July 24, 2010

The only rule is you have to listen to Arthur Lyman while you make this

Aloha, you boozehounds, you. Apologies for the delay in posting again...I just can't keep up with the pace I established last year.

Anyway, today I've got an excellent drink for you, and one that I can finally make properly thanks to a little bit of luck. A while back, I entered a giveaway that Blair "Trader Tiki" Reynolds was running on Facebook...one lucky winner would get a care package with all of his currently available syrups. Lady Luck was on my side, as I'd picked up her bar tab the night before (man, that girl can drink!) and I soon had seven bottles winging their way to me; Don's Spices #2, Don's Mix, Vanilla Syrup, Cinnamon Syrup, Orgeat Syrup, Passion Fruit Syrup, and Hibiscus Grenadine. So yes, for those keeping track at home, these were a freebie, but not because I'm awesome, or because the Trader was trying to butter me up, but simply because I'm lucky. Trust me, I'm nowhere near a big enough fish in the booze-blogging pond to merit freebies from anyone. All that being said, let's get on to the drink, shall we?

I went with one that would let me use a couple of the Trader's syrups, the Passion Fruit and the Hibiscus Grenadine. This is a cocktail that dates from about 1961 or so, at the Kahiki in Columbus, OH, and it's a blender drink (gasp!) called:
The Port Light

1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
1/4 oz grenadine
1 1/2 oz bourbon (I actually used rye, but who's counting?)
8 oz (1 cup) crushed ice

Put all ingredients in a blender and process on high for 5 seconds. Pour it, without straining, into a tall glass, adding more crushed ice if necessary to fill.

(recipe adapted from Jeff Berry and Annene Kaye, Beachbum Berry's Grog Log, p.66)
Oh man, this is a beautiful drink. Tart, sweet, ice cold, what more could you ask for? The passion fruit syrup just punches you in the nose with a ripe fruit flavor when you open the bottle, and the grenadine is sweet and bright, with an additional floral tartness from the hibiscus. I used rye in this drink, because it's what I had on hand, but even so, the syrups and lemon juice more than hold their own against it. It's kind of a Polynesian Ward Eight, and sipping one of these on a summer night with fireflies twinkling and Martin Denny or Arthur Lyman on the HiFi is going to be a little slice of heaven by way of some exotic port of call.

I'm very much looking forward to trying the other Trader Tiki syrups when I can get enough varieties of rum to do them justice in all sorts of Tiki drinks!

Port Light
(FCC disclaimer: the branded products named in this post were received at no cost to me, not for review or promotional consideration purposes, but as a prize in a random giveaway.)

July 4, 2010

"Well, help yourself...because of the debt of honor to General Lafayette!"

"You know your own history, right?

You don't know who he is, do you?! What was it? The Spanish-American War? The French Banana War? What? The Revolutionary War! Hung out with Washington. Lafayette. Street named after him in New York. Forget it!"

Yes, only a warped mind would think "Oh, America's Independence Day! Let's reference a British transvestite comedian! It'll be brilliant!" Lucky for you, dear readers, you're dealing with a mind that is precisely that warped.

I've missed you! Have you missed me? No? Oh well. I've also missed being able to taste and being able to go ten minutes without coughing, sneezing or generally wanting to vacuum out various body cavities with a straw duct-taped to a shop-vac. Stupid sinuses. Stupid lungs.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Sorry. That quote above from Eddie Izzard really is germane to the post tonight though. Because I enjoy being contrary, and thought I'd post a drink named after General Lafayette. My understanding of this drink is that it's intended to be a blending of US culture and French culture (with a little West Indies thrown in for good measure) and so it seems fitting. On the 234th anniversary of the final approval of the text of America's Declaration of Independence (the signing didn't actually happen until August 2nd), I give you:
The Lafayette Cocktail

1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Dubonnet (rouge)
1 dash Angostura bitters (I added a dash of Bittercube's Jamaican Bitters #2, as well)

Stir all well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The rye is very much an American spirit, and the Dubonnet and dry vermouth, of course, are French. The bitters, well, they're of Caribbean origin, but we'll let that slide...some Colonial Americans were, too, after all.

Taste-wise, it's pretty much a dry Manhattan, but the quinquina nature of the Dubonnet makes it a little bit different. Still, there are definitely worse ways to toast the nascent events that started my country on the often rocky road to independence. Happy Independence Day, to my American readers, and I hope my foreign readers will raise their glasses, too...America may not be perfect, but lord knows we've tried, and that's gotta count for something.

The Lafayette Cocktail