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Are you a Bosom Caresser or a Harvey Wallbanger? Can you tell a Moscow Mule from a Brass Monkey? Can you name Ernest Hemingway’s favorite tipple? All the kit, spirits, mixers, famous drinkers, and more than 80 classic and contemporary cocktail recipes are included in this quick-reference that is bursting with information on everything you need to know to mix the perfect cocktail. The fact-packed introduction examines the legends of how the cocktail was invented and tells the story of its climb to fame in Jazz Age...
Are you a Bosom Caresser or a Harvey Wallbanger? Can you tell a Moscow Mule from a Brass Monkey? Can you name Ernest Hemingway’s favorite tipple? All the kit, spirits, mixers, famous drinkers, and more than 80 classic and contemporary cocktail recipes are included in this quick-reference that is bursting with information on everything you need to know to mix the perfect cocktail. The fact-packed introduction examines the legends of how the cocktail was invented and tells the story of its climb to fame in Jazz Age America. It then looks at the secrets of mixing a great cocktail and what you'll need to set up your own cocktail bar—what spirits, liqueurs, and mixers to keep stocked up on; what equipment you'll need; which glasses to serve each cocktail in; and how to garnish. Nine drinks-based chapters then detail ingredients, assembly instructions, and presentation for each cocktail, as well as the background of their creation.
Fifteen men on the dead man's chest
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest--
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
When you think of rum, the mental picture that it more often than not conjures up is of lazy, languorous, tropical days and slow dusks spent stretched out on a comfy hammock, cocktail conveniently to hand, as you lie back listening to the gentle lapping of the waves on a sun-kissed Caribbean beach edged with palm trees gently waving in the cooling sea breeze. The association is a natural one, because the Caribbean is exactly where rum originated hundreds of years ago. Basically, it is sugarcane which has been boiled down to a rich residue called molasses. This residue is then fermented and distilled.
Rum comes in two main varieties--light and dark--though Cuba produces a third, called gold. In the main, light white rums like Bacardi are produced in the Spanish-speaking islands of the region, such as Puerto Rico. Because of their dryness and the fact that they have a less intense flavor than their dark counterparts, you can often substitute them for gin or vodka as a way of ringing the changes in your cocktail-making.Dark rum is the result of ageing the light spirit in oak casks--the ageing process can take from three to ten years--together with the addition of caramel coloring to the maturing alcohol.
The best dark rums come from Jamaica, though some fine rums are produced in Antigua, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, and, of course, Cuba. Across on the South American mainland, Venezuela also boasts a particularly drinkable example. Indeed, the very best dark rums can be savored and sipped just like a fine brandy.
There are many, many versions of this old colonial classic, which is hardly surprising when you consider that, for centuries, the fortunes of what were then known as the West Indies depended on the sugarcane that was produced on acre upon acre of rolling plantations. Indeed, until the crash of the sugar industry in mid-19th century Tobago--where this version comes from--the expression "as rich as a Tobago planter" had passed into the language. Some recipes call for the punch to be stirred as opposed to shaken, but, as half the fun of making cocktails comes from getting down to work with a shaker, we have chosen a version that calls for its use.
Put the crushed ice in the shaker, followed by the rum, orange juice, lime juice, Grenadine and sugar, and shake well. Strain into a chilled low or highball glass, add the fruit and serve. If you like, you can top up the mixture with chilled club soda or lemonade to make what is already a long drink even longer--and, at the same time, less potent--but remember, if you do, that this must be added after the shaking. Never, ever, use fizzy mixers in a cocktail shaker.
For three hundred years, grizzled tars throughout the Royal Navy looked forward to that moment in the day when the order "Up Spirits!" was given, the daily rum ration emerged and the mainbrace was well and truly spliced. This potent concoction also originated at sea, though probably in the officers' wardroom rather than the seamen's quarters: the "brass monkey" was the name given to the metal rack on which cannonballs were stored on the mighty men-of-war of the great days of sail.
Fill a mixing glass with the ice cubes, and pour the rum, vodka and orange juice over them. Stir carefully, then strain into a chilled highball glass and serve, garnished with the slice of orange. This tastes even better sipped slowly through a straw.
Voodoo, zombies and Black Magic all feature prominently in Caribbean folklore, especially in Haiti, where voodoo is said to have originated. Indeed, one variation on the traditional recipe given here is actually called a Zombie Voodoo to make the connection even clearer. Another variation from the U.S. calls for the knockout addition of 151-proof rum, more than enough to bring any corpse back to life. Normally, such rums are confined to desserts that call for flambeing.
Put about half a cup of crushed ice in the cocktail shaker, then add all the ingredients with the exception of the mint and the other elements of the garnish. Shake well and pour into a Collins glass--in this instance, there is no need to strain the cocktail. Stir in the mint leaves, threading the fruit together on a cocktail stick, and place in the glass.
Despite its name, this powerful cocktail has nothing to do with Fidel Castro, nor with the momentous revolution that finally overthrew the corrupt Battista regime, nor with the abortive Bay of Pigs landings, nor the Cuban missile crisis and the decades of confrontation with the U.S. following it. Its origins go further back than this--to the Pro-hibition years, when it became popular among Americans who were rich enough to make it to Havana from Florida in search of a decent alcoholic tipple.
Excerpted from Cocktails by Jeremy Harwood Copyright © 2006 by Jeremy Harwood. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted December 14, 2010
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