ROUX and the Backyard Revival

August 25th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

As you all know, I work at Thatch tiki bar in Portland. I’m lucky enough to work with Mr. Zorn Matson who (amongst other innumerable wonderful things) has enabled me to meet fabulous people.

One fine Wednesday evening a few months ago, I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of Molly Finnegan, who as well as being a close friend of Zorn, is the Bar Manager of ROUX. I was quite excited to meet Molly as I’d heard of her through her drink that Zorn makes, the “Joie de Pimms.”

ROUX (Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez) is an amazing restaurant in North Portland serving up Louisiana Style New Orleans cuisine. ROUX has been a lovely treat of mine. I recently returned from Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. I have to preface that I’m not an expert on Louisiana cooking (I’ll defer to my friend Chuck Taggart for that). However, I feel right back on Decatur Street at ROUX.

Molly and Zorn and company like to get together on Sunday and relax in a backyard of one of their friends. It was at one of these lucky gatherings that Zorn and Molly created the below drink, which has been come to be known as the Backyard Revival.

Taking chilies from her garden and fresh pineapple muddled, mixed with lime and Martin Miller’s Gin, Molly made me this one fine Thursday at ROUX. I got clearance to share it with you after asking (begging) politely with her: Enjoy the end of summer with the simple yet complex Backyard Revival.

The lime and pineapple mix with the lovely citrus aspect of the Miller’s – but before you can linger on that, the chili comes in at the finish to demand you take another sip. The fruit of the chili continues to underscore the other flavors as you finish your tipple. Unbelievably remarkable.

Backyard Revival

Martin Miler's Gin

~¼ cup fresh pineapple (6 pieces canned if you must)
1-2 slices Thai “Bird’s Eye” chili (add to your preferred heat level)
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
2 oz Martin Miller’s Gin

Muddle together the chili and pineapple in a mixing glass. Add the lime, syrup, gin, and 6 oz ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass rimmed with fine or confectioner’s sugar.

Mixology Monday – Gin

November 12th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

mixMo12112007This is my first entry for a Mixology Monday. Jay Hepburn over at Oh Gosh! is this month’s host and the theme is gin.

I adore gin. I am not overly fond of delicate gins, however. You can keep your Bombay Saphires and your Tanqueray Tens. I like my gin strong, botanical, and — dare I say it — harsh. I have a secret. I’m a sucker for good bad gin. I don’t mean bottom shelf dive bar well gins mind you: I’m talking about Seagram’s, Gordon’s, Gilbey’s. I do love Aviation and Boodles and Plymouth, but lately the wallet dictates a more modest investment. An aside: Notice how premium gins seem to drop the apostrophe before their final ‘s’? “Apostrophe s? How common.”

So, what’s a mixologist to do? Luckily a good hearty gin is a perfect component of vintage gin cocktails. It’s the harsh nature of the spirit (legal and illegal) that likely led to the numerous gin cocktails in the first place. At least that’s the common folk history I hear bandied about.

Here’s my lowbrow highbrow cocktail, The Madagascar Gin Sour. You could also call it a Vanilla Lemon Gimlet, which would be more descriptive. The lovely wife likes the combination of lemon and vanilla and I happened to have a bunch of vanilla syrup about for Tiki Drinks. I thought I’d try it as the sweet component of a sour mix for a gimlet-like cocktail. I didn’t expect it to balance so well on the first try. It’s gorgeous (if I do say so myself, and I do):

Madagascar Gin Sour low light - photo by Heather 'Tikimama' Gregg

Madgascar Gin Sour

2 oz Good Bad Gin
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Vanilla Syrup*
2 dashes Fees Brothers Lemon Bitters

Lemon peel garnish

Dissolve syrup in lemon juice in a mixing glass. Add 3 oz ice, gin, bitters and stir to mix. Pour into small cocktail glass, express lemon oil on drink and drop peel in the glass.

Be sure to hit up Oh Gosh! to see everyone else’s submission and make yourself a nice cocktail when you get home from work on Monday. Goodness knows you deserve it.


Vanilla Syrup*Vanilla Syrup

We keep vanilla sugar for baking. It’s easy – just drop a few spent vanilla pods into a container and fill with sugar. In two weeks time, the sugar will be infused with vanilla. You can replace the vanilla extract in your favourite baking recipe with the vanilla sugar. The longer it sits, the better it gets. Whenever you remove some sugar, add the same about of regular sugar to the container and you can keep it going for up to 2 years or so.

Make simple syrup out of this vanilla sugar (I do 2:1 sugar:water, bring softly and slowly to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as the mixture clears — be careful as the sugar will caramelize quickly) and viola: vanilla syrup.