Autumn at last!

Regarding the temperate climate, with broadleaf trees changing color seasonally, there is a charisma in the air, an inspiration, a profound unveiling of the inner self where breathing the cooler air and seeing the astonishing colors of the leaves reminds me of my genuine reflection.  I am not at peace.  Yet, this season brings a quiet in my heart I have waited for since last year.  Autumn is a journey of exploration, and all the realms entirely within myself.  Nature is on the move.  When it first arrives, it is as if it is an accident – that stunningly chilly morning.  Refreshing, on the other hand unnerving and disturbing, almost as if something is wrong.  Turns out it is good jacket weather, and time to eat some apples, and anything with them in it.

If you read my Apple Season cocktail from last year, I made a similar cocktail, again inspired by apples.  The first difference with this one is with the rum, using three rums instead a single rum and Applejack combination.  Not that all daiquiris require Cuban style rums, I wanted that flavor attention.  The Bajan rum spices the Matusalem, not as a spiced rum would, but in the same way salt enhances the richness in a dessert.  And the dark Coruba adds a lovely brown sugar flavor, rather than molasses.  Instead of just lime juice, I wanted to incorporate more flavor from the oils from the lime peal in the muddling, as well as the unique blending with the sweetness of the lemon peal.  Then, the amounts of cider and cider syrup** are increased to make a larger and sweeter drink.  I also wanted to change the bitters, feeling Regan’s orange bitters would give a better impression than the savory Angostura, particularly with both lemon and lime.  My first apple cocktail was a more refined drink, and needed double-straining, floating a delicately thin slice of apple to float.  The Autumn Daiquiri is a bit more playful, not only with flavors, but the unstrained salad-effect.

Autumn Daiquiri

Autumn Daiquiri
1 oz Matusalem Gran Reserva
1/2 oz Mount gay Eclipse
1/2 oz Coruba dark
1/2 lime (chopped)
1/4 lemon (chopped)
3/4 oz apple cider syrup**
2 1/2 oz apple cider
1/4 sweet apple (chopped)
2 dashes Regans' Orange Bitters No.6

Muddle lemon, lime, apple, syrup & bitters.  Add rest & shake hard with ice.  Pour unstrained into chilled old-fashioned glass (or collins glass).  Garnish with a hearty apple wedge.

**Apple Cider Syrup
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup apple cider
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Simmer just below boil for few minutes to reduce slightly, stirring regularly.  Take off heat and let stand until room temp.  This will taste better the next day, but ready to eat right now with your pancakes…or aebleskivers…or Swedish coffee bread.

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POG Punch

Since I am a big fan of both guava and passion fruit, in my investigations I learned of a common combination from Hawai’i, even hearing it is bottled and canned commercially there.  POG is passion fruit, orange, and guava.  I also learned there is a debate whether POG is made with passion fruit or pineapple.  There seems to be more recipes  made with pineapple juice, which makes sense since pineapple is as tropical as you can get, especially when thinking of Hawai’i.  However, passion fruit won as far as accuracy and authenticity.

There are many ratios of the three ingredients to choose from, understandably each is according to their creator’s preference in flavors.  Orange balances, or its citric acid can takeover.  Guava is mellow enough to get lost.  And passion fruit is complex enough to stand on its own in almost any ratio.  The goal balance is to match with the rum, but remembering lime will also get added (I add lime to almost all my tiki drinks – it goes with rum so well).  POG is also meant to be drank all by itself.  It’s so delicious and healthy tasting, I can’t help taking a big swig whenever I’m making any concoction with it (fighting the urge to chug all of it).  Here is my POG recipe.  But please experiment with the ratios to find your own flavor preference.

POG
1/2 measure orange juice
1 measure guava juice
1 measure passion fruit juice

Regarding the ingredients, if you only have syrups, not juices, halve the amount of syrup to juice, as I find syrups are generally twice as strong.  It is not easy to obtain passion fruit or guava juices, even in the organic section of super markets.  I ordered passion fruit juice online (Ceres brand – sounding closest to the true flavor of pure passion fruit, without as much filler to muddle the genuine flavor).  As far as rum is concerned, Appleton has a very pleasing flavor, and goes gratefully well with POG.  Yet I disagree with some that it should not be the only rum flavor in the punch.  I am a big fan of Bajan rums, particularly Mount Gay rums (their entire line of products is excellent).  A light rum from Barbados mixed with a golden Jamaican rum tastes complex enough, but simple enough to appreciate the wondrous flavors of POG.

Lastly, my parents moved to Florida, and were loving enough to show me the wisdom of the local oranges.  I know, you may think, “What’s the difference,” or “is it really that important?”  The difference is bigger than you think, and yes – it is that important.  When Florida oranges are in season, there truly is no better tasting orange on the planet (to me).  They are not pretty to look at, and smaller, unlike the lovely California oranges, which seem less flavorful, regardless if they are more prolific year around.  Of course commercial orange juice will work.  I won’t go into detail about flavorings and preservatives added, merely stating that squeezing a fresh fruit will offer a better genuine flavor.

POG Punch

POG Punch
1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate VX rum
1/2 oz Mount Gay Eclipse rum
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz guava juice
1 oz passion fruit juice

Shake with ice.  Strain into pre-chilled glass half-filled with ice.  Garnish with an orange and lime slice.

And for the record, this is one of my wife’s favorite drinks. However, I make a slightly different recipe for her.  I use only Appleton (totaling 2 oz, and less lime & simple syrup – 1/4 oz each). It is a sweeter drink.  I prefer drinks more sour, and alter her drink accordingly.  After all, drink to your health, and your happiness, right?  The first taste might cause you feel you are on a Hawai’ian beach.