Mixology Monday: And It’s All For Me Grog

Good day internet cocktailians the world over. Welcome to Rum Month at the Dram. The subject for this month’s Mixology Monday is “19th Century Cocktails.” While the drinks I present today aren’t necessarily cocktails per say, they are certainly mixed drinks that were popular at some level in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. Today I am playing with three or four ingredients: lime juice, sugar, rum, water, and the occaisional addition of lemon juice, mint, or triple sec.

The first drink up on our tour of rum sours is one of the most traditional, and, arguably, the origin of many modern sours, at least those on the English islands. The origin of this drink is the Royal Navy. Of course sailors could not be expected to sail their ships sober, so the Admiralty began issuing a pint of rum every day in two installments. To cut down the taste of strong navy rum, and also to prevent sailors from hoarding it, they added a lot of water. The story goes that Admiral Vernon added citrus juice to the stagnant, foul water that was common on naval ships of the era to try and make the combination of foul rum and foul water more palatable. Sailors would then add whatever they cold to sweeten the drink. Vernon was known as Old Grog variously because of his grogram coat or because he was “groggy” or crazy in the parlance of the time, and gave his name to this concoction:

Royal Navy Grog (Traditional)

  • 1 gill (4 oz.) – Rum
  • 1 quart (16 oz.) – Water
  • 1 oz. – Lime Juice
  • To taste – Whatever sweetener is on hand. (Honey, molasses, etc. but not refined sugar)

Mix together in whatever drinking vessel is available and serve at room temperature. The traditional method of drinking is to slam the whole concoction. You want a garnish? You’re on a ship of war. Don’t be rediculous.

It’s a bit unrefined, and, to my palate at least, the lime clashes a bit with the dark rum. So why not try a white rum, you ask. Ah, now we get into a bit of a debate: How do you juice the lime? What ratio of lime to sugar do you use? What sort of sugar do you use and in what form? What type of white rum do you use? The answers to these questions give you a wide variety of basic rum sours. Let’s start with the most classic, at least in America. We juice our limes careful to avoid pulp or oils, and use white granulated sugar in a syrup:

The Daiquiri (Classic)

  • 2 parts (2 oz.) – White Rum (Cruzan Estate Light is my preference, but a Cuban style would be more tradional)
  • 1 part (1 oz.) – Lime Juice
  • 1 part (1 oz.) – Simple or Invert Syrup

Shake with ice and serve either over crushed ice in a tall bar glass or straight up in a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Instead of using simple syrup, we could use boiled down cane juice, and replace a Cuban rum with a rhum agricole from the French islands and we would be left with:

‘Ti Punch

  • 1 bottle – White Rhum Agricole (A cachaca is better than plain white rum, but even white rum will work)
  • 1 bowl – Lime Wedges
  • 1 small pitcher – Cane Syrup (Simple, brown, or unprocessed sugar syrup will work as would some other subtly flavoured syrup like agave. This is not the time for maple syrup. If you are using brown sugar syrup, cut it 50/50 with simple.)
  • 1 bowl – Ice

Place small tumblers out with the above fixings, and let guests mix their own after the tradition chacun prĂ©pere se sprote mort (“each prepares his own death”). The traditional portions would be a dash of the syrup, a wedge of the lime an a generous pour of the booze. Ice is optional.

Of course, you could replace the white unaged rhum agricole with with an aged version to get a Punch Vieux. If you like it bitter, though, what better way then to get some of that good lime oil in with the drink. How do you do that, you may ask. Why not muddle some lime wedges? And while you’re at it, let’s use cachaca instead of something from the Caribbean. And, you know what? I’m not feeling the syrup. If we’re muddling the lime, I think we should be using some plain old syrup to get the abrasiveness, and it’s a bit more rustic. Guess what! We just made a…:

A Caipirinha

A Caipirinha

Caipirinha

  • 1.5-2 oz. – Cachaca (Not having any, I used Cruzan Estate Light)
  • 3-4 – Halved Lime Wedges (about half a lime)
  • 1 Tbsp – Granulated Sugar (a raw sugar is better, but white is fine)

Muddle the sugar with the lime wedges in a tumbler, and then add ice and the rum. Stir briefly to cool and garnish with a lime wedge.

What? You want to muddle some mint in with your caipirinha? And then you want to add some seltzer water? And use a Cuban rum? Well, you could do all that, and call it a Mojito. Oh, you meant aged Cuban rum. And you’re out of seltzer so you are going with Champagne? That’s silly. But if you insist, I guess we could toss in a dash of Angostura and call it an Old Cuban. What? You want a more Anglophonic rum sour? I thought the grog at the top would have been good enough, but no. There’s just no satisfying some people. I guess that means we should go with:

Rum Punch

  • 3 parts – Gold Rum (Mount Gay Eclipse)
  • 2 parts – Sugar
  • 2 parts – Water
  • 1 part – Lime Juice

Mix the sugar, water and lime juice into a cold syrup. Add in the rum and shake with ice. Serve over ice in a tumbler. Note that the shaking and the ice in the tumbler make up the remaining two parts ice to give you one part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts sweet. Use .5 oz. as one part for a decent cocktail. You may want to back off the sugar a bit though, as I find this a bit on the sweet side.

There. That’s a pretty thorough overview of the rum lime sour. I hope you’re happy. You’re not? There’s just no pleasing some people. How about something from the old school. Maybe something from the Professor? How about a:

Santa Cruz Sour

  • 2 oz. – Santa Cruz Rum (Appleton V/X)
  • 1 oz. – Water
  • 1 Tbsp – Sugar (white, granulated is fine)
  • .25 oz. – Lemon Juice
  • .25 oz. – Lime Juice
  • 1 dash – Triple Sec (Jaquin’s)

Mix the water, sugar, and juices into a syrup. Add the triple sec and rum and shake with ice to combine. Serve either in a cocktail glass or in a tumbler over ice. Garnish with either a lemon or lime wedge.

Is that good? Can I go home now? No? You want more? But you’re bored of the basic sour? Jeesh. What do you want? It’s not like I get anything out of writing this blog. I should just quit and go do work. Oh fine. I’ll give you one more:

The Bajan Legend

  • 2 oz. – Gold Rum (Mount Gay Eclipse)
  • 2 oz. – Falernum

Build in a tumbler with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

Yup. That’s a sour. After all, what is falernum but a sour mix with more rum and some spices added? Ha! You still want more? But not from the 19th Century? You know the theme is 19th Century cocktails, right? Okay, I’ll give you one inspired by a daiquiri.

The St. Germain Daiquiri by Charles Joy

  • 2 oz. – Bacardi 8
  • .5 oz. – Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. – Orange Juice
  • .5 oz. – Simple Syrup
  • .25 oz. – St. Germain
  • 2 drops – Orange flower water
  • 1 – Egg white

Shake everything but the flower water together without ice to combine. Add ice and shake it to wake it up. Serve in a cocktail glass, top with flower water and garnish with a candied flower.

These are the quantities as best I can guess from the seminar where it was presented. I hope you all are happy. I pulled together a round dozen rum sours, almost all of which date to the 19th Century.

Pictures will slowly migrate up as I finish making and getting pictures of the final few cocktails and get them off my camera.

And so, in the spirit Monday, I offer a toast to those at sea, who drink their grog,
The Scribe

Me Jolly Jolly Grog

If you read Jeffery Morgenthaller, he asserts that rum can replace gin as the clear spirit in just about any application. Since I have lots of rum, and only low quality gin, I have been making use of that wisdom. One application is:

The Bees Knees

  • 2 oz. – Gin (Cruzan Estate Light Rum)
  • 1 oz. – Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. – Water
  • .5 oz. – Honey

Shake all the ingredients together with ice and serve in a stemmed cocktail glass. Note that you can use 1 oz. honey syrup in place of the water and honey together. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

This is really quite a simple take on a gin or rum lemon sour. While it is not bad, it also has no real outstanding characteristic to it. Perhaps if you used an interesting honey, like buckwheat or something strongly flavoured, you might get some interest out of it, but simple clover honey doesn’t have enough flavour to be really noticeable. Hmm…The outstanding taste in buckwheat honey is molasses. So what about:

The Knees of Cari-bee

  • 2 oz. – Dark Rum (Gosling’s Black Seal, Pusser’s could be good)
  • 1 oz. – Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. – Sweet Molasses
  • .5 oz. – Brown Sugar Syrup (Or a raw sugar syrup would be even better)

Shake with ice and serve either over ice in a rocks glass or straight up in a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or perhaps some candied ginger.

Now this is interesting. The first iteration was not particularly palattable since I used a full ounce of molasses, but by cutting it with syrup, the molasses taste did not overpower everything. You may want to cut it further still, but that is a matter of taste. Make sure you are using a sweet or light mollasses or you may need to sweeten your mollasses with sugar. I also shook the drink a little extra to get some extra melt in to loosen up the molasses. You will need to either dry shake the drink first to combine the molasses or just shake it quite hard. If you don’t, the molasses might seize and fail to integrate. Unfortunately, I could not find my camera while I was drinking these, so we are without pictures.

Here’s to your grog,
The Scribe

Mixology Monday: Gimme Some Flavouh

Today is Mixology Monday, and this week we have a pretty difficult topic. Unfortunately, I had to do a wine cocktail, which made it even more difficult. If this were two hundred years ago, this would be easy peasy. Medford rum was the best in the world, and I live in the town next door. And, beyond rum, there was ahm, well, the water was almost decent, and they produced, well, they didn’t produce bitters.

Wait? What the hell? The whole point of cocktails, at least according to Dr. Wondrich, was to import the best ingredients in the world, from the most exotic places in the world. So, I refuse to do a single Boston cocktail…But in the spirit of cooperation, I will pull a local cocktail from my home town of Chicago in the New York Sour, and one in my home away from home, Bermuda, where I spent my childhood in both the rum swizzle and the twilight fog cocktail.

First up is my drink from the Second City: The New York sour. Wait…What? Chicago drink…New York sour? This does not follow, but according to Dave Wondrich, it became quite the sporting thing in the City of Big Shoulders to top up your rye sour with just a bit of claret.

A margarita glass allows the layering to shine.

A margarita glass allows the layering to shine.

New York Sour from Imbibe by David Wondrich

  • 1.5 oz – Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
  • .75 oz – Simple Syrup
  • .75 oz – Lemon Juice
  • .75 oz – Claret (Castillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon)

Shake whiskey, syrup, and juice together, and float claret on top. Serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flag.

I would use just a tad less lemon juice, and I also topped it up with a dash each of Peychaud’s and Regan’s orange bitters. This would also make a pleasant punch if topped up with a few ounces of ginger ale or lemon-lime soda for every serving. And now onto my childhood in Bermuda.

The rum swizzle is a classic of the Swizzle Inn in Bermuda, and quite possibly my mother’s favorite drink.

Rum Swizzle by the Swizzle Inn

  • 1 oz – Dark Rum (Gosling’s Black Seal)
  • 1 oz – Gold Rum, preferably Bajan (Mount Gay Eclipse)
  • .5 oz – Orange Cordial (Jaquin’s Triple Sec)
  • .5 oz – Lemon Juice
  • 1.25 oz – Orange Juice
  • 1.25 oz – Pineapple Juice
  • .5 oz – Falernum (Paul Clarke’s #10)
  • 1 dash – Angostura Bitters

Shake all the ingredients together and serve over ice in a tall glass, or use twice the above recipe for every two guests and serve as puncheon. Garnish with a flag, straw, and swizzle stick.

But it wouldn’t be MxMo without a Scrivenal Original, and this is no exception. On the other hand, if I didn’t use ingredients local to somewhere it wouldn’t be “local flavour.” So, in that spirit, I update the good ol’ dark and stormy (which I covered last month, here), into a modern cocktail, adding this bittering ingredient:

Or, you know, if you don't have a cocktail glass, you can just make excuses.

Or, you know, if you don't have a cocktail glass, you can just make a lot of excuses...

The Twilight Squall Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz – Dark rum (Of course use Gosling’s Black Seal)
  • .5 oz – Falernum (Paul Clarke’s #10)
  • .5 oz – Ginger Syrup
  • .5 oz – Lime Juice
  • 1 dash – Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
  • 2 dash – Pepper infused wine or spirits (Scrivenal Sherry Peppers #1)
  • 1-2 oz. – Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer (Barret’s or Regatta)

Shake all ingredients together, serve in a cocktail glass, top up with Barret’s and garnish with a lime wedge, a cherry, and/or a cube of candied ginger.

Feel free to substitute Scrivenal Sherry Peppers #1 with Outerbridges sherry peppers or rum peppers, or of course, your own family’s traditional recipe. However, my peppers are spiced with other spices so sub the falernum and ginger syrup with a third ounce each pimento (“allspice”) dram, ginger syrup, and falernum to get the spice notes. You could also replace the ginger syrup with Canton or Giffard’s ginger cordial.

This cocktail tastes quite similar to the dark and stormy which spawned it, and this is with fair intention. However, the falernum, bitters, and spiced sherry all combine to take this from a simple refreshing highball to a complex, gingery, rummy cocktail. While the dark and stormy is a great drink for the plantation porch or the sailboat cockpit, the twilight squall is cocktail for the dinner club in town or the yacht club bar.

Stay local,

The Scribe

MxMo: Bourbon – Catch a Bulleit

Good afternoon lover of boozahol the world over. It is time for this month’s installment of Mixology Monday. This month we are focusing on the wonderful product of the a bunch of rummers who didn’t want to pay taxes: Bourbon whiskey.

Just like last time, I have two drinks for you one is a sour, and the other I just recently came across. For our first trick we go with the same inspiration for last month’s post: the whiskey sour. This time, however, instead of staying fairly tradition with the mixers, and changing up the spirit, we keep the spirit traditional and change up the sweetener. Now, this drink is as much an invention of necessity as anything else. Being freshly moved in, I looked in my fridge and said, “What ingredients do I have in my fridge?” The answer was exactly two fruits: mango and orange. Luckily, one is sweet and the other tart, which gives quite nice balance, and the two flavours work well together. Thus, it is my honor to give you the Amber Daughter:

The Amber Daughter:

  • 2 oz. – Bourbon Whiskey (Bulleit)
  • 1 oz. – Finely Chopped Mango
  • 1 oz. – Orange Juice
  • Dash – Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Muddle the mango and orange juice together in the bottom of a short tumbler. Fill with ice, and add whiskey. Simple syrup can be added to taste.

I apologize for the quality of the photo. I am just learning to take pictures of drinks, and this one was a little haphazard anyway. Sill it was quite enjoyable. I think a splash of lemon would have made for a better drink, or, perhaps, lime.

While I was having lunch yesterday, I came across another interesting drink: The Mark and Stormy. Combine Maker’s Mark bourbon with ginger beer to taste. Garnish with a lime. I will be trying it as soon as I get Maker’s Mark and ginger beer.

Happy MxMo,
The Scribe

Mixology Monday: Rum

This is my first Mixology Monday, and I’m quite excited to be joining this little tradition. As it’s my first time, you will have to forgive me if this post isn’t quite up to the standard of what a MxMo post should be.

Today’s topic is rum. Rum is a wonderful ingredient and a miserable ingredient. We can’t simply say “rum” as an ingredient because you can have five similarly aged rums, and five distinct tastes. One rum might taste like fine French brandy, another like a wonderful Scotch, a third might remind you of a good spicy rye, a fourth could be it’s own distinctively rum-y sipper, while a fifth might almost substitute for Curacao! And that’s assuming these are all aged gold rums. I have used Bacardi’s white rum in place of vodka in a screwdriver, and it worked perfectly. While I couldn’t compare at the time, I would suggest that it was fairly similar, with barely a hint of rum to it. I could even see using rum in place of whiskey in a whiskey sour…Hmm…Maybe I should try that… And these are all “rum.” We haven’t even moved into cachaca, rhum agricole, and Batavia arrack, which are all usually lumped into the same category.

On the other hand, that very versatility and variety in flavor can work to our advantage in cocktails. People like Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber used the distinct qualities of a variety of rums in their drinks to create effects that could never be achieved with one rum alone. It is this idea, as well as the traditional whiskey sour, which inspire the drink I am about to present. (Did you like the foreshadowing there?) In this case, we take a simple whiskey sour, and replace the whiskey with a nice smoky rum. Looking at the margarita, we add Curacao into the mix, to accentuate the orange taste. However, instead of Curacao, I elected to use a very orange rum: Pyrat XO. This gives us:

The Rough Rider Cocktail
  • 1.5 oz – Smoky aged rum (Ron Pampero Aniversario)
  • 1 oz – Orange Juice
  • 1 oz – Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz – Aged rum with a strong orange flavor (Pyrat XO, if possible. You could use an orange spiced rum like Santa Teresa Rhum Orange, or even Grand Marnier or Curacao, but you would have to modify the recipe.)
  • .5 oz – Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash – Orange bitters (optional)
Shake with ice until chilled, then serve either as a sour over ice in a tumbler, or as a cocktail, neat, in a cocktail glass.
I hope you all enjoy. The name is inspired by the Teddy Roosevelt’s unit in the Spanish-American War of the same name. I imagine when they invaded Cuba, they had to replace their Bourbon based drinks with the local tipple, just as we did.

Before I sign off, I just want to handle one bit of administratia. As of Wednesday, this blog will begin a set schedule of posting. Every Wednesday, I will be posting reviews of something or other. The second Wednesday of the month I will be posting a spirit or fortified wine review. The third Wednesday I will be posting a beer review. The first and last Wednesdays will be open reviews for whatever I have around. Ciders, unfortified wines, meads, bitters, and cordials are all fair game, as well as beer and spirits. On Sundays I will be posting other stuff: travels, tours, my experiments, and so on. Throughout the week, I will try and post for special events, like MxMo. This MxMo, I guess, will stand in as my Sunday post.

Okay, I lied. I have a lot more to say about rum. Most of it relates to sailing, though there is another drink in here somewhere, so you may want to pay attention. In almost exactly a month, Newport, RI throws its largest party of the year (actually, of two years): The sendoff for the Newport-Bermuda Race. This race will be full of hard sailing, bookended by weekends of inebriation off of that most sailing-like of spirits: rum. Specifically, Gosling’s Black Seal. Rum has always had a close tie to sailing. According to Mount Gay, navigating to Barbados was a challenge, and some sailors took barrels of Barbados rum home as a trophy and proof that they made it to the island. While I think that story is likely a crock, Mount Gay, and Gosling as well, sponsors all sorts of sailing regattas to this day. In fact, one sure way to spot a sailor is to look for the red “Mount Gay hats” that we all wear.

This marketing strategy pays off, and both Mount Gay Eclipse and Gosling’s Black Seal are staples in every sailor’s rum locker. In fact, sailors love Gosling’s so much that Newport is the only place in the world outside of Bermuda that Dark ‘N’ Stormies are sold premixed in cans. I’ll put up a post on the dark and stormy, Dark ‘N’ Stormy, and rum and ginger in a month for the start of the Bermuda race, but I thought I would share a drink I learned of today: The Light and Breezy. The light and breezy is a combination of rum and Fresca, possibly with a bit of orange or lemon, mixed to taste. I have two thoughts about the origins of this drink. The first is a similar drink which is drunk quite often on Jamaica: rum and Ting. Ting, like Fresca, is a grapefruit soda. Thus, sailors could have replaced Ting with a more commonly available grapefruit soda, and a Jamaican rum with what was in their rum lockers, thus mating Fresca and Gosling’s or Mount Gay. Another possibility is that we simply had a hard time finding good ginger beer, so we replaced it with Fresca. Pick whichever story you prefer.

This time I’m really done. Happy MxMo,
The Scribe