Thursday, January 8, 2015

Slightly Twisted Up-Coconut Cooler

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Rhum Clément VSOP has been my usual go/to for Rhum that tastes like my memories of the Caribbean.  That’s not to say I was drinking much rum as a teenager, far from.  But the first true memories I have of real Rhum (instead of rum) started around age 18. 

My family was fortunate to have the love of the wind running through them.  Sailboats were as much a part of my teen years as was the education of drinking rum hailing from the different islands in the Caribbean that we sailed to.  The difference between Rhum Agricole made from freshly crushed sugar cane juice completely different from rum distilled from boiled molasses.  Rhum Agricole tastes more astringent and wine like.  It is sharper across the palate than softer and creamier molasses based rums. 

But what does Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe have to do with yachting?  Everything it seems when you are asked to sail on a magnificent, hand-built yacht “down island.” It was here in Martinique and Guadeloupe that I learned to enjoy the uniquely flavored Rhum distilled according to laws pertaining to the specific terroirs of the region. 

French speaking residents of the French Caribbean islands still distill their Rhum Agricole in a fashion that dates back to 1870.  Freshly crushed sugar cane juice is distilled before it has a chance to oxidize in the hot sun and tremendously high humidity.  This crush takes place mere hours from hand cutting the cane.  The main reason why molasses was employed to distill rum in was because of practicality.  Molasses is boiled sugar cane juice and it is much more durable as a product than fresh juice.  The fresh juice is much more fragile and it rots much more quickly than molasses in hot temperatures of the Southern Caribbean.  That’s not to say that it is any less delicious than molasses based rum.  I just tend to prefer Rhum Agricole (or agricultural-handmade rum) to mass-produced molasses based rums just by their flavor.   But not all rums are poorly made when they are made from the more industrial version of molasses.  They are just different than the freshly crushed sugar cane versions of the word rhum!

Damoiseau Rhum VSOP from Guadeloupe is every bit as delicious as Rhum Clément VSOP from Martinique.  These are gourmet Rhums that are as much at home in a snifter as they are mixed into a Ti-Punch (fresh lime, sugar cane simple syrup and Rhum Agricole.  I wouldn’t necessarily mix an expensive VSOP level Rhum Agricole with concentrated fruit juices because this Rhum has such gorgeously evocative flavors housed within each expressive sip.  I would however splash a bit of fresh pineapple juice with a squeeze of lime over the top.  And I NEVER use cheap concentrates of fruit juices ever to make my cocktails.

It’s just not done with any good quality liquor!

One of my cocktails from Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today uses a whole coconut that has been “frozen” overnight in a freezer.  The naturally insulating properties of the coconut will keep your drink cool nearly all morning.  Rhum Agricole goes inside the coconut where the potassium rich water is relaxing in a frozen state.  The high gravity or proof level of the Rhum Agricole will melt the coconut water housed within the coconut and create a cocktail of sorts.  You can add some simple syrup to the coconut water if the Rhum Agricole alone is too bitter to your palate.  It’s really up to you. 

This is a slightly twisted version of the Coconut Cooler with influences from my book.

Slightly Twisted Up-Coconut Cooler
2 oz. Damoiseau Rhum VSOP
1 Coconut (frozen overnight)
1 oz. Simple Syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to boiling water)
½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ oz. Orgeat Syrup
¼ oz. Grenadine Syrup
3-4 drops Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters

Add all ingredients over ¾ ice filled Boston Shaker
Shake vigorously
Add all the liquid ingredients to a coconut that is not only frozen, but has two holes drilled into it for easy entry of the cocktail

Add two straws to the holes in the frozen coconut

Sip carefully… and with reverence!

Tasting notes for the Damoiseau Rhum VSOP:
Spanish Saddle Leather nose gives way to notes of tropical fruits and sensuous Caribbean spices.  Freshly cut sugar cane dipped in bittersweet chocolate dominate the long, exotic finish that goes on and on. 
This is a truly exotic slurp, worthy of your hard earned money.  The Damoiseau VSOP is gorgeous alone in a snifter or woven into a delicious and memorable cocktail. 

You’re in for a HUGE TREAT! 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!

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