Posts Tagged ‘rum’

Making Mauby

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

The mercury was headed straight up last week — peaking at an unseasonably hot 94° F — making it an ideal time to try concocting a homemade batch of mauby. It seems as if every island has its own recipes… I borrowed from several and averaged, to make a sort of pan-Caribbean version. Definitely the wrong way to start out a proper experiment, but some of the ingredients sound too tasty not to use. First, I simmered the following for about 10 minutes:

mauby, cinnamon, bay, rosemary, marjoram, anise, cloves, nutmeg4-5 pieces mauby bark
2 sticks cinnamon (short)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 pods star anise
3 cloves
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
3 cups water

at the end of which, it had reduced quite a bit. I strained it — saving back the mauby bark — into a 3 gallon carboy, dropping the bark in as well. The mauby bark, incidentally, was $2.50/oz. from a local Caribbean grocery. It’s Bedessee brand. Next, I heated

2 cups brown cane sugar
2 cups white cane sugar
10 cups water

until the sugar dissolved, and allowed it to cool. This was added to the carboy, and shaken well. Finally, I pitched half an expired packet of Lalvin D47 yeast I found in the back of a drawer, figuring it couldn’t hurt, and just might help. Didn’t bother to proof it. To keep the nasties out, and just in case the yeast did decide to kick off an active fermentation, I affixed a waterlock, set it in a warm spot and waited.

a pitcher of maubyIt never really developed much of a head… oh, there was a layer of foam on top, and the waterlock was definitely working some, so there was CO2 being produced, but it was nothing like a rolling, active fermentation. I doubt that the D47 had much to do with it. A slight cap persisted for 5 days, at the end of which I decanted it into a pitcher for refrigeration, to halt any further yeast activity.

The verdict: DELICIOUS. Scrumptuously bitter, with lovely herbal and yuletide spice notes. Sweet enough to complement the bitterness — it didn’t even begin to ferment to dryness — without the syrupy heaviness of mauby made from concentrate. It also seems to lack the long, medicinal finish that I noted in the concentrate, but I have a bit of a cold now, so my palate isn’t really on its game. I can see why concentrated mauby is so popular — it’s a fair bit of work for a gallon of beverage — but I much prefer this stuff to R & L brand. Fill a glass with crushed ice, pour in the mauby, dash some Angostura bitters on top and swizzle until well-chilled… then kick back with some Kitch.

I’ve posted about mauby before, and wound up compiling a fair number of informative links in the process. If you’re interested in different recipes, purported health benefits, etc. then see “Mmmm… Mauby!”.

What’s your mauby recipe?

Rum and Coconut Water

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

this coconut is probably too old to contain waterIncredibly simple, and incredibly tasty. The hardest part is reputed to be locating the coconut water — not milk, mind, but the clear liquid that sloshes about in a green coconut — but it sounds as if it may be becoming more available in North America due to increased interest in coconut water as a sports drink. Apparently it also makes an excellent blood plasma substitute, should you find yourself bleeding-out on a desert island and possessed of the necessary IV equipment, though this may be apocryphal. No doubt The Professor would know.

2 oz. rum
4 oz. coconut water
1 dash Angostura bitters

fill a highball glass with ice, cubed or crushed, add rum and coconut water and stir a bit. a straw might be nice.

I’m using Harvest Bay Coconut Water, sold in 11 oz. octagonal TetraPaks, found in my neighborhood grocery store’s juice aisle. At around $1.79 each, boxed coconut water is a bit cheaper than buying a green coconut, too, though you’re deprived of the gelatinous flesh.

I’ve been meaning to try this for some time, having seen mention of it in an eGullet thread back in June. I bought the coconut water, but it promptly went into hiding at the back of the refrigerator, having migrated behind the infrequently-used tubs of curry paste, mango pickle and assorted whatnots. A late-August Cocktail Chronicles post on the subject reminded me that I had the stuff somewhere, which I then excavated, but again, didn’t do anything with. Today, as October wanes, I have at long last consumed a Rum and Coconut Water. Did I say the hardest part was finding coconut water? Obviously for some of us, the hardest part is getting around to making the damned thing.

The verdict? It’s refreshing, light, and vegetatively coconutty — or perhaps coconuttily vegetative. I’ve not tried mixing it with a dark dark rum, but medium-bodieds like Mount Gay Eclipse or Barbancourt 3-star do quite nicely, adding subtleties without overpowering the coconut water. This being a Caribbean beverage, a healthy dash of Angostura can’t possibly be misplaced, and helps to further broaden the drink. I enjoy it as a frappé, poured over crushed ice and swizzled until a nice frost is worked-up.

Fish House Punch

Friday, October 7th, 2005

A riparian sceneI’ve just sloshed together a batch of Fish House Punch in preparation for a friend’s party tomorrow evening — it’s the first recipe I’ve made that has occasioned the use of a 3-gallon carboy as a shaker. This most venerable of American flowing bowls is held to have been first concocted in 1732 at Philadelphia’s fishing club, The Colony in Schuylkill* … there are variations to the recipe depending on what source you consult, but they’re mostly pretty minor. In the main, it seems that Fish House Punch is so revered that most know better than to tinker with its sacred formula. Sadly, in using a peach schnapps I depart from the norm — strictly speaking, peach brandy is called for — but unfortunately the State of Oregon doesn’t see fit to sell any peach brandies that aren’t wholly artificially flavored. I hope the founding grandfathers will forgive a transgression in the interest of verity over verisimilitude.

25 oz. Jamaican rum
25 oz. gold rum
25 oz. cognac
24 oz. lemon juice
8 oz. peach schnapps
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 1/2 pints water

mix sugar, water and lemon juice until dissolved, add liquor, stir well and allow to stand for several hours before serving, poured over a large block of ice.

Though the requisite several hours of flavor-blending has yet to pass, I couldn’t resist a sample or two. It’s good. It’s strong. It’s the kind of punch that can get you into trouble. It’s terribly, deceptively delicious. Several apocryphal stories attribute gaps in George Washington’s journals to overindulgence in Fish House Punch… I wonder if there are places claiming that “Washington Slepte It Offe Here.”

*In 1732 the club was known as “The Colony in Schuylkill,” but it changed its name to “The State in Schuylkill” in 1783, in keeping with events of the day. Also known as The Schuylkill Fishing Company, it was a quirky sporting gentleman’s affair, claiming sovereignty unto itself. Each of its 25 members had a faux governmental title and whatnot… I believe the club continues to this day, though so far I can only find evidence up through 1981.

The Hurricane

Sunday, August 28th, 2005
Katrina1 1/2 oz. light rum
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
2 oz. passion fruit juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lime juice
2 tsp grenadine

Shake and strain into a goblet or traditional hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Straws are nice.

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? Here’s hoping that Hurricane Katrina does. Current forecasts have the category five monstrosity making landfall sometime Monday morning, with the Crescent City a very likely port of call. My father happens to have been in New Orleans with some friends this weekend, but no longer — at last report this afternoon, they’d managed to rent a van and make it as far as Baton Rouge, one more creeping vehicle in the evacuation of an estimated one million people. As of now, the 20% of New Orleans residents who are still in town are advised to remain where they are.

Max Sparber of the New Orleans-based braves the coming tempest with a timely article on The Hurricane, both the impending natural disaster and the phenomenon from Pat O’Brien’s. Max doesn’t mention DL’s own plans for evacuation, but here’s hoping they’ve made it to somewhere well above sea level. Food and drink blogger Chuck Taggart of Looka! and the Gumbo Pages reports that his family have made it out, but reprints a particularly shocking alert from the NWS that seems to predict total devastation. I’ve seen no word about what measures the Museum of the American Cocktail has taken, but if the worst-case scenario of Katrina plays out, it’s quite possible that a little second-story exhibit in the French Quarter may not make it through.

It’s not looking good for one of America’s great cities, but fretting never helped and the morning will tell the tale. For me, thousands of miles away, I’m putting on some Armstrong, thinking happy thoughts, and raising a glass or two in salute to a city that’s given us so much.

The Knickerbocker

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

There are other drinks that appear under this name — Trader Vic’s Knickerbocker Cocktail is just a dry martini with a dash of Italian vermouth — but the Knickerbocker below is a 2:1:1 that proves to be ideal for a mellow summer afternoon. This is, specifically, the Knickerbocker à la Monsieur, from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Haigh traces its first appearance to Terrington’s Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks of 1869, wherein a version for the fairer sex was also outlined.

1 1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. Jamaican rum
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. orange curaçao
1/2 oz. raspberry syrup

Shake with crushed ice, strain into a glass filled with same.

The Knickerbocker isn’t a drink that shows its alcohol, as the raspberry syrup is more than a match for the light rum. Haigh calls for 2 oz of Virgin Islands rum, but I happen not to have any, and so use a light Barbados with a bit of Jamaican, to instill more rumminess to the affair. I’ve followed Doc’s suggestion of using Smucker’s Natural Red Raspberry Syrup. While not quite up to my own definition of “natural,” it does the trick nicely. Of course, dropping a viscous half-ounce slug of pancake syrup into your mixing glass is likely to set anticipatory teeth on edge, but press on to make a happy discovery: the otherwise cloying syrup will be perfectly countered by that tart ounce of lemon juice. It’s a well-balanced, fruity sweet-and-sour.

Served over crushed ice, the Knickerbocker gets longer with time at no detriment to drinkability. Indeed, a few judiciously-applied squirts of seltzer from the outset can be quite salutary, in that they contribute some effervescence and make a bit of a cooler of it. Regarding methods of preparation, Haigh would have us stir the ingredients directly in a collins glass or goblet, but I’ve found the raspberry syrup resistant to stirring. Shaking will ensure homogeneity, and thus no syrupy surprise at the bottom of the glass.