We find ourselves sadly late this month when it comes to MxMo time. However we’re very fond of The Straight Up and the theme Anise. It’s suitable that such a fragrant spice should be used this month as we ourselves are focused on decoding the classic elements of Tiki Warmers. This week we continue to fan the flames.
Our focus this time is on the all important element of heat and we turn it up to eleven. When one looks at Don Beach’s famous coffee grog it’s impossible to miss the incredible fiery show one is treated to. In truth though the fire isn’t just a show, as any cook knows heat changes flavor. In fact one of the first things a Sommelier learns is that heat and light changes and denatures alcohol. In Indian and some Middle Eastern traditions spices are often toasted just before being ground to release more of their flavor. This heat element is crucial when it comes to enhancing the rum and spices that go into classic Tiki warmers. Now this doesn’t always employ fire, but why not go big. After all isn’t that what Tiki is all about?
We chose anise and absinthe to help give this grog flair. The fire aspect gives it such a refreshing minty note it almost makes me think of a breakfast drink. The aroma is very bright and fills a room once lit. Don’t let the flame linger to long or you’ll burn the spices. It’s best to extinguish it almost immediately. Normally people would say the fire show is optional. I will recommend you take every precaution however the fire element changes the flavor significantly. If your properly prepared we recommend you give it a try.
Colonel Minty’s Holiday Grog
2 tsp Colonel Minty grog batter
2 one inch strips of orange peel
1 two inch piece of lemon peel
1 stick of crushed pure cinnamon
2 crushed allspice berries
2 pieces star anise
6 oz Sumatran coffee
¼ oz absinthe
½ oz Diplomatico Anejo
½ oz Lemon hart 151
For the Grog Batter: Cream together 1 oz of butter, 1 oz of clover honey, ½ oz of Passion Fruit Syrup, and ½ oz of vanilla syrup. Store at room temperature.
Combine in a large heatproof mug the spices, rums, absinthe, and peels. In a separate pitcher combine the batter and coffee. Set the rum filled mug alight and extinguish it with the pitcher of coffee and batter. Give a light stir to combine.
The scent will smack you a little even if your a table away. The nose is intense with fennel, orange, anise, earthy and mint. The taste is oddly refreshing for a hot Tiki tipple. The opening is buttery, citrus laden and rich with rum warmth followed by hints of smoke and allspice. After the opening bout of citrus and spice refreshed and ready for the morning. If you don’t flame the drink you may find it muted, the mint is far less pronounced and allspice, lemon peel, and an almost peppery finish become the dominant flavors. Though as the drink cools cinnamon becomes a dominant flavor with earthy smokey notes bringing up the rear. We omit a sugar cube but if you’ve a sweet tooth there’s no harm in adding one to the flaming mixture.
We hope this grog warms your heart and lifts your eyelids with tasty fire filled flavors. We’d like to thank The Straight Up for hosting this month and apologize again for being late. A bout of flu and a new job will throw anyone off. Until next time…
“You get hammered America” – JFL