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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

FOOD FUN: Shark Cocktails For Shark Week

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week begins this Sunday, July 23rd, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, and concludes on the 30th.

And what a week it will be:

In addition to a daily schedule of shark-related films, the week kicks off with the most spectacular sports event since 2012, when daredevil Felix Baumgartner free-fell from the edge of space.

Anyone who has paid attention to the media for the past month knows that mega-medalist* Michael Phelps will race against a Great White shark off Cape Town, South Africa.

“Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” begins at 8 p.m. on the 23rd—followed by “Shark-Croc Showdown” (no Phelps) at 9 p.m.

The eight-day schedule of events has numerous other shark-filled specials. Phelps will also appear inon the last night; not a rematch with the shark but in an educational special, “Shark School with Michael Phelps.”

SIP SHARK COCKTAILS AS YOU WATCH THE RACE

RECIPE 1: SHARK TANK PUNCH ~ COCKTAIL OR MOCKTAIL

We published the recipe for photo #1 last year.

Substitute blue gummy sharks for the red Swedish fish in the photo. Or, for a touch of the macabre, keep a Swedish fish or two among the frenzy of sharks. Why a frenzy? See below.

As with the second recipe, it can be made as a cocktail or mocktail.
 
 
RECIPE #2: SHARK ON ICE ~ COCKTAIL OR MOCKTAIL

Lemonade and blue curacao turn this drink green in this recipe from Sparkling Ice.

For a blue drink, substitute a clear carbonated drink (club soda, Sprite, 7Up, etc.)

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.5 ounce vodka
  • .5 ounce blue curaçao
  • Sparkling Ice Classic Lemonade or other lemonade
  • Garnish: blue shark gummies
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vodka and curaçao in a shaker; add the ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

    2. TOP with Sparkling Ice Classic Lemonade and garnish with some blue shark gummies.
     
     
    SHARK TRIVIA

     

    Fish Bowl Punch
    [1] Shark tank punch from Cocktails Details. Here’s the recipe.

    Gummy Sharks
    [2] Substitute the Swedish fish for blue gummy sharks (photo courtesy Candy Crate).

    Shark Cocktail

    [3] Create a shark lagoon in a cocktail glass (photo courtesy Sparkling Ice).

     
    A gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, a pod of whales†: What is a group of sharks called?

    According to Sharks-World.com, a group of sharks is called a frenzy, gam‡, herd, school or shiver (pronounced shivver, an earlier spelling of the word).

    Frenzy and shiver sound right to us!

    ________________

    *Phelps has 39 world records and 23 Olympic gold medals.

    †“Nouns of multitude,” in this case, collective nouns for animals, were first developed in the Middle Ages (when people had nothing else to do after dark, we guess). The first documentation that survives, the Egerton Manuscript, dates from circa 1450.

    These “books of courtesy,” as they were called, encompass animals, people and professions: a misbelief of painters, a stalk of foresters, a tabernacle of bakers, et al. Here’s a list of collective nouns for animals, and a discussion of how some nouns were derived (a murder of crows, a sentence of judges, etc.).
     
    ‡In terms of “gam,” the only definitions we could find are the slang referring to a leg, and a mid 19th century English dialect, perhaps from “game,” or shortened from “gammon,” early 18th-century slang for nonsense or rubbish.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pimm’s Cup, The Classic British Summer Drink

    Pimm's Cup
    [1] A bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and an approximation of the original drink, with a Mason jar standing in for the tankard. Here are recipe variations from Brit.co.

    Pimm's Cup
    [2] A modern interpretation, with so much fruit that it rivals sangria. Here are more variations from Chilled Magazine.

    New Orleans Pimm's Cup
    [3] Here’s the recipe from Joy The Baker.

    Pimm’s Ice Pops

    [4] Fans have turned Pimm’s Cups into ice pops and Jell-O shots. Here are recipes from Brit.co.

     

    Gin and tonic may be the British cocktail best known in the U.S., but we’d like to introduce you to Pimm’s Cup.

    Pimm’s is a line of liqueurs, called fruit cups* in the U.K., first produced in 1823 by James Pimm (1798–1866).

    A tenant farmer’s son from Kent, he studied theology in Edinburgh, but moved to London in his early 20s and became a shellfish monger. Not long after, he opened Pimm’s Oyster Bar in London, which grew to a chain of five restaurants.

    He served oysters with a “house cup,” a gin sling with his proprietary mix of liqueurs and fruit extracts. (Slings were a category of drink that, at the time, combined a spirit with soda water or ginger ale).

    The English gin of the time was not the smooth, botanical spirit we enjoy today, but a rough drink that had departed from its Dutch roots. It was often distilled into a crude, inferior but cheap spirit that was more likely to be flavored with turpentine than the juniper berries of the Dutch jenever from which it evolved.

    So Pimm, ahead of the curve, doctored the rough gin with a “secret mixture” of liqueur, herbs and fruits. He served it in a small tankard known as a No. 1 cup; hence, the name of the drink: Pimm’s No. 1 Cup.

    Reddish-brown in color with subtle notes of spice and citrus fruit, the Cup was a big hit. He sold bottles to other establishments.

    In 1851, he expanded the line† to include Pimm’s No. 2 Cup, made with a Scotch base; and Pimm’s No. 3 Cup, made with a brandy base. He initiated large-scale distillery production to supply his wholesale customers.

    ________________

    *A fruit cup, also known as a summer cup, is a traditional English long drink, most commonly based on gin, with the addition of a soft drink such as lemonade or ginger ale. The drink is a summer drink, garnished with fresh fruit (apple, cucumber, lemon, lime, orange, strawberry) and/or herbs (mint, borage). Other classic British drinks include Dubonnet Cocktail and Regent’s Punch.

    †Over the years, under subsequent owners, Pimm’s created other cups, some using spirits other than gin. After World War II, Pimm’s No. 4 Cup, based on rum was invented; followed by Pimm’s No. 5 Cup, based on rye whiskey. Cups 2 and 5 were discontinued, and Pimm’s No. 6 Cup, based on vodka, debuted in the 1960s. There have been special editions, such as Winter Cup and a Blackberry & Elderflower variant of No. 6 Cup. The first shot was the best: Pimm’s No. 1 cup remains the overwhelming favorite.
    ________________

    PIMM’S CUP HISTORY: FROM FRUIT CUP TO DIGESTIF TO BRITISH STAPLE DRINK

    In 1840, Pimm created what is today known as a Pimm’s Cocktail, as a digestif—a drink that purportedly helps with the digestion of food. It was conceived as a tonic to aid the digestion of customers who had eaten too much (which must have been a common problem among those who could afford it, given the proliferation of digestif liqueurs and wines).

    He combined his No. 1 Cup with lemon juice and a topper of ginger ale or sparkling lemonade, served over ice with mint and fresh fruit—and thus an iconic British drink was born.

    In 1865, the year before his death, Pimm sold the business and the right to use his name to a Frederick Sawyer, who sold it in 1880 to Horatio Davies, a future Lord Mayor of London. A chain of Pimm’s Oyster Houses was franchised in 1887. Today the brand owned by spirits giant Diageo.

    Sidebar: The Scoop On Digestifs

    Taking a liqueur after a meal has long been thought to aid digestion due to its alcohol content. While it may seem to skeptics a opportunity for another drink, there’s some truth to the tradition (but note that heavy-alcohol drinks like brandy and whiskey have an adverse effect on digestion).

    A smaller amount of alcohol stimulates the stomach’s production of the enzyme pepsin, the enzyme that helps digest proteins. It also increases secretions of the pancreas and gall bladder, which similarly break down food for use as energy.

    In actuality, it’s the bitter herb- and spice- based digestifs that work best to help digestion. Ingredients such as caraway seed, fennel seed and savory are thought to be especially beneficial to digestion. If you want an after-dinner drink with benefits, look to Chartreuse, Fernet Branca, Jägermeister and Kümmel.

    Fortified wines such as cream sherry, port, madeira and vermouth are traditional digestif wines; but these days, take a trip to the medicine cabinet for Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol, Tums, etc., the best cure(s) for what ails your digestive system.

    In our opinion (since we’ve had the drink but don’t know the secret Pimm’s Cup formula), a Pimm’s Cocktail is more of a pleasant summer sipper than a digestif.

     
    RECIPE: PIMM’S CUP COCKTAIL

    There are actually two approaches to Pimm’s Cup Cocktail.

  • The first is the original English style, a long drink combining Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and carbonated lemonade or bitter lemon.
  • A Pimm’s Royal Cup cuses chamagne or other sparkling white wine instead of the lemonade.
  • Pimm’s Winter Cup combines No. 1 Cup with warm apple cider (which is an alcoholic beverage in the U.K.).
  •  
    Garnishes include as much sliced fruit as you like. The conventional fruits are apples, cucumber, oranges, lemons and strawberries, plus herbs such as borage or mint (for a modern twist, try basil).

    Ginger ale is a common substitute for the carbonated lemonade or bitter lemon; but we very much like Sanpellegrino’s Limonata, which has less sugar than other carbonated lemon drinks.

    The second approach was devised in New Orleans. It uses regular lemonade, a top-off of 7-Up or Sprite, and a cucumber garnish. If this sounds more appealing to you, here’s the recipe.

     
    Ingredients For A Pitcher

  • 1-1/2 cups Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
  • 1 navel orange, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1 lemon, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed mint leaves and tender stems
  • 1-1/2 cups carbonated lemonade, ginger ale or lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • 1 cucumber, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 apple, quartered, cored, and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, halved
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the Pimm’s, the apple, orange and lemon slices, and mint in a large pitcher. Chill until ready to serve.

    2. ASSEMBLE: Add the soft drink and stir gently. Pour over ice in tall glasses. Garnish with cucumber, strawberries, or as you wish.

    PIMM’S CUP PARTY BAR

    Pimm’s Cup is one of the two staple drinks (along with Champagne) at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Henley Royal Regatta and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. It is the standard cocktail at British and American polo matches. It is also extremely popular at summer garden parties in the U.K…so why not enjoy one in your own garden?

    You can make it by the pitcher, fully garnished. Or, just mix the liquid ingredients and the sliced apple, lemon and orange, let guests garnish their own with the other fruits and herbs.

    You can find more Pimm’s cocktail recipes at AnyoneForPimms.com.

     

    COCKTAIL CATEGORIES

    If you like to understand what you consume, here’s a partial taxonomy of cocktails. The list of categories can be quite extensive—frozen drinks, mulled and other hot drinks, nogs and other egg- and dairy-based drinks, layered drinks, etc. But here are some basics, starting with this basic divider:

  • Short Drinks are served in short glasses, called lowball glasses or rocks glasses, even though they may not contain rocks (ice). A short drink can be on the rocks or straight up (no rocks/ice).
  • Tall Drinks are served in highball glasses, also called collins glasses after the Tom Collins, an early, popular tall drink. Tall drinks typically are served with rocks and contain more mixers, usually in a 1:3 or 1:4 proportion.
  •  
    The differences between categories and sub-categories can be as minor as switching lemon juice for lime juice.

    While this may seem like splitting hairs, remember that in the days before broadcast media, people had more time on their hands. One of our favorite examples of this is nouns of multitude.

    1. Ancestral Cocktails. These are the original, early 19th century cocktails. These can sound generic, such aw “whiskey cocktail” and “gin cocktail.”

    The goal, back in the day, was to make spirits more palatable by sweetening it, with a teaspoon of sugar or a sweet liqueur. Often, aromatic bitters were included for complexity, and the drink was served either straight up or on the rocks. Two enduring examples are the Old Fashioned (without the muddled fruit and club soda found so often in today’s bars) and the Sazerac.

    2. Champagne Cocktails. These are fizzy cocktails, made with champagne or sparkling wine. The champagne can be the principal ingredient, as in the Champagne Cocktail; or can be used to top off a sour or other drink, such as a French 75.

    These drinks, originally served in coupes like champagne, are now largely served in flutes or other narrow glasses.

    3. Highballs. Simple highballs combine a spirit and a carbonated mixer (club soda, cola, ginger ale) plus ice in a tall (highball or collins) glass. Pimm’s Cup and Rum and Coke are examples.

    Replace the mixer with juice or liqueur to make a complex highball: a Dark and Stormy or Screwdriver, for example.

  • A Buck or Mule combines a basic spirit and citrus juice with ginger ale or ginger beer. The Moscow Mule is an example.
  • A Collins is a highball with added lemon juice and sugar, such as a Tom Collins (a.k.a. a gin sour with club soda).
  • A Fizz is a short drink straight up: a complex highball with a different preparation. The spirit and any other ingredients, except for the soda, are shaken with ice and strained into a rocks glass, then topped off with soda. Examples include the Ramos Fizz and Silver Fizz.
  • A Rickey retains the club soda, eliminates the sugar, and substitutes lime juice for the lemon juice. The most popular is the Gin Rickey.
  •  
    4. Juleps. A julep combines a base spirit with sugar, fresh mint and ice. The Mint Julep, made with bourbon, is the best known today; but in earlier eras, juleps were also made with most other spirits.

  • A smash is a julep with middled fruit, and optionally, mint or other herb. Whiskey Smash is an example.
  • A cobbler is a julep with wine or sherry as the base spirit.
  •  
    5. Sours. Add lemon or lime juice (sometimes, grapefruit) and sugar to the spirit and you have a simple sour. They are usually shaken with ice and served straight up in a rocks glass.

    In some sours, an egg white is added for body and a foamy top, as in the Daiquiri and Whiskey Sour.

    Add another sweet ingredient—liqueur, fortified wine or syrup—and you have a complex sour. Examples include the Cosmopolitan and the Margarita.

    If you love details like this, check out our…

    WHISKEY GLOSSARY: The different types of whiskey and related terms.

     

    Old Fashioned
    [5] From the Ancestral group, an Old Fashioned (photo courtesy Angus Club Steakhouse).

    Tom Collins
    [6] From the Highball group, an Tom Collins (photo courtesy Tanqueray).

    Whiskey Sour
    [7] From the Sour group, a Whiskey Sour (photo courtesy The Mercury | Atlanta).

    Mint Julep

    [8] From the Julep group, a Mint Julep (photo courtesy Distilled | NY).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Flavored Ice Cubes

    Today’s tip is to make flavored ice cubes. They’re the easiest way to add dazzle to everyday drinks, be they club soda, juice, soft drinks, mocktails or cocktails.

    We have long made “party ice cubes” that deliver big impact with no effort beyond freezing a liquid in an ice cube tray.

    The benefits of flavored ice cubes:

  • They don’t dilute the drink as plain ice cubes will.
  • They add extra flavor(s).
  • They colors provide visual appeal.
  • There’s something more to drink when the cubes melt.
  • You get exercise your inner mixologist.
  •  
    OUR FAVORITE WAYS TO USE FLAVORED ICE CUBES

  • Coffee & Tea Ice Cubes. They keep iced coffee and tea intensely flavored to the end. You don’t need to specially brew the coffee or tea if you use leftover coffee from the pot or re-brew tea bags or leaves (they may make weaker tea, but are still good for cubes). Herbal tea ice cubes can also be added to a glass of club soda or juice.
  • Juice For Cocktails. Make cranberry cubes for the Cosmos, pineapple juice for the Pina Coladas, tomato juice for Undiluted Marys. You can make beef bouillon ice cubes for a “Beefy Mary” (a.k.a. Bloody Bull or Bull Shot). Freeze clam juice for a Bloody Mariner/Bloody Caesar.
  • Carbonated Mixers. Whether tonic water for a G&T or cola cubes for a Rum & Coke, or tonic water, these mixers come with a bonus: You can use the flat soda that often results at the bottom of a large size. But you can create new “sodas” as well. One of our favorite summer combinations is lime soda ice cubes in raspberry soda, for a raspberry-lime rickey.
  • Wine Ice Cubes. Make them for sangria, or to keep your poolside wine chilled.
  • Combination Ice Cubes. Add small berries, diced fruit, shredded basil or dill to the cubes: whatever adds to the drink.
  •  
    WHAT ABOUT FREEZING FRUIT DIRECTLY?

    You can freeze any high-moisture fruit, such as:

  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Melon balls
  •  
    They’ll defrost more quickly than frozen liquid, so consider a combination of frozen fruit and flavored ice cubes.

    MIX & MATCH CHECKLIST

    Soft Drink Mixers

  • Bitter lemon
  • Cola or root beer
  • Flavored seltzer
  • Ginger ale/ginger beer
  • Lemon-lime (7 Up, Sprite, etc.)
  • Other fruit soda: cherry, grape, orange, etc.
  • Tonic water
  •  
    For Creamy Drinks

  • Coconut milk
  • Cream, milk or half and half
  • Eggnog
  • Melted ice cream
  •  
    Juices: Sweet

  • Apple cider
  • Coconut water
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grape juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemonade or limeade
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice
  •  
    Juices: Savory

  • Brine (save the juice from pickles!)
  • Clam juice
  • Olive juice
  • Tomato juice or V–8
  • Wheatgrass or other vegetable juice
  •  
    MORE ICE CUBE IDEAS

  • Chocolate Ice Cubes
  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Coffee Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
  • Herb Ice Cubes
  • July 4th Ice Cubes
  • Layered Color Ice Cubes
  • Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry-Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Tea, Coffee Or Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Watermelon Ice Cubes
  • Wine Ice Cubes
  •  

    Fruit Juice Ice Cubes
    [1] Fruit juice ice cubes at Fig & Olive.

    Coffee Ice Cubes
    [2] Coffee ice cubes for iced coffee, or any coffee cocktail (Black Russian, White Russian, Espresso-tini, anything with Kahlúa), from the Angelica Kitchen.

    Strawberry Ice Cubes
    [3] Crushed strawberry and thyme ice cubes at Shari’s Berries.

    Pineapple Ice Cube
    [4] A cube of frozen pineapple at Hakkasan | NYC.

    Colored Ice Cubes

    [5] A stack of flavors from from Mihoko’s 21 Grams.

     
     
    OTHER WAYS TO USE YOUR ICE CUBE TRAYS

    When you’re not using them for ice, here are other things to freeze in your ice cube trays.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Mai Tai & Other Tiki Drinks

    June 30th is National Mai Tai Day, a drink that is attributed by most experts to Victor J. Bergeron, a.k.a. Trader Vic (1902-1984).

    Bergeron was the founder of the Trader Vic’s restaurant chain that was so popular in the 1950s and 1960s, which grew to some 30 Trader Vic restaurants worldwide, plus a wholesale food products business.

    Trader Vic and his “amicable rival,” Don The Beachcomber, introduced mainland America to “tiki” drinks: plenty of rum and sweet mixers, garnished with baby orchids and perhaps a mini Japanese paper umbrella.

    Bergeron, son of a San Francisco grocer, entered the restaurant business at age 32 in 1934—the year following the end of Prohibition. He used $300 of his own money and $800 borrowed from an aunt to open Hinky Dink’s, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and beer joint in Oakland.

    He began inventing and improving his vision of South Seas food—largely, the Cantonese cooking he had come across there.

    To go with the food, he invented the exotic, rum-based drinks with catchy names, such as Doctor Funk of Tahiti, Mai Tai, Missionary’s Revenge, Queen’s Park Swizzle, Scorpion and Sufferin’ Bastard, among others.

    Trader Vic’s Is Born

    In 1937, Hinky Dink’s morphed into an upscale South Pacific theme restaurant with menu and Polynesian decor, intended to provide “complete escape and relaxation.” [source]

    Theme-oriented restaurants had been established a few years before then (the history of theme restaurants), based on concepts from hot rods to fishing villages. Don The Beachcomber, and then Vic Bergeron, pioneered the Polynesian theme restaurant.
     
    THE ORIGIN OF TIKI DRINKS

    Polynesian restaurants were known for their “tiki drinks,” so-called because the restaurants decorated with tiki statues, along with other theme items such as South Seas-style wood surfboards, fake palm trees and fish-shaped lights floating above, “trapped” in fishing nets.

    The exotic drinks added excitement to the overall category of rum drinks, which was focused on the Daiquiri, Dark and Stormy, Mojito, and Rum and Coke/Cuba Libre (the Hurricane, Piña Colada and others had not yet seen the light of day).

    Others included Navy Grog, invented by Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood in 1944; Planter’s Punch, invented in Jamaica by 1878); Rum Runner, created in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida; Tahitian Rum Punch, invented by Don The Beachcomber; and the Zombie, invented by Don the Beachcomber and popularized at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

    Tiki-inspired ceramic glasses, mugs and drink bowls were designed to fan the flames, as it were. Some bowls even had a center well into which Sterno could be poured for flaming drinks. Other drinks were flamed with a tablespoon of high proof rum, added to the surface.
     
     
    THE INVENTION OF THE MAI TAI

    The Mai Tai (pronounced my tie), was created in 1944 by Trader Vic. He tested the recipe on two friends from Tahiti, one of whom exclaimed “Maita’i roa a’e”, or “out of this world—the best” in Tahitian. Bergeron shortened that to Mai Tai—“the best.”

    Trader Vic’s recipe is the one that endured, combining dark and light rums, lime juice, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup (almond-flavored simple syrup) and regular simple syrup. The original had a simple garnish (a mint spring) or none at all.

    There is another drink called Mai Tai Swizzle, from Don the Beachcomber. It was invented in 1933, but it seems to have disappeared from his menu sometime before 1937 [source]. But the recipe was quite different, augmenting the rum with grapefruit juice, lime juice, Pernod and bitters (here’s the recipe).

       

    Mai Tai Cocktail
    [1] A Mai Tai based on the original recipe—except for the orchid, a later addition (photo courtesy The Mercury | Atlanta; here’s the recipe).

    Mai Tai With Flowers
    [2] A Mai Tai based on the original recipe—except for the flowers (photo courtesy Turntable Kitchen).

    Mai Tai Cocktail

    [3] A modern Mai Tai, looking like a Tequila Sunset—not what Trader Vic created (photo courtesy Real Restaurant Recipes).

     

    Over the years, Trader Vic’s Mai Tai has been further “developed” by bartenders, into a fruitier and more colorful drink.

    As with every drink called Margarita or Martini—when in fact the ingredients stray far from those recipes—these recipes “borrow” the Mai Tai name but give you a very different rum drink, with pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine.

    Why? Because fruity drinks are downed more quickly, leading to another and another (i.e., more drinks sold). To add to the colorful drink, a baby orchid and/or miniature Japanese umbrella appeared as garnish; or at least, a pineapple slice, orange slice and/or maraschino cherry.

    As one article noted, “The flavor is often dominated by fruit and that helps hide the heavy taste of alcohol. This is perfect for drinkers who prefer less alcohol flavor….They end up tasting so good that a person can almost forget how potent they really are.” [source]
     
     
    The Original Mai Tai Recipe

    Bergeron invented the Mai Tai to showcase a favorite aged rum—the 17-year-old J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. Jamaican rum, golden and medium-bodied (the brand is now owned by Campari America).

    He also used rock candy syrup, which is sweeter and thicker than regular simple syrup: a 2 parts sugar and 1 part water instead of a 1:1 ratio (recipe).

    However, the Mai Tai was such a smash hit that “A couple of years after the cocktail’s invention, the world ran out of the 17-year-old rum…so [Bergeron substituted] a 15-year-old J. Wray and Nephew.” [source]

    But once that, too, dwindled in supply, Bergeron created a blend of Jamaican rum and aged molasses-based Martinique rum to emulate the Wray and Nephew rum.

     

    Mai Tai With Umbrella
    [4] Not an authentic Mai Tai: The original had no orange juice, no umbrella (photo courtesy FlickRiver.com).

    Blue Hawaii Cocktail
    [5] If it uses blue curaçao, it’s not an authentic Mai Tai. A Mai Tai uses orange curaçao, not blue curaçao, and no pineapple or cherry (but here’s the recipe for this “Blue Hawaii” from Culinary Creative).

    Flaming Tiki Drink

    [6] As tiki culture evolved, so did the drinks—into flaming bowls equivalent to six or more drinks, served with jumbo straws (here’s the recipe for this Volcano Bowl from Kitchen Riffs).

     

    Thus, here’s a current approximation of Bergeron’s revised Mai Tai:

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3/4 ounce gold rum*
  • 3/4 ounce dark rum*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons orange curaçao**
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons orgeat syrup†
  • 1-1/2 (1/2 ounce)teaspoons simple syrup‡
  • Juice of one fresh lime (1-1/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 ounce overproof rum
  • Optional garnish: mint sprig (later, lime wheel and sugar cane stick became options)
  • Shaved ice
  • ________________

    *Original recipe: 2 ounces 17-year old J. Wray & Nephew Rum.

    **Original brand: Holland DeKuyper Orange Curaçao.

    †Original recipe: 1/4 ounce Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup (sweeter than orgeat, which is almond-flavored simple syrup).

    ‡Original brand: Garnier Orgeat (orgeat is the preferred simple syrup in France. This brand no longer exists.)
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    SHAKE the ingredients vigorously with the ice. Strain into an ice-filled double-old fashioned glass. Add a sprig of fresh mint

    Regarding the subsequent fruity, colorful modifications to his drink, Bergeron said:

    “The flavor of this great rum wasn’t meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings.” Alas, bar owners and bar tenders could care less [source].

    THE HISTORY OF THE TIKI BAR

    Ernest Raymond Beaumont Grant (1907-1989) a Texas native, began to travel the world—including the islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific—in 1926. A bootlegger during Prohibition, he moved to Hollywood and when Prohibition in 1933, opened a bar called Don’s Beachcomber, the first tiki bar.

    Grant changed his name to Donn Beach, and in 1937 changed the name of the establishment to Don the Beachcomber.

    He then opened what became a very popular bar on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was decorated with items from the South Pacific, and Beach developed a cocktail menu that developed “secret recipes” inspired by the many types of rum drinks he had experienced during his years of island travel.

    In 1934, Victor Bergeron, who had also toured the South Seas, transformed his Oakland, California saloon Hinky Dinks into Trader Vic’s upscale Polynesian bar and restaurant. He created a his own menu of rum drinks.

    Located some 380 miles apart, the two pioneers of “tiki culture” became amicable rivals.

    Following World War II, the interest in South Pacific culture blossomed and the tiki boom took off. Tiki bars popped up all over the country, each attempting to outshine one another with lavish decor and rum cocktails served in mammoth bowls with floating orchids and tiny paper umbrellas [source].

    Both of the original bars expanded into restaurant chains. Don The Beachcomber had 25 locations, the last of which closed in the 1980s (two short-lived locations opened in 2001 and 2004, and a restaurant in Huntington Beach licensed the name in 2009 [source].

     
    Tiki culture peaked in the 1970s, and if you were of drinking age at the time, you may be missing those delightful drinks.

    So throw together a Mai Tai, and celebrate National Mai Tai Day.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lady Liberty Lemonade, Sangria Or Cocktail

    Here’s a very quick, yet very high-impact, trio of drinks for July 4th weekend. One has no alcohol, one is lightly alcoholic and one is full-cocktail.

    Call them Lady Liberty Lemonade or Lady Liberty Sangria; or add gin, tequila or vodka for a Lady Liberty Cocktail.

    Even if you have time for nothing else, you can make this!

    The amounts needed will vary depending on the size of your pitcher.

     
    RECIPE #1: LADY LIBERTY LEMONADE

    Ingredients

  • 1-2 cans frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 large apples
  • Star cookie cutter
  •  
    Preparation

    To serve with ice cubes, prepare a can of lemonade and freeze it in ice cube trays, five hours in advance or overnight. This keeps the drink ice-cold without diluting it.

    1. PREPARE the lemonade according to package instructions.

    2. WASH the fruit. Slice the apples, cut the slices into stars, and add all the fruit to the pitcher of lemonade. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

    RECIPE #2: LADY LIBERTY SANGRIA

    Club soda added to this recipe serves two purposes: to add fizz to a still wine sangria, or to dilute the drink to a lower-alcohol, lower-calorie spritzer.

    Ingredients

  • 1-2 bottles of Prosecco or still, light white wine (see list below)
  • 1 cup white cranberry juice (plus extra if desired for ice cubes)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup triple sec (clear orange liqueur)
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed
  • 2 large apples, washed
  • Star cookie cutter
  • Optional: club soda
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Lady Liberty Lemonade
    [1] The addition of red, white and blue fruits makes this drink a celebration.

    Mionetto Prosecco

    [2] For sparkling sangria, use Prosecco, an Italian bubbly.

     
    To serve with ice cubes, freeze white cranberry juice in ice cube trays in advance.

    1. SLICE the apples, cut the slices into stars, and add all the fruit to a pitcher. Top with the wine, liqueur and juice, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. FILL glasses and top off with club soda.
     
    RECIPE 3: LADY LIBERTY COCKTAIL

    Substitute gin, tequila or vodka for the wine in recipe #2.
     
     
    LIGHT WHITE WINES

    These wines are light enough for the hottest days of summer. Consider picking up varieties that you haven’t had before. Even if they won’t unseat your current favorite to drink as is, they will blend beautifully into the sangria.

  • Albariño
  • Aligote
  • Assyrtiko
  • Chablis
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Cortese/Gavi
  • Gargenega
  • Grenache Blanc
  • Muscadet
  • Picpoul de Pinet
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Soave
  • Verdejo
  • Verdicchio
  •   

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