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bmdaniel

The Tiki Drink Discussion Topic

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Crushed ice can vary quite a bit in size (from snow to something a bit finer than cracked cubes), and that variability could make all the difference. What size do you find good for shaking John?

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The size I use is the size that comes out of the ice-o-mat, which (from memory here) probably ranges roughly from small shards to a chunks a little bigger than 1/2" in diameter. Definitely not snow, and a little coarser than what I get when I use a Lewis bag.

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I just bash the heck out of some ice, usually in a plastic bag, which ends up yielding a range from snow all the way to unbroken cubes (though my ice cubes are actually round with holes in the middle. I shake with that and don't strain. As long as you shake really hard (I'm a big guy, and for tiki drinks I make a lot of noise when I shake :smile:), it comes out fine.

One thing about the mai tai, I tried it with both cointreau and curacao, and I'm finding myself preferring the version with cointreau. It seems to have a more pleasant tang to it.

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Speaking of Curacao, my quest for Tiki cocktail ingredients is being thwarted by the pathetic alcohol distribution in Michigan. The "good" liquor store in town, with the best selection, only had DeKuyper - which people don't seem to like much. Should I get that anyway, or use Cointreau (which at least I'll have a plenitude of other cocktail uses for?)

And, more critically, Martinique rum seems pretty much impossible to find here. The store I was at used to carry some Rum Clement and St James, but neither are being distributed in MI anymore, and they didn't think they had anything else from Martinique. There's another store with a good selection I can call, but are there any other brands I should be looking for? Or something to substitute?

Here's the rum list from the "good" store (although they might be out of some of this, I got the last bottle of Lemon Hart 151 today, for instance).

No wonder cocktail culture in Michigan sucks so much...

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There's another store with a good selection I can call, but are there any other brands I should be looking for? Or something to substitute?

I would argue that, in a pinch, you could substitute Barbancourt. Others might disagree.

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There's another store with a good selection I can call, but are there any other brands I should be looking for? Or something to substitute?

I would argue that, in a pinch, you could substitute Barbancourt. Others might disagree.

Given the choices on that list, I'm inclined to agree. It won't be quite right, but it'll be decent, and still considerably better than any Mai Tai most of your guests have ever had.

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There's another store with a good selection I can call, but are there any other brands I should be looking for? Or something to substitute?

I would argue that, in a pinch, you could substitute Barbancourt. Others might disagree.

Given the choices on that list, I'm inclined to agree. It won't be quite right, but it'll be decent, and still considerably better than any Mai Tai most of your guests have ever had.

There are a bunch of Barbancourt on the list - which one or ones would be preferable?

And what do you think about the Curacao question?

(And thanks again, everyone, really appreciate all the help...)

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Joe, what brand of curacao were you using?

John, I've have the Bols and a bottle of Hiram Walker. I remember reading somewhere that the Bols was Vic's curacao of choice, but I honestly can't remember which one I used at the moment. I'll have to take a peak when I get home and let you know.

And what do you think about the Curacao question?

Tammy, I would go ahead and get a bottle of Cointreau anyway, even if you end up using the curacao in your tiki drinks. It's one of the most versatile orange-based liqueurs I've come across, and while not strictly the same as a curacao, it still makes a damn fine Mai Tai.

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Tammy, my two cents on curacao is that I think Marie Brizard makes a superb one and that the Bols is a fine substitute. But if all you can find is Hiram Walker or Dekuyper or whatever, giving the Cointreau a try isn't a bad idea.


Edited by John Rosevear (log)

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Oh, and re the Barbancourts... the choices will reflect more or less aging. For making Mai Tais, the basic one (three stars on the label) is probably just fine.

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There are a bunch of Barbancourt on the list - which one or ones would be preferable?

And what do you think about the Curacao question?

(And thanks again, everyone, really appreciate all the help...)

My advice on the Barbancourt would be to avoid the white for this particular application, and avoid anything older than the 8-year (five-star, "Réserve Spéciale"), because they tend to get too oaky after that. The 8-year is a good choice, though. If anything it smells a little richer than the Saint-James. (Yes, I'm sitting here sniffing the bottles as I type this.)

For curacao, you're almost certainly in a better position than me: Ontario doesn't stock any curacao at all unless it's tinted blue. So I use either Cointreau or Grand Marnier in all my drinks. The Cointreau serves me just fine in a Mai Tai.

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Thanks all! Cointreau and Barbancourt with 3 stars it will have to be.

Next time I'll have to start planning my parties earlier, so I can better find what I need. I'm sure everything will be delicious anyway!


Edited by tammylc (log)

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For curacao, you're almost certainly in a better position than me: Ontario doesn't stock any curacao at all unless it's tinted blue. So I use either Cointreau or Grand Marnier in all my drinks. The Cointreau serves me just fine in a Mai Tai.

From what I've read, the blue doesn't taste any different than the orange, it's all a matter of colouring. Not that I'd want to put blue curacao in my mai tai, if just on principal, but if you're at home in a pinch, blue is better than none. :hmmm:

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It might not be a big deal given the significant and complicated ingredient lists in tiki drinks (or maybe it's just adds another layer of complexity), but the archetype of orange curacao is not Cointreau; it's Grand Marnier. The difference is the base spirit: in Cointreau (or MB triple sec, Combier or Citronge) it's grain neutral spirits. Grand Marnier (or Grand Gala or Prunier Orange Liqueur) use cognac as the base. I'd look for something that says "cognac" on the label, and boasts a decent proof: somewhere between 70 and 80.

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I was having trouble procuring vanilla syrup and coffee syrup, so I asked Jeff "Beachbum" Berry for some recipes. Here's his reply:

Here's a good recipe for vanilla syrup:

http://www.amountainofcrushedice.com/?p=5365

There's only one good recipe for coffee syrup, but it's a little more complicated. Here's the entry from my upcoming book, Beachbum Berry remixed:

COFFEE SYRUP

1 cup of medium-roast coffee beans

2 cups brandy

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Step one: Crack all the coffee beans, then place in a jar with the brandy. Seal it and let sit for three to four days, then strain the brandy. Step two: Make a brown sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Let cool, then combine the syrup with your coffee-infused brandy.

Hope this helps others!

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I make vanilla syrup that way -- 2:1 simple, boiled, then left to steep with a vanilla bean for a while. It is absolutely brilliant when used in place of simple syrup in a Mai Tai.

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Dave, I have a bottle of Cognac-based orange liqueur called Liqueur d'Orange, Cognac Prunier. I'll have to crack it open and see how it plays in a Mai Tai.

John, I have a vanilla bean just begging to be used. I'll have to whip up a batch of simple and make it. Oh, and I lied, apparently the only orange curacao I have is Hiram Walker :unsure: If I find the Marie Brizzard, I'll definitely give it a try.

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I've never tried it, but a couple of people in Boston have recommended the Hiram Walker curacao as a pretty good alternative if you can't get Curacao de Curacao, Marie Brizard, etc.

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I've only tried it in a few things Chris, but the Hiram Walker curacao took a great Mai Tai and turned it into just an acceptable Mai Tai. I'd stick with something else if you have a choice.

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I would recommend Cointreau which is what i use as i can`t find Curacao de Curacao and i think Cointreau is very good in Mai Tais. I take it down to 1/4 th oz instead of 1/2.

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Thanks all for all the help in pulling together my little tiki shindig. Everyone had a great time and the drinks were fabulous.

tikitammy.jpg

(The blender was for my friend Mary's Pina Coladas - I shook my drinks with crushed ice, as you can see in the photo.)

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Tammy, I love the double shake there, very impressive. I usually use a boston shaker, so the double would be hard for me :hmmm:

What's that short squat bottle next to the can of pineapple juice? It looks like Pyrat to me..

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Some cheaper than Chambord raspberry liqueur (Chateau Monet). I use it to make a variant of the "Center of the Galaxy" cocktail that's in Imbibe this month (from Smuggler's Cove in SF):

2 oz Demerara

1/2 oz lime

1/2 rich simple syrup

1/2 honey syrup

1/4 raspberry liqueur

pinch cinnamon

I didn't have honey syrup, and my simple wasn't "rich." But I had cinnamon syrup, so I subbed that for the honey syrup and skipped the pinch. It was interesting - very strong. I'm sure it would be better with the right ingredients, but it was fun experiment.

The description on that cocktail sounds like someone's been drinking too many tiki drinks "... drew inspiration from this drink from a news report suggesting that the chemical compound at the center of the galaxy smells like rum and gives raspberries their flavor."

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