Tag Archives: rum

Mixology Monday: New Orleans


Pat O’Brien’s Courtyard
, originally uploaded by Gary J. Wood

July’s Mixology Monday was postponed a couple of times, first to coincide with the Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans — which city is the theme for this month — and then to coincide a little less, so that those who attended the conference could get home and recover.

It would be a complete lie to say that I’m not bitter. Not about the last-minute postponing of MxMo: that’s just an inconvenience. I was ready to write something last week, true, but my blogging of late is not highly scheduled. (As you have perhaps noted.)

But basing everything on the people who attended Tales of the Cocktail … well, there I confess that I feel perhaps just a bit bruised. One of these years, I’ll schedule my life such that I can travel to Big Easy for the big event. In the meantime, I’d like the privileged few to spare a thought for us poor souls back home.

The fact is that I’ve never been to New Orleans. I’ve thought that, should I ever go, I had best go on an off-week, when nothing else of import is going on. My (faint) worry is that I’ll get swept up into the excitement of whatever else everyone is doing, have a wild time, and wake up a week later in the far corner of a dead end alley wearing someone else’s clothes … at best.

Of course I know that eventually I’ll go, and I’ll have a lovely and alley-free time.

The thing is that I have listened to the many tales people have brought back of debauched trips they’ve taken during Mardi Gras, with the French Quarter full of people and booze in roughly equal volumes.

The drink that people tend to talk about in such tales is the Hurricane, originated at Pat O’Brien’s Bar.

So for this MxMo, I thought I’d experience a bit of New Orleans in my own home and remove my silly little fear all at the same time. I’d have a nice, safe little Hurricane.

Looking at the recipe, I wasn’t impressed. I like punch well enough, but I’m not a great fan of rum. I figured this would be an OK little fruit drink. Three ounces of rum made it a very respectable drink, but this struck me as basic bar efficiency: If you’re going to serve great crowds of people, and you have limited waitstaff, make the drinks big enough to keep people happy until they can be served their next round.

Here’s the recipe I found (this is the non-powdered, non-bottled version — I take it that Pat O’Brien’s has merchandised the hell out of this drink):

Hurricane Cocktail

  • 1.5 ounces light rum
  • 1.5 ounces dark rum
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (NOT Rose’s or RealLime)
  • 1/4 cup passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Cherries with stems, and orange slice to garnish
  • Ice cubes

In a cocktail shaker, mix the rum, passion fruit juice or syrup, the other juices and the sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the grenadine, and stir to combine, then add ice and shake. Half-fill a hurricane glass with ice, then strain drink into glass; add ice to fill. Garnish with orange slice and cherries.

 

I found passion fruit juice at a big Giant Eagle, and I used Bacardi for the light rum and Mount Gay Eclipse Rum for the dark. I had used up my homemade grenadine, so I made do with the Rose’s red stuff. For a hurricane glass, I substituted an old beer glass — the drink looked quite pretty.

And it was delicious.

The secret was the passion fruit juice. This stuff is awesome!

I suspect people substitute in other juices (pineapple, primarily) or just up the booze when they can’t get passion fruit juice, but I doubt you’d have anything like the right flavor. Seek out the Hispanic section of your suburban super-grocer, find a can of passion fruit juice or punch, and make this up. If you can find real passion fruit and juice it, so much the better.

Anyway, so now I’ve discovered that I adore a good Hurricane. This should make me even warier of any trip to New Orleans, but in truth I think I will handle it just fine. I’m ready to tackle the Big Easy, if only I can relax enough to take a trip.

In the meantime, please check out the other MXMO: NO posts. They’ll be posted sometime in the next day or so at the new Mixology Monday website.

(You will definitely want to take a look at Dr. Bamboo’s summary of Tales of the Cocktail. There are wonderful illustrations as always, and some interesting observations. I’d love it all if I weren’t so envious.)

Spirited Cuisine: Rum

Yo ho ho and a bottle of....This is the seventh installment in the Spirited Cuisine series from Sri Bala (Shaman) and me. Each round, I select a liquor or spirit, and Sri creates a dessert recipe incorporating it. Find Sri’s posts at his blog and mine here within the Lush Life category.

Why don’t people drink rum straight?

Dry Martinis made with gin and with vodka, bourbon on the rocks, whiskey shots, Scotch served straight, tequila shots: All are ordered every day in bars the world over. Meanwhile, rum is relegated to frozen daiqiris and pina coladas.

Rum is made the way other spirits are, fermented and distilled from sugarcane products — that is, molasses or sugarcane juice. By the end of the process there’s no sugar left in the beverage, although it still offers a sensation of sweetness.

And this suggests one reason why rum is served primarily in cocktails and not alone: It’s not seen as a manly liquor. Bourbon, gin, and tequila are clearly manly. James Bond drinks vodka. And the only notable guy who drinks rum is a long-haired, eye-liner-wearing, prancing pirate. Sure, he wields a mean sword, but is that enough to restore rum’s reputation?

But rum doesn’t make a drink girlie. People make drinks girlie.

But to my point: There’s nothing inherently girlie about rum. PeterB of Tea Leaves rightly says that "the real daiquiri will make a grown man fall over and forget where he left his brains." He also tells you how to make a perfect daiquiri, so there’s no need for me to say more about it.

Instead, let me tell you how to make a Mai Tai. After rum, the next most important ingredient in a real Mai Tai is Orgeat syrup (pronounced "or-ZHOT"), a sugary syrup flavored with almond and rose water or orange flower water.

I’ll hazard a guess that you don’t have a bottle of Orgeat sitting around. (I didn’t, and it took me days of searching to locate some.) Neither does the average bar. So if you order a Mai Tai at most bars, you’ll get a cocktail made from rum, sugar syrup, and a bunch of fruit juices — a girlie drink.

If you order a Mai Tai at a Trader Vic’s however, you’ll get something very different. The Mai Tai was invented by the original Trader Vic, so you’d expect his restaurants and bars to bemore precise about the drink’s implementation.

Made with Orgeat syrup, a Mai Tai is sweet and tart, swirling with lime and almond and a hint of something flowery. It tastes summery and strong.

Mai Tai

1.5 oz rum (preferably Jamaican rum, particularly 17-year-old Jamaican rum)
.5 oz orange curaçao
.5 oz Orgeat syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice (about half a lime)

Shake all ingredients in a mixer with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the squeezed-out half lime shell and a sprig of mint, and serve.

If you don’t have 17-year-old Jamaican rum, use another aged rum. Aged rum is golden in color, like a light whiskey or brandy. It’s not the same as dark rum. Dark rum is generally gets its color not from barrel aging but from caramel coloring, and it’s used more in cooking than in cocktails.

By the way: The International Bartenders Association says you can make a Mai Tai with half white rum and half dark, shaking the white rum with the other ingredients and floating the dark rum on top of the drink. Not only is this a fussier way to make a drink, it leaves the nasty-tasting dark rum unblended with the other ingredients. Avoid it.

Back to our original question: Why don’t people drink rum straight? My guess is that it’s because the rum that’s most readily available is white rum, which has little flavor of its own. Gold rum, particularly rum that has been aged, is smoother and richer, quite appropriate for leisurely sipping. If you find yourself with a bottle, pour an ounce in a snifter and sip away. (Pirate hat and eye liner not required.)

And if you have some dark rum, Sri has created an excellent recipe for it: coconut rum tarts. They are very yummy and nicely rummy, and I suggest you check them out post haste.