Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mixology Monday LXIV: the Main Brace

February's Mixology Monday is hosted again by Doug Winship of the Pegu Blog. His themes rarely disappoint, but this one is particularly ingenius, since it magically coincides with the theme for his blog this month (and every other February): tiki.

As Doug's submission roundup for this month will likely be a sea of citrus juice and rum(there are worse things in life), I've chosen to post one of the rarer tiki recipes that isn't very typical, like I did one year ago with the Flaming Coffee Grog.

The Main Brace may have one of the coolest names of any drink, but the drink itself might seem fairly mundane: you can either think of it as a tiki drink which replaces rum with red wine, or instead, a tiki take on sangria.

Why is the name so cool? Because it refers to a drinking ritual on seafaring vessels of old.

The main brace(or mainbrace) is the largest/thickest/heaviest rigged rope on a sailing ship, be it a common sailboat or a 3-mast Man-of-War. The braces of a ship were the ropes which helped turn the angle of the ship's sails, thereby steering the vessel. When armed ships engaged in battle, clever commanders knew that targeting a ship's steering apparatus with cannons, the main brace especially, was a much better way to disable an vessel than trying to sink it.

When main braces broke, only the strongest and most skilled of seamen could splice it(thereby mending it),
especially in the heat of battle. Those that succeeded on this herculean task were usually rewarded with extra rum that day. The rum reward for splicing the main brace became so customary and traditional that the term "splicing the main brace" was soon used as a euphemism for drinking on a ship, especially after a job well done. This term was said to be used as such in the British Royal Navy until well into the era of engine-powered ships, where braces were no longer even used. (I labored to avoid nautical terminology in this explanation. If you can handle the jargon, you can read more about it here.)

So, why does the Main Brace drink use wine instead of rum? No clue. That's part of the mystery. The Main Brace is one of those drinks that tastes way better than your imagination may guess when looking at the ingredient list. The recipe calls for a wine from Burgundy, but I tend to suggest that a very capable substitute is a dry red wine that has a full body, enough to stand up to the juices.

Main Brace

3 oz Burgundy (or red wine)
.75 oz orange juice
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz sugar syrup
.25 oz triple sec
.25 oz lime juice

Shake with ice cubes, and pour into a tall glass.

1 comment:

  1. This intrigues me. Wine and triple sec mean a low alcohol tiki experience. As I figure out where to tread (as I begin to tread lightly) this may be a good place to start.