Funky Hurricane

I wasn't paying much attention as the day started, but apparently it was Mardi Gras today. I don't know a lot about Mardi Gras, other than associating it with New Orleans. Continuing my ignorance, I've never been to New Orleans. Someday I'll have a chance to go and visit Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29 and attend Tales of the Cocktail, not to mention see the rest of that legendary city. Of course New Orleans has its share of cocktails associated with it and one of the more notorious of those cocktails is the Hurricane. 

The Hurricane is reportedly a creation of Pat O'Brien. In it's original formulation, it's not exactly a nuanced cocktail. It's a lot of rum and a lot of juice. The juices themselves vary (maybe some orange or lemon juice, plus something tropical and/or something red), but it's not a particularly subtle drink. The legend is that O'Brien created it as a way to offload the rum he had to buy from his liquor distributors in order to keep the scotch and other whiskeys flowing into his bar.

A few years ago, when Smith & Cross Jamaican rum hit the market, Tiare from A Mountain of Crushed Ice started publishing various recipes featuring that lovely Jamaican rum. Her reinterpretation of a Hurricane using Smith & Cross added a lot of depth to the cocktail while still packing a punch that you'd expect from a Hurricane. I found it a recipe worth coming back to again and again. And so when I was reminded today was Mardi Gras - well that just seemed like a fine reason to reach for my hurricane glass and the bottle of Smith & Cross.

Get the recipe from A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

Mixing a Lost Lake recipe, part 2

After mixing up Lost Lake's Heaven is a Place/This is the Place I wanted to next try their titular cocktail, the Lost Lake. Frederic Yarm of Cocktail Virgin featured it a couple of weeks back and I finally got around to it this past weekend. Frederic's blog is a inspiring to me for a couple of reasons, not the lead of which is that he has the discipline to post daily and share a wide variety of recipes.

I think the Lost Lake was published in a recent Imbibe issue, which means I need to go back and re-read them and see what else I missed. In any case, I agree with Frederic's assessment that the Lost Lake shares some ancestry with the Jungle Bird (any rum drink with Campari risks that comparison). I found the drink challenging at first and then improving as it diluted. Including both maraschino and Campari really ups the bitter. And the technique listed - shake with crushed ice, strain into a tiki mug, and then fill with more crushed ice, means the dilution happens a bit differently than most recipes I make. Wondering out loud, maybe this gives it a couple of extra minutes of shelf life during service.

Overall I preferred Heaven is a Place/This is the Place, but I'm going to revisit the Lost Lake with a slightly more pungent dark rum and see how it reacts. 

Grab the recipe over at Cocktail Virgin. And bookmark his site if you're not already a regular visitor there.

Mixing a Lost Lake recipe, part 1

I've heard nothing but good things about Lost Lake in Chicago, a tiki bar brought forth by Paul McGee (formerly of Chicago's Three Dots and a Dash tiki bar) with Martin Cate from Smuggler's Cove (and now Whitechapel). I've not been to Lost Lake, but from what I've read, the pictures I've seen and now the recipes I've tried at home I can understand what some of the fuss is about (mixing at home is not like going to a bar, but you can get a feel for what they're working on in the cocktail program.

First up this past Saturday was the Heaven is a Place/This is the Place cocktail. The name is a bit of a mouthful (not a critique, certainly not coming from a guy who names cocktails for defunct Magic Mountain rides) and the ingredient list is like an all-star line up of tiki flavors. The biggest twist is that the base spirit is dry gin and not rum. Lime, orange curaçao, falernum, honey, allspice dram, and Angostura bitters round out the components, and it's garnished with mint, a pineapple leaf a luxardo cherry, and an edible flower. So yes, it's hitting all the classic tiki notes like it was reading from a checklist.

On sipping, it's apparent that the drink has elements working in harmony and not against each others. Depending on your definition of a dash and the strength of your allspice dram, you may want to tweak a but to taste. I haven't tried it yet but I'm confident this recipe is so technically sound that swapping out rum for the gin would work just fine even though it will fundamentally alter the flavor profile (similar to what the Death & Co. book refers to as a "Mr. Potato Head drink").

Grab the recipe from Imbibe.

Oro de los Tontos.

The topic for the March 2014 Rum Rhum Club meeting at the Tonga Hut North Hollywood was Don Q rum. For that meeting I created the Oro de los Tontos (Fools Gold, en español) featuring Don Q Gold. While the Don Q Gold is a good mixing rum in the Spanish style (use it where you see a Gold Puerto Rican rum called for), I don't find it's flavor to be very assertive. So mixing it into a multi-rum layer cocktail would bury this rum. I ended up with a daiquiri variation that utilizes Licor 43, Pernod, and almond for differentiation. 

I subsequently was doing research on Don the Beachcomber's "Beachcomber's Gold" and found that the Oro de los Tontos is similar to a Gold Cup but with Licor 43 taking the place of the maraschino. This similarity was quite by accident, but it seems worth mentioning. I got the almond extract inspiration from the Captains Grog and the good version (subjective) of the Beachcomber’s Gold.

Oro de los Tontos (Fools Gold)

2 oz Gold Puerto Rican rum (Don Q Gold)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz Licor 43
0.25 oz simple syrup
3 drops Pernod
3 drops almond extract

Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.