Thursday, October 11, 2007
With apologies to Mary Decker...
So my friend Daniel Shoemaker, bartender extraordinaire and owner of the best cocktail bar in Portland, the TearDrop lounge, makes this wonderful rum drink with tepache. Tepache is basically flat beer, pineapple rinds and mexican sugar left to ferment for a few days until it becomes a mildly alcoholic beverage. Daniel's is amazing, far better than the stuff I've actually consumed in Mexico, and I really think it makes an interesting base for rum drinks. Wanting to experiment with fermenting a pineapple based beverage, I started doing some research and came across a recipe for South African Pineapple Beer. Since it was going to be my first attempt at making this, I followed the recipe exactly as written (well, mostly). If I was to attempt this again, I'd add some cream of tartar for a little more carbonation. The pineapple beer does have some carbonation, but to my taste, its just a bit flat. It works fine as is as a base for a cocktail, but if I was to consume it straight it would need more carbonation.
Pineapple Beer (yields approximately 7 750mL bottles)
1 whole pineapple, chopped into 1/8 wedges about 1/2 inch thick
7L mildly warm water
500g dark brown sugar
1 packet dry yeast
1) Wash the pineapple well and chop into wedges
2) Mix pineapple, water, sugar, and raisins together in a large container
3) sprinkle yeast over the mixture and let stand 30 minutes
4) cover loosely and let stand in a cool, dry place for 24 hrs
5) Strain through a chinois and bottle
6) Beer is ready after 2 days in the bottle
I wouldn't serve this to your kids, its very mildly alcoholic, but it would be hell to catch a buzz off of this stuff.
So now onto the good stuff. Creating my first cocktail with the pineapple beer as a base. A quick perusal of the liquor cabinet here at the house gave me two options for rum. Bacardi Silver and Gosling's Black Seal. I'm a big fan of Gosling's, a Dark and Stormy just doesn't taste right without Black Seal and I use just a bit of it to round out the different types of bitters that I make. Some decisions just make themselves. Next, I'm a big believer that almost all cocktails benefit from the addition of some sort of bitters. I pondered using my own grapefruit bitters or Peychauds bitters, but then decided on Regan's Orange Bitters. Regan's is a nice bitters, and reliably safe. After tasting the results of the final cocktail, I think the Regan's ended up being the best possible choice. It added some nice background notes, some depth and really balanced things out. I debated adding some falernum to the drink, but as I play around with the pineapple beer, I'll definitely do something with pineapple beer and falernum. With no further ado, here is the recipe for tonights cocktail, the Zola (named after Zola Budd, the South African long distance runner).
2 oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
3 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters
4 oz South African Pineapple Beer
Build in a double rocks glass over ice, garnish (if desired) with a pineapple wedge and an orange twist.