Appleton Estate Extra 12

Picked up this vintage bottle at a local liquor store, to pair with the more recent Appleton 12 Rare Blend and Appleton 12 Rare Casks releases in my collection. This bottle has a Campari label so would have been from sometime after 2012.

I don’t believe in holding rum without trying it so I cracked it open. Tastes like Appleton 12, wouldn’t you believe it? My favorite rum. So easy to drink, without added sugar. And great in cocktails. Appleton 12 remains my recommended one-rum Mai Tai.

Pumpkin Spice Mai Tai

Another neighborhood delivery

This was the choice of the recipient, who definitely needs a stiff drink. I’m not a pumpkin spice hater.

Pumpkin Spice Mai Tai
1 oz Lime Juice
½ oz Orgeat 
½ oz Orange Curacao 
¼ oz Demerara Syrup 
1 oz Captain Morgan Jack’o’Blast Pumpkin Spiced Rum
1 oz Aged Jamaican Rum

Derby Daiquiri

I keep trying to make this one. It seems so simple and maybe uninteresting, but when I tried it at the Mai-Kai last year I was blown away. So I keep trying. And the fact that this is blended, when I’ve been fighting like Ahab to get my blender to make good slushy blended drinks, well let’s just say that the result was better but still not perfect.

This time the blend was better but still too many big chunks considering I was sipping rather than using a straw.

Derby Daiquiri
½ oz Lime juice
1 oz Orange juice
½ oz Sugar syrup
1½ oz Light Rum (I used Plantation 3 Star)
Blend with ice

I used fresh Valencia Oranges and it certainly made a difference compared to when I’ve used bottled OJ. But neither is as good as the Orange Juice they use at the Mai-Kai in Florida, so I guess all those ads about Florida oranges are true.

The Atomic Grog has great resources for everything Mai-Kai and their page for this cocktail is no exception. Check it out.

Rum The Spirit of the Ages

This essay has been gracing the back cover of the Trader Vic’s Cocktail Menu for decades. It serves to highlight the spirit that is most prominent in Trader Vic’s cocktails, and is both a history lesson and a list of “shout outs” to famed mixologists. This is a scan of a menu circa 1965.

Click to view larger

This is one area where I think that Victor Bergeron deserves more credit, as quite often he would credit the original creator of a cocktail on the menu or in his books. In the essay he highlights a number of 20th Century barmen including Frank Meier of the Ritz Bar in Paris, Constantine at La Florida Bar in Havana, and Albert Martin of Con Ton Bar in New Orleans. He ends with several pointed salutes to Don the Beachcomber of Hollywood.

The design includes pictures of some of the famous venues and a caricature of Don the Beachcomber himself. 

Closer view of the text

 

Santiago Cocktail-2

Found this in the 1947 Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. It is a light and refreshing cocktail that is influenced by Trader Vic’s travels to Cuba in 1937.

Santiago Cocktail-2
½ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Cointreau
1 tsp Sugar
1¾ oz Rum

I made this with Havana Club 7 aged Cuban rum and it’s a very good cocktail. But it is missing something… something that could add a little more sweetness and complexity. Hmm… thoughts?

The Vacation

This is a great cocktail from Daniel “Doc” Parks from the Minimalist Tiki book. So many great flavors! It’s always a favorite at Zombie Village or wherever Doc Parks might be serving drinks.

The Vacation by Daniel “Doc” Parks
¾ oz Lime juice
1 oz Pineapple juice
½ oz Mango syrup
¼ oz Falernum
1 oz Lightly aged or filtered rum (Real McCoy 3)
1 oz Unaged agricole rum (Rhum J.M Blanc)
1 oz Pisco (Capurro)
1 dash Vanilla-Infused Angostura bitters

The Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith is now in a third edition, complete with some new recipe riffs on the “Classic 30” tiki drinks. Plus fixes for those pesky typos. If you haven’t gotten this book yet, it’s totally worth getting as it covers the key ingredients needed for a home bar, plus the Wonk’s usually great coverage of rum and spirits. Many truly amazing cocktail recipes.

Blue Curacao: Giffard vs. Senior

So many thanks to local tikiphile Cathie Wartelle for donating some of her Senior Blue Curacao for another shootout comparison with our reigning champion Giffard Curacao Bleu.

Last week we compared Giffard to the much cheaper Drillaud, and so this week it’s a more even playing field since the Senior is priced similarly (or in many places even higher). Once again, we did this in our Blue Hawai-Tai cocktail – though this time I did switch up the rums. We have Rum-Bar White Overproof and Denizen Aged White Rum for standing in this week.

In the glass: I found the Giffard to be a deeper shade of blue, and heavier and more complex on the tongue. The Senior is pleasant but just lacks a bit of depth – though it is 31% ABV compared to 25% for the Giffard. 

In the cocktail: The Senior Blue Curacao mixes well in the cocktail, and for sure helps this cocktail go down easy. The sweetness of Senior is similar to the Giffard, but once again the Giffard just has a little extra complexity in the cocktail that is a notable difference.

The verdict: unlike last time, price differences aren’t a factor, so Giffard is still our winner. If you’re at a liquor store and you had to choose between some $7 low-end Blue Curacao and Senior, should you feel bad going upscale? Absolutely not. The Senior Blue Curacao is a good liqueur. But pound for pound, the Giffard is better in our opinion.

Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz White Overproof Jamaican Rum
½ oz Aged White Rum
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Blue Curacao

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice. 

Heatwave Hideaway

The Bay Area is having a heatwave but that didn’t stop dozens of tikiphiles from braving 100° heat to pack the Forbidden Island outdoor patio on Sunday. Straight from opening at 2 pm every table was filled with cool drinks being the desired antidote. I tasted a few rums in the form of a Mai Tai (these were all rums that I’ve had before). You can definitely taste the difference between Pyrat XO and Clement Premiére Canne in a Mai Tai.

The Forbidden Island crew has really got this patio process working smoothly now, with attentive servers and fast service for cocktails, rum samples, and the requisite food component of your order. The Yelp-based reservation system is important and crucial these days.

We had the pleasure of seeing two local luminaries complete the Kill Devil Club 2.0 rum list. Congrats to Cathie Wartelle and Lon Cook for drinking all the rums from this list of “hard to find, allocated, rare and rums aged 10 years and older.” The tiki mug you get is pretty cool too.
 

Blue Curacao: Drillaud vs. Giffard

Blue Curacao Shootout

Back to our regularly scheduled program. I found the Drillaud Orange Curacao to be pretty serviceable and a great option for those looking for a lower-priced liqueur. So, it’s time to give the Drillaud Blue Curacao a spin and compared to my recommended spirit in this category, Giffard Curacao Bleu.

Both spirts are 25% ABV and the color is deep and blue in both. Tasting both neat, it does seem that that the Giffard has a more complex flavor that is a pleasure to flow over the tongue. The Drillaud is thankfully not as sickly sweet as some liqueurs I’ve tasted, and without any unpleasant after-taste. But, it does taste a bit “thin” compared to the Giffard. Nonetheless, this is a good sign for Drillaud.

Next, I tasted both in a Blue Hawai-Tai. As you can see, the colors are similar and both make an excellent version of our Blue Mai Tai with heavy rums. Here too, the Drillaud makes a good cocktail but indeed the Giffard is still better. Just a little bit more satisfying and rounded.

Giffard is the winner on taste alone but what about the price? I see the Giffard for sale at around $28, where the Drillaud is around $13. So, the Drillaud is a pretty good substitute and is just about half the price.

Learn more: Giffard vs. Senior Blue Curacao

Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz White Overproof Jamaican Rum
½ oz Aged White Rum
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Blue Curacao