Cocktail #12: The Coconaut

Sticking with the space age theme from last week, this week's cocktail is a simple one - the Coconaut - an original creation from Jeff "Beachbum" Berry in his Grog Log:

The recipe is as follows:

8.00 oz. Lopez coconut cream
2.00 oz. lime juice
7.00 oz. dark Jamaican rum (I used Myers's)

Put everything into a blender and top with ice cubes. Blend until slushy. Pour into ceramic coconut shell mugs. Serves two to four.

I basically cut this recipe in half and even then I probably could have cut everything down further - the coconut cream by 1 oz., the lime by .25 oz., and the rum by 1 oz. Up until now I hadn't made a cocktail that made use of coconut cream, which I really enjoy, and this one didn't disappoint.

Garnished with a lime wheel and lemon peels that resemble the rings of saturn (which I probably should have used on last week's Saturn!) - inspired by a suggestion in the fantastic Smuggler's Cove book by Martin Cate I recently received.

Not a lot of backstory to this cocktail since it was created by Jeff Berry himself, but it's a tasty concoction that, if you like coconut, you will love. Easy to prepare and with the right garnish, your friends will be impressed. Try one today!

While you mix this sucker up, throw on the Fastastica! record by Russ Garcia from 1959, and blast off into outer space:


Cocktail #11: Saturn

I love "space age" kitsch, music, and movies. Of course, there are also space age tiki drinks! I decided to give the Saturn a try this week.

A little different than many exotic cocktails based on rum, the Saturn is instead based on gin, which was a nice change of pace this week. Many write-ups of the origin of this cocktail mention famed tiki bartender J. “Popo” Galsini. Apparently he created it at a tiki bar in California in the 60s and it was originally called the X-15, after the manned rocket plane that achieved 4,520 miles per hour. The drink was supposedly created to appeal to the Douglas Aircraft engineers who apparently blew off some steam at the bar after work. In 1967, the X-15 cocktail was renamed the Saturn after an accident with the aircraft which claimed the life of a test pilot. Also according to Jeff Berry, the cocktail went on to win first place in the California Bartenders’ Guild contest and later the International Bartender’s Association (IBA) World Cocktail Championship (WCC) that year, though apparently there is little to substantiate these facts. In any event... here's what we have, recipe via Jeff Berry:

0.50 oz fresh lemon juice
0.50 oz passion fruit syrup
0.25 oz falernum
0.25 oz orgeat syrup
1.25 oz gin
8 oz crushed ice

Put everything in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour unstrained into a pilsner glass.

As you can see, I opted instead for one of my new vintage tulip glasses, in part because the yield of this drink would not have come close to topping one of my pilsner glasses, and also because I just thought it looked more space age-y (and staging it with my rocket-shaped cocktail shaker and robots from my small collection also helps!).

I garnished with the hollowed out shell of half a lemon, speared with three toothpicks. I then spiked maraschino cherries to the toothpicks, resulting in a garnish that resembles the Sputnik satellite!

This is only my second cocktail using passion fruit syrup, and again, I found that it really took hold of the drink, and it was difficult to make out any other tastes. If I made this again, I might knock the passion fruit syrup down to a teaspoon or so to enable the other flavors to shine through. That being said, I love passion fruit so I didn't mind too much. As summer comes on, I'm also really enjoying blended drinks - they are like refreshing adult slurpees, which is a-ok in my book.

As for listening suggestions for while you mix and drink, consider the following, one modern, one not:

The modern:

Man or Astro Man? have got to be one of the most fun bands of all time. They take performance art to a new level, and completely embrace the space age / sci-fi / surf aesthetic.

And, for the vintage, the king of space age bachelor pad music, Juan Garcia Esquivel's 1958 master piece, Other Worlds Other Sounds:



Cocktail #10: Crucian Banana Squash

I was getting a little tired of the general direction of the previous nine cocktails, which, generally -- with some variation -- were a combination of a strong sour, a sweet, and rum. I was in the mood for something with a different kind of character - a strong coconut drink, or something with a banana base. Paging through Jeff Berry's tome, Potions of the Caribbean, a recipe towards the end caught my eye: the Crucian Banana Squash. It's also incredibly easy, with only three ingredients, and made with affordable, easy-to-find rum.

This drink (with, in my opinion, a somewhat unfortunate name) originated at the Sprat Hall Plantation, St. Croix, circa early 1960s. Apparently up until fairly recently this place was still operating and you could have stayed in the oldest guest house on the island, which was built in 1670!   Back in the 1960s, according to Berry, this place was really informal and the owners operated the bar as an "honor bar" where guests recorded their own drinks in a spiral notebook to be tallied up later. As Berry notes, "although it sounds like a banana daiquiri, its roots actually go all the way back to the 17th century Spanish Main: compare [this drink] to William Dampier's instructions for making the Miskito Indian drink Mishlaw. The recipe below first appeared in the 1962 book, International Cocktail Specialties.

Here's the setup:

4.00 oz. white Virgin Islands rum (I used Cruzan)
1.00 oz. fresh lime juice
2 whole bananas, very ripe with brown spots on skin
1.00 cup crushed ice

Step one:
Peel and slice bananas as thinly as you can, then place in a shallow bowl. Pour rum over banana slices. Cover bowl and let bananas soak in rum for four hours in your fridge.

Step two:
After the 4 hours have elapsed, pour contents of bowl into a blender. Add lime juice and crushed ice. Blend until smooth, around 30 seconds. Pour unstrained into Old Fashioned glasses. Serves 2.

The rum and bananas after soaking for four hours
Now, since I just recently received this wonderful tool to core pineapples, I decided to forgo the Old Fashioned glasses and instead use a whole pineapple as my vessel.

Berry says you should garnish with plantain chips, but I decided to be a little more ridiculous and go full banana dolphin:

(To make a banana dolphin follow this wonderful tutorial from the folks at Chicago's Lost Lake tiki bar, or just slice open the tip, plop in a cherry, make three slices for fins and put in pineapple leaves, and use cloves for eyes. Cut roughly in half and stick a coffee stirrer or cocktail straw in the bottom half to anchor.)

I also added an umbrella, some pineapple leaves, and a swizzle stick from the Tonga Hut. The resulting drink is a real winner in my opinion. Possibly my favorite drink so far in this little adventure. It's not too boozy - in fact, you barely taste alcohol. It basically tastes like a wonderful, freezing, banana smoothie, and the kick of the rum hits you after a few minutes to let you know it's there. The lime juice was too much for my better half, but I didn't find it overpowering in the least.

Serving this sucker in a pineapple with a banana dolphin makes it really fun and ridiculous - just as tiki should be.

Mix one of these up and share with your favorite person - you will both enjoy it!

While you're mixing, throw on a classic - Martin Denny's Forbidden Island! Cheers!


Cocktail #9: Hawaiian Eye

In 1963, bartender Tony Ramos created this drink, the Hawaiian Eye, while working at the China Trader restaurant in Toluca Lake, CA. According to Jeff Berry's Intoxica! "in its heyday, the China Trader boasted a widescreen waterfall window" and apparently Bob Hope, Lee Marvin, and Jack Webb were regulars. Other regulars included the cast of the 1959-63 series Hawaiian Eye set at the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki. Berry notes, "Ramos created the 'Hawaiian Eye' cocktail especially for the cast, who would take over the China Trader bar four or five nights a week when filming interior scenes on Warners lot" in nearby Burbank.

This weekend, I was looking for a relatively simple drink, as well as one for which I could use my recently acquired tulip glassware. This is a great example of a tiki drink that is really simple, and you don't need a lot of hard-to-find rums or ingredients to make. Here's the setup:

0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. sugar syrup
0.5 oz. falernum
1.0 oz. gold Puerto Rican rum (I used the widely available Bacardi)
0.5 oz. white Hawaiian rum (or substitute white Puerto Rican rum; I used Cruzan Virgin Islands rum)

Blend all the ingredients with 8 oz. crushed ice for 5 seconds and pour into a tulip glass.

I chose to try my best to live up to the name of this blog by garnishing with a thin slice of pineapple, skewed with a cherry; three pineapple leaves; lots of mint (our balcony garden is now overflowing with it); and a cocktail umbrella.

The result is delicious. The drink is mellow and smooth, an easily drinkable concoction that is neither too sweet nor sour, which I suspect is helped by the spicy notes of the falernum.

I'll leave you with a short clip from Hawaiian Eye - enjoy!