Good Spirits News 5.2.11

A Pair of Dallas Rum Shakers Take Manhattan  Dave Mayer won first place in the category of “Fancy Spirited Cocktails with a House Made Ingredient.” He’s coined his fruit and rum based toddy “The Back to the Island aka The Master of Space and Time.” Yes, really. I asked him twice for verification and that was absolutely, in fact, without a doubt what he said. Evidently he’s a huge Leon Russell fan.  I asked Winner Dave, who had a likeness to the watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher, if he competes in drink-slinging contests often.  “No, not really,” He shrugged. “A friend just told me this was a tiki contest and I had to show up. I mean, see my clothes? This is not a costume. I dress like this every day.”

Happy Hour: This punch is a knockout  Ontario liquor stores have recently begun stocking Mendis Bianco Premium arrack. For Sri Lankan immigrants, this distillation of coconut palm tree sap represents a portal back to the home country, and a reminder to pick up ginger beer for mixer. For me, it was an opportunity to drink as the British in India did in centuries past. There are two kinds of arrack produced in Asia: Batavia and coconut. Only the latter concerns us here, as the former cannot yet be purchased in Canada. What does coconut arrack taste like? Keenly curious myself, I can report it is a funky, slightly rough — moonshiney, even — country cousin of rum (oh, but the punch it makes). Mendis Bianco at any rate tastes quite similar to cachaça, so if you live outside of Ontario and cannot buy coconut arrack, substitute that.

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