I hope you have been making the best of the recent burst of good weather we have had? At B&T HQ in rural Hampshire we have been doing our best to step away from the computers and get out in the back garden with friends. Obviously that means barbecues and cocktails and for us it meant going that one step further and hosting a tiki party. We pushed the boat out on this one, but actually it is pretty easy to do. Invite a load of mates, tell them to wear grass skirts or hawaiian shirts, get some rum and fresh fruit in, fire up the bbq and pray for good weather.
Now as we're not the sort of people to do things by halves we did all the above as well as setting about building a bar for the patio, a roasting pit for cooking a whole pig and bringing out the fire pit for later in the evening. With 50 of our closest friends heading over and the weather forecast looking good it seemed the right moment to bring out the punch bowl and the pitchers and to start preparing big batches of drinks.
Frankly I am a big fan of having drinks individually made to my taste and (as many a bartender will tell you) can be quite fussy about what I drink, so often when I see a pitcher of any particular cocktail anywhere near me I turn my nose up. That being said there are certain summertime drinks that were just made for being thrown together in large quantities, so we turned to our old favourites the caipirinha and the mojito to start the evening off.
The caipirinha is a drink that simply cries out to have fruit added to it, so for an eye catching drink we simply cut 3 limes up nice and small and throw them in a pitcher, chuck in a hand full of raspberries, add about 60ml of gomme and muddle thoroughly making sure you get plenty of juice out of those limes. Pour in 250ml of cachaca and 3/4 fill with cubed ice. Now give it a damn good stir making sure the ice starts to dillute the drink and that the lime pieces are well mixed through the drink. Keep stirring for a while as getting some water into the drink is essentiel to making a balanced drink. Top up with more ice cubes, give it one last stir and serve... be warned these go down quickly and easily so you might want to make 2 or even 3 pitchers at a time! almost any berry or tropical fruit will work well in a caipirinha so have some fun and chuck in whatever sounds good to you!
With the smell of roasting pig filling the air we moved on to that cuban classic the mojito - simply put the juice of 3 limes into a pitcher along with a bunch of mint and about 75ml of gomme, add a little ice and give a vigorous stir to bruise the mint, add 250 ml of rum (white or golden are fine, try Havana Club 3yo or especial) and more ice. Give the whole lot a thorough mix up and top up with more ice, a good splash of soda and a few dashes of angostura bitters over the top. Close your eyes and think of white sand beaches while you sip this classic.
We followed those classics up with a huge bowl of rum punch (well what else would you expect at a tiki party) to coincide with serving the pig. We naively thought that 6 litres of punch would buy us some time while everyone was eating. How wrong we were! Our advice would be to have more ingredients on standby so that you can just top up the punch bowl as you need to... lesson learned! 15 minutes later and we were behind the bar banging out a new B&T creation called the 'pitcher perfect' a gin based summer refresher (and before you say anything... yes we know gin is not a traditional polynesian ingredient but after 9 bottles of rum, 3 of bourbon and 3 tequila, honestly no one cared!!!) that went down a treat.
For Dan's rum punch you will need:
2 bottles of seven tiki rum
1.5 litres of tea
750 ml lemon juice
750 ml orange juice
150 ml chambord
150 ml orgeat (almond syrup)
1 pineapple cut into chunks
4 oranges cut into small pieces
combine the lot in a large punch bowl with a large block of ice (we froze water in tupperware containers and that seemed to work pretty well). Fill a load of glasses with cubed ice and ladle the punch into them. Garnish with umbrellas, cocktail cherries, pink flamingo cocktail sticks, or whatever cheesy items you can get your hands on.
250 ml gin
100 ml lemon juice
100 ml cointreau
400 ml ginger beer
8 dashes Angostura orange bitters
combine the first three ingredients in a pitcher with cubed ice and stir well, add the bitters, ginger beer and more ice and give one last stir. Add half a dozen orange peels and lemon peels for colour and serve.
For the rest of the evening basic dark 'n' stormy or moscow mules were the way forward at least until the small hours just before dawn when sitting around the fire pit with a glass of rum seemed the perfect way to end the evening.
Anytime you find yourself with a group of thirsty friends on a sunny afternoon we think these recipes will see you proud. So make the most of the summer and grab a few mates and get muddling!