Doling Out Drinks
Turning to...juice for inspiration? But not too much juice
So, normally I’m all about the shaker, but a couple weekends ago I was overcome with the urge to finally pick up a julep strainer at Umami Mart. Why a julep…I dunno, sometimes you gotta do stirred drinks (also sometimes you just gotta stretch your legs and get over to East Bay). And look I didn’t make it up, you use Julep strainers for stirred drinks.
Now stirred isn’t normally the province of tiki, but you know, we all gotta make do with what we got here, and so I set about figuring out what the hell I can do that both fits the bill of being.
This of course necessitates a minor diversion. Why does one use all that ice in tiki anyway. Dilution, my friends, dilution. Tiki drinks are not particularly known for being weak, and crushed ice is especially good for watering down a drink. Which you want. Because damn, if you are not careful it will fuck you up if you aren’t careful.
So what are some other ways you can get dilution? Stir. A lot. That’s why you get yourself a nice mixing glass. And other than the occasional Old-Fashioned or Sazerac, I don’t necessarily flex it all that much. And I should! It’s a nice piece of equipment and it exists to do more than hold my barspoon. Why not use both?
Of course, one does not just make drinks with tools. So what do we do with those tools? For some reason I’ve been unable to shake the venerable combination of pineapple, orange, and banana (I blame Dole), but when making a drink, it’s not like one is restricted to juices (I don’t even know what banana juice would really look like in this instance). So instead I reached for some old favorites.
In V1, it was pineapple syrup, Banane du Brésil, and curaçao, but it turned out that the syrup was a little too sweet. In V2, I dialed it back and went with fresh pineapple, Banane du Brésil, and curaçao, but then it needed a little sweetness. I also tinkered with the amounts a bit and ended in V3 with .5 oz of each of those, but it still needed a little more sweetness, so I pulled out some Demerara syrup. Since I had the barspoon that made for a handy measurement.
As for the rum? Some old favorites? Again? Always. Smith & Cross is a good call if for nothing other than its nice funk and its hint of banana. Otherwise, I’ve been loving the Panama-Pacific 9 Year recently, for its somewhat more mellow character (thank you column still).
But it still needed a couple things to shape up to POB (Final). What are those? Orange bitters and a well expressed orange peel. And of course a float of Stiggins Fancy So here we are:
.5 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz dry curaçao
.5 oz Banane du Brésil
a barspoon of Demerara syrup
1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Panama-Pacific 9 year
2 dashes orange bitters
Stiggins Fancy to float
Build this all up in your mixing glass other than the Stiggins. Throw a few good cubes in there and STIR. I give it a good 20 seconds, there is a lot of alcohol in this, give it some good dilution. Strain it with a julep strainer into a Nick and Nora glass. Take a fresh orange peel and express it over the glass. Viola!
It’s nice! It’s strong, so be careful, but again, that’s why you stir a lot. You have yourself a POB (Final). Not to be confused with its previous iterations.
This is Trader Jane’s, a periodic newsletter about drinks (mostly tiki) and other fun writing. Follow me on Substack for something every week or two (if we are being honest), and follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more timely updates on my beverages (and for lots of other things of course!)
And, as with any good drink, feel free to share (responsibly, of course)