(Fill in the Blank) Fog Cutter

The Fog Cutter is one of those drinks I have lifted on high in massive glory, a neon-lit icon for all to see as a genuine representative of tiki drinks, like the Zombie, Mai Tai, and Hurricane.  Even though there are many others (seriously – there are a lot of tiki drinks…thank goodness), some drinks are simply born with spot-lights of fame because of a person’s imagination.  A long time ago, as in before my drinking age, if I were to describe a Zombie, it would have looked red, as well as a Mai Tai, and for some reason imagining a Hurricane as a blue drink.  When I learned what the drinks truly were, and they became real to me, the lofty heights of my given stardom no longer appeared so unreachable.  Reality replaced fantasy, and appreciation changed my perception.

The Fog Cutter, once again, is a drink with questionable origins, whether invented by Trader Vic, Tony Ramos, or from Edna Earle’s restaurant, which Fogcutters was named after a diving knife.  And for those of you who enjoy trivia, which has nothing to do with the Fog Cutter, the term Cutty Sark originally was not for the British clipper, but named for women’s undergarments.  Cutty meant “short” – Sark meant “shift” or “chemise.”  First came the underwear, then the famous ship, then the Scotch whiskey.  I guess the bottle would look pretty silly with something other than a sailing vessel on its label.

WARNING:  Anyone allergic to almonds should not ingest orgeat.

However, “Almond Flavoring” precisely printed on the bottle should be harmless.   If you don’t want to buy a bottle orgeat, or make your own, which is easy, another option is to add a few drops almond flavoring (from the grocery store) into simple syrup to give a neighborhood taste – a couple drops for 2 ounces.  I mean, the flower water really makes the flavor profile, not simply almonds, and there really is not substituting orgeat for something less.  But almond flavored syrup is close enough in a pinch.  I used to think, “Maybe if I substitute another kind of nut flavor it will be alright, after all – it’s just a nut flavor, right?”  Since then, I’ve experimented, trialed-and-errored, and learned the inventors of drinks could have used Frangelico instead of orgeat, but didn’t.  Could vodka work just as well as gin, if not better?  No.  The recipes are in writing.  They are permanent.  New drinks can be made using the old recipes as guides, yet cannot be called the same thing.  It’s all about flavor.  Bottom line:  Please try the original flavor of a drink first.  If you don’t like it, of course change it.  If you don’t have the ingredients at first, make it as close as you can.  But please, strive to get the original ingredients.

With that said, I substituted out the sherry.  I don’t like sherry.  I learned from Beachbum Berry’s Remixed (all hail Jeff “Beachbum” Berry!), whatever you float on top of a Fog Cutter is allowed as long as you alter the name of the drink.  For example, if I wanted to float Maple Crown Royal, I could call it a Canadian Fog Cutter, or Fog Cutter Flapjacks, or whatever you can think of, whether prestigious or playful.  Your drink – your name.  Plus, once you drink a Fog Cutter, you’re not going to listen to another word I say.  If by chance your mood carries you into two of these drinks, your opinion will suddenly grow to monstrous heights, and might crush us all under your bootheel of wisdom!

fog cutter

Malagasy Fog Cutter
2 oz fresh Lemon juice
1 oz fresh Orange juice
1/2 oz Orgeat Syrup
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Brandy (no need for expensive kind since it's for mixing)
1/2 oz Gin (dry)
1/2 oz *Madagascar Mix

Shake everything with cracked ice – except the mix.  Pour into tall tiki mug and add more cracked ice to fill.  Float sherry on top of drink.  Garnish with mint.  Drink with a straw.

*Madagascar Mix
1/2 part Clément V.S.O.P. (I prefer rhums more than rums for this)
1 part Vanilla syrup
1 part Tia Maria (any Coffee Liqueur will work)

If you have trouble with the technique of “floating” and the liquid flows down too far into the drink – remember to pour slowly, perhaps using an up-side down spoon to help slow the pour.  As you can see by my picture, my float sank like a stone.  Obviously I need more practice, if you understand my meaning.  Also, I don’t have a Fog Cutter mug yet, and feel I should have gotten one by now.  After all, the drink and the mug are practically synonymous.  Just for curiosity sake, I made two drinks, substituting lime for the lemon, simply to see a side by side comparison.  They look the same, and both taste extraordinarily good.  My wife prefers the lime, while I favor the lemon because I can taste the gin better with lemon.


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.

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.