Posts Tagged ‘concoction’

Slakethirst West Indies Falernum

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Slakethirst FalernumI’ve concocted a batch of falernum, starting from the eGullet recipe mentioned earlier. It may be that I employed profoundly weak ingredients, but whatever the reason, the eGullet recipe proved to be terribly sweet and not much else. After many trial blendings, tastings, modifications, and re-blendings, here’s the final recipe for Slakethirst West Indies Falernum:

1 cup white rum
zest of 3 limes
9 whole cloves
25 dashes Fee’s Aromatic Bitters
5 drops almond extract

Steep for 24 hours, strain, and add to 16 oz. of a 1:1 turbinado simple syrup.

Three limes’ worth of zest nicely fills a cup of rum and looks absolutely loverly, turning it a pale, pale green in the space of a day. Note that I didn’t muddle the lime zest, as perhaps I ought to have… this may account for differences in intensity observed later.

Three cloves, on the other hand, was definitely not enough to approximate the spiciness of John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum. Clovey spiciness is responsible for the cola-notes in Corn ‘n Oil which make it seem so like a Cuba Libre. So, after 24 hours I strained the lime infusion of cloves and zest and added 6 new cloves for another day of infusing. Even this proved to be insufficient to achieve the proper pepperiness — it may well be that my cloves were old and lacking vim — so I turned to Fee’s Aromatic Bitters to supply the necessary punch. It’s less bespoke because of it, but we’re already using a commercial almond extract, so what the hell. Next time I’ll buy the freshest cloves I can find and see if it makes a difference.

A test blending of infused rum:syrup at the suggested 1:4 ratio yields something very sweet and far less limey than is wanted. It’s only at 1:2 that the lime seems to hold its own. Granted, the quality of the lime flavor achieved in this recipe is a bit different from that in Velvet Falernum, which contains lime juice, but a 1:2 blend makes for a similar intensity.

The commercial Velvet Falernum product is a much paler color than mine, likely attributable to the choice of sugar. I opted for turbinado for a bit more flavor, but those seeking a closer visual cognate should use white cane sugar instead.

Speaking of visuals, I don’t particularly care for unlabeled bottles of fluid in the bar, so a bit of experimentation with glass etching seemed in order. The able Ms. Thirsty and I spent some quality time pushing pixels around and mucking with screen printing and acid creams. It didn’t turn out half-bad, if I do say so… with some modifications to the process, I think we’ll be etching-up vessels for gomme and grenadine in the near future, and likely any other domestically produced mixological reagents that become permanent fixtures of the backbar.

Update: See also this post in the tikiroom forums. 24 cloves macerated, plus 3 additional Tbs and it still wasn’t clovey enough… obviously achieving the right spiciness isn’t just my problem.

Lapsang Souchong Vodka

Sunday, June 12th, 2005

Saturday, 4:56 PM: I’ve just dropped a teabag of Lapsang Souchong (from Numi Teas) into in a mason jar with 1 cup of Monopolwa vodka. I’m giving it 24 hours to become delicious. Watch this space.

Saturday, 10:56 PM: 6 hours later, the vodka is darkly colored and smoky smelling. (It’s also rather vodka-smelling, unfortunately … pity the tea doesn’t mask that.) The vodka’s at room temperature, which doesn’t make for easy drinking, but it definitely has a nice, solid Lapsang Souchongy flavor. I’m not sure how much longer I want to leave the tea in … if left much longer the tannins may start coming to the fore.

Saturday, 11:50 PM: Since Lapsang Souchong is often drunk with milk and sugar, this seemed a reasonable test:

1 1/2 oz. Lapsang Souchong infused vodka (~7 hour infusion)
1/2 oz. half and half
1 egg white
1 tsp. powdered sugar

shaken with ice and strained

Rather good, if I do say so myself, though a bit on the creamy side. I didn’t make a fizz of it since I wanted the vodka at full strength, but the briefest shot from a seltzer bottle would probably serve this drink well. Very much like a cup of tea it was, albeit due to ratios it had more the mouthfeel of Bailey’s.

I’ll let the remainder continue to steep overnight, but so far I’m satisfied that a 6 hour infusion is sufficient to make a very nice smoked tea vodka.

Sunday, 1:30 PM: 20 hours, and I’m not sure that there’s been an appreciable change since last night. Mixed the test cocktail above, sans egg white, and it was again just fine. As prepared, with cream and sugar, seemed very like something made with creme de cacao, albeit smokier and more complex. Not that I use creme de cacao very often, but appropriately sweetened (and potentially diluted), the Lapsang Souchong infusion could easily replace it to significant advantage.

I have found a truly wonderful proof…

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Last week, it struck me that while I rail against the Piña Colada, I had never made one myself. I’d been casting about for something good to do with pineapple juice and had allowed my preconceptions of the Piña Colada to rule it out — to rule out what must be the most widely-enjoyed pineapple-based drink on earth. A gross oversight. After all, shouldn’t one of the guiding principles of domestic mixology be that a thoughtfully-crafted potable, mixed purely for pleasure, will reveal complexities and dimensions which none but the most fastidious professional can match? I say yea, it should be so.

In consequence of this, it must be assumed that the Piña Colada is not necessarily a foully chemical concoction, but is merely a drink suffering from long, cruel abuse at the hands of the service industry. There must be an Ur Piña Colada which contains within its frothy matrix the flavor sensation that captured a generation’s palates and went on to inspire so many imitators.

So, I mixed-up the CocktailDB’s Piña Colada recipe. It’s the simplest there is, and may be the original, though unfortunately they don’t cite sources. Verdict: Blah. Flat, uninteresting and bland. If this was the drink that started it all, I’m surprised at its survival. However, it was a far cry from the others I’ve had, whose origins were likely in a bottle of pre-mix. Pineapple and Coconut did seem to be a worthwhile pairing, and so I tinkered. (more…)

Mmmm… Mauby!

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

mauby labelUpdate: This post is far and away the most popular at Slakethirst, garnering hundreds of hits from searches for “Mauby” and related terms — there’s not much else on the Internet about mauby, it seems. I’ve recently made some mauby from scratch, and have posted a recipe if that interests you. If you arrived here looking for other information about mauby, I’d appreciate it if you left a comment, letting me know what you were hoping to find. –c


I stopped into an Afro-Caribbean grocery yesterday afternoon, hoping to find some Falernum — essential to the true Mai Tai, Rum Swizzle, Fog Cutter and others. No joy with the Falernum, but it’s hard to leave empty handed when confronted with a wealth of imported comestible curiosities. I purchased a bottle of “Sweet & Dandy Mauby Syrup” (and a can of Ghanaian palm nut puree, but that’s another story), hoping it would prove interesting.

Mauby (or “mabi,” “mawbi,” “maubi,” etc.), it turns out, is a much-loved bev in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Cuba — all of the Caribbean, it seems. It derives its name from the central ingredient, the bark of the mauby tree, Colubrina arborescens (or is it Colubrina elliptica?), a buckthorn commonly referred to as “soldierwood” or “naked wood” in the States. Strips of the bark are steeped in boiling water, to which a hefty amount of cane sugar and a variety of spices have been added. On many islands, a portion of a previous batch is used as a starter, and the whole is left to ferment for several days. Fermented or not, it’s drunk ice-cold. (more…)

Curacoa

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

Into a bottle which will hold a full quart, or a little over, drop 6 ounces of Orange Peel sliced very thin, and add 1 pint of Whiskey. Cork the bottle securely and let it stand two weeks, shaking the bottle frequently during that time. Next strain, the mixture, add the Syrup, pour the strained mixture back into the cleaned bottle and let it stand 3 days, shaking well now and then during the first day. Next, pour a teacupful of the mixture into a mortar and beat up with it 1 drachm Powdered Alum, 1 drachm Carbonate of Potash. Put this mixture back into the bottle and let it stand for 10 days, at the expiration of which time the Curacoa will be clear and ready for use.