Thursday, September 6, 2012

One More Day of Summer

I just dropped my boys off for the first day of grade 7. *gulp* I think they are well prepared. New clothes, backpacks, binders, meetings with teachers, a bevy of emails and phone calls, arranged a tour of the high school where they'll take practical arts, a summer of helping them weave those fragile strands of pubescent friendship a little tighter, 2 months immersion in family, leisure and ease. But still...The Worry. It is grey and raining, and I am a tangle of emotions. The house is too quiet.

I had promised a follow up tiki drink post with some recipes, and today seems a fitting time to do it. A little sunshine would do me good, even if it is only in a glass. Not that I am about to start drinking at 8:38am (we haven't quite gotten to that point yet), but the weatherman says that some September sunshine is coming our way next week, so this is a perfect reminder that we're not quite done with summer yet.

I have had a hard time choosing which recipes to share here. Some of the best of these drinks are almost absurdly complicated, and I don't want to scare anyone away, so I am going to share a few different recipes with low degrees of difficulty. Please note:

1. All recipes presented here are slightly bastardized versions of the original recipes, all of which can be found on Beachbum Berry's excellent Tiki + app, which for only $3.99 is one helluva bargain and highly recommended. Over a summer of sampling we've tweaked our favourite recipes to our own tastes, based on the ingredients readily available in our neck o' the woods. Please feel free to prefer the originals.

2. All juices mentioned are freshly squeezed. Yes, even the pineapple. It does take extra effort, but the finished product is sooo worth it.

3. Obviously rums are very important here. We try to keep our expenditure per bottle below $30 per 750ml (not so easy in Canada), so we are not using the really good stuff. However we have found some absolutely delicious mixing rums in our price range that blow the ubiquitous Bacardi out of the water. It is amazing the difference between various rums from different countries and distilleries. We've had some fun this summer getting a bit of rum education, and we've only barely scratched the surface. I've listed names below where we've settled on a "house brand". Use whatever you like in the category.

difficulty: easy peasy (pictured above)

*1/2 oz gold rum (we used Mount Gay Eclipse)
*1/2oz Demerara rum (we used Lemon Hart)
*1 oz dark Jamaican  (we used Coruba)
*1 oz cream of coconut (not coconut milk, more like a thick, sweet coconut syrup, comes in a can with brand names like Coco Lopez & Coco Colada)
*3 oz pineapple juice
*2 oz orange juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender with a bit of ice until nice and frothy. Pour over crushed ice in a Tiki mug or Collins glass and garnish with a chunk of fresh pineapple. Grate a generous sprinkle of fresh nutmeg on top.

Navy Grog
(aka Trader Vic’s Navy Grog or Ancient Mariner, this one is rich and spicy and one of my favs) 
difficulty: intermediate

* ¾ ounce lime juice
* ¾ ounce pink grapefruit juice or 1/2 ounce white grapefruit juice (white is preferable to pink, but so hard to find nowadays)
* 1 ounce allspice syrup (see below)
* 1 ounce Gold rum (used Mount Gay Eclipse or Appleton v/x)
* 1 ounce Demerara rum (used Lemon Hart)

Put ingredients into cocktail shaker and shake well with lots of crushed ice. Pour into a double old-fashioned glass and top with more ice.  Garnish with lime wheel.

Allspice Syrup: Grind enough whole dried allspice berries to make 6 level tablespoons. Place the ground allspice in a saucepan with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring it all to a boil, then cover and simmer for two minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and — keeping it covered — let steep for two to three hours, then strain into a bottle and refrigerate. Will keep in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Potted Parrot
This drink is named for the garnish that Trader Vic's used to use; a ceramic parrot on a stick. It's like a rum Mimosa, very refreshing!
difficulty: easy (unless you make your own Orgeat)

*2 ounces white/light rum (used Havana Club 3yr)
*1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
*3 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
*1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1/4 ounce orgeat syrup (see below)
*1/4 ounce simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water, heat gently or shake vigorously to dissolve sugar)

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the rum, Cointreau, orange and lemon juices, orgeat syrup and simple syrup. Shake well.
Fill a Collins glass with crushed ice. Strain the drink into the glass, then garnish with orange wheel and cherry.

Orgeat is an almond syrup. You can find it produced commercially with brand names like Monin, Torani, Trader Vic's, Finest Call, Routin etc. They vary greatly in flavour, quality and ingredients. Right now we have Torani Orgeat, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend. I find it rather overpowering (think almond extract).  With a better quality orgeat or homemade, I would be tempted to add 1/2oz and skip the simple syrup. If you have trouble sourcing orgeat and don't want to make homemade, you could  substitute 1/2oz Amaretto.

So there you have three extremely different cocktails, but all delicious. My absolute favourite tiki drink, the Jet Pilot, would rank as "involved" on the difficulty scale, so I have decided to save it for a post all on its own. At this rate I think I can get quite a few "one more days" out of this summer...


  1. Any version of a painkiller instantly transports me to hawaii. Thank you, for the reminder and the lovely post. Can not believe your guys are now in 7th -- where does the time go? We keep hoping for an indian summer, but it doesnt seem likely here. I must embrace the fall!

  2. FoM! So good to hear from you! Drinking painkillers in Hawaii sounds just about as good as it gets.

    And yeah, since posting this I have moved on to fall-embracing...or at least the beginnings of. There is just no denying the chill in the air, and the iron curtain of school-ness that has fallen.


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