Panther milk

panther milk

This Spanish delicacy (leche de pantera) originated from the Spanish Foreign Legion in the 1920s. Soldiers mixed any alcohol they had with condensed milk as a substitute for medicinal pain relief and then it became a fashionable drink in the 70s.

Ingredients

  • 5ml of grenadine (optional, for colour)
  • 35ml of rum or brandy
  • 35ml of gin
  • 35ml of condensed milk
  • 100ml of whole milk

Recipe

  1. Put everything in a cocktail shaker
  2. Shake (don’t stir) with ice
  3. Strain into a glass
  4. Lightly dust with cinnamon
  5. Transform into a panther
  6. Step 5 was a joke
  7. But seriously, drink responsibly

You can also buy your own Panther Milk.

The enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey

Taken from this article, published in 2016:

Every year, about 275,000 people tour the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, and as they stroll through its brick buildings nestled in a tree-shaded hollow, they hear a story like this: In the 1850s, when Daniel was a boy, he went to work for a preacher, grocer and distiller named Dan Call. The preacher was a busy man, and when he saw promise in young Jack, he taught him how to run his whiskey still — and the rest is history.

This year is the 150th (sic) anniversary of Jack Daniel’s, and the distillery, home to one of the world’s best-selling whiskeys, is using the occasion to tell a different, more complicated tale. Daniel, the company now says, didn’t learn distilling from Dan Call, but from a man named Nearis Green, one of Call’s slaves.

See also: the history of mint julep and black bartenders and a very brief history of Jamaican rum

(via TWBE)

Equiano is the world’s first African-Caribbean rum

Equiano rum

I wrote about the very brief history of rum a few months ago and now there’s a new chapter to add to the story.

Equiano blends the flavours of Barbados and Mauritius to create the world’s first African-Caribbean rum. It comes courtesy of global rum ambassador Ian Burrell and Foursquare Distillery’s master distiller and blender Richard Seale.

Equiano Rum is the delicious result of a collaboration between two fabulous distilleries, marrying liquid from Barbados’ Foursquare and Gray’s Distillery of Mauritius. The rum from Foursquare is aged in American white oak, while the liquid from Gray’s is aged in French limousin oak and Cognac casks. It’s then married in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at Foursquare, weighing in at 43% ABV. Two hemispheres meet in one bottle, and it’s rather marvellous.

Grab a bottle of Equiano from Master of Malt and read more about the creators in MoM’s blog post from last February.

And, of course, drink responsibly. And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Alcohol-related: The mint julep and its Black history, the whiskey glass from Blade Runner, and a Star Wars glass stormtrooper decanter.

TMK Creamery makes vodka from milk

Cowcohol vodka

The classic White Russian cocktail comprises of vodka, a coffee liqueur and cream, served with ice. If you don’t have cream, milk will do. But what if you could make the vodka out of milk too? That’s where TMK Creamery comes in.

Todd Koch is the owner of TMK Creamery and his idea of making vodka from milk came after reading about Dr. Paul Hughes—an Assistant Professor of Distilled Spirits at Oregon State University— who had tested whether a way to ferment whey into a neutral spirits base solution that was “both environmentally sustainable and cost-effective for small creameries”.

Large, corporate-owned creameries can afford the expensive equipment that converts whey into profitable products such as protein powder. But at his family-owned, 20-cow farmstand creamery, Koch and his wife simply fed their whey into the fields through a nutrient management system. Rather than continue to bury the byproduct, Koch decided to ferment as a means of profitably upcycling the whey while bringing visibility to his animals. He teamed up with Dr. Hughes and a nearby distiller to manufacture the creamery’s newest product: a clear, vodka-like liquor they call “Cowcohol.”

Cowcohol. Genius.

But, according to Atlas Obscura, Koch isn’t the only “cowcohol” distiller in the world.

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura and check out how they make vodka from tulips in the Netherlands.

Rick Deckard's whiskey glass

Rick Deckard's whiskey glass

If you bought that Star Wars stormtrooper decanter I wrote about a few years ago, now’s a good time to use it in honour of Harrison Ford. Why? Because Deckard’s whisky glass now exists.

Rob Beschizza from Boing Boing told a story of a 2002 blog post from Phil Steinschneider, a props guy and graphic designer (he created the Blade Runner font amongst other things), who discovered that the glassmaker behind Rick Deckard’s whiskey glass from Blade Runner was still making them.

In 2002, a very good friend in Los Angeles was able to definitively identify the exact glass used by the Blade Runner production. Subsequently, we located the original manufacturer in Europe in the hopes that the glass was still being made. Fortunately—although first introduced in 1972 by a boutique glassmaker based on a design by an internationally-known designer—the glass is produced to this day; a testament to its timelessness.

Over the years we have established a close relationship with Arnolfo di Cambio, and are making the same glass chosen by Ridley Scott and his set dressers—the Cini Boeri-designed “Cibi” double old-fashion tumbler (Cibi DOF, for short)—available to the general public. 

I love that:

  1. Beschizza found this post by chance
  2. That it was still live after all this time with the same design
  3. That the glass is still available to buy

And now I must buy it. So head to Amazon UK for the single glass, the twin glass set, or Amazon US for the twin set.

The mint julep and the Black bartenders who popularised it

The mint julep

It’s been years since I went to a crowded bar and ordered a cocktail. I always admired the mixologists who could flip their cocktails shakers like magicians on stage. In fact, Blaise Penny Kirkwood—the co-founder of our sibling site, Sampleface—is a mixologist. And he’s Black, much like the bartenders who made the mint julep what it is today.

A brief history

The julep started as a sweet medicinal drink. English variants were slightly alcoholic, and often contained camphor.

The American mint julep originated in the South the 18th century. It was initially used as a prescription drink, according to 1784’s Medical communications:

“[…] sickness at the stomach, with frequent retching, and, at times, a difficulty of swallowing. I then prescribed her an emetic, some opening powders, and a mint julep.”

But by the 19th century, mint juleps had become a bar staple thanks to pioneering Black mixologists from Virginia.

Certainly, if we move forward a couple of decades into the 19th century, we find that, in Virginia anyway, most of those who did build some kind of reputation for mixing drinks were African-American. In fact, between 1820 and the Civil War, there was a surprising number of black Virginian mixologists who made enough of a mark that we can excavate some details of their careers. Very few white Virginia bartenders could say the same thing; indeed, I can’t think of any.

Excerpt from an article by The Daily Beast

Julep Kings such as Jasper Crouch, Jim Cook, and John Dabney not only improved the style and taste of the julep but also furthered the art of mixology throughout the 19th century in spite of being enslaved people (who got to keep some of their wages). Soon, the mint julep spread across the country to New York, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

The mint juleps that Dabney and Cook presented were visual masterpieces. One account describes a giant, multiserving silver cup topped with a one-foot-tall pyramid of ice, ice-encrusted sides and a cornucopia of fruits sticking to the ice in stunning artistic designs.

From BoomerMagazine

The drink also had its variants, such as the Walker’s Alpine Straw Julep, created by William Walker.

How to make a mint julep

According to the IBA (International Bartenders Association), you need the following ingredients to make a mint julep:

  • 6 cL Bourbon whiskey
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water

Preparation

  1. Gently muddle the mint, sugar and water.
  2. Fill the glass with cracked ice, add Bourbon whiskey, and stir well until the glass is well frosted.
  3. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve in a highball glass.

John Dabney’s Mint Julep (according to The New Lucile Cook Book, 1906)

Crushed ice, as much as you can pack in, and sugar, mint bruised and put in with the ice, then your good whiskey, and the top surmounted by more mint, a strawberry, a cherry, a slice of pineapple, or, as John expressed it, “any other fixings you like.”

Other mint julep versions call for spirits such as vodka, rum, and gin.

Association with the Kentucky Derby

The popularity of mint juleps waned for the most part but it found a new lease of life at the Kentucky Derby, where it has been an associated drink since 1938.

According to the Kentucky Derby website in 2008, nearly 120,000 juleps were served at Churchill Downs every year. That same year, Churchill Downs created the world’s largest mint julep glass at 6 feet or 1.8 metres (not including the mint) with a capacity of 206 US gallons or 780 litres. Bottoms up!

A very brief history of Jamaican rum

Wray & Nephew's, one of the most famous Jamaican rum brands on the planet

Of all the things my mum asked me to buy from the West Indian shop down the road when I was a kid, Jamaican rum wasn’t one of them (for multiple reasons – age being the main one). And while my parents never drank it, my mum still used it in fruit cakes (if you know, you know). Rum is a significant part of Jamaican culture and in this article, I’ll give a very brief history of the alcoholic beverage.

What is rum?

Let’s get this one out of the way. Rum is a liquor made from fermented molasses or sugarcane juice which is then distilled. You either get a clear liquid, where the rum is filtered and bottled straight away, or a dark liquid which is aged in charred oak or wooden casks (known as puncheons) before filtering and bottling.

Jamaican rum’s history is enslaved peoples’ history

Rum was introduced to Jamaica in 1494 by Christopher Columbus (but rum’s history goes even further back, to the 7th century India). By 1655, when Jamaica was under British rule, the colonialists brought the concept of rum-making and distilling over from another of their colonies, Barbados. Enslaved people were forced to work on plantations and their labour made rum become an even more popular drink.

Rum then became a strong form of currency, used in triangle trades with enslaved people. But when slavery was abolished in the 1800s, the rum industry suffered as enslaved people’s labour ran its production. In 1893, there were about 148 rum distilleries in Jamaica. Now, only 6 remain (the last three with an asterisk operate under National Rums of Jamaica):

  • Hampden Estate
  • Appleton Estate
  • Worthy Park Estate
  • Long Pond Distillery*
  • Clarendon Distillery*
  • Innswood Distillers Limited*

But the quantity and quality of rum are improved and without the enslaved people. Jamaican rum is sold in over 70 countries around the world.

Hampden Estate Rum

Hampden Estate Rum makes pure single rums, using wild fermentation and no added sugar. Its history goes back to 1753 when it operated as a sugar plantation under the ownership of Mr. Archibald Stirling. The estate changed hands in 1827 and during World War I, Hampden built the Hampden Wharf in Falmouth for rum and sugar shipments. Today, the wharf is a tourist destination and an entry port for some of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Appleton Estate

Appleton began rum production 4 years earlier than Hampton. Nowadays, Appleton makes its world famous Appleton Rum and New Yarmouth Estate thanks to the incredible work of master blender Joy Spence, who became the first female spirits master blender ever in 1997. In 1978, she graduated from Loughborough University with a Masters’ degree in Analytical Chemistry.

Worthy Park Estate

The estate was established in 1670 and its started making rum in 1741, 7 years before Appleton (who claim to have the oldest rum in Jamaica). Today, Worthy Park mixes the classic with the modern, having built a cutting edge distillery in 2005, but still opting to distill its rums in a traditional Jamaican Pot for a “heavy bodied rum full of esters and congeners”.

National Rums of Jamaica

National Rums of Jamaica owns three distilleries:

  • Long Pond Distillery
  • Clarendon Distillery
  • Innswood Distillers Limited

The limited company is a joint partnership between the Jamaican government, Demerara Distillers Limited from Guyana and Maison Ferrand, based in France. Between the three distilleries, National Rums of Jamaica processes over 13 million litres of rum a year, enough to fill 5 Olympic-sized swimming pool and have enough left over for a really good party.

List of Jamaican rum brands

In short, there are a lot and I’ll undoubtedly miss some (in which case let me know) and some of them are made at the same distilleries or not made in Jamaica but are classed as Jamaican rums (eg. Captain Morgan). Here are some of the most well known:

  • Wray & Nephew
  • Appleton Estate
  • Worthy Park
  • Hampden Estate
  • Captain Morgan
  • Koko Kanu
  • Lambs
  • Appleton
  • Cut
  • Myers
  • Blackwell
  • Jah45
  • Coruba
  • Monymusk

Jamaican rum cocktails

Don’t let anyone tell you Jamaican rum punch is the only cocktail you can make out of the island drink. There’s a history to consider so here are a few along with their stories.

Grog

The British Navy swapped brandy for Jamaican rum during the Anglo-Spanish War as their drink ration of choice. But it caused sailors to be even more despicable than they already were (they were from the British Navy after all). So in 1740, Vice Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon issued a Captain’s Order that stated that all rum provisions had to be mixed with water, although the addition of “sugar and limes” was allowed. The new drink was known as Grog in his honour.

Nowadays, grog cocktails are still popular amongst seaborne types but also a mainstay at tiki bars.

Mai Tai

There’s a dispute over who invented this Polynesian-themed cocktail.

Victor J. Bergeron claimed it as his own in 1944 in Oakland, California. But Donn Beach said it was based on his Q.B. Cooler cocktail created 11 years earlier. The tastes are different but regardless, why is a drink, allegedly named after the Tahitian word for “good” or “excellence” (maita’i), made with Jamaican rum? Well, that’s what Victor Bergeron used in his recipes and subsequent recipes were modelled on his concoction (along with Martinique rum).

The official International Bartenders Association (IBA) specified ingredients for a mai tai are:

  • 3 cl amber Jamaican rum
  • 3 cl Martinique molasses rum
  • 1.5 cl orange curaçao
  • 1.5 cl orgeat syrup
  • 3 cl fresh lime juice
  • .75 cl simple syrup

Other rum cocktails include:

  • Blow My Skull Off
  • Fogg Cutter (not to be confused with the Fog Cutter which it is based on)
  • Hangman’s Blood (I assume this contains Jamaican rum as it comes from a book called A High Wind in Jamaica)
  • Zombie
  • Anything made with Tia Maria like Espresso Martini, Skinny Tia White Russian, and Orgasm
  • Doctor
  • Modernista
  • Mr. Bali Hai
  • Ancient Mariner

Conclusion

Phew, that’s a lot of alcohol. Jamaican rum’s colonial past mustn’t be overlooked. Enslaved people made the drink what it was for centuries before it was reclaimed by free Jamaican men and women. That’s not to say Jamaican rum has stayed within the island as the vast number of cocktails created by American Tiki bartenders and newer brands by European alcohol distillers can show. But you can’t beat the originals.

And, as always, drink responsibly.

Go Dutch with tulip vodka

Tulips, the main ingredient in tulip vodka

Other than windmills, clogs, canals, and Johan Cruijff, tulips are a quintessential part of Dutch culture. And thanks to the versatility of vodka, there’s a new brand made of the national flower.

The origins of tulip vodka

Most vodka is made from grain or potatoes but tulip vodka is created using the bulb. Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius grew the flowers in his university garden when it was brought over in the 16th century and a distillery bearing his name make the drink with fermented tulip bulbs.

Two types of tulip tipple

Two types are made:

  • Dutch Tulip Vodka Pure – comprised of water and 350 fermented tulip bulbs
  • Dutch Premium Blend – blended with grain spirits and uses only 40 bulbs

However, as only a few retailers stock the vodka in the Netherlands, prices aren’t cheap. The “Pure” blend costs €295 but the “Premium” blend is more reasonable at €48.

Did you know: The clusia plant, native to tropical America, is named after Carolus Clusius.

Alcohol for the palate and the hands

Like many distillers, the makers of Clusius Tulip Vodka are giving away free bottles of Clusius hand sanitizer with every bottle of their vodka. If you’re curious as to why, here’s the reason behind it:

To survive the crisis, Clusius Craft Distillers switched to the production of hand sanitizer alcohol. Normally the distillery makes vodka from tulip bulbs. The tulip vodka is mostly served in cocktail bars and sold at Schiphol airport. At the moment these parties have been shut down and sales numbers have fallen for Clusius. The (online) liquor stores are still open but are also facing a hard time.

The Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter

Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter

Perfect for whiskeys, cognacs, and wines, this Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter can hold up to 750ml of your finest alcohol. Picture this: you get home from a trying day on the new Death Star. All you want to do is hang up your lightsaber, unwind to an acoustic cover of the Imperial March in front of a fire. But you want something to drink. Then you remember you have a Star Wars Stormtrooper decanter filled with Corellian wine.

I’m mixing fantasy with reality here but the fact is a stylish, high-quality Star Wars decanter is the perfect gift for any Stormtrooper enthusiasts. Whether you’re on the side of the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance.

And don’t forget to drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive.

Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter on Amazon