Monday, April 26, 2010

Piña Colada, or Problems of Crushed Ice in Tropical Alcohol Suspension

A ceramic coconut mug is a magical thing to drink from. It feels good in your hand. With a coconut mug, you feel in command—of what, it's not clear, but you feel it just the same. I am the happy possessor of two old coconut mugs, and always on the lookout for the perfect recipe to fill them—the kind of potion that sends you out over a tropical sea under a coconut moon. The kind of drink that may cause you to wake up Monday morning naked in an alley in Reno or possibly Atlantic City, except that you’re already comfy at home with your own regal coconut mug and who feels like going out anyway.

So this brings me to a problem I’ve tried to work out off and on over the years: what’s up with all the watery, generally crummy Piña Coladas? I’ve played with the rums, tried making the recipe more complex, tried using something other than that can of Lopez that’s still sitting in the cupboard. Nothing seemed to create the innocent wonder of the primal Piña Colada.

So I figured I’d turn to an experienced barman, and looked for a recipe in Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology. There was a frozen and a rocks version. I’d do both.

Frozen Piña Colada, The Joy of Mixology
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz coconut cream
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 pineapple cube
Blend with enough ice to almost fill a 12-oz collins glass. Add garnishes.

Source: Gary Regan, The Joy of Mixology

I decided on gold rum because that’s what I remember from the old days, but picked a nicely rounded one, 10 Cane. For the coconut cream, I sweetened some organic coconut milk with vanilla syrup, 2:1. (I could drink that neat.) When I added enough crushed ice to almost fill a 12-oz glass, the texture was pleasantly slushy but the flavor was dilute. And it didn’t fill up enough of the 16-oz coconut mug.

The basic recipe was good, but too much water was being released from the blended ice. (Stupid boat drinks, mutter, mutter.) I made the rocks version, which uses the same proportions, and my housemate agreed that it was balanced and nicely boozy.

So it was clear that there would have to be some compromise between slushiness and depth of flavor. The result would be more potent all around, and icy, but more creamy than snowy.

Frozen Piña Colada, Fogged In Lounge
  • 3 oz gold rum (10 Cane)
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 1/4 oz coconut cream
Blend with about 6 oz crushed ice about 30 seconds on high. Pour into a ceramic coconut mug. Garnish with cherry and pineapple stick.

Source: Rowen, Fogged In Lounge

Question from the Befogged: Is the Piña Colada tiki?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


One of several cocktails called Havana. The others tend to be based on light rum, but this one, from The Art of the Bar, is based on Gosling’s (I assume Black Seal is meant), and is rich and spicy. With the Cointreau and orange juice in there, you could probably skip the syrup. And since it’s plenty sweet already, I skip the sugar rim called for in the original recipe. It also calls for an edible flower garnish, which I would like better, but our garden seems to be the only one in San Francisco without a single nasturtium.

  • 1 1/2 oz Gosling’s rum
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • Splash of orange juice
  • Dash orange bitters
Shake in an ice-filled shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Sugar-rimmed if you must.) Garnish with an edible flower, if available.

Source: Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz, The Art of the Bar

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mr. Bali Hai

Another recipe saved from extinction and brought to light by the great Beachbum Berry. Some tropical drinks are outstanding for their masterful synthesis of sought-after ingredients. Mr. Bali Hai is not one of those drinks, but it’s distinctive and conjures an era. It was formerly served at the Bali Hai restaurant in San Diego, where it came in the Mr. Bali Hai mug.

I was intrigued by the combination of coffee, pineapple and lemon, which sounded kooky but interesting, and it is. This drink has lots of personality. The recipe calls for Hiram Walker coffee brandy. I had Kahlúa so I went with that instead. It also calls for sweet & sour, and I used a mixture of 2 parts lemon juice to 1 part simple syrup. I recommend doing as the recipe suggests and putting it in a ceramic mug, or at least in colored glass. Otherwise it looks a lot like cola.

Mr. Bali Hai
  • 1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 oz sweet & sour
  • 1/2 oz Hiram Walker coffee brandy (Kahlúa)
  • 3/4 oz while Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 oz Myers’s rum
Shake with large scoop of crushed ice (about a cup plus some to fill) and pour into a Mr. Bali Hai mug or other large tiki mug.

Source: Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Intoxica!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Copper Swan Cocktail; the Brownie

Here’s one from Gary Regan and one of my own on a similar theme. I like the combination of Scotch and apricot brandy. I had found this while experimenting a few years ago with new combinations for shooters for a party. The resulting recipe appears below Gary’s.

Copper Swan Cocktail

  • 2 1/2 oz Highland Park single-malt Scotch
  • 3/4 oz apricot brandy
  • lemon twist, for garnish
Stir and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass or a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.

Source: Gary Regan, The Joy of Mixology

The Brownie
  • 1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Red Label Scotch
  • 1 1/2 oz apricot brandy
  • 1 tsp amontillado sherry
  • 3 drops Angostura bitters
I prefer not to ice this, as it’s very warming and smooth tossed off in one go. Stir and pour into shot glasses. Makes 3 drinks.

Source: Rowen, Fogged In Lounge

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Twentieth Century

My favorite vermouth for the Twentieth Century is Cocchi Americano, but I believe they had some issue with importing it lately. A friend told me he put a little Angostura bitters in his Lillet for a similar effect in the Vesper which seemed inspired, so I decided to try it myself. The dash was small enough that there was little difference in color, and the experiment was fairly successful on the whole.

Question: Any news of Cocchi Americano?

Twentieth Century
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blonde
  • 1/2 oz white crème de cacao
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • (1 small dash Angostura bitters)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Adapted from Ted Haigh, a.ka. Dr. Cocktail, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Space Monkey

Tiki time again. This one’s inspired by a recent visit to a science museum with Matthew. The rocket was built as a prop by another friend, Richard. I guess it could be a space rocket though it kind of looks like a missile. Hm—maybe the post has a Planet of the Apes subtext.

I notice that now and then, tiki heads into outer space. Does anyone know if there’s a name for this?

Space Monkey

  • 1 oz Charbay vanilla rum
  • 1/2 – 1 oz Cruzan light rum (booze up the monkey at your own risk—it could be a long flight back)
  • 3/4 oz creme de cassis
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 tsp grenadine
Shake lightly with about 6 oz crushed ice and pour into a saucer glass.

Source: Rowen, Fogged In Lounge

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Classical Itch

A tiki potion built on traditional lines. (I was dreaming of being a Hawaiian bartender.) There seems to be a handful of recipes with Itch in the name, notably the Tropical Itch. I’m guessing the itch in question has not so much to do with a physical condition as an impulse to forget all responsibilities and walk off down the beach.

The Classical Itch
  • 1 oz gold Martinique rum
  • 1 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
  • 1/2 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
  • 1/2 oz curacao
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion bitters
I recommend squeezing your own citrus. (You knew that.) A pinkish grapefruit is fine, but not a red one. You want it to have at least some sourness. Shake with a cup of crushed ice and pour into a fancy 12-oz glass. Garnish with pineapple and cherry. Serve with a straw.

Source: Rowen, Fogged In Lounge

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Maerose Prizzi: So let's do it.
Charley Partanna: With all the lights on?
Maerose Prizzi: Yeah. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.

It wasn’t until I moved all the way across the country that I learned of this beautiful cocktail named for my homeland. It’s every bit as delicious and sophisticated as the Manhattan, but its ingredients are a little harder to come by, and it has four of ’em instead of three. “Welcome to Brooklyn: Fourth Largest City in the World.”

The Brooklyn Cocktail
  • 2 oz rye or bourbon (Rittenhouse 100)
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth (Dolin)
  • 2 tsp Torani Amer
  • 2 tsp maraschino liqueur
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry—homemade, if you happen to have.

Source: Ted Haigh, a.ka. Dr. Cocktail, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

Friday, April 2, 2010

Edmond Clément

This is a small cocktail, and should be kept that way. It’s named for a French lyric tenor I knew nothing about until I went looking for a name that represented style and elegance on a more intimate scale.

The measurements are given for two drinks, but if you want to make one, the absinthe reduces to about 3 drops.

Edmond Clément
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz Lillet blanc
  • 1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/8 tsp absinthe
Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Makes two drinks.

Source: Rowen, Fogged In Lounge
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