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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Trader Vic's Grog Concentrate-Aye or Nay?
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Trader Vic's Grog Concentrate-Aye or Nay?
TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-02-28 09:54 am   Permalink

I happen to have Trader Vic's rock candy syrup and grenadine and made a Tiki Puka Puka using the recipe that came with the concentrate. I think it was too heavy on the grenadine and too red instead of amber, at least when using the current version of the TV grenadine. It didn't look or taste much like the many Tiki Puka Pukas I've had in the NorCal Trader Vic's restaurants. Next time I use that recipe I'll up the concentrate to 1/3 oz and reduce the Trader Vic's grenadine to 1/8 oz. I used Lemon Hart 151, El Dorado Silver and Coruba.

My usual Tiki Puka Puka follows the 1972 Bartender's Guide recipe (which lacks the lemon juice, maybe it is in the retail mix specified in that recipe?), except I use 1/3 oz of concentrate instead of 3 oz of retail grog mix and Small Hand Foods high-end grenadine. When mixed in an electric drink mixer with finely crushed ice it makes a fine Tiki Puka Puka that tastes very similar to and as good or better than the Restaurant version. Unfortunately they no longer sprinkle the Orange Flower Water on the gardenia. I find that a liberal dose floated on top of the drink adds an exotic bouquet to a potent drink. I'm going to try applying the Orange Flower water with an atomizer next time.

[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-02-28 09:58 ]

[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-03-02 13:37 ]


 
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TropicDrinkBoy
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Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-02-28 10:12 am   Permalink

I've used Elizabeth's Allspice Liquor before I first obtained the concentrate and found that it too easily dominated the drink and brought other harsh flavors with it. Mixing it with a little honey/water syrup brought it closer in line with the consistency and overall effect of the concentrate. I think if you up the concentrate from 1/4 oz to 1/3 (or even 1/2 oz) you will obtain the pleasant full body flavor of a restaurant style Tiki Puka Puka. Using high end rums will complete the flavor spectrum.

 
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happy buddha
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Joined: Sep 13, 2008
Posts: 245
Posted: 2013-02-28 5:57 pm   Permalink

Just got mine, and holy cow.

Easily the happiest I've ever been w/ the purchase of a TV brand mixer. Or any mixer I've purchased in quite a while.

Glad this stuff came in a 3-pack


 
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Little fragrant Tiare
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Joined: Oct 12, 2007
Posts: 205
Posted: 2013-03-01 12:00 am   Permalink

So for us who weren´t lucky to get the concentrate, what are the best way to sub it? St Elisabeth dram dilluted with some honey water/syrup?
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The Blue Kahuna
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Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 365
From: Points East & West
Posted: 2013-03-01 05:33 am   Permalink

I am going ot focus on the Tiki Puka Puka this weekend . . . who says I have no goals?

 
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Kill Devil
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Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 272
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-03-01 07:41 am   Permalink

I've made both the Navy Grog (vers with gold, dark and LH151) and Puka Puka a few times each and have upped the grog concentrate to 1/2 Oz. Have never used the commercially available Pimento dram, just my own Allspice syrup, from the Bum's recipe.

 
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TropicDrinkBoy
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Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-03-01 09:04 am   Permalink



[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-03-01 09:05 ]


 
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TropicDrinkBoy
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Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-03-01 09:04 am   Permalink

Helena, I will try a few experiments this weekend to see how close I can come to replicating the grog concentrate using the only Pimento Dram I have on hand, St. Elizabeth's Allspice Liquor. I doubt it will be a perfect match though.

There is a recent Tiki Central thread (within the last year) on replicating the Trader Vic Navy Grog without the concentrate. Unfortunately I can't find it right now. One of the last recipes in that thread was pretty successful and, although a little sweeter than the TV version, it was very tasty. It used a Pimento Dram and honey mixture. I used orange blossom honey so maybe clover honey would result in a closer match.

I always make my honey syrup on demand. I put a 50:50 honey and water mixture into a shot glass and heat it in a microwave for 15-20 seconds, until it starts to boil. At that point it mixes and pours easily so I give it a quick stir and pour it last into the drink before shaking/mixing. Only around 1/2 oz is used so the fact it is warm when added is of no consequence.


 
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arriano
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Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1303
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-03-01 09:14 am   Permalink

Made my first Tiki Puka Puka last night using the concentrate. Thought it came out really well. Used Cruzan light, Coruba dark and Lemon Hart 151. Didn't have a gardenia as it suggests for a garnish, so I used this pretty flower that grows in our front yard (haven't a clue as to what it is).






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GatorRob
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Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1773
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2013-03-01 3:06 pm   Permalink

TDBoy, I like the idea of honey syrup combined with the pimento dram. That sounds like it should work and I'll give that a try. Honey can be a nice secret weapon in Tiki drinks to give them a special flavor component.

I've been making Navy Grogs for years now using Jeff B's Ancient Mariner and Martin's Navy Grog post (referenced earlier in this thread) as references. I've used either St Elizabeth or Bitter Truth pimento dram. Bitter Truth packs more of a punch, so you have to watch your pour. Whether or not what I've been drinking matches what Trader Vic's currently pours is not of much interest to me unless theirs is better. But I've had theirs and while good, I like mine better.

That said, I now have the Grog Concentrate and to be honest, I'm a wee bit disappointed. As an allspice syrup, it's just fine. But that's all it seems to be. At least, that's all I can taste. So why not call it "Trader Vic's Allspice Syrup"? By calling it Grog Concentrate and keeping it away from retail sale for so long, I was expecting more than just allspice syrup. I was expecting some flavor component to it that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but that made it special. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case. So, while I will happily mix it in many future Navy Grogs, I'm a little disappointed that there isn't more to it.


 
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GentleHangman
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Jun 23, 2006
Posts: 464
From: Stuart, Florida
Posted: 2013-03-01 3:27 pm   Permalink

I agree completely with GatorRob above. Took the words right outa me 'ed!

 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-03-01 3:29 pm   Permalink

GatorRob, that will be great if you succeed in duplicating the Grog Concentrate and share the recipe with us. Although I have at least six bottles I know I will eventually run out and there is no guarantee that I'll be able to buy more.

My experience differs from yours in that I was disappointed that I couldn't replicate the flavor of the Navy Grog and Tiki Puka Puka using St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram, but as I mentioned earlier in this thread, did experience some measure of success with the Navy Grog recipe that I found elsewhere on TikiCentral. The concentrate certainly does have an allspice flavor, but to my taste, there are other flavors as well.

I know for a fact that it can be made with "off the shelf" items so here's to our eventual success!


 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-03-01 3:39 pm   Permalink

Regarding gardenias, they are much more fragrant than most flowers. My only source of them are that I bring them home from Trader Vic's after enjoying a Tiki Puka Puka at the restaurant and reuse them. They keep in the refrigerator for a few days. I put them in a little cup with water, supported by wax paper with a hole in the middle so the petals don't get soaked and deteriorate.

I happen to work next door to a nationwide flower shipper and they sell fifty gardenias for $45. If I ever have a luau I know where to get them!


 
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The Blue Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 365
From: Points East & West
Posted: 2013-03-01 7:43 pm   Permalink

For me, the beauty of the TV Navy Grog is the subtlety of the concentrate, I've experimented with the St. Elizabeth's dram, recipes here, my own, others, etc. and the dram is sooooo potent it really screams through a drink. The concentrate is there, but its not, its almost a phantom and it just marries so well with all of the other ingredients, its a perfect drink for me and the trick is being consistently sublime!

I still like the Navy Grog at TV Emeryville in comparison to those proffered at TV LA and the now defunct TV Palo Alto (sob).

The FI Navy Grog is delightful, but I still prefer the TV Navy Grog. As far as Smuggler's Cove's Navy Grog, I must confess, by the time I have one I can't remember what it tasted like (confession is good for the soul, right?)!

As the French say, "Vive la difference!" to each his own!


 
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The Blue Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 365
From: Points East & West
Posted: 2013-03-01 7:44 pm   Permalink

Oh, btw, is there anywhere you can by Coruba in California?

 
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