Monday, September 17, 2007

Mixology Monday: Fizz

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Colonel Beach's Plantation Punch

1 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 oz. falernum
2 oz. ginger beer
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1/8 teaspoon Pernod
2 oz. dark Jamaican rum
1 oz. gold Puerto Rican rum
1/2 oz. Barbados rum

Shake with one cup crushed ice. Pour into tall glass with 3 or 4 ice cubes. Garnish with pineapple chunk and sprig of mint.

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Baby Bamboo wasn’t the only thing to arrive last month. I also received a second bundle of joy- the bottle of falernum I finally got around to ordering. Unlike those industrious souls out there making their own falernum from scratch (My hat‘s off to you, you magnificent, fearless bottle-jockeys), I relied on the Fee Bros. this time around.

The arrival of the falernum sent me straight in one direction…right toward the Beachbum Berry books. I also figured I could find a recipe that would satisfy the “fizz” requirement for this month’s MxMo, and after some vigorous page-flipping I found it: Colonel Beach’s Plantation Punch, courtesy of Don the Beachcomber.

CBPP contains not only the falernum I’d been dying to try, but also ginger beer, which brings the fizz. Most importantly, It‘s a tiki drink, and I’d been meaning to put one of those through it’s paces since I started this whole enterprise.

After getting everything into (and out of) the shaker, the drink settled into the glass with a translucent, dusky amber color, topped by a frothy head that remains well after the pour. The rums & juices combine in an aroma that is unmistakably tiki, but it won’t knock you over with a boozy updraft…you have to move in and chase it.

After several sips I was pleased to find that the various flavors stand up well against each other. Many times I’ve had tiki-style drinks where the ingredients end up as an indistinct stew of citrus, rums, and sweeteners, often in lopsided proportions. By contrast, CBPP is a very evenly-flavored (some would perhaps say flat) tasting concoction.

Despite the evenness, the pineapple and Pernod still seem to pop a bit. They really complement the dryness of the rums, and the Pernod in particular is noticeable despite how little the recipe calls for. The ginger beer however, is almost nonexistent- the flavor isn’t evident, but rather the warm tingle of the ginger hangs in the background, assuming more of a texture than a taste (Although I’m guessing this can vary depending on the brand used).

Overall, I liked it. It’s not terribly distinctive, but it is pleasant, and a great example of a tiki-style drink. As I finished it, I couldn’t help notice its resemblance to another of Don the Beachcomber’s drinks: the Zombie. There are several similar ingredients (including 3 rums), and even the garnish is basically the same. The falernum taking the place of the passion fruit syrup is a departure, but the formula remains essentially intact.

Now I’m not bashing the Beachcomber by implying he merely dusted off an established recipe and made a few tweaks…but how’s this for an analogy? Ever met two siblings where the older one is brash and extroverted, and the younger one is quiet and charms all the older relatives with his mature reserve and politeness? The Zombie is the former and CBPP is the latter.

They’re both good kids. Spend time with each of ’em.