Cocktail #33: Corn and Oil

Corn and Oil. Not a terribly evocative or attractive name for an exotic cocktail is it? But this one goes back a long time, long before Donn the Beachcomber or Trader Vic set up shop in the 1930s. Corn and Oil is a traditional drink from Barbados, and the version I present below is adapted from the traditional recipe by Martin Cate of Smuggler's Cove.

There are numerous recipes online for Corn and Oil with differing proportions of ingredients. Many use a very dark or Black Strap Rum, and Cruzan offers a version which seems popular. However, I stuck with a Barbados rum (Mount Gay) since this purports to originate from Barbados. It doesn't get much more simple that this (you don't even need a cocktail shaker!):

0.50 oz. John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
2.00 oz. blended aged rum (Barbados) - I used Mount Gay - not aged - see below
2 - 4 dashes Angostura bitters

Add all the ingredients to an old fashioned glass and fill with crushed ice. Stir to combine until frost forms on the outside of the glass.

Cate notes that there should be no garnish with this one, but I couldn't resist adding a lime wheel, a couple sprigs of mint, and a pink flamingo straw.

Given the simplicity of this drink, the rum that you use becomes more important. Hence why Martin Cate suggests using not only a Barbados rum, but one that is aged. The Mount Gay Eclipse I used in this cocktail was probably not an ideal choice - it felt a little sharp. Using a longer aged, darker rum like an El Dorado 5 or 8 Year or a Mount Gay Black Barrel probably would have been a better fit (add one of those to my shopping list!). The falernum and Angostura bitters I felt enhanced the sharpness or spiciness of the drink which made it a little less palatable. After I had drank about half of it, I squeezed a quarter of a lime into the glass and that bit of citrus took the edge off a bit and made it more enjoyable (though obviously less traditional).

Given how simple this cocktail is, this is worth a try if you have the right rum for it. I'll revisit this one after my next trip to Binny's! Cheers, and happy holidays!


Cocktail #32: Juan Ho Royale

I'm a sucker for blue drinks, I admit it.

Blue curacao has such a bad rap in some exotic cocktail circles. And probably for good reason - it conjures images of really crummy, watered down, artificial drinks you might see served on a cruise or at a Sandals resort. But used sparingly, I kind of love it. There's something very fun about a shockingly blue drink. So, when I was paging through Martin Cate's wonderful Smugger's Cove book and came across a drink that not only seemed relatively straightforward, but also contained all ingredients I had on hand including blue curacao, I figured I'd give it a try. It's also the first drink I've made in this series that uses tequila, which is a welcome change.

The Juan Ho Royale was created by Martin Cate himself, for the tiki bar Hula's in Santa Cruz, CA, in honor of a surf spot called Steamer Lane. Cate notes, on his use of blue curacao, "To capture the azure seas, I make a rare exception for blue curacao." Here's Cate's recipe:

2.00 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
0.50 oz. orgeat
0.50 oz. blue curacao
0.50 oz. John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
1.50 oz. tequila blanco

Pour the sparkling wine into a chilled coupe. Add the remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with cracked or cubed ice. Double-strain into the chilled coupe.

He notes, "garnish - none" but I thought a lime wheel pinned to a cocktail cherry with a flamingo pick dressed this drink up nicely.

This was a nice departure from rum, which dominates many of the 31 previous drinks. As you can see, I used regular old Trader Joe's tequila blanco - nothing too fancy. Tequila blanco is tequila that has little or no aging so the alcohol presence or "burn" is felt a bit more than an aged tequila, as is the agave flavor. It might not be the best quality tequila, but mixed in this cocktail it was just fine. The agave and slight smokiness of the tequila are the most noticeable flavors, and the falernum adds a nice hint of spiciness. The sparkling wine's carbonation is also a nice feature, not something you get in many tiki drinks. And of course it's electric blue! This would be a really nice, simple cocktail to serve at holiday and New Years parties, the sparkling wine adding a bit of festivity.

A Note About Photography

Apart from wanting to learn more about exotic cocktails and their history, the other reason I started this project was to force myself to take more pictures and get better at it. I use a Nikon D300 DSLR for all the photos on this blog and lately, I've been experimenting with off-camera flash techniques for lighting. Of course there's plenty of inspiration for nicely photographing cocktails on Instagram, etc. which has been helpful. If  you're also a photography geek who's been experimenting with off-camera flash, I'd love to hear from you. Tips? Tricks? Cool effects? Let me know!

I'll probably have at least one more post before 2016 comes to a close, but I'd like to wish you all a very mele kalikimaka and a fabulous New Year! Be safe, and enjoy.


Cocktail #31: Flaming Coffee Grog

This is without a doubt the most complicated drink I've ever made. I originally stumbled upon this cocktail in Jeff Berry's Grog Log. Given that the temperatures here in Chicago are starting to dip into the teens and single digits, and partly inspired by my blogger friend The Meek Tiki who recently conquered Hot Buttered Rum, I thought it was high time I tried a hot tiki drink.

There's not much background by Berry on this one other than, "circa 1950s." I assume this would have been served as an after-dinner drink in a 1950s tiki palace after a few too many Zombies and pu-pu platters. It's a showpiece, and would have been finished tableside to show off the flaming effect.

Before I go any further, whenever you're messing around with fire and alcohol, use extreme caution. Do not make this after you've had a few, and do not light anything up near anything flammable like tiki bar decor. I literally had a fire extinguisher right at my feet ready to go, and you should too. Please read Crikiti's post on home tiki bar fire safety.

Ok, back to the drink. After reading Berry's recipe and Googling around a bit, I ended up using parts from two different recipes (possibly a mistake).


3.00 tsp. Lopez coconut cream
0.25 oz. Grand Marnier
Hot black coffee (about 6 oz. should do it)
Twist of orange peel
Twist of lemon peel
2 whole cloves
Eight inch cinnamon stick
0.75 oz. 151 Demerarra rum

I found what purports to be the "ancestor recipe" (attributed to Don the Beachcomber's book, Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks and Cuisineon the Atomic Grog blog:

2.00 cups hot Kona coffee
3.00 teaspoons honey cream mix*
1/2 tsp. teaspoon cinnamon
1.00 oz. dark Jamaican rum (Kohala Bay or equivalent)
1.00 oz 151 rum (Lemon Hart Demerara recommended)**
6 strips of lemon peel
6 strips of orange peel

The ingredients in light blue are the ones I used. Here's the method I used (largely the same between the two, and largely copied from Atomic Grog):
Combine the rum, cinnamon, cloves, and citrus peels in a heat-proof pitcher or pot. Stir, set aside and let the rum soak into the peels.
Into a small pan, pour the hot Kona coffee and add the honey mix. Slowly heat. Pour heated (but not boiling) mixture into a coffee grog mug. Take the pitcher and coffee mug to a serving table.
With chopsticks, remove a piece of the orange or lemon peel and set afire. Plunge the peel back into the pitcher, setting the rum mixture ablaze.
If possible, pick up the flaming citrus peel pieces and drop them into the coffee grog mug. Pour the flaming rum into the glass, stir with chopsticks and serve.
* For the honey cream mix: In separate small bowls, heat equal parts sweet (unsalted) butter and honey (I also added a dash of half and half). Then combine and whisk until well blended. Use immediately

** Since I did not have 151 Demerara, I instead used regular-proof Hamilton Demerara, and 151 Don Q.

Still with me?

Unfortunately I do not have a flaming skull mug that this would normally be served in, so I used a rum barrel from the Tonga Hut. I carefully set the contents of the pitcher ablaze and did my best to pour a stream of flame into the coffee. Doing this, and photographing the spectacle yourself is a bit of a challenge, so the photos could be better (I should have turned down the lights, naturally). But you get the idea.

How does it taste? Well, given all the effort I put in, I wish I could say I enjoyed it more. For me, the orange/citrus aroma dominated the drink, even when bringing it near my nose to take a sip. I definitely used too much orange peel and should have only used one. I just couldn't get past the citrus/coffee mix, and I ended up only drinking about half of it. With a reduction in citrus, I can see how this would be a fairly pleasant after-dinner drink, and I have to think that most of the alcohol gets burned off during all the flaming, so it's not very potent.

If nothing else, it's a real showstopper if you do it right for your guests (safely!).

For your holiday viewing pleasure, I give you the wonderful Judy Garland Christmas Special from 1963. Enjoy!


Cocktail #30: Cuba Libre

With this past weekend's passing of Cuba's brutal dictator/revolutionary leader (depending on your philosophy; or perhaps both) Fidel Castro, it seemed an opportune time to tackle the incredibly simple cocktail, the Cuba Libre.

I wouldn't necessarily call this a "tiki drink" but it does contain elements of what evolved into tiki drinks and exotic cocktails - rum, sweet (Coca-Cola), and sour (lime juice). Jeff Berry delves deep into the history of the Cuba Libre in his wonderful book, Potions of the Caribbean. It was a favorite of the infamous drunk, and alleged rapist Errol Flynn. Berry notes that "the drink was born sometime on or after 1900, the year the Coca-Cola Company first started exporting to Cuba. Legend has it that a U.S. civil servant drinking at the American Bar in Havana asked the bartender to combine Cuba's favorite spirit with America's favorite soft drink ... which some rubbernecking Signal Corpsmen then ordered, liked, and christened with a toast to a free Cuba: "Por Cuba libre!" Berry goes on to describe the more likely and less glamourous origin story for this drink - most likely that a broke soldier used some Coca-Cola to mask whatever rotgut he had on hand.

The Cuba Libre didn't start to make the rounds on bar menus in Cuba until the 1950s, when post-war tourism to Cuba was starting to peak. And as Berry notes, the "hit Andrews Sisters song, 'Rum and Coca-Cola' sealed the deal' for its popularity after World War II.

The recipe Berry provides is the version "as served throughout Havana, then and now." He also says he feels that this drink is at worst "a waste of good rum" and at best "a waste of good cola." He's probably right. Nevertheless, here's how to make a Havana Cuba Libre, the way it is made at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Havana:

2.00 oz. white Cuban rum (I'm not aware of any actual Cuban rum being imported into the states at the moment; Berry notes that Bacardi 1909 is a good stand-in. When I saw this bottle of Havana Club [made in Puerto Rico] I figured it would be good enough)
4.00 oz. chilled Coca-Cola (I used the closest to the original I could find - "Mexican Coke" that uses sugar instead of HFCS)
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice

Pre-shake the rum and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice, then add cola and garnish with a lime.

via Flickr user Alan Mays. A souvenir post card from 1937, Sloppy Joe's Bar, Havana, Cuba

I wasn't expecting much, but this was actually simple and pleasant. I hadn't had full-sugar, non-diet Coke in a long time, so the sweetness was almost a bit much. But the lime juice tempered the sweetness a bit. The rum was mostly lost in this drink, which is probably why it was so popular with tourists drinking a rum drink for the first time in the 1950s - you mostly just taste the Coke. But what the hell ... I enjoyed learning about the history of this simple cocktail, and honestly this is a pretty nice way to cool off on a warm day. Just don't waste good rum on it!

While mixing this sucker up, I played some Xavier Cugat. Here are two tracks from "Cugi's Cocktails" that should get you going should you decide to partake - "Cuba Libre" and "Rum and Coca-Cola"! Enjoy!


Cocktail #29: Mauna Kea Mist

It's been a rough couple of weeks, given the fact that ~45% of the population voted for a racist, misogynistic, lazy know-nothing for president. While I find myself in a constant state of low-level rage, the moments away from the computer or phone screen, away from social media, are increasingly pleasant. I know we mustn't ignore what is happening in our country, but after 6+ months of digesting so much news and following the election so closely, only to witness this awful outcome, it's nice to have a break. And one thing I love about tiki is its escapism. The creator of the wonderful site Critiki briefly touched on this in a recent post. There is work to be done and fights to fight, but right now, I need a little escape. Which leads me to our next drink ...

The Mauna Kea Mist (even it's name sounds relaxing) is a drink found in Jeff Berry's Intoxica! and it hails from the Gang Plank Lounge of the Ship's Tavern Restaurant at the Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii, circa 1960s.

Here's what you do:

1.00 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
0.50 oz. sweet and sour (I made my own from scratch for a previous cocktail - super easy)
0.50 oz. half & half
0.50 oz. coconut cream
0.50 oz. light Puerto Rican rum (I was out so I used Bacardi gold)
0.75 oz. Grand Marnier (I was lucky enough to find an airplane bottle size at Binny's so I wouldn't have to drop the cash on a full bottle that I won't use very often)

Blend with a cup of crushed ice until slushy. Pour into a chimney glass. Add crushed ice to fill. Garnish with an orange slice and an orchid (lacking an orchid, I simply stuck a cocktail cherry to the orange using a cocktail sword).

True to its name, origin, and ingredients, this is a lovely cocktail. It's heavy on the pineapple and coconut, so I might reduce those slightly next time. The Grand Marnier comes through just slightly, with a subtle bitter orange note. The half and half combines with the coconut cream to make this a lovely creamy, frothy drink. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and computer, blend one up, and float off to the warm breezes of Waikiki ...

To help get  you in the mood, I'll leave you with a track from this wonderful LP I recently found used. It's "On the Beach at Waikiki / Hawaiian War Chant / My Honolulu Tomboy" by Andre Kostelanetz. Cheers, and hang in there.


Cocktail #28: Captain's Blood

I was going to skip a week given the horrific result of the US election. I'm not sure anyone's in the mood to read about tiki drinks or crazy garnishes. But, perhaps you are in the mood to drink. I'm not going to let that orange piece of garbage disrupt the things that I enjoy doing, so -- onward!

I've been devouring the New York Times over the last few months, including some non-political content. They have a wonderful recipe site and app, and there are a lot of cocktails as well as food on the site. I recently came across this cocktail, the Captain's Blood, in Rosie Schaap's latest column, and while it may not exactly be considered a "tiki drink," its simplicity and riff on the classic daiquiri intrigued me. I didn't have it in me to do a whole big complicated one this week, so this seemed to fit the bill.  Schaap is their occasional drinks writer (and has also written a wonderful book called "Drinking With Men," which I highly recommend). Here's the Captain's Blood:

1 ½ ounce Jamaican dark rum (I ended up using a slightly lighter Barbados rum from Mount Gay; Myers's or another darker Jamaican rum probably would have been a little better)
¼ ounce falernum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
½ teaspoon superfine sugar (or more to taste; I ended up using 1/4 oz. simple syrup instead)
Lime wheel or wedge for garnish

Not a lot to expound on for this cocktail. It goes down very easily, and I found Schaap's portions just right. As she notes, you can play around with the sugar / citrus portions if you like a drink on the more tart or sweet side, but for me this was just right.

The falernum and the Angostura bitters add nice slightly spicy notes to it to take the edge of the tartness. Bottom line: really nice, simple cocktail that will go down easily.

It's going to be a rough four years ahead of us. In the meantime, let's take a moment to remember at least one good thing that this country was capable of. Perhaps it can be again. Cheers.


Cocktail #27: Blue Hawaii

If one word could sum up the last 12 months as it relates to politics in the USA (and about 45% of the population of our country), I think it would be deplorable. This Tuesday is, at least, a pause in the insanity (though with all of the damage that Trump has done to the body politic, the insanity will undoubtedly continue, no matter what happens). The last couple months for me have been filled with fitful nights of sleep, and a constant low-level (and ever heightening) anxiety. I'll be glad when this is over.

Back in 2008 on Election Night my wife and I had friends over to watch the returns as we rooted for Obama. To pay homage to his heritage, as well as the color that has come to symbolize democrats, we made a version of the Blue Hawaii, way before I had any appreciation for proper tiki drinks. So it seemed appropriate on this Sunday before the 2016 election, that I revisit the Blue Hawaii - again to honor probably the best president I will see in my lifetime, and also to root for blue.

As my favorite, now retired from blogging, political writers used to say, "know hope."

Ok, we're going to need this. Let's get into the drink.

The Blue Hawaii was invented by the famous bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Harry Yee, in 1957. A sales rep for a new Blue Curacao liqueur asked Yee to create a cocktail that featured it, and after experimentation he came up with this gem. I found a recipe for the Blue Hawaii in Jeff Berry's Grog Log which I modified slightly with some attributes of this recipe from Modern Tiki. Berry's is probably the most historically accurate so here it is:

2.00 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
1.00 oz. sweet and sour mix (I made mine from scratch, recipe here)
0.75. oz. blue Curacao
0.50 teaspoon cream of half and half
1.50 oz. vodka

His only instruction is, "mix everything in a tall glass packed with crushed ice."

Since I'm not a huge fan of cocktails with vodka as the only spirit, I decided to go with the Modern Tiki version where they do split of 0.75 oz. light rum and 0.75 oz. vodka. If I were to make this again, I would stick with Berry's 2.00 oz. pineapple juice instead of the 3.00 oz. Modern Tiki used. Also, I shook everything with lots of crushed ice in a cocktail shaker and poured it unstrained into a Pilsner glass (though a Hurricane glass would probably be more appropriate). I added ice as needed. I garnished with a pineapple wedge, three pineapple leaves, and an umbrella.

Blue Curacao gets a bit of a bad rap, especially in today's world of "craft, grain-to-glass" cocktail snobbery. But what the hell? Blue drinks are ridiculous and fun. Is this bottle of Blue Curacao going to last me the next 20 years? Probably. But once in a while it's fun to whip up something that the characters in the Fifth Element would have been drinking. And what is tiki if not fun?

As for the taste - like I said, I would have held back a bit on the pineapple juice, but otherwise, this drink was absolutely wonderful. Sweet, fruity, frothy - this is absolutely a cocktail that you would drink at some Disney resort, and it goes down so, so easy. It's not complex, it's easy to make, and your guests would love it if you served this at your election night gathering. Grab that $10 bottle of Blue Curacao at the supermarket and mix one up for Tuesday night.

Hopefully we will be celebrating, and not drowning our sorrows.

Know Hope.


Cocktail #26: The Sidewinder's Fang

Happy Halloween! This post represents the half-way mark for this little blog adventure and I've learned a lot about the history and crafting of many great exotic cocktails - but still have a lot to learn!

Being Halloween, I had a little fun with this week's post. I tried to find a "spooky"-ish tiki drink to make and the closest I could get with ingredients on hand was the Sidewinder's Fang via Jeff Berry's Grog Log. Berry notes that this drink originated from the Lanai Restaurant in San Mateo, CA in the 1960s.

1.5 oz. fresh lime juice
1.5 oz. fresh orange juice
0.5 oz. passion fruit syrup
3.0 oz. seltzer
1.0 oz. dark Jamaican rum (I used Myers's)
1.0 oz. Demerara rum (I used Hamilton)

Blend with 1/2 cup crushed ice for 10 seconds. Pour into a large snifter filled with ice cubes. Garnish with length of spiral-cut orange peel and mint sprig.

In Smugger's Cove Martin Cate shows you how to make an orange peel that resembles a snake head (to match the name of the drink). I gave it a shot, but I could use some practice! And being Halloween, I figured it was good a time as any to use my glowing ice cube. Also, I don't have a large snifter so used a tulip glass.

I also decided at the last minute to throw together this Liberace costume (hair and styling courtesy Jen LiMarzi!)! Liberace ... tiki cocktails ... a match made in heaven!

This was a fun and easy one to make, but nothing to write home about. I think I need to steer clear of drinks with passion fruit syrup or try a different brand of syrup because each time I use it I find it overpowering. It's not completely unpleasant though - the usual blend of strong, sour, and sweet.

And now for a bit of the real Liberace - he's amazing! Happy Halloween and Cheers!


Cocktail #25: The Apple Spicehauser

After a couple of weekends being away - part in London, part in New York - I'm ready to pick up where I left off.

While we were away, summer slipped firmly into fall. Back here in Chicago, many trees are changing colors, there's a little nip in the air, and the days are shorter. Put all that together and I am in the mood for a cocktail that tastes like fall! I briefly looked at my usual sources - Smuggler's Cove and Jeff Berry's books - for cocktails that utilized some of the more spicy/fall-like ingredients like allspice dram, ginger, calvados, etc. But I came up short. So, I decided to go out on my own and try to create my own drink, with mixed results.

I looked in my liquor cabinet and refrigerator and pulled out anything that seemed to say "fall" to me - apples, cinnamon, cider, Demerara rum, allspice dram, etc. Here's what I came up with. I give you the Apple Spicehauser:

2.00 oz. ginger beer
1.00 oz. apple cider
0.50 oz. fresh lime juice
0.25 oz. Demerara simple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
2.00 oz. Hamilton Demerara rum
0.50 oz. 151 rum
0.25 oz macadamia nut liqueur
0.25 oz. allspice dram

Combine all ingredients -- except ginger beer and cinnamon -- into a cocktail shaker and fill halfway with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into the vessel of your choice that already has large ice cubes in it, and then add ginger beer. Stir with a bar spoon. Use a fine grater to grate a bit of cinnamon stick over the drink. Garnish with apple wheel, mum, mint, and a drink umbrella stuck into the cinnamon stick (resembling a palm tree).

This is a really pleasant drink, with a definitely fall/spicy feel to it. However, if I were to make this again, I would make some adjustments. First, I would not use the macademia nut liqueur. It gave the drink a slightly weird aftertaste. I'd probably leave out the 151 and instead use about an ounce more of both ginger beer and cider to give this an even more spicy/fall like feel. I'd also try using cinnamon simple syrup if I'd had the forethought to make it a day earlier.

I realize that making a "fall tiki cocktail" is a little bit of a folly given that there is no "fall" in the tropics, but wanted to give it a shot. Next week we get back to exploring some classics. Thanks for reading.

Since Halloween's right around the corner, I'll leave you with the 1910 version of "Frankenstein" - what I understand to be the first filmed version of the classic story. It's 12 minutes long, it's silent, and scarier than you might think. Cheers!


Cocktail #24: The Chartreuse Swizzle

After how much I liked my version of Milwaukee Tiki Bar Foundation's "Martinique" cocktail, which features Chartreuse, I decided to keep going with Chartreuse and found the Chartreuse Swizzle in Martin Cate's Smuggler's Cove book, where the main ingredient is ... you guessed it -- Chartreuse.

The Chartreuse Swizzle is a modern exotic cocktail creation by Smugger's Cove bartender, Marcovaldo Dionysos. The interesting thing about this drink is that green Chartreuse is the main spirit, which seems to be pretty rare.

This is an easy one:

1.00 oz. pineapple juice (I used fresh from the pineapple I had on hand; canned works too)
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
0.50 oz. John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
1.50 oz. green Chartreuse

Combine all the ingredients in a Collins or Zombie glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice until it's 3/4 full. Swizzle with a lele or barspoon for 30-60 seconds until the glass gets frosty. Top up with additional crushed ice as needed to fill glass. Add garnish. I garnished with a sprig of mint, a pineapple leaf, and a swizzle napkin wrap.

Martin Cate explains the swizzle napkin wrap, which he learned at Trader Vic's. Basically, take a cocktail napkin and open it up. Fold diagonally creating a right triangle. Fold or roll the wide edge a few times and tie the two ends together around your glass. It gives the drinker something to hold onto so they don't have to hold a very cold, frosty glass.

Given my new-found appreciation for Chartreuse, I really like this one. Even though it's a frosty swizzle which typically would conjure images of a drink to be enjoyed on a hot summer day, this cocktail seemed perfect for early fall - a little spicy, a bit floral, with the sweetness of the pineapple juice taking the edge off of the Chartreuse. My better half called it "medicinal" but not pejoratively - she actually quite liked it.

This is a lovely, easy cocktail to make - definitely worth trying.

While you're swizzling up this modern cocktail, stream some modern exotica - one of my favorites - the Martini Kings!


Cocktail #23: the "Martin-Eric" a.k.a. Eric's Martinique

As I mentioned a few posts ago, a few weeks ago we went to the amazing tiki bar in Milwaukee, Foundation. My last drink of the night there, which ended up being my favorite, was their "Martinique." A quick Google search for more on this drink turned up dry, so I can only assume this is a Foundation creation. It is listed on their menu as follows:

"Martinique - rhum agricole, lemon, grapefruit, falernum, Chartreuse, & anise, dry yet full flavored."

I've been wanting to take a shot at recreating it ever since. Today I got my hands on a small bottle of green Chartreuse (I actually am unsure if Foundation uses green or yellow Chartreuse, so I took a gamble; confirmed via Facebook that they use green) and thought I would try mixing one up. Now, I do not have any rhum agricole, which is a rum specific to the island of Martinique (hence the name of the drink). Rhum agricole is produced on Martinique and is made from pure sugar cane juice. I do have a bottle of Rhum Barbancourt, a Haitian rum (perhaps I should call the version that follows the Port-au-Prince?) which is also made from pure sugar cane juice, but due to differences in production methods, terroir, etc. it apparently has a different flavor. I also have a bottle of cachaca, a spirit produced in Brazil, very similar to rum, and also distilled from pure sugar cane juice. If you're interested in more details on the differences of agricole, Barbancourt, and cachaca, head on over here for a full report. (The difference that all of these three spirits have compared to other rum, is that other rums are produced from fermented molasses rather than sugar cane juice.)

Absent the "correct" rum, I decided to combine cachaca and the Rhum Barbancourt. And since I have no anise liqueur, I'm going with a dash of Angostura bitters instead.

My version of Foundation's Martinique cocktail:

0.50 oz. Brazilian cachaca
1.00 oz. Rhum Barbancourt (or use 1.5 oz. rhum agricole if you have it, instead of the cachaca and Barbancourt)
0.75 oz. green Chartreuse*
0.25 oz. Falernum
0.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
1.00 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice and shake with vigor. Pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass (I used the one I bought at Foundation, of course!), and garnish with plenty of mint and flowers if you have them.

The result was lovely, and damn close to how I remember the Foundation version of this cocktail. Chartreuse is produced by monks in France using over 130 herbs, plants, and flowers and it's on the verge of dominating the drink a bit in the quantity I used above. *If I made this again, I would knock it down to 0.25 or 0.50 oz. Chartreuse and use an extra quarter-ounce of the Barbancourt instead. I might also try a version omitting the bitters. This cocktail is spicy and dry, with a hint of sourness, and creates an incredible sensation on your tongue with each sip. I can't recommend it enough! Chartreuse is expensive (about $30 for a 375 ml bottle) but a little goes a long way, so it will last a while. This is a pretty easy drink to make if you have the ingredients, and would be a great drink to add to your tiki cocktail party!

In honor of the cachaca used in this cocktail, which hails from Brazil, here's a great compilation of vintage Brazilian samba/bossa nova and other music. Get shaking (hips and shakers) - cheers!