Zombie Grapefruit Shootout

My last cocktail comparison between White Grapefruit juice and Rudy Red juice is a Zombie. For the comparison I decided to use the recipe on the bottle of the Beachbum Berry Zombie Blend from Hamilton Rum since this uses a bit more grapefruit juice than the original 1934 recipe (and significantly less rum, useful since I wasn’t going to drink two full Zombies). The Zombie Blend is pretty great and this does make a very good Zombie.

Unfortunately, from a grapefruit juice comparison the two Zombies tasted nearly identical. I was getting slightly more cinnamon notes from the Ruby version, which might be due to the juice being sweeter and with a lighter body. Or I could simply have measured an ever so slightly different half ounce in the cocktail. I’m pretty sensitive to the cinnamon flavor, and in fact went a little light on the measurement. I compensated by adding an equivalently higher amount of Falernum.

To conclude the Grapefruit Juice Shootout Comparisons:

Thanks to @vonschiltach for the white grapefruits for testing.

Three Dots and a Dash (modified)

I decided to use some of this year’s most highly anticipated new rum releases and put them into a cocktail together. I love the Worthy Park 109, which is a Dark Jamaican rum that to me approaches the flavor profile of a Demerara rum. And the aged Clairin expression from Saint Benevolence is an amazing alternative for cocktails calling for an aged rum from Martinique. 

So, I chose a cocktail where the new rums would drop right in. The Three Dots and a Dash is a popular Don the Beachcomber cocktail, the recipe for which was unearthed a few years ago by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Thanks, Bum!

Three Dots and a Dash (modified)
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Orange Juice
½ oz Honey Syrup
¼ oz Falernum
¼ oz Pimento Dram
1½ oz Saint Benevolence Aged Clairin
½ oz Worthy Park 109 Jamaica Rum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
6 oz Crushed Ice
Flash blend and garnish with three cherries (three dots) and a pineapple (and a dash)

1934 Zombie

I keep trying Zombie variants but aways come back to this one. Don the Beachcomber really got it right the first time, as future variants, while interesting, do have the complex and transformative characteristics of this Planters Punch on steroids.

The glassware features a stylized Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, who through sleuthing and relationship building was finally able to piece together Donn’s original recipe. The Zombie chapter in Berry’s book Sippin’ Safari might be my favorite chapter in any book I’ve ever read. So many historical details, written in Detective-style first person as only the Bum can. If you don’t have the book, you need to get it now. The 10th Anniversary edition is printed in beautiful hardback with additional material compared to the original 2007 paperback version.

The glass is available from Cocktail Kingdom and is the perfect compliment. And if you need the recipe it’s right on glass for easy reference. Enjoy a Zombie today.

Books and glasses and more are available at beachbumberry.com.

Simplified Zombie Attempt

It is October, so that means that it is Zombie season at Ultimate Mai Tai HQ.

Tonight we took a run at tweaking the Zombie (Simplified) recipe by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in his book Beachbum Berry Remixed.

Zombie (Simplified)
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz White Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Cinnamon Syrup
½ oz 151 Proof Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
 

My tasting notes from the last time I made this indicated the cinnamon was too forward. I’ve also felt that Grenadine is an essential component to the Zombie, so I made an adjustment to the syrups. I used a fresh Ruby Grapefruit.

You know I prefer heavier rums, so I used my Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend instead (which is actually around the same ABV as the two rums above). For those new readers, the Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend is equal parts Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Plantation Xaymaca, and Plantation OFTD.

Zombie (Simplified) – Adjusted
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Rudy Grapefruit Juice
¼ oz Cinnamon Syrup
¼ oz Grenadine
1½ oz Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend
 

This wasn’t terrible but honestly tasted a little flat. Definitely missed the additional spice elements in the 1934 Zombie recipe.

They can’t all be winners.

Glassware: Beachbum Berry Zombie Glasses

Orgeat Works Comparison

Comparing:

  • Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat
  • Orgeat Works Macadamia Nut Syrup
  • Orgeat Works T’Orgeat Toasted Almond Syrup

Latitude 29 Orgeat has been my favorite commercial Orgeat for several years. It’s a high-quality product made with Water, Pure Cane sugar, Almonds, Orange Blossom Water, Almond essence, and Rose Water. It is fairly clear, easy to maintain and pour, and tastes wonderful. The floral elements pair well with the almond flavor.

Orgeat Works has a couple additional products and I’m always interested in trying some new Orgeat, so bought some bottles and did a comparison test.

Each Orgeat is made using the same high-quality ingredients, such as pure Cane Sugar and Orange Blossom Water. The Macadamia Nut Syrup uses Macadamia Nuts rather than Almonds, of course. Each comes in a 375 ml plastic bottle that will last for quite a while for home cocktail use.

Orgeat Works products are available online and select stores.

Cocktail Comparison

I made several cocktails with each of these Orgeat varieties and did comparison taste tests. For this comparison I made a couple different 1944 Mai Tai recipes, a Saturn, and a Blood Orange Eastern Sour. One Mai Tai was made with Denizen Merchant’s Reserve as the rum base, along with Ferrand Dry Curacao. The other Mai Tai was a lighter style using Probitas and Clement Premiere Canne rums, with Cointreau as the orange liqueur.

In each case I found the Latitude 29 Orgeat to be the best overall, tasting brighter in each cocktail and adding a rich mouthfeel. It worked very well across each of the cocktails, from the heavy juice-forward Eastern Sour to the lighter Gin-based Saturn.

But the T’Orgeat Toasted Orgeat was really great too. It has a pronounced toasted almond flavor that is unique and delightful. It is a rich taste that’s very different from many of the craft Orgeat brands that have a marzipan flavor, and I find T’Orgeat more suitable for most uses. T’Orgeat worked well across all cocktails but was best used in a Mai Tai where the Orgeat is a more central focus.

Orgeat Works Macadamia Nut Syrup has a more subtle flavor which doesn’t present itself as forward as the other two syrups.

3rd place: Orgeat Works Macadamia Nut Syrup
2nd place: Orgeat Works T’Orgeat Toasted Almond Syrup
1st place: Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat

Hamilton Rum: Beachbum Berry’s Zombie Blend

Not just for Zombies. It makes an excellent Mai Tai too!

This new rum blend is a 118 proof delight, so aromatic and flavorful. With this kind of ABV it isn’t a sipper for most people, but inside a Mai Tai it really punches through and coats your tongue. Of course, our house Mai Tai rum blend is over 100 proof, so we’re used to boozy Mai Tais. But we think anyone will find this rum to be amazing in a Mai Tai.

The Mai Tai is best prepared with Latitude 29 Orgeat from Orgeat Works, a house favorite of the Bum himself who helped develop it. It is our favorite orgeat.

Not a bad choice Mai Tai Monday.

The Zombie blend is rolling out now and is available in many states with more to come. Bottles are going fast but Ed Hamilton says this product is here to stay and that more is in the pipeline.

And, yes, it does make an excellent Zombie.

New Update in the Total Tiki App

Some new recipes were added to the Total Tiki app for iOS, an indispensable resource for cocktail recipes based on the books of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.  Hundreds of vintage recipes from the likes of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s, but also newer recipes from The Bum himself and others. 

The best part of the app is the integration with an inventory system. You tell the app what spirits, syrups, juices, and other ingredients that you have, and then the app will show you which recipes that you can make. It’s a great way to get started with cocktails at home, since you can make a lot of drinks just with a few ingredients and then slowly add new things over time.

Go get it in The App Store if you don’t already have it.

Don’s Special Daiquiri

I first tried this amazing cocktail at Longitude, the Oakland adventure-themed bar that sadly closed but lives on today as The Kon-Tiki.

Every time I try this I think I should have it more often, featuring Jamaican rum, Passion Fruit Syrup, and Honey mix. So delicious. Thanks to Jeff Berry for publishing the recipe in Beachbum Berry Remixed and in the Total Tiki app.

It’s Friday so I made myself a double version of this. Thankfully I have these cool tiki style coupe glasses that are extra large.

Don’s Special Daiquiri
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Honey Mix
½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup
½ oz Light Rum
1 oz Gold Jamaican Rum

Molokai Mule

This is a recipe from Steve Crane’s Kon-Tiki restaurant from the Sheraton Waikiki resort circa 1960s, according to the entry in Beachbum Berry’s Taboo Table, and the Total Tiki app. I liked my first sip but it quickly turned into something else, a weird combination of flavors that did not play well on my tongue. I actually dumped it.

Molokai Mule
2 oz Orange juice
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orgeat
1 oz Cognac
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Demerara Rum
Shake with ice cubes.

Have you ever tried this? What did you think?

Glassware by Woody Miller.

Mai Tai Swizzle

I didn’t like this Don the Beachcomber cocktail when I made it a couple years ago, but my palette has come around on some flavors over time so I thought I’d give this one another shot.

The Mai Tai Swizzle dates from the 1950s, according the Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. The recipe comes from Hawaii: Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine which is a Don the Beachcomber recipe book published by Donn Beach’s widow (who made a dubious claim this recipe pre-dated the Trader Vic’s 1944 Mai Tai). Including Grapefruit juice, Bitters, Falernum, and Pernod, the drink does contain some of the ingredients often seen in Don the Beachcomber cocktails.

Mai Tai Swizzle (Don the Beachcomber)
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Cointreau
¼ oz Falernum
1½ oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Gold Cuban Rum (sub Bacardi 8)
6 Drops Pernod
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with crushed ice.

My notes a couple year ago was that this had too much citrus, and that feeling holds true today. I might have different opinions if the Cuban rum was replaced with a Demerara, so maybe I’ll try that next time. (See the results: Mai Tai Swizzle Re-Revisted)

So, I made some tweaks and added Demerara Syrup and added more Falernum. It is much better tasting and more balanced. Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed it while finishing her cocktail puzzle.

Ultimate Mai Tai Swizzle
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Demerara Syrup
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz Falernum
1½ oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Gold Cuban Rum (sub Bacardi 8)
6 Drops Pernod
1 Dash Angostura Bitters