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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The Grinch vs The Zombie

Mr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, also loving known as Dr. Seuss, wrote and drew the treasured children’s book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, among many others.  I first want to make this perfectly clear, out of due respect (as well as respecting the law), I do not want to take credit for any of Dr. Seuss’s works, specifically this story, nor will I sell or obtain any earnings from his efforts.  What is his, is his.  I grew up reading and listening to his delightful stories, and do not aspire to take anything from him, not even by means of the drink I’m writing about this time, which is based on Beachbum Berry’s research on the Tonga Room Zombie – a fantastic drink.

Tonga Room Zombie (from Beachbum's book Remixed)
1 oz lime juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup (or 2 oz if juice)
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Puerto Rican rum
1/2 oz overproof amber rum
1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum

Shake enthusiastically with crushed ice.  Pour unstrained into a chilled glass or tiki mug.  Garnish: cherry/lime slice/pineapple chunk.

And for a little Christmas cheer, with the help of Dr. Seuss (substituting “Zombie” for the name of “Grinch”):

And the (Zombie), with his (zombie)-feet ice-cold in the snow, 
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?" 
Then the (Zombie) thought of something he hadn't before! 
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" 

And what happened then...?  Well...in Who-ville they say 
That the (Zombie's) small heart grew three sizes that day! 
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight, 
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light.

I substituted out the pineapple juice because I wanted to add a little more sweetness to pineapple’s simultaneous sweet and tart flavor. I adore pineapple, as it is my favorite fruit.  Guava lends so much harmony when confronting passion fruit’s melody.  Most of it, however, has to do with my inability to explain what passion fruit and guava do together.  They are fantastic by themselves, but become a true marvel together.  Also, I confess my desire for guava in many more drinks, as another one of my favorite fruits.  To cut a single drop of liquid, in this case potent food coloring, with a dropper – drip onto a wet spoon, then run that off into my mixing glass.  Enough residue will remain on the spoon, and not making the drink quite so vivid (food coloring will stick to a dry spoon much more, not supplying enough color to the drink).  Unfortunately, I do not have any tiki mugs yet, which is one reason I took the picture below.  The main reason – clear glass shows the color of the drink.

Welcome back to Whoville Mr. Grinch.  Will it be your usual, or shall I shake something else up for you?

Welcome back to Who-ville,          Mr. Grinch. Will it be your usual, or shall I shake up something else for you?

Zombie Grinch 
1 oz lime 
2 oz passion fruit 
1/2 oz guava juice
1 oz Ron Rico gold
1 oz Pyrat XO 
1/2 oz Myers's dark 
less than 1 drop green food coloring

Shake hard with crushed ice.  Pour unstrained into a chilled zombie glass, or collins glass, or tiki mug.  Fill glass with more ice if necessary.  Garnish:  Cut guava slice/lime slice & cherry half in shape of a heart (Grinch’s heart growing 3 sizes).

If you prefer it sweeter, that is not as tart, add a 1/2 oz of simple syrup.

Merry Christmas.  And for those who do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you revel for whatever reason you wish.  Is living another day reason enough?  Enjoy your life with those you care about, and may it be merry.  Cheers to you all.