Chance of Showers

Ever since I’ve started making yeast carbonated Ginger Beers this summer, I’ve wanted to use them to make a drink with dark rum and lime.

Last week, an email arrived with the following subject: Ivy Room Cocktail Competition & Anniversary Party (12/09)

Sponsored by Ron Zacapa 23 Rum

Details:
Competition is open to any bartender currently working in the bar, restaurant or spirits industry
1st PLACE Prize = $500 gift card
2nd PLACE Prize = Bar Kit & Bottle of Ron Zacapa 23
3rd PLACE Prize = Bottle of Ron Zacapa 23
All cocktails shall utilize Ron Zacapa 23 as main ingredient and only spirit

Create four cocktails – recipes shall be original creations

We invite inventiveness and creativity, drinks should be delicious – try not to overthink it

Cocktails will be judged according to the following criteria, with a total of 100 points possible:
Use of Zacapa product: 25 points
Aroma: 15 points
Flavor: 15 points
Technique: 15 points
Presentation: 15 points
Creativity: 15 points

My first thought was to make the drink a bit of an “old-fashioned” and serve it stirred on a single large ice cube.

However, after workshopping that idea at a friend’s bar in my neighborhood (Hi John! Thanks for loaning me a well at Holy Water!), I discarded that idea and re-made the same drink on their lovely regular Hoshizaki cube ice.

When I got to a version where a coincidentally located booze salesman said, “I could drink A LOT of those!” I figured I was close.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Chance of Showers

1 dash Angostura Bitters
Juice 1/2 Lime (or 1/2 oz)
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup (or to taste)
Yeast Carbonated Ginger Beer*, chilled
2 oz Ron Zacapa 23
Lime Burst, with pickled ginger stuffed peppadew pepper

Fill an old-fashiohned glass with cracked ice. Add Bitters, Lime Juice, and rich simple syrup to glass and stir to combine. Pour in chilled ginger beer to nearly fill and stir again. Float on Ron Zacapa and garnish.

*Yeast Carbonated Ginger Beer

5 oz Ginger
4 Dried Thai Bird Chiles, or other small piquant pepper

32oz Water
3/4 Cup Washed Raw Sugar

1/2 tsp Yeast

METHOD: Bloom yeast in lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar. Over low heat, dissolve sugar in 24oz water. Add ginger and chiles to blender bowl with 8oz water and puree. (Blender works well for me in these amounts, but if you have a juicer that can juice ginger root, go for it.) Pour through cheesecloth to filter. Press as much liquid out of ginger solids as possible, I use a sturdy potato ricer. Add ginger juice and water to hot sugar solution and cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and bottle in clean sanitized containers, leaving some headroom. Seal tightly and place in a warm dark place for 5-8 hours, depending on temperature and how feisty your yeast is. Move to refrigeration when the bottles are firm to the touch. Yeast (tan) and Ginger starch (white) will fall out of solution. When serving, open carefully over bowl to catch potential over-foam. Makes a Quart and a bit more.

If you know anything about cocktails, you’ll probably know that this drink is somewhat similar to a Caribbean Potation called the “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, allegedly invented in Bermuda some time during prohibition.

However, the Gosling’s Rum corporation is quite insistent that if you put a drink called a Dark ‘n’ Stormy on a restaurant or bar menu, that you must make it with their Rum and their recipe or not at all.

The Right Stuff (by Law), Jonathan Miles, NY Times

“‘What’s in a name?’ Shakespeare famously asked. In the case of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, a Bermudan cocktail that’s been making a quiet resurgence in New York City bars and restaurants in the last couple of years, it’s two ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and a fizzy hit of ginger beer.

“And, by law, nothing but.

“That’s according to two trademark certificates on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which — in an exceptionally rare instance in the cocktail world — dictate the precise ingredients and amounts required to call a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, well, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy.”

So, as much as I might like to call this drink a “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, it cannot be! It has Ron Zacapa 23, for one, and, it has lime juice, not to mention homemade yeast carbonated ginger beer.

“Dark ‘n’ Stormy” or not, this is a delicious drink, even if you must make it with Gosling’s Rum, not something I’d really recommend if you have another delicious rum like Zacapa 23 in the house…

Prepared with a NOT “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, I wrote up the following to say to present my drink:

“Hi, I’m Erik Ellestad and I work for the Slanted Door Group of restaurants.

“My Ron Zacapa drink for this competition is called ‘Chance of Showers’.

“I have been a big fan of Ron Zacapa 23 for some time. A friend gave me a taste of it before I was really that into Cocktails and spirits and it blew me away. Mount Gay Eclipse had been about as far as I had journeyed up to that point vaguely in the direction of premium rums, and it basically convinced me that there was even such a thing as a sipping Rum. I frequently enjoy it as an after dinner digestiv, but my favorite story related to this fine Rum is in regards its other properties as a “mixer”.

“A while ago a good friend (Hi Rich!) of mine started dating a woman (Hi Humuhumu!) who was really, and I mean seriously, into Tiki Bars, Tiki drinks, Tiki culture, and related paraphernalia. One day he took me aside to ask for my advice. He wanted to buy his new girlfriend a bottle of Rum, but didn’t know much about Rums. My initial reaction was, don’t buy a Rum for someone who is that into Rum. What could you buy her that she hadn’t already tried or had in the house? He insisted, and I thought about it some more. Some aged Rhum Agricole came to mind at first, a little obscure, he’d get points for difficulty. But then I thought of Ron Zacapa 23. As I had liked it so much, maybe it could be a gateway Rum for him, as well as a fine gift for his new girlfriend. I mean, really, who can argue with Ron Zacapa 23, even if you already have a bottle?

“I guess it worked, as when they got married, instead of drinking wine to celebrate their new union, they drank Ron Zacapa 23!

“My drink is Angostura Bitters, Fresh Lime Juice, Homemade Yeast Carbonated Ginger Beer, and Ron Zacapa, garnished with a lime and a ginger stuffed pickled pepper.

“Please enjoy Chance of Showers. Or, now that I think about it, with young Wanda Trott in mind, maybe I should call it, ‘Chance of Baby Showers’!”

Other Uses for Pistachio Syrup

You might recall, I made a Pistachio Syrup to recreate the Mustachi-ode from Booker & Dax.

While the Mustachi-ode is a fantastic drink, I’ve been experimenting with other uses for the syrup.

The first easiest targets are mostly simple substitutions for Orgeat.

Here are a couple interesting, and so far unnamed, things to try with Pistachio Syrup:

2 oz Tequila Ocho Blanc
Heavy Barspoon Pistachio Syrup
2 dash Miracle Mile Chocolate Chile Bitters

Stir and strain into a small cocktail glass. Grate fresh Cinnamon on top.

Obvious riff on the Japanese Cocktail, really like how this highlights the interesting vegetal characteristics of the Ocho.

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt 8 Rum
1/2 oz Neissen Blanc Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pistachio Syrup
1/2 oz Orange Curacao

Shake and strain over cracked ice in a 10 oz glass. Garnish with Mint Sprig and Lime Wheel Cherry Boat.

Fairly literal Mai Tai variation, for me the nut character of the Pistachio syrup really pops in this.

Of course, if you don’t feel like making Pistachio Syrup yourself, you can always stop by Heaven’s Dog!

Santa Cruz Rum

Received a question from Rowen regarding Santa Cruz Rum Fix:

Yeah—what were they thinking there, exactly, with Santa Cruz rum? Personally, I go with whatever Cruzan I happen to have at the moment except Black Strap and hope for the best. (I figure since St Croix means the same thing, I can’t go too wrong.)
Reply

To which I replied:

erik.ellestad says:
February 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm (Edit)

Well, this recipe is verbatim from early editions of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide. Whatever Jerry Thomas was calling for in the mid-1800s as “Santa Cruz Rum” probably wasn’t anything very close to the more or less dry Cuban style rums the Cruzan company currently flogs.

My guess would be an aged, cask strength, navy style rum. Thus, my use of Scarlet Ibis.

Whatever Rum you use, it needs to have some character, or it will be lost, being served on fine ice with lemon peel, juice, and sugar.

However, to justify my answer, I sent a note to David Wondrich, author of Imbibe!

David,

Have you ever turned up anything regarding 19th Century references to
“Santa Cruz Rum” or what would be an appropriate modern substitute?

Primarily, does this mean St Croix in the Caribbean or Santa Cruz
Island in the Galapagos.

Both have pre-industrial sugar cane production traditions, though it
seems St Croix is the one which moved more industrial with time.

In either case, my instinct is for a nice dark pirate rum, rather than
the dry nearly Cuban style the Cruzan distillery currently makes.

Even the Cruzan Single Barrel doesn’t really stand up in a 19th
Century style Fix or Daisy.

Just curious,

Erik E.

He replied:

Erik–
This has always been a tough one. I’ve never found a straightforward, thorough period comparison between the two (I live in hope). FWIW, my impression is that Jamaica rum and Santa Cruz (from St Croix) were both considered high-quality rums, the jamaican perhaps a hair better, although there were those who disagreed. The Jamaican appears to have been more estery, the Santa Cruz perhaps a little cleaner–although by no means as clean as, say, a current Mount Gay or, of course, Cruzan. Both were well-aged, and often long-aged indeed. I’d use an old Appleton for it.
–D

However, I remembered that early versions of Wm (Cocktail) Boothby’s “World Drinks and How to Mix Them” included recipes for synthesizing both Jamaica and Santa Cruz Rum.

I present them to you:

486 Santa Cruz or Saint Croix Rum.

Add five gallons of Santa Cruz Rum, five pounds of crushed sugar
dissolved in four quarts of water, three ounces of butyric acid, and
two ounces of acetic ether to fifty gallons of pure proof spirit.
Color if necessary with a little burnt sugar.

476 Jamaica Rum.

To forty-five gallons of New England Rum add five gallons of Jamaica
Rum, two ounces of butyric ether, half an ounce of oil of carway cut
with alcohol (ninety-five per cent) and color with sugar coloring.

Another good recipe: To thirty-six gallons of pure spirits add one
gallon of Jamaica rum, three ounces of butyric ether, three ounces of
acetic ether, and half a gallon of sugar syrup. Mix the ethers and
acid with the Jamaica rum and stir it well with the spirit. Color with
burnt sugar.

Interesting, in that Butyric Acid and Butyric Ether are very, very different.

From the wikipedia:

“Ethyl butyrate, also known as ethyl butanoate, or butyric ether, is
an ester with the chemical formula CH3CH2CH2COOCH2CH3. It is soluble
in propylene glycol, paraffin oil, and kerosene. It has a fruity odor,
similar to pineapple….It is commonly used as artificial flavoring
such as pineapple flavoring in alcoholic beverages (e.g. martinis,
daiquiris etc), as a solvent in perfumery products, and as a
plasticizer for cellulose. In addition, ethyl butyrate is often also
added to orange juice, as most associate its odor with that of fresh
orange juice.

“Ethyl butyrate is one of the most common chemicals used in flavors
and fragrances. It can be used in a variety of flavors: orange (most
common), cherry, pineapple, mango, guava, bubblegum, peach, apricot,
fig, and plum. In industrial use, it is also one of the cheapest
chemicals, which only adds to its popularity.”

“Butyric acid (from Greek, meaning “butter”), also known under
the systematic name butanoic acid, is a carboxylic acid with the
structural formula CH3CH2CH2-COOH. Salts and esters of butyric acid
are known as butyrates or butanoates. Butyric acid is found in butter,
Parmesan cheese, and vomit, and as a product of anaerobic fermentation
(including in the colon and as body odor). It has an unpleasant smell
and acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste (similar to ether). It can
be detected by mammals with good scent detection abilities (such as
dogs) at 10 ppb, whereas humans can detect it in concentrations above
10 ppm.”

Mmmmm, vomit!

Life in the Service Industry

A representative from a large liquor company was in to our fine establishment the other night.

Among the products he was presenting to us was Pink Pigeon Rum.

One of my coworkers was playing with the odd pink rubber ring around the neck of the bottle.

“So what is this rubber ring on the Pink Pigeon bottle? A Live Strong Bracelet?”

“No, it’s a cock ring.”

“…”

“Do you want to hear the story?”

Well, what bartender can resist a good story?

The story of Pink Pigeon Rum, as relayed to us by the company representative:

Berry Brothers and Rudd were negotiating for a lot of well aged rum from a small island in the South Pacific. However, when they arrived on the Island, they discovered the stocks of the aged rum were lower than expected, not enough to bring a product to market.

This prompted the representative from Berry Brothers & Rudd to have one of the sorts of sociopathic hissy fits which our society allows in entitled executives, but discourages in the underprivileged.

“*(#()@P!!! What else do you have on this Godforsaken rock that would make my trip worthwhile? The only other thing I know of from this island is the $*#(@&! Dodo and it’s &$#*@&! extinct!!”

The representative from the island, mistaking the executive’s venom for an interest in local fauna replied, “No sir, not just Dodo, we also have the Pink Pigeon, which is only nearly extinct. It is pink, like flamingos, from eating shrimp. But it is nearly extinct because the boy pigeons don’t like to mate with the girl pigeons. Girl pigeons are hens, what is your word for boy pigeon?”

“We call them cocks.”

“Ah, yes, so every time we find a cock which does like the hens, we put a ring on it. A cock ring.”

So, apparently, this exchange not only entertained the executive enough to create a vanilla flavored, spiced rum named “Pink Pigeon”, but he also decided it would be extremely amusing to put a Cock Ring on the neck of every bottle of the Rum.

I will leave it to you to decide as to whether they should also have included a packet of condoms with every bottle.

Santa Cruz Rum Fix

Santa Cruz Fix
The Santa Cruz fix is made by substituting Santa Cruz Rum for Brandy in the Brandy Fix.

As I still have no real idea what is meant by “Santa Cruz Rum”, I’m going to use a strong, full flavored rum in this cocktail. I’m also going to add a little bit of Allspice Dram, just for variety.

Scarlet Ibis Fix

Peel of 1 Lemon
Generous Teaspoon Sugar
Splash of Water
Juice 1/2 Lemon

1 1/2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
1/4 oz St Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Fine Crushed Ice

Place the lemon peel in the bottom of a heavy glass. Add a generous teaspoon of sugar. Muddle peel in sugar until it is fragrant. Add a splash of water and continue muddling until sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of 1/2 Lemon (about 3/4 oz), the Rum, and the Allspice dram. Add fine ice and swizzle until the glass is frosted. Garnish with a lemon slice.

My, that is quite a tasty mini-punch. A little bit of elbow grease is required, but definitely worth it!

Interestingly, I ran across a story called “The Scarlet Ibis” when I was looking for the rum one day. It is by James Hurst and was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1960.

From the wikpedia article about the Scarlet Ibis:

James Hurst was born January 1, 1922, near Jacksonville, North Carolina. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia and studied chemical engineering at North Carolina State College. However, following military service in World War II, he decided to be an opera singer and studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and in Italy. In 1951, Hurst abandoned his musical career and became a banker in New York for the next thirty-four years. He wrote plays and short stories in his spare time. “The Scarlet Ibis” was his only piece that gained widespread recognition.

Now that is interesting, as a certain Mr. Eric Seed abandoned his banking career for a career in the spirits industry.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Manhattan Cooler

Manhattan Cooler
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (dash Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Wineglass Claret. (2 oz Smith and Woodehouse Late Bottled Vintage Port)
3 Dashes Rum. (1 teaspoon Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass. Decorate with fruit in season.

Didn’t have any French Wine in the house, so substituted Port and reduced the sweetener. Figured I should use a Rum with some spine, as it was in such a small amount. Just built it over a cube of ice, since the port was already chilled and added a splash of soda. Fresh out of fruit at the moment.

Then I thought to check Hugo Ensslin, for his take on the Manhattan Cooler…

Manhattan Cooler

Juice of 1 Lime
1/2 spoonful of Powdered Sugar
1 wine glass of Claret
3 dashes of St. Croix Rum

Stir well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, pour into a stem glass, decorate with fruit and serve with straws.

First, I do think it’s kind of funny that the only actual “Wine Cooler” in this section is named the “Manhattan Cooler”, what with New Yorkers’ near obsessive insistence on overproof spirits and ridiculously large and potent drinks.

The use of St. Croix Rum is a bit interesting. As you may recall, Martin Cate had once told me he felt using a Spiced Rum where St. Croix Rum is called for provides more interest than actual St. Croix Rum.

However, I have yet to meet a spiced rum I particularly care for. But, wait, isn’t Allspice Dram, well, spiced rum?

2 oz Bordeaux Wine
1/2 Tablespoon Allspice Dram
1 Tablespoon Rich Simple Syrup
Juice 1 Lime

Shake and strain into a tall-ish glass, uh, wait, there’s no soda in this Cooler nor is it served in a tall glass!

Well, I did add a splash of soda to my adaption and to be honest, kind of enjoyed it. Not that I think it would fly in the Manhattan of today.

About the only way I could see them drinking this there would be if you reversed the proportions, maybe 4 oz of navy strength rum, swizzled, with lime and a float of wine.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Imperial Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, (they also have a great beer selection,) stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Imperial Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1/3 Rum.
2/3 Canadian Club or Scotch Whisky.
1/2 Tablespoonful Sugar.
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with syphon soda water.

Another Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, Ensslin gives the recipe as follows:

1/3 St. Croix Rum; 2/3 Whiskey; 4 dashes Lemon Juice; Juice ½ Lime. Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

A few Savoy Recipes have called for “St. Croiix Rum.” I’ve never really seen much differential to using Cruzan or any other modern Rum from St. Croix. The Cruzan Single Barrel is a nice Rum, but there isn’t really anything in particular it brings to a drink. Or at least enough to justify calling for “St. Croix Rum” in particular.

However, once when I was talking to Martin Cate, (of Rum paradise Smuggler’s Cove) about this issue, he suggested he’d had good results using Spiced Rum when St. Croix Rum is called for. Well, if Martin Cate suggests it, I’ll give it a try. Besides, as this drink has no sweetener, it might be nice to use a sweetened product like most Spiced Rums.

Hey, some company promoting Kraken Spiced Rum was even kind enough to send me a bottle…

Damn! I was really hoping for a rubber squid.

Imperial Fizz

1 1/2 oz Macallan Cask Strength Scotch Whiskey
3/4 oz Kraken Spiced Rum
Light squeeze, juice 1/2 Lemon
Juice 1/2 Small Lime

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

Yeah, that is not very sweet at all. I believe I over estimated the sweetening power of spiced rum!

And, yes, in the video you can see the problem with using a soda syphon shortly after charging it. The CO2 does not have a chance to dissolve properly, so the first squirt is always too charged.

So this is pretty, “Meh”. A definite waste of perfectly good Scotch. Even stirring a little simple syrup into this, it was pretty blah. The Kraken Spiced Rum and Macallan Scotch aren’t a particularly interesting combination.

But I was thinking about this, and thinking I was just playing it too safe. If you’re going to do something, why not do it all the way? Go Big or Go Home!

Islay Imperial Fizz

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Couple Dashes lemon Juice
Juice 1/2 small lime
dash Rich Simple Syrup

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

I may be on crack, but there is some real promise here. It’s kind of like a cross between Erik Adkins’ Rhum Agricole Punch and Sam Ross’ Penicillin. This is not bad, not bad at all. It’s lacking a little in middle flavors, but the combination of Smoky, Peaty Islay Scotch and Allspice Dram is kind of awesome. Definitely worthy of further experimentation!

Music in the first video clip from Efrim Manuel Menuck’s new recording, “Plays High Gospel,” maybe my current favorite CD. Music in the second video clip is from Craig Taborn’s new solo piano CD, “Avenging Angel”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Litigious Bastard

But, what do you do with the rest of that bottle of Pusser’s you’ve had mouldering at the back of your liquor cabinet?

Litigious Bastard

1 oz Pusser’s British Navy Rum
1 oz Canton Ginger
Juice 1 Lime and 1 half spent lime shell

Shake violently with cracked ice and pour into a bucket. Fill with Soda Water and dash on top a healthy amount of Angostura Bitters. Garnish with a couple of very enthusiastically spanked mint sprigs.

You know, this is actually a bit better than it should be.

And I’m going to have to insist, even though you might be tempted to make the Litigious Bastard with Smith & Cross, that you stick to Pusser’s for this one.

Flip

Flips.

The Flip, particularly the variety made with Rum, is renowned as an old-fashioned drink of great popularity among sailors. It is usually made in the following manner:

Rum Flip

1 Egg. (1 whole Egg)
1/2 Tablespoon of Powdered Sugar. (Generous teaspoon Caster Sugar)
1 Glass of Rum (2 oz Ron de Jeremy), Brandy, Port Wine, Sherry, or Whisky.

Shake well and strain into medium size glass. Grate a little nutmeg on top. In cold weather a dash of Jamaica Ginger can be added.

Well, that was, as they say, a bit of a “clusterbleep”. Bizarre enunciation, flying ice cubes, running out of space on camera memory card, even forgetting to take a picture before sampling the drink. Sheesh.

Well, narration was an experiment, and considering drinking is involved, it’s kind of amazing this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. Well, anyway…

The Flip, along with the Toddy, is a very old style drink which can be served hot or cold. The most basic form of the flip is nothing more than a Toddy with a whole egg added, shaken up, and strained. Like the Toddy, pretty much any form of alcoholic beverage can be used as a base, from Beer to Whiskey to Sherry.

Some delicious modern variations on the Flip include those based on Amaros, (Kirk Estopinal’s Cynar Flip comes immediately to mind,) and those flips based on Spirits which hadn’t really come to light in the 19th Century, like Tequila or Mezcal.

Regarding the Rum, apparently some Finns were sitting in a bar, joking around about how the Spanish word for Rum is Ron. Riffing on Rum names like Ron de Barrilito, Ron Abuelo, and Ron Zacapa, they cracked themselves up with an idea to name a Rum after 1970s Porn star Ron Jeremy. “Dude, Ron de Jeremy! How cool would that be!? F-Yeah! High Five, Bro! Rock on, let’s do it!” Or whatever the Finnish equivalent of that exchange might be.

Also, apparently with some money to burn, they called up Mr. Jeremy’s people with the idea, and he agreed. So, yes, this Rum, from the aptly named One Eyed Spirits, is named after Ron Jeremy. I guess the nice part, especially for a rum that appears to come in a container intended for urine samples or glucose supplements, is that it isn’t bad. It’s got enough character to stand up in a simple drink like this flip. I doubt it will find a place in my liquor cabinet, but I wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

Regarding safety: Clearly, holding ice cubes in your hand and cracking them with a 6 inch chef’s knife isn’t really, uh, wise? Don’t do that. Or if you do, don’t say you saw me do it here. You can, however, blame Andrew Bohrer, who showed me this technique. Also, as with any recipe containing uncooked eggs, there is some small chance of salmonella. If that risk bothers you, use pasteurized eggs.

Music in the background is from the excellent new Mountain Goats album, “All Eternals Deck”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Agricole Libre (Part Two)

When we first opened Heaven’s Dog, we knew that a bunch of the staff would be short timers, who intended to defect to Thad Vogler’s new restaurant Bar Agricole when it opened.

However, an optimistic start date, meant most actually departed “The Dog”, some the SF vicinity, before Bar Agricole opened.

However, for those of us who have been patient, Bar Agricole opened this August.

As you are walking towards Bar Agricole, the first thing you might notice is this insignia on one of the outside walls, indicating that the building and construction process were certified “Gold” by the US Green Building Council. This indicates not just that they have used much recycled material in the project, but that the paints and other materials are certified non-toxic. Good for the contractors and the people who will work in the building. More information about that program here: What LEED Is

So ambitious is the Bar Agricole project, it’s kind of hard to get your mind around. They’ve even got gardens out front with herbs and vegetables they hope to use in their kitchen and in their drinks. Not sure what to call it… “Farm to Table, er, bar”? “Garden to Glass”? “Cradle to Grave”?

They aim to be open early to serve coffee and breafasty type things, then have a lunch, and then to be open for dinner, and late night service. So far, they are serving dinner and open into late night.

I arrived for a pre-opening party about 15 minutes early and was surprised to see construction relics peeking out from behind this and that door. Figuring I should give them some time to get it together, I loitered out from, taking some photos. Eventually Vince, a bartender from Beretta, also rolled up, and we chatted for a while, as they swept up the garden and put away their ladders.

We sauntered up the walkway, and entered the dining room, where the tension and excitement was nearly tangible. The first party in the new restaurant! How would it go?

Ostensibly, the reason I was invited to one of the preview events for Bar Agricole is that they are featuring St. George Spirits cane based rums on their cocktail menu. So, here we have it, 4 months later, a ‘Ti Punch made with St. George Agua Libre Blanc. Definitely worth the wait. Though, now that I think about it, isn’t a ‘Ti Punch just a cold Agricole Rhum Toddy garnished with lime peel?

If you’re interested in picking up a bottle of either the aged or unaged Agua Libre, a number of local retailers are carrying it, including: Cask, K&L, Healthy Spirits, John Walker & Co, Jug Shop, Ledger’s, and Swirl on Castro. At this point, it might be wise to call ahead and ask if they have it in stock, as I understand the early sales were quite brisk.

Wait, go back a sec, ‘Ti Punch? That’s not a Savoy Cocktail! What’s a ‘Ti Punch? You mentioned it a couple drinks ago with the aesthetics of the Tinton Cocktail, but didn’t really explain.

‘Ti Punch (I can never quite decide where to put the apostrophe), reportedly short for Petit Punch, is a Caribbean libation often associated with Martinique Rhum and/or sailing. It is: Rum, to taste. Sugar, to taste. Lime, to taste. Add Ice (or water), stir, and smile.

According to some, a very strict recipe would be:

Ti Punch

2 oz Agricole Rhum Blanc
1 tsp Martinique Cane Syrup
1 quarter size disk of lime peel

Add Cane Syrup to a heavy bottomed glass. Squeeze lime peel over cane syrup, rub on rim of the glass and drop in. Add Rum and stir. Add ice and stir until chilled. Savor slowly and enjoy as the rum marries with the cane syrup, melted water, and lime.

That is, pretty exactly, a Cold Toddy or Sling.

However, Rhum Agricole Blanc can be a bit of an acquired taste. It’s usually 100 Proof and its flavor is sometimes compared, by the uninitiated, to Jet Fuel or Kerosene. A lot of people just don’t have the patience or proper relaxed attitude to wait around for the ice to melt and mellow the spirit. That first sip can be a bit of a shock. I’ve made ‘Ti Punch as described above for people who specifically ordered a Ti Punch and they sometimes ask for more lime wedges to squeeze into their drink, that I add more fresh lime juice, or if I can add more sugar. At this point, the cranky cocktail nerd inside me really wants to say, “Dude, if you wanted an Agricole Daiquiri, you should have ordered an Agricole Daiquiri, not a Ti Punch.”

On the other hand, when I was talking to Michael Lazar, of Left Coast Libations and the Stirred Not Shaken Blog, about Rhum Agricole Punch he mentioned his first exposure to Agricole-Style Rhum was in Guadalupe, where they are pretty relaxed about the whole thing. If you order Agricole Style Rhum, they just bring you a bottle, some limes, sugar, and, interestingly, a couple jars of jam. It’s up to you to figure out what you prefer in your drink. Then at the end of the night, they charge you based on how much Rhum is left in the bottle.

Maybe a more relaxed attitude is proper for an “Island-style” Drink.

And just about on cue, the battery in my camera flaked out. No more pictures of Bar Agricole, the staff, or their cocktails. Curses, I guess there will have to be a part 3 of this series!