Sunday, March 22, 2009

Demerara Dry Float

A week after stocking up on various rums from Beverage Warehouse in Marina Del Rey (or is it Culver City), I settled on trying a recipe comparison for a Demerara Dry float. Demerara (Guyana) rums are noted for their dark smoky burnt sugar aromas. I have previously had bottles of Lemon Hart 80 proof rum, but this was a first time for buying the 151 proof version (the impetus was to make a Jet Pilot).

In Kaiser Penguin "recipe comparison" fashion, I've selected two famous recipes to make, compare, rank and tweak.

For passion fruit syrup, I'm using the Trader Vic's brand (pre-artificial ingredients version - a collector's item now). For maraschino liqueur, I'm using Luxardo. Juices are fresh squeezed. Demerara rum is Lemon Hart (both proofs). For Trader Vic recipe, 1 dash = 1/4 oz. (which is per Vic Bergeron's "measures") 10 cubes of ice were used and drinks were shaken for 20 seconds before being double strained into a double old fashioned glass.

Recipe#1: Beachbum Berry - Created by Don the Beachcomber
1 ounce Demerara rum
1/4 ounce 151 Demerara rum
2 1/2 ounces Fresh Lime Juice
1 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 1/2 ounces passion fruit syrup
1/4 ounce sugar syrup
1/4 ounce Maraschino
Shake everything except the 151 rum with ice, strain into double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, and carefully float the 151. Do not stir.

Recipe #2 Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 oz. passion fruit nectar
1 dash sugar syrup
1 dash lemon juice
1 dash maraschino liqueur
1 oz. Demerara rum (86 proof)
1/4 oz. Demerara rum (151 proof)
Shake all ingredients except 151-proof rum well with ice cubes. Strain into a footed iced-tea or 10-ounce glass. Float the 151-proof Demerara.

Tasting notes:

Recipe #1: This is definitely the larger of the two drinks with 5.75+ oz. and wow, is it citrusy! This is a Guyanese margarita. I'm finding that the constituents are really getting lost amongst the heavy use of lime juice here. Very tangy and refreshing, but just a bit too one-dimensional.

Recipe #2: About 3 oz. total in this drink. I like the balance of this one - I feel that the ingredients are playing well together, but I'm getting a little too much of the maraschino (which I'm not a huge fan of on its own - at least yet). Overall, I feel that this is a better drink, but next time I will cut the maraschino to 1/8 oz (less than a teaspoon).

Final Notes: Trader Vic's recipe is definitely closer to what I would want out of this drink, although I think it does warrant some minor tweaking. It should be noted that the alcohol is more conspicuous in the Trader Vic's version as there is far less juice and syrup, but this was not an issue for me. The only issue is that being such a small drink, it goes down quickly. This drink does a nice job of demonstrating the mixability of the Lemon Hart Demerara rums and really showcases the rich, caramelly Demerara character. Subsequent to the tasting above, I've tried upping the passion fruit syrup, lowering the maraschino, and have generally settled (for now, at least) on my final recommendation being Trader Vic's recipe, but modified with half the maraschino and a slightly thicker float.

Demerara Dry Float (Adjusted Recipe)
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 oz. passion fruit nectar (Trader Vic's old formula or homemade)
1/4 oz. 1:1 sugar syrup
1/4 oz. lemon juice
(<)1/6 oz. (scant tsp) maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
1 oz. Demerara rum (80 proof)
1/3 oz. Demerara rum (151 proof)
Shake all ingredients except 151-proof rum well with ice cubes. Strain into a double old fashioned glass (double strain for an ice-free surface). Float the 151-proof Demerara.

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