Jamaican Highball at Dr. Funk

Dropped by Dr. Funk on Monday before the Surfrajettes show for dinner and some cocktails. Aside from continued “product testing” of Dr. Funk’s still awesome Mai Tai, I tried the Jamaican Highball this time.

More than just a “Wray and Ting”, the Jamaican Highball features Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, lime, turbinado, grapefruit soda, and Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters. Those additional ingredients and flavors help to enhance the the rum and soda base. I was looking for a slightly lower ABV and asked for Rum-Bar Silver to sub for the Wray. This still provided that classic unaged Jamaican rum flavor and worked great in this cocktail.

The Murderqueen Cocktail: a Dark Cocktail for Halloween

This original cocktail was developed by Tonga Tim Harnett of Tiki Underground bar in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. It was featured last week on Spike’s Breezeway Cocktail Hour on YouTube, named in honor of Spike’s girlfriend Larissa – otherwise known as the Murderqueen. Check out the video on YouTube, and then check out the amazing surf/horror single “Theme from The Murderqueen” that Spike put out a couple years ago on Hi-Tide Recordings.

The Murderqueen Cocktail by Tim Harnett
1½ oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Solerno Blood Orange Cordial
¼ oz Orgeat
¼ oz Passion Fruit syrup
½ oz Raspberry syrup
1 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
1 oz Rum Bar Overproof Rum
4 heavy dashes Peychauds Bitters
Shake with ice and garnish with three dark cherries

I subbed Liber for the Blood Orange Cordial, and Chambord liqueur for the raspberry syrup. I used Latitude 29 Orgeat and Small Hand Foods Passion Fruit Syrup.

Despite the grapefruit juice and heavy rums, this cocktail is actually pretty easy to drink. It has a real nice set of flavors and seems timely for Halloween season.

Glassware: new Halloween Mai Tai glass from Trader Vic’s, available for sale online.

Recipe: London Dry Spin

I still had more White Grapefruit Juice so I did a little riff that actually ended up tasting quite nice. This is definitely grapefruit-forward, but I think it pairs well with the gin and the hints of orange and the rich orgeat syrup. This leans tart, so if you like it sweeter I’d suggest bumping the Cointreau to ¾ oz.

London Dry Spin by Kevin Crossman
1 oz Fresh White Grapefruit Juice
¼ oz Fresh Orange Juice
¼ oz Orgeat
½ oz Cointreau
2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass

The Orgeat used was homemade from Pearl’s Hideaway and is bit on the cloudy side compared to some commercial syrups such as Latitude 29. In this case, the cloudy white cocktail made this look a bit different from Daiquris and other cocktails served up. Liber & Co. orgeat would have similar cloudy results.

The Breezeway Cocktail

This was posted by Spike Marble on @thehulagirls Instagram and it was perfect timing as I was looking for something to use with the last of the White Grapefruit was I was gifted. They held up pretty good this month. 

This is the cocktail that Spike developed for his Spike’s Breezeway Cocktail Hour show on YouTube, which I have enjoyed every Friday for the last two years. Spike talks cocktails (always in the glass that it was served in) and tiki, sometimes with special guests. It is educational and entertaining, so check it out if you’ve somehow missed it. You must be a fan of corks to fully appreciate the show.

The Breezeway Cocktail by Spike Marble
¾ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Orange Juice
¾ oz White Grapefruit Juice
¼ oz Demerara Syrup
¼ oz Cinnamon Syrup
¼ oz Falernum
1 tsp Ginger Syrup
1 oz Soda Water
1 oz Hamilton White Stache Rum (sub: Denizen 3)
1 oz Doctor Bird Jamaican Rum

Blend for 6 seconds with crushed ice. Pour soda water into tiki mug, then rest of the drink with ice. Garnish with sliced limes, orange wedge, Luxardo Cherries, mint, orchid, garnish.

I didn’t go extreme with the garnishes, and used my favored Hay! Straws rather than the glass one specified by Spike.

This cocktail is light and refreshing, and the mix of spicy syrups does give it an interesting twist. I don’t have the Breezeway Cocktail Hour tiki mug, so I used this nice pilsner glass from Trader Vic’s. This is a tribute to Spike who often makes vintage Trader Vic’s cocktails on the show.

Spike has a Patreon for supporters of the show, and if you’re at the $10 level you can get a cool Breezeway Cocktail Hour pin shown below.

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.

Navy Grog Grapefruit Shootout

My previous White vs. Red Grapefruit juice comparison was with a classic cocktail served up, the Old Friend. In that taste test, I preferred the sweeter Red Grapefruit. But that was a cocktail without a lot of sweeteners.

Today’s comparison is with a tiki classic, the Navy Grog. And the recipe is our own Ultimate Navy Grog that blends the historical recipes from Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, and includes our potent Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend as one of the base spirits. This recipes includes a full two ounces of sweeteners, counterbalancing 1½ ounces of citrus.

Ultimate Navy Grog
¾ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Honey mix
½ oz Pimento Dram (Hamilton)
½ oz Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1½ oz Ultimate Mai Tai Rum
1½ oz Demerara Rum (Hamilton 86)
Shake with crushed ice. After pouring into glass, top with 2 oz of Soda.

I made two Navy Grogs and found that the Red Grapefruit version felt thin on the tongue. Meanwhile, I found that the White Grapefruit introduced a noticeably heavier body to the cocktail, and this version simply tasted better overall. So, the White Grapefruit was the clear victor in this taste test.

Grapefruit Comparison

I was gifted some White Grapefruit from someone locally who has a neighbor with a tree, so I did some comparison testing with a Rudy Red.

Old Friend
¾ oz Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Campari
¼ oz Elderflower Liqueur
1½ oz Beefeater Gin
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The original spec calls for St. Germain but I only have the Giffard Elderflower.

I made two of these, and found that I preferred the sweeter Red Grapefruit in the cocktail. I don’t know that I would have refused the tarter one with White Grapefruit, but the difference between the two was certainly obvious and noticeable given the relative percentage of juice in this recipe. And you know I like things a little sweeter. Overall, this was a pretty tasty cocktail either way.

Navy Grog and Zombie testing this weekend.

Citrus Experimentation

A little comparison testing at Ultimate Mai Tai HQ. I compared the following juices: White Grapefruit (bottled), Red Grapefruit (fresh), and Pomello (fresh).

To compare the juices I made three Brown Derby cocktails.

Brown Derby
1 oz Juice
¾ oz Honey Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1½ oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
½ oz Makers Mark Bourbon
Shake with ice and then strain

The cocktail is delightful and for us a nice change of pace from the rum drinks that we normally make.

Both Mrs. Mai Tai and I preferred the Brown Derby with the Red Grapefruit, as it seemed brighter and sweeter. Which is odd because tasting the juice just by itself I felt it was more tart than the Pomello. Meanwhile the Brown Derby with Pomello did have a noticeable tartness that was not particularly balanced. The White Grapefruit version was inoffensive but not really as flavorful as with the fresh squeezed juice. The bottled juice for sure doesn’t seem as good as fresh-squeezed.

The Pomello gives less juice than its size might indicate.