Tags: malt beverage, moonshine, Rant, review
The current craze in general spirits is whiskey. Very few people will dispute that vodka has gone the way of the 90’s and whiskey has become the
current potable of choice among the intelligentsia. This has led to a number of things, among them whiskey bars, whiskey podcasts, a slew of
small batch artisanal whiskey distillers and lastly a sideline in whiskey that almost no one could have predicted.
At the same time that whiskey was making the rounds of the finer bars and restaurants, popular culture latched onto the trailer park as the
spawning ground for the next spate of reality televisio
n. Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo and a number of other shows all attempt to capitalize on
the american appetite for low rent southern style culture.
Somehow the two areas have come together and prompted the return to popularity of moonshine alongside its more refined barrel aged brother bourbon
and cousin Scotch.
For those living under an IKEA ROKROK for the last few decades moonshine is functionally a type of whiskey in that it is an alcohol derived
primarily from grain and made largely in the united states. The more technical definition is a spirit made from ~80% corn and traditionally
bottled at the same proof it leaves the still which can be anywhere from 80-150. Methods exist to produce a product of even higher proof but
they often involve the addition of adulterants not fit for human consumption.
Moonshine gets its grandeur from the history of independent folk living the free life and dodging the man to make their outlaw whiskey.
To sum up, moonshine is generally:
1. Corn based
2. High Proof
3. Made Independent of the legal system
The third we can forgive as everyone wants to make a profit and it is far easier to get national distribution when you don’t have to haul your
product in the back of a race car to avoid the cops.
The number of legal moonshines on the market has spiked in recent years and more and more are seen every day. The most prominent of these is
Midnight Moon but other brands such as Firefly or Ole Smokey are making their bid for shelf space. Many if not all of them are sold in a faux
backwoods style so that the bottles appear to be mason jars with wide mouth openings.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the distressed wood display case of what appeared at first glance to be a rack of Midnight Moon. You can see from the photos my confusion. The labels share the same hipster artisanal black and white style labeling and the again faux mason jar container, but on closer inspection you will note the name Great America.
This my dear reader is a moonshine malt beverage as envisioned by the marketing department. It has no corn, isn’t high-proof and is coming in under the 15% wire so that they can make it into grocery stores which is about as far from bootleg as you’re likely to get.
Bottled at a beastly 28 proof and sold in flavors such as “Apple” Pie, Carolina Clear, and peach for the un-princely sum of $5.99 per 23 fl oz. Compare this to any other malt beverage which runs 7.99 for a 6 pack of 12 oz bottles.
I selected the “apple” pie flavor as I presumed it would be the least inedible. I was mistaken. This brew like most malt beverages has a slight metallic flavor followed immediately by a kind of sour sweetness. If there were any actual apple involved in this process it must have died of embarrassment.
Further drinking is not rewarded. It’s just as bad on the third sip as it is on the first. If it were even slightly more palatable the prospect
of 22 further ounces of this product might be worthwhile but from the rim of my wide mouth jar all I see is a river of pain.
I detest this product, both for what it seems to embody as well as for the poor execution. In an attempt to salvage my purchase I attempted to make cocktails with it. I was partially successful, actual apple juice seems to mitigate the flavor problems somewhat but I cannot recommend
this either as a base or as a mixer as it provides nothing in either capacity that couldn’t be better served by another product.
Lastly, there is a sort of mock cinnamon that floats in suspension in the apple pie flavor and while I had my jar stored on its side the cinnamon
appeared to settle into a slimy brown line on the bottom (side) of the jar. At first I took this for mold but after dumping the jar realized
that it was simply sediment. If this was real cinnamon I could expect a similar result as ground cinnamon is amazingly hydrophobic but I’m
almost positive that it was something else which just leaves me feeling slightly creeped out at having consumed it in the first place.
Knowing most of the readers of my blog are unlikely to purchase malt beverages in any form means that my recommendation against this product
isn’t entirely necessary but I put this out there for the general populace to avoid Great America’s Faux moonshines where-ever possible.
Credit for this drink goes directly to Podnah’s Pit where it was created and where I and the Hop Boxer found it.
First of the basic recipe.
1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz Creme de Cassis
0.5 oz Lime Juice
4 oz Ginger Beer
As presented you want to put your lime, jameson and cassis in your shaker, strain into your highball or collins glass and then top with ginger beer.
Not terribly complicated, it follows the standard 2/1/1 format for most “classic” cocktails.
This drink comes into the category of Buck Cocktails or Mules which are really just spirit + citrus + ginger beer.
There are any number of fine bottled options, find one that has the amount of bite you enjoy and stick with it. I’m fine with Cock n’ Bull but if Bundaberg is around in the store I’ll snag a 4 pack of that as it’s a nice midpoint between Cock n’ Bull and Reeds.
If you want to use Ginger Syrup I have found that a dilution of about 4 to 1 is pretty standard so 1 oz syrup to 4 oz club soda. You can play with that if you want but it comes out pretty strong otherwise and you don’t really want the sugar in the syrup to overshadow the cassis.
Some notes about the drink itself:
I don’t personally think that the brand of whiskey involved makes much of a difference here but I think type plays a role. Jameson is an Irish Whiskey which is going to be very different in flavor profile than say a Bourbon or a Tennessee Whiskey like Jack Daniels. Scotch is wasted in this drink so don’t bother with anything there. I think part of the draw on Jameson is that it lacks many of the smokey characteristics of some other whiskey and is smooth enough to work well in the drink. Additionally it’s one of the few Irish whiskey’s you’re likely to find in a smaller bar.
For those not familiar with Creme de Cassis it is a liqueur flavored with black currants. This is a fruit not many people have any experience with as they haven’t been actively cultivated in the US for several decades. Their commercial cultivation was banned in the 1900’s and that ban has only slowly been lifted by a few US states, Oregon among them. So the liqueur is a bit more common in Europe and is generally imported. Locally Clear Creek makes a very lovely Cassis Liqueur which runs about $22.50 for a 375ml. I’ve seen them in a number of liquor stores around the area so they aren’t hard to find they’re just not always in the same spot as the Creme de Cassis which you can generally find in fifths for $9-13. The major differences in the two are usually sweetness and tartness. The price on clear creek’s Cassis is higher but it is worth it for having a non-artificial taste and a very natural tartness.
One last deviation from the norm, I concocted a version I call the light-railer which swaps the Jameson and Cassis for Eastside Distilling Marionberry Whiskey. It loses a bit of the tartness but the flavor profile of Eastside’s whiskey stands up a bit better in the cocktail and you get a much clearer whiskey flavor without a lot of extra oak barrel getting into the drink.
Tags: citrus, Lemon, Limoncello, make your own, myo
The first thing you need to know about limoncello is that it is delicious. If you’re a fan of citrus vodka this is just the thing to move you away from the processed stuff and into a new section. The next thing to know is that it’s even better when you make it yourself.
Classic limoncello uses a special lemon from Italy as the base, which given the season and location means I’ll have to improvise.
So I dug around a bit and came up with the following plan.
1. Buy Everclear
This was an interesting trip in itself as I had not seen it on shelves in any of the liquor stores I frequent. A chance comment by a patron during a tasting I was doing led me to discover that they actually keep it behind the counter or in the back rather than on the shelf. I’m not clear on how many brands they offer but when I went the option was simply Everclear, I went with the jug rather than the 750ml as I didn’t want to run out and had a lot of things to make with this. I’m still not clear if Everclear is considered a brand or a type but the results are pretty much the same 95% alcohol.
2. Select Fruits
Having not done this before I took a trip to the Sheridan fruit Company where I knew I could obtain any number of items. I bought about 5 regular California lemons and because they had them 10 Meyer Lemons. I also bought a small container of dried bing cherries as I intended to make a cherrycello and the fresh ones were out of season.
Sideline- Meyer Lemons: For those not familiar, and judging from conversations I’ve had with people since I started this project in November that’s quite a few, a Meyer lemon is a verity of citrus that originated in China and was brought to this country by Frank Meyer in 1908. It is smaller, sweeter and softer than the lemons you may be used to, and has a fragrant, thin zest. The pith is a bit thicker but this isn’t really a problem.
Not a simple matter, the rind of a lemon has two parts, the zest and the pith. Pith is the bitter white part of the rind and zest is the mostly clear yellow part. In my case a simple potato peeler let me take off nice long strips with very little pith. I followed this with a simple scraping on the back of the strips with a paring knife. The meyer lemons took a bit more effort as their zest is thinner and the pith thicker but it is still soft and takes little effort. Some people will suggest using a rasp or microplane to zest the lemon, this is not a bad idea as it gives you more surface area during the extraction process but it means you have to strain the limoncello afterwards to get out all the little shreds. I’m ambivalent at this point but read on and decide after a couple more steps.
I made a fairly big error when I started this process. I didn’t have a container in mind before I began. Neither for the finished product nor for the extraction. I thought that using spare empty bottles from my alcohol collection would be fine and up to a point it was.
The mason jar contains my somewhat abortive attempt to make cherrycello, the volstead vodka bottle my regular lemons and the bullett rye my meyer lemons. Now getting the peel into the bottle was not a problem. Getting the peel back out afterwards involved improvising a hook from a bent coathanger. The mason jar was much more forgiving and I recommend having a selection of them where possible both for working and for the finished product storage. You can decant into the fancy bottles when you’re done.
When I started this I had no idea what the final flavor would be like. I’ve had good and bad limoncello before both store bought and homemade so there was really no one basis for comparison. The two bottles above are still 95% alcohol and after about 4-5 days they had extracted enough of the lemon oils to turn a healthy yellow. Now that I had the base of my limoncello I needed to make it drinkable. You can start this process with vodka if you want. Vodka, unlike everclear is usually bottled at 80 to 100 proof, the everclear was 190 proof. As a liqueur limoncello is generally bottled at about 25-37% alcohol if you get the traditional stuff. So starting with vodka you only need to add about half as much simple syrup as you have alcohol. When you start with everclear you need to add twice as much simple syrup as you have alcohol. I used this measure and brought my limoncello from 95% to about 32%. Since I started with almost two full fifths that means I had about 3 times as much finished product.
For future reference I think I’m going to stick with only Meyer lemons. The result of the pure meyer bottle was much more pleasing on the tongue than the regular lemons. There was a bitterness involved that just wouldn’t go away no matter how thin I made the result. Because I had so much of both types I resolved to blend the two and get something reasonable so that I could use up the less workable regular lemon liquor. I was blending all of this in the kitchen at my mother’s house as I like their counter space and using my mother for tasting notes since neither of my roommates drink right now. I wasn’t entirely sure what proof I wanted to put the final bottles so this is the point where I played with dilution and with pairing the two kinds of lemon. Ideally you’re looking for something that has all of the lemon flavor without being cloying, bitter, sour or oily. It’s a delicate balance and shifting the mix from 2:1 to 1.75:1 has some profound impact on the result. Eventually I settled on a mix of 75% Regular Lemon to 25% Meyer. This was the opposite of my original thought on how it would go but with feedback the results were undeniably better. It also left me with almost half a bottle of meyer liquor that I could turn into crema.
This was the finished blend. I weighed out the proportions by taking the total amount of regular liquor that I had dividing that by 3 and adding the result in meyer liquor. Once I had the total I had to weigh out the sugar and water and put in twice as much as the weight of the raw limoncello. The picture doesn’t do the jar justice, when finished I had about 8 cups of liquid. You can see the separation at the bottom where I haven’t stirred the whole thing.
The finished product was allowed to rest and blend for a few days before going into their presentation bottles. I picked up little 8 oz bottles from Kitchen Kaboodle and printed my own labels. They weren’t fancy but they were easy to manage and you can stick them on with a glue stick. Add a little ribbon and a funny tag and you’ve got your own branded bottles for a little over 3 bucks each.
As a final note, when you’re bottling your product I recommend putting it into a slightly smaller container with a spout. Pouring is an inexact science even at the best of times and going from a wide mouth mason jar to a tiny neck bottle is unnecessary when you can portion things out into a measuring cup or gravy boat first to reduce spillage.
Tags: mezcal, NOM, sparkle donkey, tequila
Now a lot of the internet might be thinking that I’ve somehow come up with a great new baked treat that incorporates tasty tequila, this is sadly not the case. (But would make for another great post). The NOM or Norma Oficial Mexicana is the standard that regulates the production of tequila in Mexico. By law and tradition Tequila is a distilled agave spirit made in the city of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco, pronounced (Hal-is-co). The law was eventually expanded to allow any distiller in the state of Jalisco to call their spirit tequlia, and even after that some parts of the neighboring states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.
As you can see it’s an oddly shaped little state with protrusions and that kinda pitchfork looking section on top.
Much like the French appellation d’origine contrôlée restricts what you can call Champagne, Bordeaux and Roquefort, the NOM limits tequlia’s to this region and imposes other standards on the production. It isn’t a mark of quality it simply assures that you’ve bought something that was actually produced in mexico and is what you could consider “legit” tequila as opposed to a knockoff. If you check a bottle of tequlia you’ll usually find the NOM as a 4 digit number on the back.
Much like any distillery the ones in mexico aren’t always brand specific. The distillery can manufacture tequila for a number of different labels at different times of year. You can actually look up the distillery online via http://www.tequila.net/nom-database.html This handy database lists all of the official NOM distilleries and which labels they bottle. Handy in an argument if you’re trying to prove that 1800 is better than Jose Cuervo. (Fun fact if you look up NOM 1122 you’ll find that they both come out of the same still.)
There are a lot of other agave spirits from Mezcal to Bacanora each with their own regional history.
My own personal favorite Sparkle Donkey comes from a distillery called Destiladora del Valle de Tequila NOM 1438. Some other brands from that same still include apocalypto tequila , Uno Mas and Verde Green an Organic Kosher tequila. I’m not entirely sure what you’d need to do to have a Kosher Tequila but I applaud them for trying.
Tags: bar review, grain and gristle
Tucked into a quiet and mostly residential neighborhood on NE Prescott is a wonderful example of the modern Portland bar. I went early in the day for a little afternoon food excursion with the HopBoxer.
The atmosphere is very clean and has a focus on wood grains and fresh artwork. The live edge bar was interesting to see.
Their cocktail selection was wider than I’ve seen at a number of more complex places and they did something with their menu that I had not seen before. I typically enjoy going places where there are dozens of bottles on the shelf. It provides enough selection that you have a reasonable idea that the bartender will know what they’re doing. Grain and Gristle had only a few bottles in evidence but every one of them seemed selected specifically to fill a role.
A quick look at their cocktail menu shows you that they’re fans of the classics but in such a way that they can showcase local distilleries, rare finds and creative uses of flavor.
All of their cocktails on the list were $8 which was easy on the wallet. I didn’t get a chance to try the gristle portion of the name but we did order soup, pickles and olives. Each of them house made and excellent. I’ve not had pickle plates many places but the inclusion of apple, garlic and possibly pear were all interesting ways to spice things up between cocktails.
It’s a little out of my way, but given their proximity to a pok pok location it may be worth another trip out that way.
Tags: bar tools, barware, jigger, rejigger
A couple of months back I kickstarted a new drinking tool. It had caught my eye from another blog I was reading and for $20 it looked like a fair deal even if it never came about.
The good news is that not only did the kickstarter meet their goal but the finished product has been rolling off the line. Mine arrived yesterday.
On the whole the packaging is minimal. The card you see stuck in the top is also the recipe guide on the back. There are no details about the volumes or how to adjust for other kinds of cocktails. It does give a pretty good visual on how to use it but beyond that you’re on your own.
First thing to notice is that it’s basically a three compartment jigger. There are more than a few items like that already on the market. The Kikkerland Jigger Cube, The Uber Bar Tools ProJig and the EZ step jigger.
I hauled out a selection of glassware to see how it would fit. Your standard Bar Glass/Pint seems to be the ideal vessel for using this device. While it would fit in my working glass it was far inside the mouth which was not ideal for retrieving it once done. It would not fit at all inside an old fashioned glass and a Collins glass was far to small to make any kind of seal.
Using my Oxo measure I checked the volume of the three compartments. The largest is 2 ounces, the medium is just a touch over 1 ounce and the smallest is about a half ounce. I measured up to the line on the side which I’m assuming is the desire. Again without instructions more clearly defined I can simply guess.
As a first run I elected to try a whiskey sour as I had just been drinking and making them at a birthday party a few days before and was happy with the general result. The combination indicated on the card is bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup, in descending order.
Given my own preference I usually go for a simple shot and then even out the mixers at 1:1 for an ounce each. I’ve also been accused of having a sweet tooth so take the recommendation on simple syrup accordingly.
As a measure cup the Rejigger did pretty well. I didn’t have any spillover, the base is nicely balanced so it doesn’t move. It’s not as weighty as a metal jigger but it’s still far more functional than my Zevro ring jigger which is really more of a fidget toy than a serious bar tool at this point.
I did miss the pour spout of my Oxo measuring cup but was able to get everything into the cup without serious adjustment or any spillage.
Once the Rejigger was on the glass it seemed to sit pretty well. When I started shaking however it didn’t seem to hold up as well. For someone used to a boston shaker this was a bit loose. I wasn’t able to keep the seal for very long and with a little pressure the Rejigger seemed to want to slip further into the glass causing problems with velocity and consistency. It did come out a lot easier than getting the seal off of a metal shaker but that’s really to be expected with plastic.
The drink properly shaken for the optimal 15-20 seconds we crack the seal and strain into a cocktail glass.
I was not well pleased with the outcome of the drink itself. It was rushed and I can do better so I’m not going to condemn the Rejigger for bad lemon juice. The mixture had a pretty good appearance and was cold enough to serve which in the end is really all you need once you get going.
It cleans up pretty well, the inside doesn’t have a lot of nooks to get into and I didn’t need a scrub brush to get it clean.
Storage wise I’m going to put it on par with my oxo cups, it’ll sit inside a cup or shaker pretty well so it’s not going to just be loose in your kit.
This tool warrants some additional investigation. It is possible I’m not really the target audience as I am both finicky about my drinks and able to mix with a speed that makes this all-in-one tool somewhat redundant. I will attempt to have some non-bartender type people give it a shot and see how they like it.
As a general tool I give it a 7/10. It’s not expensive, bulky or a uni-tasker.
Tags: ginger, ginger ale, Ginger Syrup, make your own, turbinado sugar
One of the prime ingredients in a lot of great drinks is ginger beer. When you’re attempting to make these drinks be they the Moscow Mule or the Derailer there are a lot of different brands from which to choose. As I’ve pointed out previously Cock and Bull ginger beer is about the best ginger forward of the lot. It’s not as available as some others but I have found that I can buy it in bulk at the local cash and carry which means if I can find a use for 24-48 of them I’m set.
If you’re trying to substitute ginger ale from a standard 2 liter bottle you’re going to be very disappointed. Brands such as Canada Dry, Seagrams, and schweppes are all pretty mild.
HopBoxer owns one of those lovely new Sodastream fountains. They are pretty awesome for making a quick batch of club soda, and the soda mixes that they come with are great for replicating the flavor of some of the major name brands. Energy drinks in particular are a big cost savings.
With all of my fooling around with custom syrups it occurred to me that there were enough options in just what I had done so far to almost entirely replace much of the options for the machine. The bottles of concentrated soda are about $10 for enough syrup to make 12 liters. Which functionally works out to about $0.83 a liter. Still a bit more expensive than even store brand sodas in 2 liter bottles. If you’re doing something caffeinated or difficult to replicate that’s not a bad trade-off but if you include the cost of replacement CO2 canisters it’s still pretty similar.
Lately HopBoxer’s go to drink has been the Derailer, a mix of Jameson, Creme de Cassis, lime juice and ginger beer. I’ll detail out the drink in another post. As a present I decided to whip up a batch of ginger syrup and see if we couldn’t put the Sodastream to good use.
I had some ginger which had been frozen and sitting around for a bit and it was time to use it up. The squeeze bottle I was planning to carry it in was about 2 cups so that decided the quantity.
The same base as a simple syrup applies. With a ratio of 1:1 we need two cups of water and two cups of sugar. In this case I wanted something a bit more complex so I used a Turbinado sugar. That means it was a lot darker and had a tendency to froth but would give the ginger something to play against in the sweetness portion.
I had about 2 1/2 roots of ginger, after paring off the ends and putting it through the shredder I had about 1.5 cups of very wet ginger mash. How you treat your ginger is going to play a big role in how much ginger taste you get. Sliced ginger has a lot of surface area but not nearly as much as chopped. Chopped releases a lot of juice but never as much as shredding. The down side is that with each adjustment in size you add an extra amount of effort on both the front side in knifework and on the back side in straining.
Start the syrup in a medium saucepan, turbinado has a larger grain than most table sugar and is quite a bit larger than the bakers sugar I normally use so add it slowly and allow it to dissolve totally before you add more. I started the heat low and brought it up once the sugar was fully dissolved.
Give the syrup a quick boil to get it set, then drop the heat to a simmer and add the ginger.
Your entire house will smell like ginger in a matter of minutes.
Allow the ginger to steep while you simmer off the water to the desired thickness, for me this means about 10-15 minutes. Since the ginger is pretty loose you want to stir a bit more frequently than you might for a plain syrup.
Once you have it tight you take it off the heat and let it steep for an additional 10-20 minutes. This is going to put a lot of ginger flavor into the final product so here is where you play with the time to control that flavor.
Once you have the flavor where you want it you’ll need to strain the finished product. If you shredded or chopped the ginger, do not strain the syrup into the dispenser bottle. You may need to strain more than once and it’s a pain to get the little bits out of a squeeze bottle. A strainer is good, cheesecloth is better but not always necessary. If you’re a fan you can save the leftover ginger and make candied ginger with it.
Chill the bottle for a bit and make sure you give it a good shake before you use it. 1-2 ounces of syrup is good for about 8-12oz of soda, simply add club soda. If you want to try this in a Sodastream you’ll need to add about 4.5 – 5oz of syrup per liter bottle. This may seem like a lot if you’re familiar with the Sodastream syrups but keep in mind that their syrups are a concentrate. You could boil down your own syrups enough to be of the same density but home syrups are cheap enough that you don’t need to worry about quantity.
The result was a very good round flavored ginger syrup that creates a similarly sharp ginger soda.
Tags: bar review, fireside Grill
Located in an out of the way business park on Hall blvd the fireside grill is one of the few gems of the Beaverton Bar scene.
It isn’t a pub, a beer bar or a strip club and in that it exceeds many of the alternatives this far out in suburbia.
The location used to house one of the many Macmenamins strip locations, pretty similar to a dozen others within a couple of miles. The Macmenamins menu has seldom been anything to write home about but I am happy to say that the Fireside Grill is everything that Macmenamins isn’t.
The decor is minimal with emphasis on the fire portion of the name. The patio seats have a gas fireplace in the center which gives the entire thing a lot of natural light after dark.
There are almost a half dozen large televisions on the walls, when not in use they display a standard yule log type fireplace scene.
The entire place isn’t large but it’s not loud and the television doesn’t dominate like it would in a sports bar.
The bar itself is short, maybe a half dozen seats and their website doesn’t list any particular cocktail list. What it lacks in size it makes up for in creativity and ardor.
The owner/bartender has a fantastic list of drinks on hand and while he won’t share the secrets of their construction he is happy to mix anything he can make with his selection. The bar has an admirable amount of liquor on hand, including the first time I’ve seen Galliano outside of a liquor store. There are even a few things on the top shelf worth exploring if you have the money and taste buds. We spied a lined wooden case with a bottle of Extra Anejo tequila that runs about $65 a shot. Other offerings are likely to be just as fantastic.
The drinks were eclectic but not arcane. They varied in scope from a hot cider rum drink to something at attempted to quite successfully imitate a capri sun.
Alongside the drinks there was a wonderful menu of bar snacks and appetizers. Like all of the food in the restaurant they were made fresh in house. From Potato chips with a gorgonzola creme sauce to waffle fried chicken the menu pops with style and delicious offerings.
HopBoxer wants me to mention that they have 20 taps running with everything from Bud light to Total Domination IPA. They also carry Cider, Framboise, Guinness and a rotating selection of very enjoyable items.
I’m going back as soon as possible, the place doesn’t allow minors but it is a comfortable locally owned spot and I would love to see the place succeed.
One thing to note is that the location is ballstastic. There is a dry cleaner smack in front of them which means you can hardly see them from the street. Parking isn’t fantastic but the little business park is seldom busy. Drop by if you get a chance, maybe I’ll see you there.
Tags: blackstrap rum, boot strap buck, demerara sugar, ginger beer, lime juice, nutmeg, rum, turbinado sugar
The dark interior of Kask does not lend itself to photography as can be seen in the poor quality of the photo I took that night. I blame the light and not the 8 or 9 drinks I put away. The first drink I had that night was a rum concoction called the Boot Strap Buck.
It is perhaps a measure of how good a drink is when you can’t substitute any of the ingredients. If each thing is selected because it fits exactly into the slot it needs to in order to make the drink taste exactly the way it should.
In this case we start with Blackstrap rum. I haven’t yet had a chance to really sit down a work out all the differences in the various kinds of rum, but in general most rum is made from molasses. Blackstrap molasses is what you get after you boil sugar cane juice three times.
The Cruzan is a wonderful dark rum full of flavor and character.
Demerara sugar or turbinado sugar are whole sugar crystals that come from evaporating sugar cane juice before you boil the sugar out of the molasses. The result is something a bit like brown sugar but with more flavor and vanilla characters. It’s fun stuff to play with as it really gets you the best of the sugar cane flavor.
Ginger Beer is a new personal favorite, a good ginger beer has a sharp flavor and can be tasted in cocktails where gingerale falls flat.
The nutmeg is the wildcard here, it’s partly for scent, and partly for adjusting the flavor.
The whole thing is an experience that hits you on a number of different levels. Ginger, spice, rum, lime and citrus all coming at you like a spider monkey. Go get one, you’ll thank me later.