Libations and bibations with a view towards enjoyment

Mai Tai scaled up

For our Hawai’i-themed christmas party this year, we’ve stocked up on orgeat and on DonQ Cristal in order to make mai tai for all our guests.

Looking at the IBA ingredients on the Wikipedia page, and counting up from there, I’m settling on the following recipe for a large volume mai tai base:

800 ml white rum (a bottle and a bit)
300 ml orange curaçao
300 ml orgeat syrup
200 ml lime juice

Makes a base of 1.6 litres. Pack a glass with ice, fill with mai tai base, top with dark rum and garnish. Add crushed ice and let sit for a bit for a less boozy version: replacing the shaking step with an in-glass ice melt.

Ron Quorhum

My brother gave me a tip on a new favorite rum of his. At €30 for a 50cl bottle, and with his strong and descriptive recommendation, I went out and bought a bottle undrunk.

And I liked it. Ron Quorhum is a 23 year old solera rum from the Dominican Republic, and while it doesn’t unseat the ruler of my rum heart — Ron Zacapa — it certainly shoves Pyrat XO out of the way for 2nd place. It’s a thick, pleasant, layered flavour with a lot of natural spice and some molasses. It is a delightful sipping rum that I will be keeping in my bar cabinet.



Looking around for something to drink today, I had a hunch and googled for combinations of Gin and Absinthe. I ran into a drink list at the Ginologist, featuring cocktails with gin and absinthe.

I mixed myself an Earthquake:

Equal parts Gin, Absinthe, and Bourbon. Serve on the rocks.

using Four Roses Bourbon, Valkyrie Absinthe, and Bombay Sapphire.

Both Bombay Sapphire and the Valkyrie Absinthe have a wealth of herbal notes, and for the gin especially, unlocking the herbal notes is critical for getting any sort of mileage out of the drink. This concoction was a very pleasant experiment: herbal notes rich and present, louching continuously as the ice melts. The photo above was from just after mixing; as the ice melts, it comes closer and closer to a fully louched absinthe, flavors mellowing and merging.

Pleasant drink, would drink again.

Vana Tallinn: a surprisingly good European spiced rum liqueur

This past weekend I was in Tallinn, Estonia. There I ran across the pride of the city — Vana Tallinn, a spiced rum liqueur with a variety of recipes that is sold and drunk ALL across Tallinn. (probably outside as well; we didn’t leave the old town…)

The liqueur tastes like a spiced rum, slightly sweeter. It comes in 40%, 45%, 50% (abv), a Winter Spice edition, and Cream Liqueur editions — one “standard”, one with coffee aroma and one with chocolate.

So far, I’ve tried the 40% and the original cream liqueur; but I liked what I had so much that for my trip back I bought one 50cl bottle each of everything but the flavored Cream Liqueurs.

Standard way of drinking it seems to be as Estonian Coffee: like an Irish Coffee, but flavored with Vana Tallinn instead. If you like cream in your coffee, the Cream Liqueur is a nice replacement. If you don’t drink coffee, the natives will suggest it for tea — which makes a really nice Estonian Toddy.

One apparently non-standard use that I really enjoyed was what I’d dub the Must ja Tormine: a Dark ‘n’ stormy on Vana Tallinn and Ginger Ale. I have yet to try it with a really spicy ginger ale, and/or with an added slice of ginger, but my first experiments were REALLY promising.

All in all? A really nice addition to the rum family; and something to return to every time I get back to the baltics.

Tonight’s mix: Rebellion Spiced Amaretto Hot Chocolate

At tonight’s board game night, a guest asked for something nice to drink. A conversation about what culminated in “Something on Disaronno Amaretto, please.”

So I produced some Ibarra Hot Chocolate, and to a cup of hot chocolate I added 15ml (1/2oz) Rebellion Spiced Rum, 30ml (1oz) Disaronno Amaretto, a good spoon whipped cream, and dusted the concoction with freshly ground cardamom.

The result is a frothy and spicy hot chocolate with a pleasantly strong almond tone that emerges just after the head.

Very nice, would mix again.

Tonight’s mix: Rebellion Spiced Amaretto Sour

A good Amaretto Sour tends to include a bit of Bourbon or something, to give it some extra kick. Seeing as I just received my latest Masters of Malt order, I felt like trying out my brand new Rebellion Spiced Rum

I first met Rebellion Spiced at [kil-der-kin], where I tried it in a Daiquiri and immediately liked it. And seeing as I have recently tried and really enjoyed Amaretto Sour, the combination was inviting.

At a sip? Decent. It is a halfway-point between Amaretto Sour and Daiquiri, and the spices blend nicely with the lime and the almond flavors.


1oz Lime juice
1oz Rebellion Spiced Rum
2oz Amaretto Disaronno
A sprinkling of sugar

Shake sugar with lime (to avoid having to dig out simple syrup), then add ice and booze. Shake until fingers are numb. Strain, serve.


Also in my wrecked notes, I wrote down about a surprisingly nice cocktail we had: the Chaelburn.

Rum, port, pear liqueur, chocolate bitters. It keeps tasting better and better the longer you drink it.

Smuggler’s Cove: Final rum tally

This post is long overdue. I managed to damage the notebook I kept my notes in, so here it comes before I lose the notes entirely.

I finally got around to finishing up my Smuggler’s Cove membership in an epic round of rum drinking during a San Francisco visit last year.

Here are my impressions:

Chairman’s Reserve Silver

A heavier white rum. Tart, spicy flavour notes, pleasant and with potential for citrusy drinks. Would mix with, not drink neat.

Ragged Mountain

Exciting! This is a New England revival style rum. Tastes of mountain spring wayer. Odd — would drink again, neat.

Weber Haus

Cachaça. Slightly yeasty nose. Thick, earthy flavour with bright flashes. Not as bad as I expected, but I would not seek it out.

Plantation Barbados 5 yo

Cinnamon, cloves, honey. Might try this again.

Since this I have on several occasions bought the Plantation Barbados on bottle and used for mixing.

The Scarlet Ibis

Trinidadian rum. Some licorice notes, tingly, pepper-sharp. Spicy. Might try to mix with.

Cruzan Single Barrel

Slight honey nose. Spicy, yet unassuming. Boring.

JM Blanc

Agricole. Solvents, biting, unpleasant. Probably removes gummy substances. Aftertaste was, surprisingly, not nasty. Would not drink again.

Neisson élevé sous bois

Agricole élevé sous bois. Honey, burner spirits, and with a sharp aftertaste. Would not drink again.

La favorite vieux

Agricole vieux. New car smell. Pine. Plasticky. Boring flavour, but not actually offensive as a drink. Would not drink again.

And at this point, the collected agricoles and cachaças of this night produced a killer headache.

Novo Fogo Aged

Aged Cachaça. Boring start. Unpleasant finish. Did not even finish this glass.


Haitian rum. Herby, “christmas”y nose. Bitter, harsh head. Would not drink again.


Aged Jamaican. Unremarkable. Easy to get distracted from. Would not seek out.

Smith & Cross

London Dock / Export Jamaican rum. Honey, lemon, spice. Too strong. Dilution improves the flavour. 

Jägermeister dispenser dispensing Old Fashioned

Now I want a Jägermeister dispenser of my own.

Successful Caribbean Coffee experiment


The last of my bottle of Rumbullion went into a pair of experimental Irish Coffee variations today. They turned out really nice, and so I’ll give an overview of the recipe here:

Pour 30ml Rumbullion into an Irish Coffee glass.
60ml for a more noticable rum tone that covers the coffee flavour.

Add 3 dashes of Fee Brother’s Aztec Chocolate Bitters.

Add 1 large glob (approx. 1/2 dl) of whipped cream.

Fill the glass up with coffee.

Top the glass with whipped cream.

Result? A coffee even I enjoy drinking. This in itself is an achievement.