I have really wanted a Tiki bar for quite som time. It's nok gonna happen in my tiny house, but I can dream and build one from lego. Which is what I did today and then I decided to celebrate it's grand opening with a drink I have been craving since I mixed the Karmic Alarm Clock a couple of days ago: An Espresso Bongo.
It is a drink created by the the worlds most knowledgeable expert on Tiki cocktails, Jeff Berry also known as Beachbum Berry.
According to this recipe he had always wanted to name a cocktail after the 1959 film Expresso Bongo and got his break through when he mixed espresso, fruit juice and rum.
I have tinkered a little with the recipe - I know it's almost sacrilege - mainly because I seldom have passion fruit juice or nectar but I do have a commercial passion fruit syrup which is as sweet as simple syrup.
Also I simply wanted to make the recipe easier to remember - for seconds.
So I suggest you try the original if you have fresh passion fruit and only revert to my take if you have to use passion fruit syrup.
6 cl golden rum - I used Mount Gay
1.5 cl orange juice
1.5 cl lime juice
1.5 cl pineapple juice
1.5 cl cold espresso
1.5 cl passion fruit syrup - I used Giffard
Add all ingredients to a shaker, fill it with ice, shake and then cocktail and ice into a low glass. Garnish with a Lego tiki bar - or what ever floats your drink.
And it did speak to me. Mainly because it sounds like a meal more than a drink but also because it woke up a powerful longing for all things New Orleans
The drink originates from SoBou, a bar I have visited a couple of times. Unfortunately I do not think I'll get to visit New Orleans or SoBou in the foreseeable future.
I remember finding SoBou's cocktails and bar menu playful and fun - but not over the top crazy.
When you read a recipe of a cocktail containing curry caramel you might think: That's over the top -especially as it is partnered with rum, cold-brew coffee and the Italian artichoke bitter Cynar.
Having decided the only way to taste the mix, was to try to recreat it - I faced a few problems:
Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum is not for sale in Denmark, so I had to find a substitute. I've read a few reviews - some of them talk of a rum with strong hints of Christmas spice.
I suppose I could try spicing up a golden rum with som cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove but I have to admit - that particular mix is not a favorite of mine.
Instead I decided to use a mix of Stiggin's Fancy Plantation Pineapple and Myers dark rum.
My reasoning goes like this: Pineapple play well with curry and equally important with coffee.
My next problem was the call for chicory cold-brew coffee. Whatever substitute I could find in Denmark would never match the original New Orleans coffee. So instead I went for a strong espresso - which is probably at the exact oppersite end of the coffee scale to chicory cold-brew - but Espresso Bongo.
And then on to making the curry caramel. I started by dividing the recipe by 4 - I might love this cocktail, but not enough to drink the more than 70 that can be mixed from the amount of curry caramel the original recipe makes.
4.5 cl rum - I a mix of Stiggin's Fancy Plantation Pineapple and Myers dark rum
1.5 cl Cynar
6 cl coffee - I used chilled espresso
2 cl curry caramel*
And no I did not cook an extra salted caramel just for a garnish, I simply rolled half of the mouth of the glass in a little of the curry caramel and then som yellow sugar. I am lazy that way.
So how did it taste? Pretty much the way I expected. It tasted sort of how you feel after eating a salad of artichoke, a good curry, something sweet for dessert with an espresso. Only with booze...
* I cooked 250 g sugar with 1.25 dl of water over medium heat for a good 15 minutes and heated 6 grams of a strong curry powder in 2.5 cl of whipping cream until the cream just shivered on the surface. Just before adding the cream to the boiling sugar I poured it through a sieve.
Not only does the book cover a great number of new Danish gins and a few of the established ones like Geranium and Jensen, it also offers more than 30 cocktails developed to suit each individual gin.
On top of that there is a nice introduction to both gin history and the science of distilling. And then a good starting point for anyone wanting to get started shaking cocktails at home. Even the Gin and Tonic drinker get's nice pointers about which gin goes with which tonic.
So a very interesting book that quickly left me thirsty for a drink.
When I came across The Potential Reviver I knew I had found the one to try first. I did not have the gin this cocktail was developed for - Marstal no 31 - but I substituted an orange forward gin instead:
Danes are up there with the Dutch and the Finnish when it comes to eating licorice as candy. Perhaps unsurprisingly that has given rise to a host of ready mixed shots flavored with the most popular types of licorice.
I wish it would open more peoples tastebuds - and eyes - to a cocktail like the Imperial Opal. Rich in licorice taste from the anise in both absinthe and anisette.
It heralds from Maison Premiere in Brookly, New York. All though there is an Opal cocktail in William Schmidts The Flowing Bowl from 1891 - only the absinthe seems a common denominator.
And naming an absinth based cocktail anything opal - seems a very obvious thing to do.
3 cl absinthe - I used La Clandestine
1 cl anisette - I used sambuca
1 cl simple syrup
1,5 cl yellow Chartreuse
3 cl water
rose tincture or rose water
Measure all but the last ingredient into a shaker, fill it with ice and shake. Strain into a low glass filled with crushed ice and drop a bit of rose tincture or rose water on top. Garnish with lemon, rose and perhaps lavender.
It is time for this ginhound to declare: The Mai Tai is my favorite cocktail.
I often get asked: What's your favorite, and I always say something along the lines of: I have many, it depends on the circumstances...
But if I were to live the rest of my life out on a - somewhat - desert island, where they would only serve me one cocktail, I would choose the Mai Tai over contenders like Last Word, 20th Century, Corpse Reviver Nr. II and Sazerac.
However I am not a Mai Tai fundamentalist - I've come late to the cocktail and have very limited experience of botched versions served at bars with no reverence for the traditions of Tiki - or cocktails.
I have no qualms tweaking it and I find that adding a tiny amount of good Amaretto to the recipe retro engineered by Jeff Berry is my favorite. A true crow pleaser - I have also had some succes with making a riff - Tøppe aka The ESC has a small following among my friends and coworkers.
So when I came across another riff the Beachbum I hopped to it.
2 cl fresh lime juice
2 cl fresh pineapple juice
1 cl orgeat
1 cl Apricot Brandy
3 cl light rum - I used Plantation 3 Star
3 cl golden rum - I used Mount Gay 1703
Measure everything into a shaker, add ice, shake and strain over ice into a low glass - garnish with spent lime shell and garish cherry.
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