Spindrift

Once again under the guidance of the Beachbum (from Remixed), I whipped up a batch of Spindrift Jr.’s for my wife and I, preferring the smaller scale to the larger original version.  However, even though the recipe sounded clearly better, not simply for its complexity, but for the abundance of flavor, my biggest challenge came when failing to find a favorable shaped glass for the Spindrift’s much larger amount.  Although I do not yet have a large snifter, a tall beer glass will have to do – either that or the huge pickle jar I use for infusing, which would of course be silly (but not absolutely out of the question).

I saw some passion fruit at the grocery store, and decided to make some fresh syrup.  Upon extracting the juice from around the seeds, very similar to pomegranate, for some reason I was surprised how tart it tasted.  Up until that point, passion fruit juice had always tasted sweet, meaning I was ignorantly surprised how much better and pure the juice tasted.  Why would this surprise me after all the harping I practice in pronouncing how much better fresh juice is to concentrate/frozen/manufactured products?  The robust passion fruit declared itself incomparable, and bolder than any attempt otherwise, from now on dragging me from Plato’s pitch-black cave into the light.

Normally I use containerized juice, prefer paying for shipping to get the Ceres brand, but am not above using Welch’s nowhere-near attempt – when the supermarket has it on its shelves.  It is simply a fact of life:  Sometimes it is difficult finding passion fruit juice.  Making your own juice takes a bit of time to prepare, yet far less time if you’re unable to find any purchasable juice, and above all worth tasting at least once.  Seriously, even if you buy one passion fruit, just one, and are able to get less than a half an ounce of juice – it is worth it.

To make passion fruit syrup:  Cut the passion fruit in half with a sharp knife (worse than a tomato – the skin defends against slicing), then scoop out the fruit into a wire mesh strainer.  Mash the fruit to break the membrane surrounding the seeds, or the use of a blender on slow speed, careful not to harm the seeds themselves.  The membrane is pretty resilient, and will require a good share of elbow grease if mashing with a spoon.  Please remember to scrape off the bottom of the strainer.  Doesn’t passion fruit smell great?  Next, stir some fresh simple syrup with the juice in a sauce pan on medium heat, warming the mixture together without boiling for a couple minutes, seeing steam rise.  Or make the simple syrup in the pan with the juice, which is a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water – or 2:1 if wishing to make “rich simple syrup.”  Please remember – “rich” means very sweet.  Turn off the heat and cool to room temperature, approximately twenty minutes.

This post is about a drink, not a fruit; yet the fruit can clearly make the drink, if not make it better.  Fresh lemon juice is a must, there is no substitute.  I would say the same about orange juice.  Some oranges simply do not taste as good if they are not in season.  That does not mean I will ever choose concentrate over freshly squeezed.  I squeezed a couple oranges, and used the peel (along with the lemon) for a pleasant bouquet.  Jamaican and demerara rums go very well together with their independently rich flavors and complexities.  I think the vanilla and passion fruit stand as the true character of this drink.  I was tempted to make a strong syrup from a vanilla bean, but did not want to tamper with the undeniable strength and straight-forward essence of the extract, or over-reach with sweetness.  As it is, the Spindrift is very well-balanced between tartness and sweetness.

If this drink sounds too big, or the combined ounces of rum sound too much for a work night, split it with a loved-one, or make a friend.  There’s nothing in the rule book about straining a Spindrift into a pitcher for two.

Spindrift

Spindrift
3 oz fresh orange juice
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup
3/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz dark Jamaican rum (Coruba)
1 1/2 oz demerara rum (El Dorado)
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum (Bacardi)
20 oz crushed ice (2 1/2 cups)

Blend for 10 seconds, pour unstrained into a large, chilled snifter.  Garnish with orange and lemon wheel, and if you freshly made the syrup – a spent half shell of passion fruit.

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Tahitian Knockout

I have a passion for travel, whether in my region or country, or the vastness of our planet.  An enormous thrill to travel to the Pacific and all her islands:  Tahiti (and Moorea…not Moria), Bora Bora, Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, the Samoa Islands (all on the top of the list), all of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia – if I could I would visit every island.  If I could choose which to visit first, I want to go to Tahiti most.

I’ve had different Tahitian punches, some were good, but some were not so good, instead tasting ordinary, like any rum would replace another, and the same with juices.  The Tahitian Punch does not have a fill-in-the-blank recipe, and deserves respect.  I was thinking about writing about a few recipes, sort of like a taste test type of thing, but decided against it after I bought the last ingredient in the recipe below.  I finally got my hands on Coruba rum.

If you are unfamiliar with honey cream, it is easy to make, but has a ticking clock attached to it.  If it cools too much, it will harden, and shatter when shaken with ice, then float…an understandably undesirable result, and causing an emotional response when looking down into the glass – precisely the opposite effect you want when looking at your drink.  The goal is creaminess, a taste sensation of both flavor and texture.  You want to control the butter, making it work for you, and in the end an enjoyable instrument for the drink.  Boiling butter is not the goal either, as it will separate on itself.  Simply warm the three together in a microwave, slowly, or if you prefer in a small pan on the stove, just as long as there’s not too much heat.  So you’ll need to make this just a little before shake time.  Papa Jules cooks his honey cream every night at his Mahiki nightclub in London.  His recipe is equal parts butter (no salt kind), honey and brown sugar.

And in case you don’t want to hunt down the definition, Toere means “drum” in the Tahitian language, and I’ve heard it is pronounced “toe-eddy”.  If that is correct, it seems reasonable with the “rolling R” mechanic, and perhaps a percussive quality.

One last thing, I floated orange juice, not an overproof rum, nor a dark rum – but juice.  I have never heard of anyone doing this, and probably am “doing it wrong” by choosing this technique.  In my defense, I chose orange juice as a garnish, not a mixed ingredient, mostly for the scent of smell.  In many Tahitian Punch recipes with orange juice as an ingredient, this time I did not want an orange flavor, but its aroma…that is if orange juice truly defines this specific punch.

Toere

Toere
dash of Maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
3/4 oz passion fruit juice
1/2 oz Don's Mix*
1/2 oz Jules' Honey Cream**
1/4 oz Bärenjäger
3/4 oz light rum (Mount Gay Eclipse)
3/4 oz demerara rum (El Dorado 12 year)
1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum (Coruba)
dash of Peychaud's bitters
splash of fresh orange juice

Chill double old-fashioned glass.  Season the interior surface of the glass with Maraschino, then discard.  Shake rest of ingredients with crushed ice.  Pour unstrained into glass.  Float orange juice.  Garnish with spent orange wedge and a lime wedge (pineapple too, but I didn’t have any at the time I made the drink).

*Don’s Mix:  2 parts grapefruit juice with a half part cinnamon infused simple syrup..

**Jules’ Honey Cream:  Equal parts butter, honey and brown sugar.