Monday, February 29, 2016

Bahama Mama

When I was a wee lad wearing a much smaller Hawaiian shirt, my family took a vacation to the Bahamas.  One of the most memorable moments from the trip was my being heartbroken over Customs telling me that I couldn't bring a coconut on the airplane home.  Oh well.

One of the other things I remember from the trip was that my parents sucked down Bahama Mamas the whole time.  They even gave me a sip on a few nights.  Do I remember the finer tasting notes of the stuff?  No.  But what I do remember is that I tasted coconut and banana, and that its color was a jewel-like dark red.

It turns out that the Bahama Mama is not just one-of-many monikers slapped onto overly sweet Caribbean crap drinks, but it actually is a concoction that, while varying from source to source, is a drink unto itself and will usually contain dark rum, coconut rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine.

On this final Leap Day of Tiki Month 2016, I look back to a particularly poignant post from our Tiki Month proprietor Doug Winship, who shared a post by modern tiki maven Humuhumu on what she defines a tiki drink to be.  While I love being nerdy and pedantic, I fall nearer in opinion to what Doug defines as tiki, which is a bit more gentle.

Further, Doug has parroted(see what I did there?) the idea that drinks can also be Tiki Compliant, lifting the central pole of the tiki tent higher to encompass more of what might be discussed as "tiki".

Well, today I'm giving you a drink that's most certainly not a tiki drink, and really not Tiki Compliant either.  What is it?  It's a recipe that I've spent years tinkering with.  My goal was to re-create what I tasted when I was kid in the Bahamas, but also to make a mean of the recipes out there that still captures the spirit of the drink.  Oh, and to ensure it wasn't also a goopy tasteless mess.

But look, we're slumming it today, guys.  You should use a rum that's colored with molasses or caramel.  Your coconut rum and liqueur should come from the middle shelf of your local store, not ordered off a website because it's so high quality and rare.  This recipe requires the cheap stuff.  The only thing you can't skimp on is grenadine... use the real thing.  While proper grenadine will never give it the mesmerizing ruby color, the drink needs it.

The DJ's Bahama Mama

2 oz Jamaican dark rum (Myers or Coruba)
1 oz orange juice
1 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz coconut rum
.5 oz creme de banane
.5 oz grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Simple Zombie Cocktail

Happy Tiki Month 2016!

One of the most iconic tiki drinks of all time is the Zombie cocktail by Don the Beachcomber.  Aside from the fact that the drink itself evolved bit by bit during the 20th Century, the notorious secrecy with which the Beachcomber and his competitors operated their bar programs way back when has resulted in a multitude of recipes for the Zombie.  As far as I can tell, the only things that they all have in common are: rum, and being high proof.  Most have grapefruit juice, but not all.

For a few years now I've had one such recipe scrawled on the inside of the back cover of my Grog Log.  I swear that I wrote it down when I saw Beachbum Berry post it years ago, but now I can't find any trace of it on the internet except here.  I know I didn't dream it up.  Can anyone source it?

The recipe is a simplified Zombie, whatever that might mean.  It ignores some of the more nuanced and exotic ingredients and instead sticks to a "skeleton crew" of more commons ones, while still claiming to capture the flavor of the 1934 original.  True or not... Zombie or not... this is a delicious drink, and it's easy to make.  It's my go-to recipe (along with the Reverb Crash) for impressing guests wanting a tiki drink who can handle something bitter and/or complex.

Simple Zombie

1 oz dark Jamaican rum
.5 oz 151-proof rum (any type)
1 oz grapefruit juice
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz cinnamon syrup

Shake with ice cubes, strain into glass with more ice cubes.