Mixology Monday: Blog Love

This round of Mixology Monday is dedicated to blogs, Bring On The Blog Love. After lurking many MxMo posts, I finally find that I have no excuse not to participate – especially considering some of the love my blog has received lately.

As asked, I figure that I cocktail is required, so I ended up sipping through two of Beachbum Berry’s Hundred Dollar Mai Tais.

1 oz Saint James 15-year Hors D’Age Rum
1 oz Appleton Estate Extra rum
1/2 oz Marie Brizard orange curacao (I used Senior Curacao)
1/4 oz Trader Vic orgeat syrup (I used Monin Almond Syrup – it’ OK)
1/4 oz Trader Vic rock candy syrup (I used home-made 2:1 sugar syrup)
1 oz Fresh-squeezed Lime Juice
1 sprig mint garnish (not for me, thanks)

I know, I know – this was supposed to be a drink from another’s blog, but I couldn’t help from sharing the recipe for what I think to be the best Mai Tai one can get today.

Paul also asked “Why’d you start crossing your cocktail shaker with your keyboard? What prompted you to take the inherently social act of mixing drinks and go all Web 2.0 with it? Who are all you people, anyway?”

To answer the last question: I’m a computer security geek who liked rum, got interested in cocktails (and found many of these blogs I read every day), found that I loved rum, and decided to share my tasting notes and some occasional rambles.

To answer the second question: It’s all Rick’s fault. See below.

To answer the first question:

I started drinking rum at a relatively early age, when an older cousin would often take me to a local Chinese restaurant and order drinks for me, or would share a Scorpion bowl or a Tiki Bowl. This started me off drinking rum, and it’s always been my spirit of choice over the years. While my buddies were nursing beers I could generally be found with a pint of Bacardi Gold, or – if we were serious – a bottle or Appleton V/X.

Eventually adulthood came and all the responsibilities came with it. I had all sorts of bills and I spent many years over-working myself in a computer career. I drank very very little for many years.

When I once again learned how to relax and enjoy life I found myself sitting around a camp fire with a bunch of beer-swilling fiends (whom I love to death) and I wished for a bottle of rum. I did a bunch of research on the Internet, and started buying some excellent rums. After a few years of this research I was sipping some fantastic rums.

Cocktails and Mixology
Last winter I decided that I wanted to drink better than I have previously, so I bought a copy of Dale Degroff’s book The Craft of the Cocktail and Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology. I was fascinated by both and read them both from cover to cover, marked off a bunch of recipes to try and collected the necessary ingredients. I was introduced to many great cocktails, and did my best to make them correctly. I sipped Aviations, fell in love with the Sidecar, tried a Jack Rose, and even tried a Cosmopolitan. Then I made a proper daiquiri, tried an El Presidente, and El Floridita #1, a Papa Doble and finally hit upon the favorite of my youth, the Mai Tai.

Neither of Gary’s Mai Tais hit me correctly, nor did Dale’s. So I went off in search of a “correct” Mai Tai and this research led me back and forth between cocktails and Tiki drinks. I lurked long and hard on many sites and learned a tremendous amount of mostly-unused information as I searched for the perfect Mai Tai. Of course, much of my research landed me on Tiki sites, and much of that browsing led to several Amazon purchases.

It was apparent that I had been lured away from cocktail by Tiki drinks, and as a result I careened away from mixology back into the land of rum.

Tiki Central
One of the sites I found while doing my Mai Tai research was the forums on Tiki Central, a site dedicated to “celebrating classic and modern Polynesian pop.” One of the forums they host is centered on Tiki Drinks and Food with a slew of knowledgeable and dedicated Tiki drinkers with a love of rum.

One thread on Tiki Central concerned Orange Liqueurs and the different tastes – the Orange Liquor Throwdown Challenge. As a result of my short-lived study of mixology I found that I had acquired 10 different orange liqueurs and I felt it was my duty to taste each one, compare them, and post that knowledge to the forum. Sharing that knowledge just seemed like the right thing to do after all the knowledge I had attained from this forum. I sipped, wrote, compared, and posted my thoughts on the different orange liqueurs I had available.

Kaiser Penguin
Some time later, while still researching the perfect Mai Tai, I stumbled across a post comparing a few different Mai Tai recipes. I found this on a blog with the crazy name of Kaiser Penguin. I was intrigued by this post and I searched around the site a bit, and stumbled across more of these Recipe Comparison posts. I found one on the Zombie, another on the Hurricane, and another on the Singapore Sling.

Even though I had read many blogs, for some reason Rick’s Mai Tai comparison post gave me a “brilliant” idea – why not start a blog about rum? I had decided to start keeping tasting noted about the rums I tried anyway. Information about rum is fairly difficult to come by – there are only a handful of sites that have much information about different rums. Another site about rum couldn’t hurt, right? So I fired up Google, searched a bit, and started a blog.

Many thanks for the inspiration Rick. Thanks for getting me off my butt, for getting me to take tasting notes, and for making me realize that sharing information is A Good Thing.

As a slightly humorous side-note, my very first post on my new blog about rum was my comparison about the orange liqueurs, my Orange Liqueur Throwdown post. Rum?

Blog Love
As I mentioned earlier, all my cocktail and mixology and Tiki and rum research found me reading a good many blogs. Some have stuck, and I read them religiously, always pleased when a new post is made. I’ve also found a few excellent forums, and even though this is Blog Love it wouldn’t be right to ignore them.

Rum Lovers @ the Ministry of Rum
The forum at Ed Hamilton’s Ministry Of Rum site. This forum is great place where some serious rum folks hang out.

eGullet Spirits & Cocktails Forum
A fantastic forum with some serious mixologists and cocktailians and spirit lovers.

The Art Of Drink
The blog from Darcy O’Neil, chemist-turned-mixologist. This blog is simply packed with great information ranging from individual spirits to cocktails to more “obscure” things like ice and mixers. Not to be missed, and guaranteed to be a good read.

Cocktail Chronicles
Another wealth of information, Paul posts on many different things concerning mixology and recipes and ingredients.

El Machete’s Rum Reviews
One of the few rum review sites on the web, and Orlando does a great job of reviewing them. He takes great care and dedication when sampling a rum, and I trust his opinions implicitly.

Infusions Of Grandeur
I love these two “mad scientists” and how they bring science to the art of infusion. Brendan and Wayland keep detailed notes about their infusions, and post all the knowledge they find. If you have any interest in making an infusion it would behoove you to read through this blog.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Jeffrey’s posts about bartending are priceless, from his advice to bartending myths to bartending information. Always interesting, always informative, always a good read.

Liquor Snob
Jake always has some great information and he’s forthcoming and prolific when sharing. And he loves cachaca, so how could I not mention his blog? I hit this blog frequently, always pleased with another tidbit or two of information.

Bilgemunky Rum Reviews
Though ostensibly a site about pirates, some fantastic reviews about rum are buried a few pages down. I find myself agreeing with him almost every time.

Adrian and Andy list a bunch of quick-hitting reviews on the rums they’ve tried, and they don’t pull any punches. Be sure to take a look at their two cookbooks – all the recipes contain rum.