Friday, March 1, 2013
Last summer, Mike Streeter from Rum Connection.com and I worked for about 4 hours doing what we affectionately call "Rum Research" at the Rum Lab, the bar on the back of my boat. We started out by making some existing cocktails that were new to us and then progressed into some new ones of our own creations. The thing that both of us noticed were that these really good cocktails don't just happen by accident. We spent several hours mixing old and new ingredients in different combinations learning what thing complement each other and which things don't do well together. This was an "intoxicating" process and after 4 hours of "strenuous research" we had to take a dinner break before we got ourselves to the point of invalid research. It's funny that people tell us all the time "where do I sign up for this kind of work, but we invited 4 or 5 people to come by and help. It is important to have tasters of various ages to validate the information, you know different age groups and all need a good feel for cocktails.
On the serious side, we did come up with a few new punches that will lend themselves to larger batches for parties and weddings etc., and still can be made as an individual cocktail. The biggest problem and the easiest mistake when trying to create something different is making the cocktail too complicated to be able to make in a bar environment. Some of the ideas we had involved 10 to 12 ingredients and that is just too many to be able to mix in a commercial bar situation. The next step is to try and keep the flavor profile that you have created and still cut out some of the ingredients. This is the part that is really tough and takes a toll on the body as you taste these concoctions. After 5 tries we reduced the ingredients down to 8 and got a taste that we were happy with. The working name is nutty punch #5, this is an interesting combination of ingredients that you don't often see together and turned out very tasty. You will be hearing more about the research as we move ahead. The end result of all the research will be "Bahama Bob Cocktails and Tales"
The most important thing that I am learning from our research so far is what things that you wouldn't expect to blend well sometimes complement each other is a surprising and tasty way. Get out and enjoy a new cocktail when you can.