Caña Rum Bar Recipes

Spirit Guide: Kappa Pisco with Allan Katz

September 18th, 2012 — 5:26pm


Kappa Pisco
It arrived in an incredibly sleek package with its respective representatives. I did my best to keep my eye-roll in check. Most times when people show up with their fancy new brand in its fancy new packaging it sucks. Truth. I take my responsibility to pour you the best things I can that we can both afford very seriously. After all, it does make me a spiritual guidance counselor of sorts.

Before getting into the individual spirit, let’s look at Pisco as a category. It is a clear brandy distilled from grapes. It is not a type of rum. It does however, wind up in the rum section of your local retailer constantly. I don’t think outside of the nerdiest bartender-curated boutique shops I’ve ever seen it in the brandy section. Since I’ve got a soft spot for misunderstood spirits (we’ll cover Grappa next time) you’ll notice we take a certain reverence with our Pisco Sours and it always winds up on our winter menu as it plays so well with holiday spices.

Back to Kappa:
Upon first taste I noticed that this spirit may be a looker, but it’s got depth, too. Fragrant. Ethereal. Light, but not without substance and a rounded full-bodied mouthfeel. Clocking in at 82.5% ABV distilled from Alexandria and Rose Muscat varietals Kappa’s easily the best Chilean Pisco I’m yet to try. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that a vine authority like Andy Seymour put his considerable experience into its production. There’s been a number of new piscos to hit the market in recent years and some are awesome (Campo de Encanto, Maccu Pisco) while some smell like they were distilled from Febreze (Pisco Porton).

When asked what I’d mix it with, I replied that I wouldn’t want to do very much with it (not what a purveyor wants to hear from a bar manager). I liked the stuff very much on its own. With many spirits nuance is lost in a cocktail. But once pressed, I thought of the individual characteristics that I’d like to highlight and wound up with Grape Expectations. That’s how most of our drinks emerge at Caña. Many bartenders (especially the mixologists) think of flavors they’d like to present in a drink then work on the spirits that’ll carry those flavors to your palate. That’s cool, but it’s not my style. It’s more fun when a tasting glass whispers a cocktail to us. The spirit world usually knows what its talking about.

Grape Expectations
- 1.5 Kappa Pisco
- .5 lime
- .5 Imbue vermouth
- .5 simple
- Barspoon of Tuaca
- 1 oz. by volume of champagne grapes
- thoroughly muddle grapes with all ingredients
- shake with cubes & pour unstrained to a double old fashioned glass
- serve with a boba straw so you can enjoy the tiny muddled grapes shooting up the straw as you drink your handiwork

Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, GM

Mix This: The Rope Burn with Allan Katz

August 28th, 2012 — 4:09pm


The Negroni is easily the most adaptable of all stirred cocktails. Three ingredients. Equal parts. No fuss. No muss. Though there are countless riffs on the classic Manhattan, it’s elements provide the creative mixer a narrower path to travel consisting of whiskey, aromatized wine, and bitters.

A Negroni adds Amaro to the mix in lieu of bitters and there are many wonderful options available in Campari’s stead. But rather than just swapping in another bittered liqueur in place of Campari and letting the gin and sweet vermouth remain, you can experiment with burlier spirits, a lighter amari like Aperol, and a dry vermouth or a more feminine gin with a stronger red amari like Luxardo bitter. Either way, the resulting drink is almost always delicious.

So I like to always have a negroni riff on Caña’s menu. Makes it easier to realize my goal of one day having a calendar with a negroni for each day of the year. For the spring I selected a drink created by one of our members, Ron Dollete a/k/a Lush Angeles. More than your average barfly blogger, Ron trained with some real deal bartenders to learn the craft and Rope Burn is proof. In place of gin sits Smith & Cross, a monstrous [in a good way] overproof Jamaican rum. In place of Campari Ron opts for Aperol since his choice of aromatized wine carries its own bittered punch. This third ingredient is Bonal, a French gentian liqueur.

Stirred and garnished with a flamed grapefruit twist it’s a perfect digestif, though I can personally recommend enjoying them for breakfast.

Rope Burn
- 1.0 Smith & Cross
- 1.0 Aperol
- 1.0 Bonal Gentiane
- stir -strain to coupe
– flame grapefruit twist & discard w/ out wiping the twist on the rim

Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, GM

Spirit Guide: “Middle Child Syndrome”

August 1st, 2012 — 4:16pm


Most bartenders that are well-versed enough to know their bar needs at least one bottle of El Dorado to represent the Demerara category of rum don’t know that its family includes an 8 year old. This is mainly because it was released in recent years and few of the very old-school firms like Demerara Distillers Limited try new things. They may release something new to appeal to trends, or release an extra-old bottling to appease the nerds’ thirst, but that’s about it. The 12 and 15 year old El Dorado bottlings are the most popular, and for good reason: they’re like the Ramones’ self titled and Rocket to Russia. You can spend all night arguing which is better and by the time they unplug the jukebox, you’re slobbering on your former adversary and agreeing that both records are classics too good to keep arguing over.

So what’s up with the 8 year old? It makes a phenomenal daiquiri. No hyperbole. We recently celebrated Daiquiri Day (follows Mai Tai day but comes before Rum Day*). Early in the shift I decided to grab a neglected bottle for staff meal. At first sip we were all like “Holy fk! Tastes like you added sherry!” Pedro Ximenez sherry to be exact. I’ve had roughly 300 different rums in my standard daiquiri whose recipe hasn’t changed in a decade and I’m still be very pleasantly surprised by the simple alchemy of rum, lime, and sugar producing some truly surprising waves of flavor. Grab a bottle of this stuff for your next barbecue or rooftop party or morning cocktail (hey, I don’t judge) and see for yourself.

The Caña house daiquiri specifications:
- 2 oz rum
- 1 oz fresh lime
- .75 oz raw sugar simple syrup [at a 1:1 sugar:water ratio]
- Shaken thoroughly -served up -garnished with a very thin lime wheel
- We dial back the simple syrup for sweeter rums: for this daiquiri we’d cut it back by an eighth to a quarter of an ounce.

Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, GM

Mix This: Mon Amie

April 4th, 2012 — 3:56pm


Mon Amie
.5 – P.F. 1840 Cognac
.5 – Bulleit Rye
1.0 – Campari
1.0 – Antica Vermouth
- Stir and strain on big rock in old fashioned glass. Flame and discard lemon twist.

Borrowing from Boulevardier this is one of my all-time favorite drinks; The rare cocktail of ours I fix for myself at a night’s end. Our house cognac, Pierre Ferrand 1840 is unlike 99.8% of its peers as it clocks in at 90 proof and can stand with damn near any other spirit and retain its character. Bulleit’s rye is often mistaken for its forebearers. This stuff is Canadian in origin, and thusly much softer than the dominant grain in fireplug ryes like Rittenhouse and Wild Turkey, or “The Kickin’ Chicken” as it’s known in my house. So pairing it with Cognac was an easy mark. It’s a great drink for making friends too, if ya know what I mean.

Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, GM

Mix This: Danielle’s Napa Cider

December 27th, 2011 — 5:06pm


Danielle’s Napa Cider

She might kill me for revealing the recipe for her hot cider, but I’ll take the chance.  Regardless of your base spirit, there’s nothing quite like finishing it with a touch of Carpano Antica and maple syrup.  Be careful with your measurement on the maple, as it can quickly send things into sugar high territory.  Used appropriately, it lends a wonderful richness to complement the other flavors present, whether you started with rum, cognac, rye, or bourbon.  Now why vermouth? Why not?!  Punt E Mes’  prodigious use of bittersweet botanicals bring in the complexity.  And don’t be scared of heating it: mulled wine was good enough for Clarence, and after a few mugs of this cider you’ll agree it’s a wonderful life.

For one mug…

1 oz Blackbeard Spiced Rum
1 oz Rittenhouse Rye [or the bourbon of your choosing if you're taking smooth over spicy]
.5 oz Punt y Mes
.5 oz Pure Maple Syrup
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
.25 oz fresh o.j.
4 oz Trader Joe’s Spiced Apple Cider
dash Angostura
dash Fee Brothers whiskey barrel bitters

Heat. Top with lemon and orange zests.

Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar General Manager