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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food my homemade allspice syrup/pimento dram tasting experiments
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my homemade allspice syrup/pimento dram tasting experiments
thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1231
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2011-02-21 10:06 pm   Permalink

Having gotten tired of waiting for Berryhill or St. Elizabeth's dram to show up around here, I decided to embark upon experiments with the most widely reported homemade versions. my research suggested that the four most popular drinks made with pimento dram are:

(1) DtB Rum Barrel; (2) Trader Vic's Navy Grog; (3) DtB Nui Nui; and (4) DtB Pearl Diver's Punch. [note-- the Ancient Mariner seems merely a weakened TV Navy Grog, so didn't try it out here]

Being the impatient type, and not looking to make the perfect drink but merely seeking to experience each drink's flavor profile, I opted to utilize pre-ground allspice, with no filtering, and with no aging. I made three versions in low quantity-- (A) the TV Navy Grog 'allspice syrup' recipe reported by the Bum in the Grog Blog; (B) the 'sippin safari' version of pimento dram, but using Wray & Nephew Overproof rum as many here suggest, and (C) the Chuck Taggart Looka! version of pimento dram made with Lemon Hart 151.

(1) First, to make the Rum Barrel. I made the first one with the Taggart pimento.

This was my first rum barrel, and I must say-- wow, the booze is disguised by the juice and spices, this is a dangeroust drink. I quickly realized that I had underestimated the task at hand. This was a good drink- tart, juicy, rummy; but, there did not seem to be much point in making two more versions of this drink w/the other drams, as the pimento was such a small component. I "voluntarily" closed shop for the night.

(2) Next round/day, enlisting the wife's aid this time. Mixed up three versions of the Trader Vic Navy Grog. I liked all three versions. The Taggart dram mixed well but consequently seemed to disappear somewhat in the blend. I really liked the Grog blog syrup as it was the most spicy, but the wife found it overpowering. The safari/Wray dram worked the best-- the wife liked the spice and sweetness it added; I preferred it less than the grog blog syrup, although perhaps bc, as the bartender, I recognized the pronounced karo syrup (some say kerosene?) flavor of the Wray overproof. But, it averaged out btw the two of us as best for this drink.

(3) round three- this time mixing up three versions of the Nui Nui. We both agreed-- the Taggart dram made the best drink here- nice balance of allspice, vanilla, and cinnamon in the drink. The grog blog syrup was way too strong, and the safari/Wray dram didnt blend as well this time as the Taggart/LH version.

(4) round four- made the Pearl Diver's Punch. okay, the dram was such a small component, that this drink experiment was abandoned as a useless point of comparison.

(5) Bonus-- decided after more research to add another drink, one heavily favoring the dram component-- Jasper's Jamaican. Again, the Taggart dram scored the best, with the safari/Wray overproof in second, and the grogblog/syrup last due to over-spiciness. (Interestingly, though, and a subject for possible future lab work, when I combined the two runner-up drinks, that tasted even better than the winning version containing just the taggart/LH151 dram.)

Conclusion-- each of these Allspice syrup/dram recipes adds a quite different taste profile to a drink. the Grog Blog version is max-spiciness, maybe overpowering. the safari/Wray overproof version adds a more refined allspice flavor but the Wray karo can overpower or please, depending on the palate. The Taggart/LH151 version tastes the best straight (in fact I probably could have downed a few shots of it neat and been quite happy) but is the least spicy and may accordingly fail to enhance the complexity of a drink.

What are your favorite allspice/pimento dram cocktails?

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[ This Message was edited by: thePorpoise 2011-02-21 22:31 ]


 
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Kill Devil
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Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 255
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-02-22 07:47 am   Permalink

Lemon Hart 151 in anything is probably worth drinking. That being said I've made/used the Beachbum's allspice syrup with great results in Navy Grogs and the Jaspers Jamaican (basically a daquiri with a gold Jamaican and allspice/pimento)

 
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1231
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2011-02-22 08:10 am   Permalink

I probably should have filtered that one.

Do you like it better than the rum-based drams?
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Brandomoai
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Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 323
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posted: 2011-02-22 08:51 am   Permalink

I prefer the syrup. Since most cocktails only call for 1/4 or 1/2 oz, I think the only advantage to adding alcohol is probably to give it a longer shelf life. And I would definitely use whole berries cracked by mortar and pestle or briefly with a coffee grinder. You want an infusion, not a solution. That's probably why you find the Grog Blog version overpowering. It took me 3 tries to get it right, but I'm verrrrry happy with the results!

 
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Kill Devil
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Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 255
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-02-22 09:03 am   Permalink

Definitely needs to be filtered. Think I used cheesecloth last time around. Haven't had the opportunity to try the recipes made with rum. I figure since I'll be adding 3-4oz of rum anyways to a drink, to focus on the allspice.

 
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1231
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2011-05-29 5:59 pm   Permalink

finally got a bottle of St. Elizabeth's, update re using it in the above drinks:

(1) DtB Rum Barrel-- as expected, doesnt stand out given the quantity of dram used in comparison to the total volume of ingredients. If anything, enhanced the allspice notes to the extent detectable.

(2) Trader Vic Navy Grog-- 3/4 oz of the St Elizabeth's was too intense and knocked the drink's flavor out of balance; however, also tried adding 1/4 oz to the DtB recipe which made for a very tasty navy grog.

(3) Nui Nui-- the St Elizabeth's made a good component, but overwhelmed the vanilla and the cinnamon so i doubled those. resulted in a tasty drink.

(4) Jasper's Jamaican-- doesnt work with the intense St Elizabeth's. [Idea- try it out with double the rum, which should be close to a nui nui just w/o vanilla/cinnamon (will try to do this evening)].

(5) Ancient Mariner-- hadnt tried this w/the homemades-- great drink with the St Elizabeth's! the quarter oz seems to be the right amount.

I'll have to devote a weekend to mixing up the various homeemade recipes and testing head-to-head w/the st Elizabeth's, but my overall sense is that the Taggart recipe works best with drinks in which the dram plays a strong role, St Elizabeth's works best where the dram has a reduced role.







[ This Message was edited by: thePorpoise 2011-05-29 18:00 ]


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5047
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2012-03-16 1:01 pm   Permalink

I see a few recipes and some say let it rest for a month, and some do not.

In one of the older recipes online is says something like "it can sit on the shelf for a month", which meant it won't go bad, but I can easliy see someone reading it and think they meant to let it sit for a month and maybe that mistake was propogated.

Does anyone have any feedback on using it after 10 days as opposed to after 40? Does it really need to rest a month before using? I CAN'T WAIT!
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heylownine
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Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 669
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2012-03-17 08:11 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-03-16 13:01, Swanky wrote:

Does anyone have any feedback on using it after 10 days as opposed to after 40? Does it really need to rest a month before using? I CAN'T WAIT!




Only one way to find out...

I've let it rest for a month every time I've made it, but it does require some advanced planning to be sure you don't run out before the next batch is ready. I suppose next time I'll try a weekly sample as it ages and try to note any differences. I"m guessing they will be pretty slight.

And in fact I used some just last night on a Jasper's Jamaican variation...the printed recipe recipe but I also added in 1/4 ounce of ginger rum.



kevin

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[ This Message was edited by: heylownine 2012-03-17 08:15 ]


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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1231
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2012-03-17 09:54 am   Permalink

cool glasses!

i havent seen tiki cocktail glasses before, where'd you get those?


 
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heylownine
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Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 669
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2012-03-17 10:37 am   Permalink

The glasses are from Tiki Farm. I think they've done something similar in the past, but these are pretty new. We just got them in the last couple of weeks.

Kevin

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Hale Tiki
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Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-03-13 06:30 am   Permalink

heylownine: You never posted your update, and I'm curious. I may have to try the experiment myself, as I have a batch of Wray coming in. (It's not available here.)

 
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heylownine
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Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 669
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2013-03-16 10:10 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-03-13 06:30, Hale Tiki wrote:
heylownine: You never posted your update, and I'm curious. I may have to try the experiment myself, as I have a batch of Wray coming in. (It's not available here.)



I never did a formal week-by-week comparison. Ok, I think I forgotten do it. However, the last time I made a batch, I ended up making 2. By virtue of having a large supply on-hand, it's taken me a while to get through it. The flavor of the 2nd batch has indeed deepened over time (I had initally tasted both at 1 month). So I think there is something to be said for letting it age for a period of time.

If I can remember to do it next time, I'll do a more scientific tasting against a control batch to see where the curve lies w/r/t flavor and aging.

kevin

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TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1305
Posted: 2014-04-06 3:59 pm   Permalink

I've been wanting to make the Voodoo Grog ever since Mr. Bum told me it was one of his three favorite recipes in his new book Potions of the Carribean. Unfortunately, it calls for Pimento Dram, which is one ingredient I haven't acquired yet. A few of my local liquor stores actually carry the St. Elizabeth's, but it's around $30 a bottle and, as any good tiki experimenter will tell you, all those odd ingredients and top-shelf liquor that are "crucial" to the creation of a drink add up up fast.

Seeing that so many people were having good luck making their own pimento dram, I thought I'd give it a shot. Aside from the steeping time it looked simple enough. I made a trip to my local Target to pick the ingredients before I NOPED right out of this experiment.

The most popular recipe seems to be the Taggart's. Here's what it calls for:

2 1/4 cups Lemon Hart 151
1/2 cup whole Allspice berries
1 1/2 lbs brown sugar
3 cups water

2 1/4 cups is 532 milliliters. That's almost 3/4 of a bottle of Lemon Hart that would cost me $27. That's $19 worth of rum. Allspice at my local Target costs $4.20 for .75 ounces. There's no direct conversion for dry ounces to cups, but it's approximately 8 oz per cup, so I need 4 oz.; that's $22 worth of Allspice. Figure around $3 for the sugar. Water is pretty much free. I've now spent $44 to make my pimento dram, and it won't be ready for over a month.

In other words: don't bother making your own pimento dram unless you live in a place where you literally can't buy it anywhere.

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[ This Message was edited by: TikiTacky 2014-04-06 16:03 ]


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poutineki
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Joined: Jan 12, 2012
Posts: 80
From: Ontario, Canada
Posted: 2014-04-07 03:47 am   Permalink

A half cup of whole allspice doesn't weigh anywhere close to 4 oz. I'd have to weigh some to be sure, but I'd be surprised if it weighs more than an ounce. I didn't use Lemon Hart 151 to make mine. I used 80 proof rum and just let it steep longer. I also don't add as much syrup as most recipes call for. I use what I need to keep the final result no lower than 25% abv. I can balance that in a drink with additional simple if required but rarely find it necessary.

 
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 420
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2014-04-07 04:03 am   Permalink

TikiTacky ~ no pimento dram?! You are missing out!

I respectfully disagree with your comments 'In other words: don't bother making your own pimento dram unless you live in a place where you literally can't buy it anywhere' Homemade can be better & there are more recipes than just thePorpoise's!

Heed my experience:

I hadn't found any in the UK so when I saw some I brought made by Bitter Truth. IMO it isn't very good - it's not an even flavour & it doesn't mix well.

To have something to compare I followed this recipe:
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/02/diy-allspice-dram-make-your-own-st-elizabeths-pimento-dram-recipe.html & scaled it down.

First I made 100ml total (as a test) using Cruzan White & a little Woods 100 - good stuff, even flavour & streets ahead of the Bitter Truth.

Second I made 500ml using good ol' Captain Morgan & a little Woods 100 again - at first it was not quite as good as the first batch I made (it had a slight bitter edge) but still pretty good. That was about 6 months ago, it has now 'matured' & is great.

Of course, your tastes & results may vary. Saint Elizabeth or the Taggart recipe may be better than my homemade stuff.

I understand your hesitation to splash out, but as you say 'as any good tiki experimenter will tell you, all those odd ingredients and top-shelf liquor that are "crucial" to the creation of a drink' (yes, the cost does add up fast).

Although it is still a little while off, I would not hesitate to buy Saint Elizabeth (it has the best reputation) or to use top notch stuff to make my next batch (LH151, an Appleton as pimento dram is jamaican).

My advice would be to make a small batch (100ml?), the anticipation is worth the wait. It does mellow over time but I think the for the better.

The Montego Bay & Three Dots & a Dash are two of my favourite drinks


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