire Caribbean; there is sure to be a choice for everyone…
Diplomatico Anejo (Venezuela) £22.84 – The Drink Shop
This smooth-sipping golden rum is blended from a combination of continuous still rums and potstill rums. Although blended, the average age of the finished product is 4 years old. Diplomatico is a very strong brand from Venezuela and can hold its own in almost any rum-sipping competition (its various products have won various awards over the years) and yet it blends into tiki cocktails remarkably well.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: If you’re looking for a well-balanced, blended gold rum and want to try something other than Caribbean rum then I strongly suggest giving this brand, including this particular rum, a go!
Ron de Jeremy – Reserve Adult Rum! (Panama) £33.32 The Drink Shop
Ron de Jeremy is an extremely well-balanced 7 year old rum and is quite literally distilled by a living legend: Cuban Master Distiller Francisco ‘Don Pancho’ Fernandez. Don Pancho is 72 years old and is considered one of the most experienced and renowned master distillers in the rum industry.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: This rum is fantastic to sip, and will reward those with a well-developed palate. However it has been created in such a way that it will also mix well with other ingredients, especially when mixing cocktails.
Mount Gay – Eclipse (Barbados) £19.70 The Drink Shop
Another long standing favourite of mine, this reasonably price rum is one of the sleeper hits of the last few decades. Whilst all of the top-end rums clean up at awards ceremonies, this rather unassuming bottle sits itself on the supermarket shelf and literally sells by the bucket.
Those who have been to Barbados and visited the distillery will know its history well and even those not interested in rum will have heard of it whilst on the island.
Hand-crafted since 1703, Mount Gay Rum is made using the finest Barbados sugar cane and pure spring water. This leaves you with a rum that can be sipped neat and yet is equally, if not more so, at home combined with your favourite mixer…
Fervent Shaker insider tip: this rum is reasonably priced and found in most of the bigger supermarkets in the UK. Failing that you can find it easily in online alcohol shops.
Flor De Cana – 4YO Gold (Nicaragua) £22.68 The Drink Shop
Flor de Cana 4YO Golden Rum is a little something different. From central/south America this rum is well-balanced and perfect for combining with mixers and works brilliantly in light cocktails.
Palate notes: “A soft entry leads to a round, dry medium-bodiea palate with caramel, sugar cane and peppery spice flavours. Finishes with a dash of toasted coconut shavings and pepper. Very clean and pure.” – Flor De Cana.com
Appleton Estate Special (Jamaica) £14.00 – Sainsbury’s
The price tag on this rum may make you cringe and think ‘bargain basement’ but the idea here is to give you a cheaper option whilst making sure you get your money’s worth. Appleton Estate special Jamaica Rum is only £14 yes, but it’s an absolute bargain in regards to its taste and overall finish. It’s not as sophisticated as some of the other rums on this list, but its sheer versatility means it can be used in a range of tiki (and non-tiki) cocktails. And for that reason alone it makes the list…
Show me a Tiki Cocktail and I’ll show you a good rum…
Tiki cocktails have, traditionally, always used rum in some form or another. The thing is; rum doesn’t just come in 1 style. Just go to your local supermarket, find the alcohol department and you’ll see just how many brands there are.
Whilst you can split rum up into the 4 main types: White, Gold, Dark & Spiced; the complications for choosing one to make your tiki cocktail arise when you look a little closer. Whilst the branding of a rum will be the easiest way to determine a difference, there are also differences in styles.
The style of a rum is determined by several factors. These can include the type of still used, the type of sugar-base* used even the area of which thee rum is distilled can affect the style, and therefore the taste, of a rum. Just like with the difference between different Whiskies there is an equal difference between any two rums.
*All rum uses sugar as a base for the alcohol, but some use molasses (a thick black liquid) and others use sugar cane. The results are often significantly different – with the processes using molasses usually resulting in a darker more viscous end product.
So with this in mind let’s look at 5 of the best rums for your Tiki cocktails, all can be found in the UK although not all can be found in your supermarket (website links can be found at the bottom of each post), and all of the bottles [at the time of posting] are under £40 (around $60)…
Where has all the rum gone? – Jamaica, Guyana, Martinique, Cuba & Puerto Rico, that’s where!
There are not many Tiki themed cocktail bars in my local area [Sad face] and therefore my exotic getaways are restricted to what I make for myself, unless I want a poorly made Pina Colada – everywhere sells those!
Unfortunately, for me at least, that means that certain products are only available seasonally and whilst most would argue that the need for a tiki cocktail in the winter is not quite like it is when in the height of summer, I feel that it’s my right to be able to get a decently made tiki cocktail whenever I want!
So whilst I struggle on with my local bars and pubs, trying ever so hard to find at least a good tiki cocktail, I dream of bigger and most definitely better things: A great tiki cocktail!
That usually means I’m left with gathering ingredients and making the drink myself, and that is exactly what I’ve done for the 3 cocktails used in this post…
But first: What is a tiki cocktail? It’s all well and good me saying “tiki this” and “tiki that” but I suppose unless you have some context it could be a little over your head. Well let’s discuss what a tiki cocktail is and why they’re too important to be made poorly…
The Great American Tiki Rush
So whilst I yearn for well-made and great tasting tiki, I had a thought: What exactly makes a great Tiki cocktail? I mean I know how to make all the classic tiki cocktails: the Mai Tai, Zombie, even the often poorly made Pina Colada; but what is the history of this exotic cocktail genre? And what does it mean to drink a Tiki drink like the Mai Tai?
Well here I look to share some of the discoveries I’ve made whilst trawling through the endless recipe pages the internet unsurprisingly supplied… I’ll even throw in three (3) of my favourite classic tiki cocktails for good measure!
Forget the gold rush and mid-west gunfights; the biggest rush of recent American history was the rise of the Tiki cocktail. Tiki cocktails came from seemingly nothing and, spearheaded by two particular individuals, rose to become one of the most popular cocktail genres of the current time! But a little more about that a little later.
What tiki cocktails are meant to provoke are memories of exotic locations and beach side haunts. At the very least they’re meant to help take you away from the everyday trivialities of life.
Tiki cocktails are more than just another genre of cocktails, and it’s all too easy to think of them as just rum cocktails and this is the unfortunate trap a lot of bars that serve these cocktails fall prey to.
A tiki cocktail, by general definition is a cocktail that uses Jamaican rum, Martinique rum and then a combination of syrups, juices and other liqueurs. The importance in that definition is the first two ingredients: 2 types of Rum. Although other spirits are being used more and more – this is in no way a bad thing!
The overall definition is a little open to interpretation and whilst some die-hards will tell you that “a tiki cocktail simply has to contain rum” most bartenders and mixologists understand that restricting ones pool of inspiration is a bit short-sighted. After all you can make an old fashioned with rum, why not a tiki cocktail with scotch?
However, that being said, almost every cocktail expert will tell you one thing: When getting into tiki drinks always start with rum and master the classics first and only then should you think about expanding into other spirits and liqueurs as ingredients…
It might seem a little contradictory but when you think about the most famous tiki cocktails they always almost contain rum as a base spirit. This is no coincidence as back during their infancy, tiki cocktails used rum exclusively. It’s only been in the most recent times that tequila, vodka and whisky – among other spirits – have been used. It is the classic nature of these cocktails, as well as other rum-based tiki cocktails, that give rise to the stigmata of using other spirits.
So let’s assume that you want to start out on your very first tiki cocktail adventure, and to do that you need to heed the advice of cocktail experts: Start with Rum…
The type(s) of rum you start with is important, if only for the sake of creating the best cocktails you can possibly make. This collection of 3 main types of rum should be enough to get you started and then, as stated above, you can expand to your own pace:
A rich Demerara-style rum from Guyana or a nice rhum agricole from Martinique – El Dorado 12YO rum is expensive, but one of the best rums out there, at least in this category…
A rich Jamaican rum – Appleton Estate ‘Special Jamaican Rum’ is a great choice, especially as it is readily available in most UK supermarkets…
And, arguably the most overlooked rum for beginners: White rum. A white rum in the style of Cuba or Puerto Rico is the best choice – Brugal & Havana club are great brands to start with…
Once you have the rum you simply need to pay a visit to your local supermarket/green grocers and do one of two things: Decide on your laziness level!
If you want truly authentic tiki cocktails, then you simply have to go full-fresh juice. To do this find the produce section of the shop and pick up some exotic fruits:
Pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit, dragon fruit, lychee, oranges, lemons, limes and of course coconuts. Feel free to experiment with literally any exotic fruit you can lay your hands on.
Then simply blend the ingredients up to create truly fresh fruit juice for your cocktails! You can also use chunks and slices of the same fruit for creating home-made sugar syrups, which can really help to add further depth in taste to your cocktails.
Failing that most supermarkets, at least here in the UK, stock ‘NFC – Not From Concentrate’ juices and I cannot state clearly enough that this is literally the lowest you should go when making cocktails. Juices from concentrates are a little cheaper but for truly authentic and, simply put, better tasting cocktails you really should get the juice as fresh as possible…
The only other things you need to make your tiki cocktails are:
Ice (cubed) – you will need the best quality you can find and for the sake of any blended drinks please use cubed ice rather than crushed! – Although if you require crushed by all means do get it, but do not use it in place of the cubed ice! Trust me you don’t want to blend crushed ice, unless you want to water out your drink…
Decent glassware and garnishes: Get a decent hurricane glass (or two) and also some nice straws. You can also go all out on the garnish, using umbrellas and various fruit twirls etc. but I prefer it when the motto less = more is in effect!
Once you have all the things mentioned above you’re ready to move onto the recipes!
So what are the most famous tiki cocktails?
Obviously everyone knows of the main 3 cocktails: The Mai Tai, The Zombie and of course that sleeper tiki big-hitter: The Pina Colada.
But not many people know how to make these cocktails properly. The recipes shared below are believed to be the original or, in case of the Mai Tai, the closest possible match using today’s ingredients…
How to make a Classic Tiki cocktail at home?
Rum + Fruit Juice + Syrup = COCKTAILS O’CLOCK!!!
Before we start I have to confess: This is not the original recipe. The original recipe calls for a type of rum no longer made, however the fusion of the two rums used is supposedly the closest you can get to the original. Andlike all things on this blog I’ve given this cocktail a teeny-tiny little fervent shaker tweak…
1 measure Martinique Rum
1 measure Jamaican Rum
1 measure fresh Lime Juice
½ measure Orgeat Syrup
½ measure Cointreau
Garnish: Sprig of mint & fresh lime…
This cocktail is a simple yet effective mixture that is usually ruined by the type of ingredients used and not the method. As you’ll see below the method is pretty darn easy…
Combine all of the ingredients (except the garnish) in an ice filled shaker and shake well – for around 10-20 seconds [or until the tin ices over].
Strain the mixture into a rocks glass full of crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime wedge/wheel/twist [whichever you prefer].
Fervent Shaker teeny-tiny little tweak: Try floating some dark, high quality rum on top of the drink before garnishing… It’ll add a little richness to the final sips of this already awesome drink…
Originally created by the original beachcomber himself, it contains a super-secret ingredient which for years was just that: secret. Turns out it was just a mix of grapefruit and cinnamon syrups!
1.5 measures gold Puerto Rican Rum
1.5 measures Jamaican Rum
1 measure 151 Demerara Rum
¾ measure fresh lime juice
½ Dons Mix (Grapefruit & Cinnamon syrup mixture)
½ measure Falernum liqueur
8 drops absinthe
1 dash angostura bitters
Blend all the ingredients together, with ice, for about 5-10 seconds (high speed).
Pour the mixture into a chimney* glass and garnish with a sprig of mint!
* A chimney glass is a type of glass you are already probably aware of and, depending on their shape/size, are known by several names: The delmonico, The collins & The highball.
2 measures White Rum
2 measures Coconut Cream
2 measures Pineapple Juice
100 grams crushed ice
Blend all of these ingredients together and strain into a well-chilled hurricane glass and garnish with a wedge of pineapple, a couple of cherries and, if you’re feeling exceptionally exotic, a decently sized pineapple leaf.
So there you go! 3 classic tiki cocktails 1 from each of the ‘fathers of tiki’ and of course everyone’s summer classic: the Pina Colada.
Tiki cocktails are more than just a rum mix; they’re an escape from reality and all things boring. They’re a chilled, and sometimes eclectic, mix of rum juice, syrup and of course exotic flavours. The next time you go out and about why not order a mai tai, or a pina colada? Or, and only if you’re feeling exceptionally brave, why not try a zombie or two? Although most places will only allow you a double tap…
Keep your eyes peeled for more Tiki fun coming up later this month, from the best tiki cocktails to the best rums to use in those cocktails and all sorts of other tid-bits. This month, come away with me and enjoy an escape like no other: Tiki Cocktails…
Originally I had planned to do just the two individual X-men themed cocktails and post about them, one this week and one next week. However I found an issue with deciding which two X-Men to choose. So I gave up on that idea and merged both posts into a single post and selected 10 of my favourite X-Men characters and then proceeded to give them cocktail shooters, using my very own recipes! Please note that these character choices may be biased from my time watching the 90’s cartoon (it was, and still is, pretty darn good)…
I always loved the X-Men. A world in which ‘mutated’ powers came to be genetically, and a world in which these ‘mutants’ were not accepted by those who were not alike.
Mutant’s came in all shapes and sizes, literally, from mutants who can detect other mutants to uber-powerful mutants that can control the elements; Magnetism, Weather, Ice, Fire as well as pretty much anything else you can imagine!
I think one of the funniest abilities I ever witnessed was in X-Men: The Last Stand… It was during the break out scene magneto stages, and one of the mutants tasked with finding the young boy comes across the doctors involved in manufacturing an ‘antidote’ for the mutant gene. The mutant in question hugs one of the doctors, and whilst in the close embrace he flexes and out dash a bunch of spines – like a porcupine!!! Really?!
Anyway, onwards to the drinks…
The drinks this week are a little different, in that rather than restricting myself to a single cocktail I’ve opted to go for shorter, stronger yet more party friendly drinks…
That’s right folks; it’s time for X-Men Shooters!
Here are 10 of my own recipes for some great fun at your next geek-fuelled party!
Please note that whilst I consider all of these recipes my own work, that does not mean there will be no similarities to other drinks out there…
Also please bear with me whilst I work on these cocktails – I’ve not been able to get decent pictures of all of them yet, so you’ll have to suffer with my concept drawings. I’ll replace/add actual pictures as and when I can!!!
#1: The Professor Xavier
Equal parts Scotch & Water…
Build in a glass, use 1 large ice-ball to chill.
This cocktail is simple yet undyingly effective. After all this is the drink the professor would be enjoying and you can be certain he’d be using a damn good scotch whisky too!
#2: The Cyclops
½ measure Well-Iced Blue Curacao
¼ measure Cherry Brandy
¾ measure Yellow Chartreuse
Pour the blue curacao into a standard-sized shot glass.
Using the back of a bar spoon layer the cherry brandy on top of the blue curacao.
Then, finally, layer the chartreuse onto the cherry brandy – use the same method as above.
The image above is a representation of what you should be aiming for…
The leader of the X-Men and leader of these cocktails, Cyclops (or Scott Summers, his human name) is has a soft heart and is one of the most loyal and noble mutants in the X-Men. However, no matter how he tries to hide it, he has a dangerous side – his mutation. His mutation is uncontrollable without his specially made visor and if caught off-guard can cause significant damage to those around him – friends and innocents alike.
#3: The Storm
1.5 measures Tequila,
1 measure Blue Curacao
¾ measure Lime Juice
Fill a shot glass half way with crushed ice (pack it in tightly)
Shake the tequila and lime juice together and pour into a large shot glass.
Fill the rest of the shot glass with crushed ice.
Then, using the back of a bar spoon, layer the blue curacao on top and just wait for the slow but steady fallout…
Second in command and arguably one of the most powerful mutants alive, Storm is loyal, logical, and noble as well as knowing what it’s like to grow up in one of the hardest environments on the planet: 3rd world Africa. She is a great mutant to have on the side of the X-Men and has time and time again proved her worth to the world… This cocktail represents one of her most theatrical abilities changing the weather!
#4: The Wolverine
½ measure Iced Blue Curacao
½ measure Crème de Banane
As before you simply layer the spirits on top of each other (in the order listed in the recipe) and down in one!
Arguably the most wild and unpredictable mutant in the X-men, wolverine is known for being a bit of a hot head and not caring much for any trouble he gets in. His method of choice is to fight his way out, even if talking will do.
The thing that makes him an integral member of the team however is his vast array of mutant abilities. His main mutant ability is definitely his most powerful: regeneration (almost instantaneous). Combined with his heightened senses and surgically implanted adamantium, an indestructible metal, he is one of the most ferocious and hardened fighters out there…
#5: The Beast
1 measure Vodka
1 measure Blue Curacao
1 measure Blue Raspberry Sourz
1 measure Peach schnapps
2 measure Lemonade
Shake the vodka, blue curacao, blue raspberry sourz and peach schnapps together until the tin is well iced (around 15-20 seconds).
Strain into a rocks glass full of crushed ice.
Top up with the lemonade and garnish with a wedge of lime…
The group scientist, Beast is a brilliant mind and avid purveyor of thoughts. He can pretty much think his way out of any situation and is the most logical as well as being well respected among the rest of the group.
Beast prides himself on his knowledge and unwavering sense of righteousness, if caught by the authorities he would rather sit and await trial, believing fully that in order for humans to accept mutants, mutants have to accept humans…
#6: The Jubilee
½ measure Viniq Liqueur
½ measure Goldschlager
½ measure Nuvo Sparkling Liqueur
Pour the Viniq liqueur into a well-chilled tall shot glass.
Layer the Goldschlager onto the Viniq (use the back of a bar spoon as already mentioned above).
Then, gently layer the Nuvo sparkling liqueur on top of the Goldschalger.
Enjoy the show and then knock it back…
Jubilee is the baby of the group, she has arguably the weakest ability of the group but where her abilities lack in strength and power they make up for in subterfuge and diversionary tactics. Often the playing the bait she is both courageous and a little fool-hardy. Jubilee is the apple of Wolverine’s eye and often he will be heard shouting her name before making paper-chains out of her would-be attackers…
This cocktail, like Jubilee, is a little piece of chaos in a cute, rather girly shell. Blending some feminine and novel spirits together to create something both magical and sparkling in the same glass…
#7: The Gambit
2tsp well-iced grenadine
½ measure Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
½ measure St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 measure Martell VSOP Cognac
1 measure Grey Goose Vodka
Pour the grenadine into a tall shot glass.
Blend together the Domain De Canton Ginger Liqueur, Cognac and some ice until the mixture is similar to that of a slushy drink.
Pour this onto the grenadine, being careful not to mix it into the grenadine.
Then blend together the St. Germain, Vodka and more ice. Stop when a ‘slushy’ texture is met.
Layer this mixture on top of the rest of the shot and enjoy!
Gambit (or Remy Lebeau) is well renowned for his French accent, New Orleans decent and of course his weakness for a pretty lady… However his mutant ability and general all-around agility makes him an invaluable member of the X-Men team.
Like Gambit, this shooter exudes French class and has an abundance of fragrant flavours and will impress any lady you serve it up to.
#8: The Ice-Man (serves 2)
2 measures Vodka
2 measures Peach Schnapps
2 measures Blue Curacao
Blend together the above ingredients and a half blender full of ice.
Blend until the drink is hitting a slushy-like consistency and then pour into the well-iced shot glasses,
Bobby Drake (Ice-Man) is a young X-man made famous by the original 3 films and has subsequently been a pretty solid inclusion in future instalments (except for those before his time).
His mutant ability is pretty cool, sorry couldn’t help it, as he can supercool anything he touches and can even expel an ‘ice-beam’ like force from his hands – like a true little wizard.
He is one of the bravest X-Men and plays by the rules. This is shown throughout the films and even in the face of betrayal from his own family he holds no grudge towards them – it’s a pretty forward thinking and stable person who can do that!
This shooter, like Bobby, is well-iced and super cooled. It’s strong, cool and tastes pretty darn good!
#9: The Rogue (Serves 2)
1 measure Vodka
1 measure Gin
1 measure Tequila
1 measure Rum
1 measure Triple Sec
1 measure Lime Juice
3 measures Cola
Shake all the ingredients (except for the cola) together and pour into 2 rock glasses.
Top up with the Cola and knock it back…
In the films Rogue was played by Anna Paquin and was kind of a tortured soul. Her ability was somewhat of a curse in her inexperienced hands and there was only so much she could take. However, once trained Rogue was to become one of the most powerful mutants of all time. Her ability to steal other mutants’ abilities is rivalled by no others and in the 90’s cartoon she could fly and even had super-strength (courtesy of a prolonged touching of Ms. Marvel it was revealed).
This shooter, is only loosely a shooter and is modelled on the infamous Long Island Iced-Tea cocktail
#10: The Jean Grey (Phoenix Edition)
2tsp 151-proof White Rum
1 measure Green Chartreuse,
1 measure Midori
1 measure Vodka
1 measure Peach Schnapps
1 measure Grenadine
This cocktail consists of 3 carefully constructed parts, and you’ll need a thin Collins glass to serve it properly:
For the first part simply blend grenadine and peach schnapps with ice cubes. You want a nice slushy mixture (as stated in above cocktails).
Pour this into the pre-chilled glass.
Then blend the Midori, Chartreuse & Vodka with ice to create the second, green, layer.
For the final layer you need to have a steady hand and a bar spoon…
Layer the 151-proof rum gently on top of the drink so it floats. No ice this time.
Finally all you need to do is, very carefully, light the 151-proof rum on fire. Use a splint or extended lighter do not get this on you – safety first folks!
These shooters are perfect for a friendly gathering or themed party and although they match their characters colours well, they mostly match their personalities and abilities too!
The X-Men are a powerful force and trust me, after a couple of these you’ll know why!!!
Miss any of my other superhero cocktail posts? Check out the links below and you decide who or what is your favourite!!!
“He doesn’t want to be famous? Then I’ll make him infamous” – J. Jonah Jameson
Marvel Themed Cocktails: Spiderman
The soon to be Avenger (rumoured) and his token cocktail…
Spiderman has long been my favourite superhero. I grew up reading the kids comic-magazines, watching the 90’s cartoon (yeah the one where Spidey goes full mutant-spider). This is the first if my themed cocktail post’s and I wanted it to be special. To me the epitome of a superhero is Spiderman. He’s young when he first gets his powers and abuses them somewhat. However through various tragedies he learns the truth behind that famous marvel line “With great power comes great responsibility”. Some say that phrase has since been overused but to me it’s all about a boy becoming a man, a super-heroic man.
So this post needed to be special, and the cocktail needed to be special. So I through caution to the wind and tried to create something perfect for the summer…
Here in the UK we’re having a bit of a torrid time of things, that’s my opinion on it anyway. Whilst everyone loves the lovely skin-crisping heat the summer sun brings and given our position geographically, we tend to end up having a sweat-pouring muggy month or two. The best type of cocktail during summers like these is one pack with ice and flavour. Below is something that, prepared properly, will rock your Spidey-loving world!
This is a ½ & ½ cocktail and will take some preparation. You will need a food processor/smoothie maker/blender to create this cocktail in all its glory…
The Spectacular Spiderman
Blue half– Blue Margarita:
1.5 measures Tequila
1 measure Blue Curacao,
1 measure Lime Juice
Red half –Red Set Punch:
1.5 measures Grenadine
1.5 measures Raspberry Vodka
1.5 measures White Rum
For the blue margarita half:
Blend the Tequila, Blue Curacao & Lime Juice with ice until the mixture is like a slush-drink.
Pour this into a tall sling glass, filling it halfway.
For the red set punch half:
Blend the grenadine, vodka and rum together with ice until the mixture is like a slushy-drink.
Top the sling glass up with the red mixture and garnish with a gummy spider and serve with a straw.
This cocktail is a bit of a blend of two fantastic cocktails. The blue half of the drink is a tweaked margarita cocktail, the tweak being the replacement of the triple sec with blue curacao. Using Blue Curacao instead of the triple sec merely tints the colour an electric blue…
The second half is red and the grenadine is the obvious colour additive here. This mix of Raspberry vodka and rum, combined with the grenadine adds a slightly fruity edge to the top of the drink.
This cocktail, made from two halves, starts off fruity and sweet and is relatively easy on the throat. However the blue section hides the kick and as you progress through the drink you’ll start to taste the blue margarita more and more. This is no coincidence. The drink is built for you to drink from the top to the bottom. You can do the reverse, and the drink will get easier the more you drink – but where’s the fun in that!?
This cocktail is a great little number for themed cocktail parties or for impressing your friends on a night in…
Until next week, drink well but drink responsibly!!!