Monday, August 15, 2011

blackbeard's ghost

1 1/2 oz El Dorado 3 Year Rum
1 oz Cruzan Light Rum
3/4 oz Bols Apricolt Liqueur
1/2 oz Fee's Falernum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a mint leaf and a lime wedge, and add a straw.

Last Monday after getting my copy of America Walks Into a Bar signed by author Christine Sismondo at the Boston Shaker, I traveled down the Red Line to Think Tank in Kendall Square. On Mondays, Brother Cleve tends the bar and draws up a weekly themed list of original and classic cocktails to serve on top of their regular menu. That week, it was a handful of Tiki drinks, and for a starter, I opted for Brother Cleve's variation on Beach Bum Berry's Blackbeard's Ghost. Berry's recipe appears in the Grog Log, and he modeled it after the Pirate's Grog served at the Blackbeard's Galley restaurant in Newport Beach, California, around 1970. Brother Cleve made a few tweaks to be discussed in a moment.
Brother Cleve's version presented the rums' aroma combined with that of the mint and lime garnishes. The sip offered a sweet citrus flavor that was followed by a clove, apricot, and rum swallow. When we began discussing the history of the drink, Brother Cleve decided that we ought to taste Berry's version side-by-side:
Blackbeard's Ghost from The Grog Log
• 1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan)
• 1/2 oz Demerara Rum (3/4 oz El Dorado 3)
• 1 oz Orange Juice
• 2 oz Sour Mix (2/3 Lemon:2/3 Lime:2/3 Simple Syrup)
• 1/2 oz Falernum (Fee's)
• 1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Bols)
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with crushed ice and pour into a glass.
In making the second drink, Brother Cleve stuck to the original recipe with a few exceptions. In the rums, he opted for a Virgin Island instead of a Puerto Rican rum, and for the Demerara rum, he increased the amount, well, because Cleve likes Demerara rum. Instead of bottled Sour Mix, Cleve made an equal parts lemon, lime, and simple syrup combination; Tiare of A Mountain of Crushed Ice took a similar route and made a 1 part lemon, 1 part lime, 2 parts simple syrup mix which would be preferable for people seeking a sweeter drink. Other than that, Brother Cleve stuck to Berry's recipe in this second drink. The end result was a drink that was rather orange-driven and thus smooth. Cleve commented that this effect is more stereotypical of Tiki drinks, and I noted that it brought out the apricot more (despite there being less liqueur in this version) and diminished the spice notes on the swallow. Indeed, the Cleve version was closer to a more modern cocktail and the Berry recipe was more in tune with the smoothness of the Tiki genre; regardless, both drinks were fine tributes to the Blackbeard's Galley.

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