Honey Buzz at Pym’s Tasting Lab

Our family had a lot of great memories at Bug’s Land at Disney California Adventure, and a few even before that when it was the Bountiful Valley Farm, so I was bit sad when it was razed to make way for Avenger Campus that opened last year. And as a California native I regret that DCA’s initial “California” theme continues to be watered down. But, with adult children who love Marvel movies, it wasn’t like we were spending a lot of time in Bug’s Land anymore.

We gave Avenger’s Campus a try this trip. I enjoyed the Spider-Man attraction far more than I expected; it was lots of fun. And we gave the food eatery a chance this time too. Pym’s Test Kitchen is a counter-service restaurant with the gimmick that the food has been altered by Ant-Man shrinking/growing tech. Hence the gigantic pretzel or their chicken sandwich that has a tiny bun but an over-sized chicken patty. I even did a kids meal with make your own PB&J. Pretty good, and both walk-up and mobile order worked great for us on this trip.

Pym’s Tasting Lab is a bar that is adjacent to the Test Kitchen. This is where they offer beer, wine, beer cocktails, and cocktails. I decided to go with the Honey Buzz, which contains Gin, Lemon, and Honey, along with a “honey straw” that is basically a stick of honey. Otherwise known as a Bee’s Knees, this was a very sweet and easy to drink cocktail. I liked it a lot and ordered it again on our second visit.

We also tried The Regulator, which is a beer cocktail with Patrón Silver Tequila and Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat Ale, with Mango and Habanero Syrups, and Mango Flavor-filled Boba. The Habanero was tempered enough for me to drink it, but still was too spicy for me.

French 75: Gin or Cognac?

There was an online discussion started recently by Maxton Kennedy, current bar manager at Forbidden Island and previously from The Kon-Tiki in Oakland and Tiki Tolteca in New Orleans. Notably, Maxton also previously had a stint at the French 75 Bar in NOLA.

Maxton’s premise was that many are making the French 75 incorrectly, since most published recipes use Gin rather than the French spirit, Cognac. It does seem like if the cocktail is a French origin, then the pair of Cognac and Champagne would make sense. 

This idea intrigued me and so without getting into the politics we made these side by side. I also did a poll on my Instagram stories, which split 60/40 in favor of Gin.

French 75
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Gin or Cognac
Top with 1 oz Champagne

I tried both and to me the Gin version with Beefeater Gin tasted better than the one with Ferrand Cognac. Perhaps different spirits in each category would have given a different result, but among these two the floral notes from the Gin seemed to work better with the Champagne.

Though, honestly, straight Champagne tasted better than either.

Long Island Iced Tea

I guess this is the trendy drink this week, after a video by The Educated Barfly and a discussion this week on the always entertaining Life Behind Bars podcast.

Long Island Iced Tea
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Vodka
½ oz Gin
½ oz Tequila
½ oz Rum
½ oz Triple Sec
Build in tall glass with ice, top with cola. Lightly stir.

I was never a Long Island Iced Tea guy back during the years when most people have these. Wasn’t really much of anything but a beer guy, actually. But this wasn’t too bad. The tequila was the spirit that pushed through more than the others, which was fine I guess but I would have preferred the gin or rum.

Lesson: Stick to Tiki

Sometimes it is good to challenge your assumptions and revisit spirits and cocktails that you haven’t loved (or enjoyed at all) in the past.

Such was the case when I made two Martinis. While I preferred the Gin Martini over the one with Vodka, neither was enjoyable. Glad I tried it but won’t be coming back anytime soon.

Saturn

Most tikiphiles are familiar with the classic cocktails that Jeff “Beachbum” Berry brought back from the dead, finding their original recipes and sharing them with the world. The 1934 Zombie is the holy grail but there’s also Three Dots and a Dash, the Q.B. Cooler, and others. But an overlooked recipe that deserves just as much praise is the Saturn.

The Saturn was originally prepared by J. “Popo” Galsini in 1967 for the IBA World Cocktail Championship – and Popo won the darn thing. You’d think that thereafter this drink would have been world famous, but nobody was drinking these until Berry discovered it and published the recipe in his book Beachbum Berry’s Taboo Table in 2005.

Saturn
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup
¼ oz Falernum
¼ oz Orgeat
1¼ oz Dry Gin
8 oz Crushed Ice

Blend and pour into a Pilsner or other tall glass.

The cocktail is surprisingly refreshing. Popo was said to have tended bar in several tiki bars, so he would have been familiar with Orgeat and Falernum that were already starting to lose favor along with the rest of the classic exotic cocktail ingredients in 1967.

I personally prefer up the Orgeat to ½ ounce and then to prepare shaken with crushed ice and served up in a coupe glass.

New Issue of Exotica Moderne

Another fabulous issue of everyone’s favorite tiki magazine is now available from House of Tabu.

Some great features including all kinds of eye candy, music reviews, and some thoughtful commentary about cultural appropriation by Jason Craig Plus the usual tiki bar column from Tiki with Ray  and recipes from Tiki Lindy.

The cocktail recipes page has a little something for everyone and be sure to try my Innovation Cocktail with Gin, Passion Fruit, Orgeat, and Blue Curacao.

Innovation Cocktail by Kevin Crossman
1 ounce Passionfruit Syrup
½ ounce Orgeat
½ ounce Blue Curacao Liqueur
2 ounces London Dry Gin (I used Beefeater)

Singapore Sling

I don’t have Benedictine, so I have been using the 1937 Don the Beachcomber recipe. I have felt this lacked complexity so I have been thinking of things to add to it. This time I tried a bit of Passionfruit Syrup. It was maybe a little better but still something is lacking. But I do like the heavy cherry taste and the gin makes it refreshing.

Singapore Sling
½ oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz Dry Gin
¼ oz Passionfruit Syrup

Shake with ice cubes add 1 ½ oz Soda and pour into tall glass.

Glassware by The Kon-Tiki.

I Ran Out of Gin!

This was a development I never saw coming. While I’ve always been a rum guy I would never guessed that I’d drain my one long bottle of Gin long before I’d drain the lone Vodka and Tequila bottles. But I have been enjoying a lot of Gin drinks lately, including the Saturn.

This was posted a couple weeks ago but I did another run and I’m still digging it. Something a little different but still tiki if you ask me.

Innovation Cocktail by Kevin Crossman
1 ounce Passionfruit Syrup
½ ounce Orgeat
½ ounce Blue Curacao Liqueur
2 ounces London Dry Gin (I used Beefeater)

Shake with ice cubes and strain into a coupe glass or wine glass.

Innovation Cocktail

Innovation Cocktail

We’re having Spirit Week at my company, Juniper Networks. So I submitted this for a Happy Hour event on Friday.

For those looking for something to prepare for Happy Hour on Friday, here’s an original cocktail with a uniquely Juniper theme. The yellow passion fruit syrup and the blue curacao liqueur should give you something close to Juniper Green, without the use of food coloring. The name is a play on words for a famous Gin-based cocktail, the Aviation.

This uses ingredients you can find in many mainstream liquor warehouse stores (e.g. BevMo). Of course the spirit (for Spirit Week!) has to be a juniper-forward Gin.

Innovation Cocktail by Kevin Crossman
1 ounce Passion fruit Syrup (or, passion fruit puree, such as Finest Call)
½ ounce Orgeat (or Almond Syrup, such as Toriani)
½ ounce Blue Curacao Liqueur
2 ounces London Dry Gin (I used Beefeater)

Shake with ice cubes and strain into a coupe glass or wine glass.

Cheers!

Innovation Cocktail