I miss my friend, treasured with affection as she grew old.  I only knew her thirteen years before she passed away.   What great times we had, as well as the fun of ordinary times, like a simple stroll; or sitting by the grill (charcoal of course), enjoying the moment drinking a beer.  Beer was her favorite.  She relished beer better than chips, more than cheese, maybe even more than meat, which is saying something if you would see her confronted with the delight of those foods.  Maybe she felt as an equal with me when we drank beer together.  My friend was a golden retriever, and she received only a sip or two at a time.  Her name was Zoi.

In the drink named Tamon, I invented a syrup as an ingredient.  First came the syrup, then the drink.  The syrup is called Zoi’s Mix.  Zoi was a dark golden retriever, not like the light blonde colors.  I wanted to match her color by making a dark orange – thereby qualifying the pomegranate & pineapple.  The next ingredient needs some explaining.  Zoi had stomach problems from time to time, and would stop eating.  After veterinary advisement, I fed her cottage cheese and instant rice, merely a teaspoon every hour or so.  Once her hunger strengthened, I increased the amounts and intervals between feedings until she could eat a half cup of each.  I was delighted to see how much she enjoyed it, and warmed me to see her eat.  She had no appetite, yet would scarf down this combination.  When she felt better, I discontinued feeding her the rice and cottage cheese, returning her to normal food.  Okay, explanation concluded – this ingredient is a symbolic gesture of that rice…now think of horchata, which is made from rice water, as well as adding creaminess to the orange color.  The final ingredient is beer.  Zoi and I mostly drank lagers or pilsners, typically preferring light beer during hot weather.  Zoi, in fact, did  prefer light beer, since I let her taste a dark beer once or twice.  After she drank it, in the afterward “cleaning her chops” mode, it did not appear she enjoyed it as much a lighter flavored beers.  Also, she and I agreed about hops – leave those beers for those of appreciation.  They’re not for us.

Young Smiling Zoi


I attempted at Zoi’s coat color.

1 oz Clement 
1/2 oz Angostura 1919 
1 oz tamarind infused light rum (10 Cane)* 
3/4 oz tamarind syrup** 
1/2 oz fresh lime juice 
2 inches lemon peel (no white) 
1/2 oz Zoi's Mix*** 
1 dash Angostura bitters 
1 dash Regan's No.6 bitters

Muddle lemon peel with syrups and bitters.  Add rums and juice.  Shake.  Double-strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a potato chip…because I dedicated this drink to a chip-loving dog.  But aren’t they all chip lovers?


*Tamarind-Infused Light Rum
2 oz light rum (10 Cane)
1 tamarind pod

Pick off the crispy shell, which at times might take more effort, then plop the sticky pod into the rum.  Cover securely, and rest out of reach of sunlight, or refrigerate, but remember to agitate each day.  We’re not going for big flavor, just glancing flavor, enough to make a point.  If you want more flavor, let it steep for a couple weeks.  It will definitely taste better.  Double-strain, and then again through a coffee filter.


**Tamarind Syrup
4-5 tamarind pods
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Add all the ingredients in a small such pan – do not boil, but stir regularly for a few minutes, lower heat to low for a couple more minutes.  Then let cool to room temperature.  Double-strain, then again through a coffee filter.  For more flavor, let this sit overnight (covered in the refrigerator), or better yet, for two days.  But not any longer than that without a cap of vodka for preserving.


***Zoi's Mix
1 cup pomegranate juice (or Pama)
2 cups pineapple chunks
2 cups light beer (do not use hoppy beers)
1/2 cup horchata

If making pomegranate juice, lightly muddle pomegranate seed pods, but do not crush the seeds, then muddle with pineapple chunks.  If using Pama liqueur, you don’t get any muddling fun.  Add beer and horchata.  Simmer on medium heat – do not boil – stirring regularly.  Reduce by half, which should take some time.  No worries – drink a beer!  Take off heat, strain, pressing out solids if you muddled pomegranate.  Add a cap of vodka.  Keep refrigerated, as it will last at least 2 weeks.

Note:  Please understand the mix will taste a bit sweeter if using Pama.  Zoi’s Mix is a syrup…if using another syrup in your drink recipe, compensate by adding less of the other sweetener.

Please enjoy this drink with a friend.  Maybe imagine Zoi staring at you, alternating with your friend’s attention in hopes of affecting you with her deeply imploring eyes for you to give her some beer.


A wiki with Wray and Nephew

For those of you who are new to this site (or for those who’ve visited before and haven’t understood), I do not use the term “wiki” to mean an encyclopedic website, or even the play on the Hawaiian term “wikiwiki” (quick).  My wiki is equivalent to week, just changing the spelling in hopes of sounding a little Hawaiian.  I know…I didn’t ever say I was clever.

A lot of people have never heard of J. Wray & Nephew’s overproof rum.  A lot of people who have hate it for its “kerosene” or “gasoline” impression on their taste buds.  Yet, a lot of people really like this rum, including myself.  One of the best ways to taste Wray & Nephew is to mix it with Ting, a lovely grapefruit pop also from Jamaica (Ting is one of the best, if you can’t find it, any grapefruit pop would work closely enough).  I felt like something different – while in the mood for this rum, I made a week of drinks.

Monday:  Windward Daiquiri is like the Papa Doble, substituting Maraschino for falernum. Windward Daiquiri

Windward Daiquiri
1 oz Wray & Nephew overproof 
3/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice 
1/2 oz fresh lime juice 
1/4 oz simple syrup 
1/4 oz falernum 
1 cup shaved ice

Shake liquids with ice, and strain into pre-chilled glass filled with shaved ice, preferably a glass with a stem.  Garnish with lime and grapefruit peels, twisting over drink.  Note:  I understand ice might seem unnecessarily over-used, discarding the shaken ice, discarding the pre-chilling ice, and only drink from the shaved ice in the served drink.  The danger is the water from melted ice:  water second-handedly added by shaking with ice, because the liquids are not ice-cold, unless wiping out the inside of the glass from pre-chilling – a small amount of water will reside before shaved ice is added, then finally shaved ice melting rather quickly.  All the trouble is to keep the drink cold for that crucial span of moments your body heat rampages through your fingers into the glass.  Meanwhile, the shaved ice slows the act of drinking, unless of course you eat the shaved ice like a snow cone.

Tuesday:  The Jamaican Sunburn is sweeter than it sounds, thanks to muddling a lemon wedge, giving it a wholesome aspect, where simply juicing a lemon would leave you wanting.  I tried both – juice only, and muddling with the peal, and liked both, but preferred the muddling flavor much better.  By the way, please do not fret – the drink in the image below is not red at all, rather should have at least a reddening.  I apologize for this, my cranberry juice was a bit bleached, and barely red at all.  I honestly do prefer fresh ingredients…it’s just…some ingredients I cannot squeeze or prepare myself, and lay in wait for opening.  Regardless, I will do better next time.

Jamaican Sunburn

Sip slowly, or you’ll get burnt and you won’t even know it …unless of course that’s the whole point.

Jamaican Sunburn
lemon wedge
1/4 oz vanilla syrup
2 oz cranberry juice
1 oz Wray & Nephew

Muddle lemon wedge and syrup well.  Fill serving glass 3/4 with crushed ice, then dump into shaker with all ingredients.  Shake fiercely (really make an effort and shake with power & speed).  Pour everything into your glass, adding more crushed ice to fill (if needed).  The muddled lemon wedge might serve as garnish (if so and it is submerged, fish it up to the surface – or if you want more, skewered lemon peel and cranberries would doll this drink up smartly).

Wednesday:  For those molasses fans, this just might blow your hair back.  Anyone ever see the movie or watch the play, Harvey?  That is a hint to one of my inspirations for this drink.Púca

1/2 oz Kraken
1 oz Wray & Nephew overproof
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz orange curaçao
3/4 oz molasses mix*
2 dashes Angostura bitters

*Molasses mix is 1/2 molasses 1/2 hot water.

Shake ingredients with ice, double-strain into chilled glass. Add large chunk of ice (as to keep cold, but melting slowly, thereby not diluting the drink’s flavor – I used a Tovolo King Cube Jumbo-Size Silicone Ice-Cube Tray to make 2 inch sized cubes).  Garnish with mint, smacking the leaves to express the oils in the leaves, but not too much – just a hint of mint aroma.

Thursday:  A williwaw is a sudden violent, cold, katabatic gust of compressed wind, specifically descending from a mountainous coast to a sea, which sometimes reaches speeds well over 120 knots (roughly 180mph/220kph) – a particular threat for vessels attempting to sail around Cape Horn.  I read a good book by Dallas Murphy a while back called, Rounding the Horn, which was where I first heard about williwaws. Williwaw

1 oz Wray & Nephew overproof
1/2 oz Coruba dark
2 oz POG
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
two dashes Peychaud's bitters
8 oz ice

Blend all ingredients in blender for 2 seconds.  Pour into a chilled glass.  Garnish with lime.

Friday:  Hoban “Wash” Washburn, played by Alan Tudyk, was my favorite character on the science fiction television series, Firefly, which the FOX Network should not have cancelled (I repeat…should not have cancelled), let alone before the first season had completed.  The show was chock-full of adventurous, albeit archetypal, characters, and well-acted, which is no small compliment from me.  Yet, Wash stood out even more, perhaps appearing as some sort of kinship, or the first out of the characters I would choose as a friend.  Anyway…before I get teary-eyed (joking), I will describe the drink.

Wash's Cider

Wash's Cider
1/2 oz honey mix*
lemon wedge (small)
2 1/2 oz cider
1 oz Wray & Nephew
1 1/4 oz ginger beer
2 lemon wedges for garnish (because Wash deserves 2)

*honey mix:  1/2 honey – 1/2 hot water.  The hot water helps the honey mix with liquids more thoroughly.

Muddle lemon, honey mix & cider, add rum.  Shake mildly with ice and not for very long – just to mix it well enough and not bruise the cider (there may not be such a thing).  Strain into chilled collins glass, adding a couple cubes of ice.  Add ginger beer (preferably already cold) and give drink a couple gentle stirs.  Garnish with two lemon wedges.  I later regretted not adding another garnish, also add a single mint leaf, but not in the drink – try to have it hover above, likely using a toothpick into a lemon wedge, or through a straw – whatever you wish (hint:  “I’m a leaf on the wind”).

Saturday:  Here is a tasty one from The Jamaica Observer.  Since lime juice quantities vary from lime to lime, whether drier, or bigger, I have heard many times an average lime will yield 2 tablespoons of juice.  I don’t think I have ever gotten that quantity.  So the question is:  What is most important – the measurement, or how much a fruit would offer?  The reason I ask, the range of a drink’s flavor alters severely depending on the precise amount of juice, regardless if the difference is an eighth of an ounce.  I prefer my drink to taste the same every time.

On a more controversial side-note, you might find another recipe for this drink, again published by the Observer later that year (July 2012/November 2012), of a winning bartender’s recipe also entitled Independence Punch, which may not have a single similar ingredient (grapefruit sherbet, spiced pineapple, Appleton V/X, coconut water, and white rum).  Then they published one more mention of the gingery recipe in February of this year.  So I’m not sure if they made this recipe up themselves, or hid away the source of origin.  There again, I may have entirely stuck my nose where it had no business.  Or did it?  This is the internet after all, right?

Independence Punch

Wray & Nephew Independence Punch
2 slices of fresh Jamaican ginger
1/2 oz simple syrup
juice of 1/2 lime (note: I used 1/2 oz)
2 oz fresh orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Wray & Nephew

Muddle the ginger, syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add the rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, ice and shake well. Double-strain into a chilled collins glass over ice and garnish with an orange wedge and mint.  I also added the spent lime shell, pouring a little overproof into it like a bowl, and igniting it.  The image does not show the straw I added after blowing out the blue flame.  Caution:  Overproof rum (or any overproof spirit) is highly flammable – please be careful not to burn yourself, or anything around you.

Sunday:  …must…rest…

Fruit Sauce

great blue hole of belize

I thought the Great Blue Hole of Belize would represent a big enough bowl – rather than the below’s galactic size depicts.

In the beginning, my mother got out a very large bowl, 
and in the bowl was without form, and void.   
She opened cans of peach and pineapple, 
a couple containers of fresh blueberries,  
chopped up some oranges, 
several kiwifruit, 
then dumped all that into the void.   
And it was good.

The inspiration of this drink came from flavors my mother brought together, a satisfying and mood-brightening deliciousness called Fruit Sauce, made in large quantities for either get-togethers, holiday gatherings, special occasions (or ordinary made special), whether supplementing breakfasts, snacking, or as a dessert in its own right.  There is a lot of sugar in the recipe (not listed in the reverent and loosely listed recipe above), as well as including the syrups from the cans, causing me to experiment with sugar for a still-pleasant more-acidic satisfaction.  Pineapple, orange, kiwifruit, blueberry and peach – a flavor spectrum perfected by all, though strangely disharmonized if missing a single ingredient.

I say again, this is a sweet one, no question about it, yet close to balancing with the tart qualities of the pineapple, orange and blueberry.  These fruits are why a calculated addition of simple syrup is discretionary.  As to which rums to use, I hope you experiment which ones play best with these flavors.  I stayed away from spiced and infused rums, but have no objection to overproofs, demeraras or agricoles.  After all, the original idea of the five fruits will guide the drink – like a tugboat coaxing a cruise ship towards the dock to board you for an adventure.  When adding simple syrup, perhaps the best thing to do is taste the mixture beforehand (shaking first to incorporate the flavors – shaking without ice), deciding if syrup is even needed.  If it is not sweet enough, start with a 1/4 ounce, and if needing more, another 1/4 ounce, making sure the natural flavors of the fruit do not get camouflaged.

fruit sauce 2fruit sauce 1

Fruit Sauce
1 1/4 oz light rum (Ron Matusalem Platino)
1/2 oz gold rum (Flor de Cana 7 year)
1/2 oz dark rum (Gosling's Black Seal)
3 large chunks pineapple
1 1/2 kiwifruit
10-15 blueberries (depending on size - if really big, use 8)
1/4 orange (peeled & cut into 3 pieces)
1/2 oz peach liqueur
simple syrup to taste (start at 1/4 oz)

Thoroughly muddle orange, pineapple and blueberries.  Double-strain back into mixing glass.  Muddle the kiwifruit (do not strain for added flavor), add rum and peach liqueur.  Shake vigorously without ice for 5 seconds.  Taste to see if the fruit is sweet enough, as if provided season’s ripeness, adding simple syrup if desired.  Then shake again with ice.  Pour into a chilled glass.  Skewer some blueberries for a garnish.

Note:  When you have found your preference of sweetness, there is no need to dry shake the next time you make it, since it is your original experiment.

Another Note:  Bless your hearts for waiting for this dumb posting.  I had planned to make a drink commemorating my moving into a house (will make it another time), then a planned holiday drink afterwards (also will save it for next year).  I’ve missed writing about drinks.  Thanks so much for reading.

Laulima Lapu

A little after posting the Powell Point Punch, I began to wonder what was out there when it came to the three ingredients of pineapple, cranberry and grapefruit.  A funny thing happened – I found not only a drink that sported the three, but nearly had all the ingredients of another of my posted drinks as well (POG).  Reading Beachbum Berry’s book Remixed, I came across Bob Esmino’s Kijiya Lapu.  What I wanted to do was fiddle with Bob’s great drink, but still remaining devoted to his reasoning.

It comes down to a balancing act, sweet versus sour, like two teams with many members on each side of the rope playing tug-of-war, and rum is the rope.  My first thoughts before tasting it was not nervousness, but doubt.  I hoped the two drinks I liked wouldn’t ruin each other in the same glass.  Bob Esmino made a better drink, neither was his drink improved.  I simply made a different drink.  But it’s similar in many ways.  Changing the proportions altered the drink all by itself.  Also, it only made sense (to me) to add guava juice (regardless if I think the world is a better place with more guava in it).

Laulima Lapu
1 1/2 oz Myers's dark rum
1 oz Cruzan light rum
1/2 oz cranberry cocktail
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 pineapple juice
1/2 oz passionfruit juice
1/2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz guava juice
1/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz honey mix**
6 drops of absinthe
splash of orgeat
dash of Regan's No.6

Shake with lots of ice.  Pour without straining into large chilled glass, adding more ice if needed. Garnish with orange, cherry, mint, and an umbrella.

**Honey mix is simply equal portions honey to hot water, mixing until honey is dissolved.  Honey blends better this way; and you can get it all out of your jigger.

Wa’a kaulua


The weather’s getting warmer, reminding me to plan for hot weather.  A refreshing drink in the heat is an option everyone faces from time to time.  Usually pineapple juice comes to mind, and orange juice not far behind.  I started thinking of the Windjammer, which can have various recipes, some with apple juice, and some using another liqueur than Amaretto.  But I have seen more Amaretto/orange/pineapple combinations than others, and that’s what I thought of when first wanting a new drink.  I said to myself “That Windjammer recipe needs rum to it.”  This should not be a surprise to those who know me, like bacon, everything is better with rum, right?

I have mentioned some of my favorite rums, Mount Gay in particular, and demerara rums, and felt the above mixture would go well with these two added influences.  El Dorado is another one of my favorite rums, and mixes well with many different kinds of rums.  However, both not adding lime to rum, and the tartness side of pineapple not off-setting the otherwise purely sweet drink made me feel something else was needed.  I clenched my fists in wanting to add lime, and resolved not to cave, instead thinking of another rum, but not much – barely enough to spice the drink.  The French Caribbean influence of rum, or rhum, might offer a simplistic way to entice the taste buds to savor all the other ingredients, like adding salt to chocolate cake.

Wa'a kaulua
1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse
1 oz El Dorado 12 year
1/8 oz Rhum Barbancourt Blanc
1 oz Amaretto
2 oz orange juice
2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice

Shake with ice, strain over chilled old-fashioned glass.  Fill with ice (I like using large ice for slow melting), and drop in a maraschino cherry.


At the Piña…Piña Colada – the coldest drink south of Ottowa (I know…sorry Barry)

There’s a great argument when, where and who invented the piña colada, so either without offending anyone or accidentally getting the facts wrong, I’m going to leave this point alone.  The important thing is to enjoy the drink, and making it the way you like it.  After all, you never know what you’re going to get with someone else making it.  With that said, it was a restaurant that taught me to pay attention to the piña colada’s ingredients in a new way.  Bahama Breeze was a place we used to go when living in Arizona, a great place I wish would come to my home town.  Anyway, they served a fantastic piña colada, and used Myers’s dark rum, which was the key ingredient, and what I feel is the cornerstone ingredient in any piña colada, or at least a dark rum for special flavoring.

My wife is a big piña colada fan.  As a loving husband, it is my duty to try to make her happy, and fun to do when getting it right.  For a long time I have gotten close to a good recipe for her, but fell short of getting precisely what she wanted.  In a way I was shooting for that Bahama Breeze piña colada, and continue to search for the perfect piña colada for her, both with my own experiments and hunting or other’s recipes.  There are two recipes I experimented into, which I labeled below as Piña Colada #1 & Piña Colada #2, one with more elaborate ingredients, and another with far less mixed together.  #2 is both quick and surprisingly close enough to an ideal piña colada taste.

I used to drink Malibu rum, that is the coconut rum, and felt completely content for my coconut needs.  Then I happened across the Cruzan line, who opened my eyes to what I truly preferred in a coconut rum.  And it was here where I learned how the Piña Colada #2 could work so easily, and enjoyably.  The Malibu simply could not mix the same way with pineapple juice, or the chemistry of Cruzan Coconut blended more thoroughly.  I don’t know if it’s a chemistry thing, or a palate thing.  Regardless, we made the change in rum brands, and started drinking more piña coladas.

The first two recipes are ongoing taste tests, recipes I hope to get right, but feel I am pretty close.  They are going for a more complex grouping of flavors, while the second two remain more simplified, and closer to the original idea of the drink.  I enjoy mixing rums together, to see what they do, how they play out a story, or if they fight and try to steal the show.  The first drink will be extremely friendly, soothing in smoothness, and more laid back in the shade on a hot sunny day on the beach.  the second I feel is more of a night drink, meant to be taken more seriously and appreciated after a good meal (or during as well).

Okay, whether you like your piña colada frozen or on the rocks, I’m describing how to make it shaken, and poured over ice.  That’s the way I prefer the drink, and how my wife prefers it.  I’m not saying I’m above frozen drinks, or anything like that.  So to each their own, and I salute you for considering other options but sticking to the way you like the drink best.  Also, some people like theirs creamy, and some don’t.  So I’ve added cream to each of the recipes as optional.  I recently tried Coco López brand coconut cream, reading many reviews and comparisons, and found it superior to what I normally stocked my bar with, Real Coco.  They both have great coconut flavoring, but the López for some reason seemed more creamy.  If you have Real Coco, your drink will taste just as good.  And finally, a note on “floating” – some like to float a dark rum on top.  My recipes have you mixing it all in to taste the same flavor from top to bottom.  But that’s just me.

Number One
1 1/2 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Silver
1/2 oz Matusalem Gran Reserva
4 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz coconut cream (I used Coco López)
1/4 oz cream (optional)
1/4 oz Myers's dark

Shake with lots of ice to get it good and cold.  Strain into a chilled glass, and if you can – use a piña colada glass.  I recently got a good deal on a set, so I don’t stray from the fun.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk and cherry (not only the food of your drink, but the aroma really helps).

Or for a heartier version:

Number Two
1 1/2 oz Bacardi Superior
1/2 oz Ronrico gold
4 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz coconut cream
1/4 oz cream (optional)
1/8 oz Lemon Hart overproof

Shake with lots of ice.  Strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk and cherry.

For a more Jamaican style:

Number Three
1 1/2 oz Appleton
5 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz coconut cream
1/4 oz cream (optional)
1/4 oz Myers's dark

Shake with lots of ice.  Strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk and cherry.

And one in a jiffy:

Number Four
2 oz Cruzan Coconut
5 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz cream (optional)

Shake with lots of ice.  Strain into a chilled glass.  No need for a garnish, but if you want, a cherry will suffice.

When it comes down to it, a piña colada is three ingredients:  Rum, pineapple and coconut.  I was simply adding ideas to the original idea , hoping each drink remains balanced as what was first inspired.  Sorry I didn’t have any pineapple for the garnish.  It really makes a difference.

My wife and I had a taste test.  For those who are interested this is how they ranked:

I ranked them 1, 3, 4, 2                  My wife ranked them 1, 4, 3, 2