So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.
They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.
Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!
So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!
It’s March… The month of my birth, the peak of spring, and the start of the summer solstice. I thought I’d start my return to this blog with some classic ‘me’ cocktail. So below you’ll find 3 long, fruity and rather gorgeous looking cocktails. All of which will naturally be sweet.
I have been looking for a cocktail that really matches how I’m feeling this march. I’ve been off alcohol for so long that I just want something to really hit home. I looked for cocktails with a well-balanced yet complicated cacophony of flavours and, where possible, cocktails that had a little something special.
I eventually settled for a Tropical Tequila Cocktail: The White Peach Tequila Cocktail, a Pisco sour flavoured with thyme: The Pisco Thyme, and finally a favourite I’ve yearned to make myself: The Canon Cocktail.
Cocktail #1: White Peach Tequila Cocktail
2 ripe white peaches
60ml silver tequila
60ml peach liqueur
60ml lime juice
2 tbsp. sugar syrup
Garnish: Sliced Peaches & mint sprigs.
Pit, peel, and chop the peaches before blending them and then sieving the puree into a bowl.
Combine the puree, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve over ice in a large rocks glass and garnish with the sliced peach and mint sprig.
Cocktail #2: Pisco Thyme
30ml Lime Juice
30ml Thyme Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients over ice until well chilled. Around 20seconds.
Double strain cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Cocktail #3: The Canon Cocktail
1 measure Rye Whisky
½ measure sweet vermouth
½ measure Ramazzotti Amaro
Bitter Truth old time aromatic bitters
Stir first 3 ingredients over ice.
Strain into a chilled rock glass and top with a Cointreau Foam
Using a dropper, place a few drops of bitters on top of the foam.
This final cocktail is the signature cocktail of the Canon Bar, Seattle. Canon is a bar owned and run by a legend in the bartending world: Jamie Boudreau. It’s a great cocktail I’ve always wanted to try. Sure it’s a whisky cocktail, and whisky is not my favourite, but this Manhattan-old fashioned style hybrid cocktail really has an air of class about it.
To give some idea of how the legend himself makes this cocktail please refer to the attached video below:
So I always end up with half empty bottles. Left right and centre. A lot of them take up space I need and shamefully I’ve been guilty of throwing out more than a few of these ‘casualties’ of war.
So what can we, as responsible adults, do to combat the shameful wasting of perfectly good alcohol? Well let me share with you some recipes that are perfect for using up old ingredients and opened bottles of booze you might have lying around the house.
There are four (4) recipes in this post, all of which make use of the odd amounts of alcohol you may have lying around. Even if you don’t have the particular type of alcohol available you can gather ideas from how the recipes are put together and tweak them to suit your available spirits!
Without further ado, let’s look at those recipes:
#1Homemade Fruity Winter Punch
2L Sparkling Wine
Garnish: Citrus Fruits, Winter berries & star anise
Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl.
Add sliced fruit and chill well.
If serving with ice fill up shortly before serving.
If serving chilled without ice, take out of the fridge at the last second.
500ml Pimms #1
1.5L Apple Juice
Garnish: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 apples, 2 oranges
Add all one by one and stir well.
Leave for 30 minutes for cinnamon flavour to develop more.
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…
This post is all about the ultimate sweet vs sour battle: Melon vs Almond, aka Midori vs Amaretto.
Of course there is ultimately only ever 1 winner this post will share 2 fantastic cocktails for you to decide. However for the sake of the battle I shall declare my winner at the end of the post…
So here are two refreshingly simple cocktail recipes you can make at home, recipes that when made correctly will freshen up this belated winter chill gripping us all.
So let’s get started with the Sweet in out Sweet & Sour battle:
SWEET: The Midori & Pineapple
150ml Pineapple Juice
Build the ingredients in a tall ice-filled glass.
Stir well and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
This cocktail is so simple you can make it whilst half cut; which, if we’re honest with ourselves, are the best type of cocktails. Blending the super sweet liqueur that is Midori (Melon flavour liqueur) with the ever-tropical flavour of fresh pineapple juice results in instant smiles all around. Make this for your friends and they’ll all be laughing off that rain-drenching they just suffered. Did I mention how easy it is to make?!
So drink up, and settle yourselves for the onslaught that is round 2…
SOUR: The Disaronno Sour
45ml Disaronno Liqueur
30ml Fresh Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and drop in 3-5 ice cubes.
Shake well and for around 5-10 seconds.
Strain the mixture into a small rocks glass. Think western whisky glass.
Garnish by dropping in a maraschino cherry on a cocktail stick.
And here is an old favourite: the amaretto sour. This cocktail has made the round over the last couple of years and gained extra exposure with Disaronno making it their flagship cocktail. Blending sweet almond flavoured liqueur with bitter lemon juice results in something a little tangy and rather sour. That’s not a bad thing though as this cocktail is surprisingly moreish and will have you addicted in no time. Best thing about them is how quick and easy they are to make. You can batch them too, just make sure you share out the contents equally, you may have trouble on your hands if not…
This cocktail is a wonderful favourite of mine and yes I have used it in posts before but it really comes into its own when used in battle like this. Make a fresh batch of them up for you and your friends and you’ll be wondering why you disliked the rain in the first place. Rain is wonderful.
Ok so there it is your second and rather strong contender for the winner…
But it doesn’t stop there because there is a twist in this tale of two… In true soap-opera style these spirits find it hard to stay faithful to their own mixers and something terrible (or amazing) has happened… Disaronno has decided to cheat on its lemon/sugar mixer with its counterpart’s pineapple juice. But in a twist of fate Midori has also cheated but with the sugar lemon combination amaretto had come to love. I explain with these two bonus cocktails below:
The Midori Sour
30ml Fresh Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Like the Amaretto sour, combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add 3-5 ice cubes.
Shake well and for around 5-10 seconds.
Strain into a small rocks glass and garnish with a cherry on a toothpick.
This version of a classic liqueur based sour retains more of its sweet taste than the amaretto sour, but not so much that it overpowers the drinks base. A perfect blend of sweet and sour this drink is a little harder to knock back due to its sweet/sour complexity (it’s rather rich) but is worth just as much attention as its previous form.
The Tropical Almond
150ml Pineapple Juice
Build in a tall ice-filled glass.
Stir well and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a straw.
This cocktail looks and sounds like it shouldn’t work, but for some reason the flavours blend considerably well. The refreshing taste of pineapple hits your first but then swiftly makes way for the subtle almond flavours of the Disaronno. ‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it’ is the tag line I’d hit you with after the looks you’ve almost certainly hit your computer screens with…
Here’s a preview of my upcoming post about the magic of the MOJITO…
Basically Mojito’s ROCK! – they are superbly refreshing, glorious drinks for those glorious summer nights we never seem to get any more here in the UK… Well i have news for you, Rum is making a comeback this year and among a few other drinks, the MOJITO will he right on the front lines of this overdue revival.
The Mojito is a classic Caribbean style cocktail, although adopted my many a Mexican resort as a slight diversifier from Tequila; this drink is by far superior from the Caribbean using home grown local ingredients…
As i always say a cocktail can only be as good as its ingredients. And the Mojito is no exception. The original recipe calls for Caribbean white rum, Cuban in particular (as if it would be any other). Add to this the local sugar, limes and mint and you have one of the most crisp, breathtakingly refreshing drinks you’ll ever try…
A Classic Recipe…
60ml Caribbean White Rum
15ml Sugar Syrup
4-8 mint leaves
1/2 lime cut into chunks
top up soda water
For methods on how to mix this drink and a large collection of different flavour-filled Mojito recipes (including some rather special easter related recipes), look out for my forthcoming post titled: Mojito’s – The many flavours of Caribben Rum
“The Cuba Libre requires Bacardi rum and Coca Colatm with ice and a wedge of fresh lime. Why? Because that’s how an original Cuba Libre has always been made – at least since 1900, when American soldiers on Neptuno Street, Havana, first persuaded a barman to mix his precious Bacardi rum with their tasty new beverage called Coca Cola” – Bacardi’s description of the Cuba Libre on their website. (http://www.bacardi.com/uk/Cocktails/BACARDI-Cuba-Libre)
The Cuba Libre has all the mysterious history you need from a classic cocktail and then some. Now I’m not saying it’s because of this that it’s actually considered a ‘classic cocktail’ but you have to admit the uncanny similarities to some of the other classics (Mojito, Martini, Margarita etc…).
The one thing that the Cuba Libre has in its favour though is its base spirit: Rum. Rum, as any well-to-do person will tell you, has a mysterious history all to its own. It just so happens that the Caribbean (that’s the collection of islands that includes Cuba would you know) is arguably the best place for premium quality rums anywhere in the world. Whether it’s the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Trinidad or even the ‘Rum King’ Island known as Barbados, the rum used in Cuba Libre’s has traditionally been of the best quality full stop (little wonder it’s become a classic then eh?).
So traditionally it was made using Coca Cola, a Premium quality CubanAnejoRum and a wedge of Lime to freshen the drink up a little. However recently (mainly due to the lack of any Cuban rum in my repertoire) I have been trying out different brands and styles of rum both to find my favourite, and also because it is a simple recipe to stick to and easy to tweak without destroying the original idea…
Of course there are many variations, more variations than the time I have to write them down for you, and some include different types/brands of rum. From the classic white(light) rums to the semi-aged golden and Aged ‘Dark’ rums of the Caribbean and even the spiced rums (Captain Morgan’s, Kraken etc.) which have become more and more popular over recent years here in the UK…
The last time I got paid (just after Christmas) I went out and stocked up on some quality rums that my local Sainsbury’s had on offer at the time (and I also got a bottle of Makers Mark, but that’s a story for another time)… The Rums purchased/received as presents were;
– Brugal Ron Anejo Rum £20-25 (I got it on offer for £16.99)
A Golden (semi-aged/aged) rum from the Dominican Republic; considered to be of a very high quality.
– Kraken Black Spiced Rum £18-23 (depending on store)
Imported from the USA, Kraken comes in a glorious pirate themed bottle and denotes a giant squid (hence the ‘Kraken’) on the label. It’s a high quality black spiced rum and it tastes magical, which is probably why it has gathered quite the cult following. This was a very well received present from my sister for Christmas.
– Bacardi Oakheart £18-19 (£12 – offer price when I got it)
My soul reason for buying this bottle of rum was the price. It was a mere £12 at the time (worked out around £10.80 after my discount) and I just could not pass that up (considering its usual RRP is around £18-19!!!)…
Also I was a little wary because whilst Bacardi is a quality product, I feared they had created something that might not work (needless to say I was very, very wrong!).
Anyway, back to the recipes;
So I tried a Cuba Libre using a 2-1 (Rum-Lime) ratio and topped up with a cola (Pepsi as it’s my favourite but feel free to change that to your favourite). Needless to say you do get 3 very different tasting drinks.
The Brugal Anejo Cuba Libre is as close as a Classic Cuba Libre these recipes got, purely in the way of geographical accuracy (Dominican Rep. is as close to the Havana Club style Anejo I have) and I imagine it’s similar in tastes to a classic Cuba Libre too. Whilst not the best when mixed with Pepsi, if you use Coca Cola like the classic recipe requests, it becomes sublime. And as a classic Cuba Libre (if you don’t have any Cuban rum) then this is the recipe I suggest you use!
The Bacardi Oakheart Cuba Libre was a standout favourite among my friends and family, with its smooth taste blending with the lime and Pepsi better (in their opinion anyway) than the Brugal Ron Anejo. The Bacardi was obviously made for cocktail mixing; such is the way with their other rum products.
The Kraken Black Spiced Cuba Libre, after a few tries, was my personal standout recipe. Purely for the thick, almost syrupy taste it brings to the drink. The Lime juice, when freshly squeezed, cuts through the nasty aftertaste of the alcohol (that horrible kick you get that can spoil a drink) allowing you to pile in 2 measures without thought, and the Pepsi brought out the Spiced notes perfectly and made sure they were there in the background, but not too overpowering.
In my opinion the Kraken Rum brought something extra to the Pepsi recipes that the others simply did not have: a thick almost syrupy, spice texture that when cut with the fresh lime juice created this sensation of pure bliss; that something a little bit special.
Now don’t mistake my gushing for naivety. I know that the classic Cuban rum recipe will always be the classic Cuba Libre, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but what I am saying is that If you want something a little special and a bit of a taste-treat in the disguise of a Cuba Libre; then Kraken Black Spiced Rum is your poison of choice. Trust me you will not regret it.
– Always use freshly squeezed lime juice. Lime cordial is never a replacement at the best of times, and especially not here. It is too sweet and doesn’t help balance out the rum. Don’t expect the taste to be that good if you do use it. Having said that, if you have no choice try to use a little less rum so you don’t overpower the drink.
– These rums were used purely because they were accessible at the time I tried them. So whilst I am raving about the Kraken Rum here, it is very likely you will disagree. Please don’t hate me for ignoring your favourite rum; that is not the intention. It was simply MY favourite of the 3!
Brugal Ron Anejo Cuba Libre (Coke)
2 measures Brugal Ron Anejo Rum
1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice*
Top up Coca Cola
Brugal Ron Anejo Cuba Libre (Pepsi)
2 measures Brugal Ron Anejo Rum
1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice
Top up Pepsi
Bacardi Oakheart Cuba Libre
2 measures Bacardi Oakheart
1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice*
Top up Pepsi
Kraken Black Spiced Cuba Libre
2 measures Kraken Black Spiced Rum
1 measure freshly squeezed lime Juice*
Top up Pepsi
*this is equivalent to around 1 small lime being around 25ml
Now as a slight addition to this post, one I did not intend I might add, will be in relation to the fact that whilst in the process of writing this post; I was again paid.
This payday I invested in a rather well-known brand of Cuban Rum, mainly to test out the theory of ‘Cuban rum for a Cuba Libre is better’ and also because I love it. That’s right ladies and gents; Havana Club 3yo white rum.
Now normally I would keep this sort of information to myself, but seeing as it was mainly to try a proper Cuba Libre Recipe out, I thought it best to add. The recipe I used was a 2:1 ratio (the same as the above recipes) only I added the lime juice to the glass first (following Havana Club guidelines).
And can I just say, from the above recipes, Brugal & Coca Cola was my favourite (not including the Kraken & Pepsi recipe), but this Havana Libre I made up, was on another level… It is very strange, but the flavour of the Havana Club comes through the cola perfectly, so you taste the rums flavour, but without the painful bite of the alcohol (thank the lime juice for that).
So I suppose to summarise I just have to leave you with this bit of advice: Cocktail recipes can be fluid. You make them to your own tastes. And sometimes you may want a spiced rum, sometimes you want a white. But if you ever have a Cuba Libre, try it first with the Havana Club 3yo, create a Cuba Libre the way it was intended and then, if you want to, experiment with other rums. You’ll find that this classic recipe is just that: a classic. You may find you prefer a spiced version, or even the taste of black rum. But no matter what you try you cannot beat the Cuban Anejo rum recipe. It’s just one of those things… Like gravity or the short life of a turkey; it’s inevitable.