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Archive for November, 2009

Corn N’ Oil – Black Gold

Posted by Reese On November - 15 - 2009

You hear crude oil referred to as Black Gold from time to time.  I’d like to propose that the Corn N’ Oil could easily be renamed the same.  Made with Cruzan Black Strap this cocktail is deep and intriguing.  The rum gives is a very complex molasses base flavor and the falernum punches it up to the next level.  It may take you a few sips before you decide if you really like it or not though.  My first sip I was stunned by the intense flavor of the rum and nearly concluded it wasn’t a drink for me.  Subsequent sips however pulled me in.  On the other hand my mom tried one sip and immediately passed on any future sampling.  The Corn N’ Oil is certainly not a beginner cocktail.

Corn N' Oil

The reason behind this is two-fold.  First is the rum.  Sure, you could make this drink with another dark rum, but you shouldn’t.  I whipped one up with Gosling’s and it was great, fantastic in fact, but it was lacking.  I missed the depth and punch of the Cruzan.  I have no doubt that there are some other truly dark, as in Batman, rums out there that would also work great.  If you know of some others by all means please let me know.

Second is your falernum.  This syrup, although easy to make, is some seriously powerful mojo in the glass.  It’s easy to add too much and have it overwhelm the rum.  For my personal tastes the homemade batch I made was great.  Sure, I have some tweaks I’m going to make next time.  Namely, a little lighter on the sugar and some additional spices.  Perhaps some cinnamon, cardamom and anise, but just a touch.  However, given those tweaks if you were going to make your own batch you definitely can’t go wrong with the recipe as it stands for your starting point.

A final note on falernum.  As I mentioned in the DIY Falernum post, some recipes call for fresh lime juice.  Since I left that out of mine I needed to compensate with a bit extra in the cocktail itself.  Definitely not a problem, but certainly something you want to be aware of as you mix up this drink.

So, when it’s all said and done here is my modified recipe.  I upped the rum content to offset the slightly oversweet (in my opinion) falernum and added some additional lime juice to balance it all out.  Enjoy my friends.

Corn N' Oil (Cocktail Hacker)
2 1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 Lime, Quartered
1) Build in an ice filled highball glass
2) Squeeze in lime wedges and stir

Cruzan Black Strap Rum

Posted by Reese On November - 12 - 2009

BlackStrapAs I started looking into the Corn N’ Oil cocktail one rum kept rising to the surface as the suggested dark rum for the drink.  Nearly everything I saw said that this cocktail is as great as it is due largely in part to Cruzan Black Strap Rum.  I’d tasted other Cruzan products in the past and loved them, but I’d never heard of their Black Strap Rum.  Thankfully that was an easy problem to solve.  I hit up the Liquor Mart and was on my way to cocktail deliciousness.

Per the Cruzan site their Black Strap product is a Navy Rum.  Their comment is a very good introduction.  “…it’s almost like a molasses-flavored rum.”  I didn’t have any experience with Navy Rum but I certainly had tasted some dark rums so I was intrigued.  The first thing I noticed was the color.  Cruzan Black Strap is much darker than any other dark rum I’ve encountered.  It’s abundantly obvious where the oil in the Corn N’ Oil name comes from.

Next you’re going to encounter the aroma.  Simply put the aroma follows the color.  It’s deep and dark and rich and wonderful.  There is an intense aroma of caramel and molasses with nice hints of vanilla.  It definitely has  a much richer aroma than a lot of dark rums that I’d run in to.

Okay, now the important bit, the flavor.  Like the aroma it’s deep, dark and rich.  The molasses aroma comes through in the flavor as well, but really pleasantly.  The flavor is also sweeter than most dark rums, but again not overly sweet.  The sweetness definitely doesn’t overcome the other delightful flavors.  Behind the molasses notes you’re going to encounter more caramel as you did in the aroma.  Finally vanilla makes an appearance in the finish.

Overall a tremendously pleasant dark rum.  I definitely look forward to trying it out in other cocktails.  I think it would make a tremendous Dark and Stormy or for that matter as a float.  Given it’s complexity and smoothness I’d even pour it over ice and simply sip.

DIY Falernum

Posted by Reese On November - 10 - 2009

Having come up seriously lacking in my search for commercial falernum I turned to my circle of cocktail enthusiasts and found a number of great recipes.  In looking at a few I decided on Rick’s recipe.  But why, you ask, did I choose the Kaiser’s recipe over the others.  Well, first it’s dirt simple.  I like simple.  Especially when I’m taking a first stab at something like this.  Since the ingredient list is short I’ll be able to discern what I like and dislike about the recipe and tweak it to meet my palate.  Second, I liked Rick’s comments on the use of fresh juice in falernum.  Since I’m not likely to use it all over the next week I wouldn’t want it to get funky as the juice goes south.  Finally, as Doug echoed Rick has this nicest looking falernum in process.  You’ll note this post doesn’t include any pictures of my own.  Well, that’s cause it’s not a gorgeous ingredient, but it is damn tasty.  Now for a recipe.

Falernum (Rick of Kaiser Penguin)
8oz High Proof Rum (Wray and Nephew Overproof)
50 Cloves
1 Tbsp Whole Allspice
1 Nutmeg
8 Limes, zested
1/2 cups Julienned Ginger
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
10 Drops Almond Extract
1) Toast the cloves, allspice and nutmeg until they're fragrant
2) Combine the spices, rum, ginger, and lime zest
3) Cover and let steep for 24 hours
4) Warm sugar and water and stir until dissolved
5) Add almond extract
6) Strain spice mixture and add syrup

Now, I have to admit that for mine I didn’t toast the spices.  Not because I don’t think it’s a good plan, I simply noticed that I was supposed to toast them once they were already submerged in overproof rum.  Seemed like a bad time to introduce heat.  Next time I’ll definitely be toasting them.

So, what’s the verdict on this recipe?  I like it, but I don’t have a lot to compare it to at this point.  It’s spicy and tastes very tropical.  I’m definitely going to have to mix up some Tiki drinks to make full use of this new ingredient.  Once I’ve played around with some other drinks I’ll be ready to construct my own recipe.

If you’re interested in other recipes here are links to a few that I found in my poking around.

Corn n’ Oil

Posted by Reese On November - 9 - 2009

This week I picked a cocktail not so much for the sake of the drink itself but more so for one of the ingredients.  This week I’ll be  mixing up the Corn n’ Oil.  A deceptively simple mix of dark rum, lime juice and falernum.  But, if you’re a noob like me falernum is an ingredient you don’t know much about. Fear not, the internet comes to the rescue as always.  Falernum is a syrup flavored with spices, ginger, lime and almond.  There are two options for obtaining some of your own.  The first and simplest being you can go buy some.  The major brand you’ll find is Velvet Falernum.  That said, my local liquor store had none, so I chose option two, making my own.  I’m fairly certain that like a lot of other ingredients homemade will turn out fantastic.  More on that later.  Let’s get mixing.

Corn N' Oil (Cocktail Chronicles)
2 oz Black Strap Rum
1/4-1/2 oz Falernum
1/4 Lime
1) Build the drink in a highball glass with ice

Seelbach Cocktail – Results are Muddied

Posted by Reese On November - 7 - 2009

Like the Champagne Cocktail I tried to like the Seelbach.  In fact, I’m finishing my last one as I type this.  While I won’t say that the drink is bad (it certainly isn’t) I also won’t say it’s great.  The combination of bitters in the quantity called for makes for a drink with a very muddied bitters flavor.  You lose the distinctness of each of the bitters and you’re left with a combination that while not bad or overpowering lacks crispness.  But, while we’re on the topic of bitters, I’ll say they are absolutely necessary, and strangely the amount called for isn’t overwhelming.  I’d say go with 5-7 dashes of each based on your preference and don’t simply wash the glass as you may see suggested.

Seelbach Cocktail

The orange flavor of the triple sec does shine through nicely and I would definitely suggest you use whatever triple sec you mix with most.  Cointreau, while fantastic, simply gets lost in this drink.  I used the Hiram Walker triple sec that I discussed a while back and found the results to be very good.

Let’s talk bourbon for a second.  As with most cocktails, I went with a rye heavy bourbon, Bulleit in this case, because that’s what I generally prefer.  In truth I think you could use any bourbon you like and still have good results.  Though, like the triple sec, you’re using a comparatively small amount so don’t waste your top shelf stuff.  That said don’t use rot gut either.  Don’t want to destroy an otherwise good cocktail.

Finally let’s talk champagne.  If I can be perfectly honest were you mixing this drink for me I’d prefer you simply give me a nice full glass of champagne and we can call it good.  I love me some good champagne.  Okay, I like even non-good champagne, but I digress.  To shake things up a bit (pun intended) I tried Mazzer’s suggestion and dropped the champagne to 1 oz for one of my drinks and found the bitters to be much too strong.  If you’re going to go this route, which amounts to basically an Old Fashioned with triple sec for sweetener, I’d say try two dashes of each bitters and you should be solid.  All told, I still prefer the drink with champagne.  In fact, I like more champagne that Gary Regan suggests.  Now, granted, this could and certainly probably is a result of my love of champagne, but we’ll ignore that for a moment.

So, in quick summary, the Seelbach Cocktail is good, but not amazing.  I’d drink it without complaint, but I’d take a simple glass of champagne first.  My preferred recipe is from Vintage Cocktail and Spirits.  Sip and enjoy my friends.

Seelbach Cocktail (Vintage Cocktails and Spirits)
1 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Triple Sec
7 Dashes Angostura Bitters
7 Dashes Peychaud's Bitters
5 oz Champagne
1) Build in the order given in a champagne flute
2) Garnish with an orange twist