Coming back with a Cobra Kiss

I hate to have been away from the site so long and miss two truly excellent MxMo’s. Sadly pneumonia in January was followed by diving into Fallout 4 and Destiny to appease my inner nerd. Between all this and work however I didn’t stop mixing. It’s nice to be back in the outrigger and sharing the fruits of my drunken labor with you all. So to begin let me share with you a recipe I made a few months back that sits right up there in my books with some of the best things I’ve ever made.

Cobra Kiss (1)
It seems I’ve had an obsession for awhile now with pairing cognac and rum. In truth it’s because I find them to be amazingly complimentary to each other. Cognac is very rich and full it provides a nice frame to add flavors to. Suze is an ingredient not seen in classic Tiki cocktails, nor is it seen much in modern ones. I think this is a shame as a dash of it can really provide a special touch of color, flavor, and mouth feel. They all come together very well here. If you don’t have Mahina De Coco I really suggest seeking it out. Unsweetened coconut milk might get you close, but won’t get you the real thing. As for the name what can I say. I love snakes and if I really love a drink it gets a snake name.

Cobra Kiss (2)

Cobra’s Kiss
1 ½ oz Camus (VS Cognac)
½ oz Coruba (Dark Jamaican Rum)
½ oz Clement Mahina de Coco
¼ oz Suze
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz cinnamon syrup
dash Elemakule Bitters

Shake ingredients well and pour into a rocks glass, garnish with pineapple flags and a cherry.


The nose is very rich in tropical fruit notes of mango guava, and coconut. This folds into wafts of citrus and spicy notes with just a hint of lavender. The drink is the epitome of balance slight hints of fruit and pepper waft into fuller and richer flavors by the minute. The mouth-feel is very rich and coats your palate well, however it never comes over to sweet or to heavy. The fruity, spicy, flavors sizzle into citrusy, sour notes before exploding into a rich, creamy, coconut and a big rummy finish with strong cognac notes. This is definitely in my top three of personal favorites on the site. Personally I like to add a straw to mine even though it looks awkward in the short glass.


Well I am glad I could get this little potion out in time to toast Tiki Month. In case your living under a rock get your ass to Pegu Blog and check out all the great stuff from my friend Doug Winship. Until next time…


“You Get Hammered America!” – JFL

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MxMo Forgiveness: Make YOUR Planters!

Woo! Hate to be late to this party. I am glad the theme is forgiveness cause I sure need it. With work, tornadoes, and the holidays it was all a fella could do to cobble these thoughts together. Dagreb from Nihil Utopia has a great theme for this month’s MxMo and that’s drinks with a little bit of wiggle room. Now Tiki probably isn’t something you readily think of. Our cocktails are exacting and precisely crafted with odd ingredients and measurements. However there is one cocktail that launched a thousand skiffs that we’ve talked about a lot.

mxmologo, now remerged with, linked our original planters punch series in which we break down the parts of Tiki Planters Punches. If you spend a lot of time and study with Tiki drinks you notice that many of them spring from this granddaddy punch. Jeff Beachbum Berry has highlighted this in Potions of the Carribean in depth, also in Remixed and Sippin Safari. Over time I have developed a few “Tiki Skeletons”. These are frames in which I can hang ingredients on in a hurry. When we did Tiki Night at Collins Bar I really had a chance to refine their construction and make them sturdier. Now it does take time, craft, and tasting to perfect an idea into a Tiki Treasure. Still with the frame below you can sub and shake up a pretty super sip.


Few People know my birth name is Edward. Hence, fast eddies.

Fast Eddie’s Planter’s #1
1 oz gold rum (Cruzan)
1 oz dark rum (Appleton 12 year)
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz syrup (cinnamon)
¼ oz liqueur (Giffard Banane du Bresil)
dash bitters (angostura)


Shake your ingredients together and pour unstrained into a tall glass. A few pineapple flags with some fresh citrus or a parasol can really brighten up the display. Tiki is better with a straw so provide one to your guest.


Pleasant hints of sour mesh with a pop of rum into a tart and fruity finish. Spice makes the rounds throughout and lingers on the tail. This is one of many easy quick punches you can whip up in an instant for friends when they come by. It may not be a perfect immaculate Tiki potion or the best thing on the site, but it’s made using a framework that’s easy to swap things on. Hate Cinnamon? Throw in some honey, passion fruit, pineapple, or any other syrup you have. Minus one of the rums I listed? Your favorite gold and dark rum will make fine stand ins. Can’t stand Bananas or can’t find Giffard? Use a liqueur you like to accent your syrup choice. The one crucial part is the fresh lime, you have to have it. You can use it to control how much sweetness you prefer. Go crazy with bitters, Ango is a perfect Tiki match but there are legions to play with. We really enjoy Bittermen’s, Scrappy’s and Bittercube.



Play around with it and share with me what you think. Your comments are the best holiday gift this Tiki Freak could get. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America”– JFL

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Kozy up with Koffee Nog

Makers Mark recently invited us to get cozy, and hey that’s not a hard sell to me. I always like a challenge, and giving eggnog a Tiki twist was just that. Now we are no strangers to drinking this tasty custard around these parts. In the past I have brought you some tasty Rompope. I’ve also toyed around with some similar variants in my lab, but this time I thought I’d try something a bit more daring. Something I’d craved but had never seen someone do.

We made about 5 different nogs over the past 20 days. Some great, and one I’d rather not remember. However this one is far and away the best. It picks you up, puts you down, and honestly is the thing you should definitely serve your guests this Christmas. I mean I am a well known Grinch, but everyone needs a cup of holiday cheer. I had a Kitchenaid stand mixer to help me out with all the whipping. I have to say when you try this at home some form of electric whip really is a must unless you want arm day at the gym at home. Two helpful tips I can give on easy meringue and whipped cream are to keep your bowl and whisk very clean and devoid of the oil on your hands Also put them in the freezer a half hour before you use them. Both of these will make sure your efforts are not in vain. It helps to make sure your cream and whites are very fresh. Remember this stuff ages pretty darn well so make some now. In a week or two it will be even better. Though with a swell product like Maker’s 46 to give it a boost it has to be good.


Kahuna Koffee Nog
1 cup Makers 46
1 cup milk, very cold
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
6 eggs, separated
½ cup Espresso-Honey mix
2 tbsp ground espresso (Cafe Bustelo here)
powdered cinnamon, dark cocoa, or candied coffee beans (Garnish)

Whisk the yolks well until they lighten in color and beat in the honey mix and whiskey. In a separate bowl beat the whites and 1 tbsp of espresso powder into a meringue with stiff peaks. Fold this gently into the yolks. Also in a separate bowl beat the cream and the remaining tbsp of espresso powder to stiff peaks. Fold this and the milk into the mixture as well. Bottle and store in the fridge. This serves 8, and improves with age!


Espresso-Honey Mix
¼ cup Clover or Orange Blossom Honey
¼ cup stove-top Espresso or double strong coffee

When the coffee is fresh and piping hot pour it into a measuring cup that contains the honey. Stir vigorously together and allow to cool. This way the mixture will stay liquid and not glob. Make sure to allow to cool before using in the recipe!

This is a nice thick nog so a hearty shake before serving is in order. The smell is rich and creamy, and that tasty whiskey definitely makes itself known. That first sip is very rich in coffee flavor with the cinnamon garnish providing a tasty contrast. The mouthfeel is so rich and full, it’s like an awesome boozy milkshake. The espresso is a very nice addition here it helps add a touch of bitterness to offset the sweetness in the cocktail. The bourbon is very present on the finish making this a not to sweet yet deadly nog.


We hope we’ve enticed you to give homemade nog a try. One sip and it will turn you into a true believer. If you hate the stuff in the carton like I do you’ll be glad you gave this a chance. Until next time…


“You Get Hammered America!” – JFL

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Rated R Reviews: Flaviar

Recently we got an email from the folks over at Flaviar. I’d known about this company for quite awhile, and had received some material for them two or so years ago. You’ve probably seen some of their ads on blogs in my own blogroll. I’ve never personally tried them out up until now because of a full plate when it comes to my schedule. However the mood struck and I said “Hey, send me whatever box you like folks.”, I mean I love all booze so long as it’s well made. You may not know this about me, but I adore scotch especially from the islands. So I was elated to see they had sent me a box of called “Scotch & The Islands”. We may be a Tiki blog but we try not to discriminate when it comes to Islands. So without further ado here’s a breakdown of the whisky within.


Highland Park 12 year old

Beautiful light yellowish orange color. Smells like whole grain bread fresh baked. I very much get the sensation of oats on the nose. Slight hints of chocolate and clove as well. The flavor is rich yet spicy, only faint wafts of smoke compared to the scotches I normally buy, but I still taste them. I can’t help but feel this could pair nicely with a nice oil rich orange peel in a scotch old fashioned. It’s full bodied in the mouth with grainy notes that explode into that white peppery sensation. This one came across as very refreshing.


Isle of Jura: Turas Mara

This one seems a bit darker than it’s predecessor both in color and nose. Notes of light sugar and ripe cherries are present as well as some soft wafts of smoke and oaky vanilla. This is definitely a darker richer whisky. The flavor is big and heavy on the oak. One can also pick out quite a lot of fruitiness though, Caramelized peaches, cherry, bits of bitter chocolate. I gotta say I like this one a lot.


Arran Lochranza Reserve

Probably the lightest in color so far. This whiskey is more a pale gold. The nose is light and sweet. Fresh honeysuckle in the springtime, light toast points and green pear. The sweetness carries over on to the tongue. This whiskey is light, but it also has a prim and proper nature to it. It’s finish is very long but never harsh or unwelcome. The first taste is sweeter than I like, but it’s not unbalanced. I will say I typically like my scotches with a hefty dose of peat which this sadly lacks. Still it’s a good whisky, I’d like to try more from their line.


Ledaig 10 Year old

The Peat is here! You can smell a lovely green smokey nose with hints of leafy green vegetables on the aroma. Mild notes of black pepper round out a decently complex nose. Your greeted with a fleeting sweetness that quickly melts away into notes of smoke and oak. It has a nice spicy character and the smoke aspect is very present yet far from being overpowering.


Talisker 57 North

Okay so when I saw this in the pack I was very excited. Of all the scotches I have loved my favorite was a Cask Strength from Talisker I’ll never forget. Orange peel and peat are strong on the nose with a faint hint of sweetness. That smokey citrus joy carries over onto the palate with mild notes of vanilla sugar. This is all brought into balance with just the right amount of oak. A really great scotch, I sure would like a whole bottle. Whitesnake once sang “Is this love?” I can only answer “Yes”.


Our Verdict: The packaging is very sexy. It caused more than one person around the Rated R Cocktails bar to comment in kind. The little test tubes the samples come in are very cool and even reusable. Your box comes with a couple of inserts including some helpful tasting notes and background. My only real criticism is I wish the little write-ups weren’t suddenly cut off with only a prompt to read the rest on the below listed web address. This was no trouble to me, but some people I might gift to may not be as net savvy. Trust me I know a lot of old tech illiterate alchies. This is however a minor criticism. For forty to fifty dollars you get five nice tasting glasses full of some top tier product in an attractive gift box. Very worth it if you ask me. This way you know what full bottles you’d really like to spend your heard earned cash on. Their site offers some full bottles at special prices as well. We can recommend these packs wholeheartedly. I always say the best way to develop your palate is to taste everything you can.



Well cocktail family I hope you found our second little review interesting as well. Have you tried any of these scotch’s or Flaviar? What did you think? Until next time…


“You Get Hammered America!” -JFL

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Rated R Reviews: Art in the Age

Here on Rated R Cocktails we are first and foremost a Tiki cocktail publication. I always tell people though one of the biggest ways to be better at making Tiki cocktails is to keep tasting new things. This way you expand your palate and can better manage the big flavors you have to balance. A rep from Art in the Age, makers of delicious liqueurs like Rhubarb, Sage and Root, recently contacted me with news they had entered the flavored vodka market. This I later discovered was in partnership with Tamworth Distilling. I have to say I was initially skeptical. Most vodka pimps, flavored especially, are promptly discarded into my trash bin. I was more interested when I saw the color had not been fully filtered out and sterilized as happens all to often in this market. Better yet they even had that natural look. So I took them up on their offer to give each a try and pass on my impressions to my friends who visit my small corner of the internet. I’d like to thank them for their generous offer to taste and review their product.

Chicory Root

The smell is rather promising. Roasted chicory wafts to the nose with only the faintest hint of sweetness from the maple. The color is a dark amber gold and you might trick someone who can’t smell into thinking it’s bourbon. The flavor has much more maple, enough to be disappointing when your expecting a rich full on punch of chicory. The chicory is definitely present mind you, but more as a secondary flavor to maple which is a bully anyway. The dandelion greens and chicory provide roasted and spicy notes to back up the maple and cinnamon. The press info on it also mentions rye seeds which I suppose are adding a spicy herbal bite with the dandelion greens but I am hard pressed to find them. It starts balanced and finishes sweet. Not sweet enough to be sickening but sweet enough to not be considered dry by any means. One could sip a small amount of this product as an after dinner cordial. It’s a bit sweeter than I would want and is more aptly labeled a Maple and Chicory Vodka. You could also try it in coffee or hot tea. Both drinks would enjoy it as a splendid substitute if your the kind that takes sugar or milk. As far as cocktails it doesn’t really sing out to be used in any particular way, but citrus would help to calm down the maple. You certainly wouldn’t have to use as much sweetener! 2.5/5


Sweet Potato

One whiff instantly brings grandmother’s sweet potato casserole to mind. The color is much more orange than the Chicory and it’s even a bit cloudy. Upon first sip this is definitely one of the more odd liquids that I’ve ever ingested. That’s something to say when you consider what an adventurous booze-hound I am. Like the Chicory there’s a sweetness here that’s a bit more than I normally care for. Thankfully it’s more from the sweet potato than the maple in this. The clove they advertise is present in the background. I think they intended it to provide some offset to the Sweet Potatoes and Maple. The finish is oddly salty. The soft specks of vanilla upfront likely make me think this is from marrying the flavors of oak and sweet potato. This is interesting, it’s definitely worth trying on it’s own to experience what they were going for. I’d like to try out some cocktails with this. To see how well the sweet potato flavors would hold up to some citrus, syrup and bitters. If your an adventurous drinker like me or a lover of sweet potatoes this is certainly worth your time. 3.5/5


Beet Root

Full disclosure here when I was offered the chance to review these spirits this one is the reason why I accepted. I am one of those nuts who loves beets and I thought the idea was super original. The color is a light rust red and the aroma is full of ripe red roasted beets. One can notice the cranberry after awhile along the edges. WOW! It tastes just like beet soup. It’s super earthy and vegetal. Unlike the other two this has little to no excessive sweetness being well balanced and full on with the advertised flavor. As you taste and roll it around in your mouth you can get some tidbits of tart cranberry and mild honey. Tarragon is thankfully a minor player thankfully. I know all to well how easily a spice or herb can take over. I’m happy to be able to give a big thumbs up to something here. This would be killer in a cocktail and practically begs to meet up with honey, lime, and orange in a tall punch. If you like beets it’s a super sipper. Sadly I don’t know how many people love the root veggies like I do. 4/5


Final Thoughts: I really like the idea behind these flavored spirits from Art in the Age. While they aren’t poorly made I think my biggest gripe might be in the design. I’d have much rather had 3 spirits that exemplified their namesakes, unfussed with and unfancied. If they had left out all the spices, excess fruits, maple, honey and other superfluous additives then I really think they would have had something even more special. When it comes to adding other flavors like cranberry, maple, or vanilla this is best done by the person mixing a cocktail. When your spirit already has 6 flavors competing for attention what room is left for the drink maker to create in? This is of course my opinion. As it stands the Beet Root and the Sweet Potato are definitely worth trying and making up your own mind about. Both are well made and interesting in their own right. Their namesake ingredients are bold and stand out well enough that I can recommend them and would purchase them myself. As for the Chicory I’m afraid it’s simply to confused to recommend. It has some delightful flavors, I could even see it being really lovely in a hot toddy. However it really is much more maple than chicory, this is upsetting particularly because if they had left the cinnamon out and dialed the maple way back they might have ended up with a real roasty, toasty treat. As it stands the finish is sweeter than I care for, and the roasted slightly bitter notes of chicory are far to understated.


Well this brings my review to an end. Have you dear reader tried any of the spirits above? What were your thoughts? I’d love to read them and respond in the comments. I have to say in the USA these flavors do really stand out at this time of year as being appropriate. I’d like to thank Art in the Age for letting us try and review their products. I hope personally they can respect my honesty, I know I’d be disrespecting you my dear reader if I was anything less than truthful with my opinions. Until next time…


“You Get Hammered America!” -JFL

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Dark Isle Blitz: The Bridal Shock

Sometimes after a hard month of making drinks for monsters a guy needs to relax. It’s always Halloween here on the Dark Isles, and this years bash was certainly the biggest ever. As I get back to my haunted bungalow my newly divorced roommate is there recharging. She hisses as I come in and wave. I try to tell Frankie we’re not serious. I wonder if I’m lying. Still when she looks at me with those sparking pale eyes and her neck-bolts crackle in the moonlight, it could be love. Or maybe I should stop drinking straight absinthe.
I whip up a few of her favorites for a cocktail fit for a bride. Gin, coconut, sparkling wine with a kiss of orange and allspice. The hiss from her lips as she sips is all the thanks I need. She’s a great gal, but if she mentions the big M word to this booze-hound I’ll vanish faster than the Invisible Man.

TheBride (7)When we did the Karloff Kooler last year it was great. Super tasty drink and a photo shoot so complicated we had to do it 4 times. This year I wanted to build off that in sort of a sequel. It’s not hard to make the argument that Bride of Frankenstein is better than the original. It had the benefit of more money, support, and technology to make it happen. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Karloff finally gets to speak in it. When I was a kid there was always something about The Bride that drew me to her, she might have been my first or second crush. Yeah, I’ve always been a weirdo. So the idea was to make a Tiki bridal cocktail. Sparkling wine and champagne flutes were a must. Plus I wanted to give it an ethereal whitish color like the streak in her hair and her burial robes. After about a year or more of looking a friend got me a bottle of Clement Mahina de Coco. It has a spot on coconut flavor with a little dose of Clement funk. It’s great, but if you don’ have it I suggest subbing unsweetened coconut milk. I’ve tested the drink with that to and it gives the drink great body and a pretty damn similar flavor. Try it both ways if you can!

TheBride (3)The Bride
1 oz london dry gin
½ oz Clement Mahina de Coco (unsweetened coconut milk will work in a pinch)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz orgeat
¼ oz allspice dram
dash orange bitters
3 to 3 ½ oz dry sparkling wine (Prosseco, Cava, or Korbel will do)


Shake together everything but the sparkling wine well with ice, once finished top with sparkling wine. Then strain into a flute and garnish with a twist of lemon. Maybe you can cut a better lightning bolt lemon peel then me!



The scents of fresh shaved white coconut and citrus mix well with the nose of the wine. It even wafts in to some vanilla notes that I think come from the coconut and orgeat scents getting muddled. The drink starts out rather deep like a dark stormy night. Those rich coconut flavors are slowly peeled away. The drink lightens and allows the gin and spice appear. Finally the orange bitters, dry wine, and lime crash ligke lightning and thunder to electrify your soul. YOUR ALIVE!

Well we hope you’ve enjoyed our annual Halloween bash! We always keep it spooky around here though. Stick around and tell us your favorite horror movie in the comments. By the way if you like gin Tiki as much as me check out this new post from one of my favorite bloggers who recently made it back from a long slumber. Welcome back Kaiser Penguin! Maybe we can get Colonel Tiki to rise from the grave to. Until next time…



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MxMo CII: Spooky Sips Roundup!

Fall is truly in the air, and as I sit among the glowing skulls and twinkling bats of my Halloween lights I sip. Yes Halloween is truly a time for Horror and drunken revelry. We put out the call to the blogosphere for drinks to reflect our favorite spooky season. They sure did answer with some innovative and unexpected ideas. So without further delay I am proud to present the results of Mixology Monday Spooky! [14] Marius of Arcane Potions brings us a stirred concoction he dubs the Essence of Nightshade. Unicum and spherical ice always appeal to me, so much I may even try to stomach sweet vermouth to try it. He was stingy with it’s story, It makes me want to hear more.

Mad ScientistKatie from Garnishblog brings us a Mad Scientist. I may have never done much with foams, but I know she is one strong chick to forgo an ISI Whip for a whisk. I love the use of beaker’s and pipette’s here. I’ve often thought of doing it myself. As for Chartreuse my love for that is well documented.

SinisterShotsWe go from beakers to test tubes thanks to Pete Barmeister of Meticulous Mixing. He presents us with a trio of spooky shots that even use some fresh citrus to give them balance. I knocked back a Red Rum myself and I can vouch for their tastiness.

IMG_4343I love Andrea from Ginhound, but her post here really gave me a thrill. I’ve often thought about the spooky unknown qualities of the deep. Her lurking in the deep blue is very eye catching. It makes me want to get a few fishbowls for the future. We really appreciate all the hard work she put in.

islandlostsouls6208_zps3md3vubdMy good friend and MxMo master Fred Yarm from Cocktail Virgin/Slut loves to tease my hatred of Mocktails. So it’s only fair I tease him a touch for jumping into the hipsterish fortified wine trend. All teasing aside his Island of Lost Souls is mouth watering. This take on a Zombie will ensure you end up going all night instead of slumping against the bar like yours truly. Fred is truly a master at what he does, and I appreciate his friendship, participation, and teasing.

Black-JulepJennifer from Scraps of Life must have been reading my diary. How else could she know how much I adore blackberries? Her Black Julep has good color and a lovely name for a Halloween cocktail. She admits her cocktail has a surge of sweetness, but she has inspired me to make my own blackberry syrup. Cheers Scraps and thanks for playing along!

img_4651I always love seeing what the Booze Nerds come up with. Their blog is lots of fun. Well they sure know how to get me by combining my love of smokey mezcal with Tiki in their Funeral Pyre. I had two reactions when I first saw the picture. First is that I used to have a glass like that. Second is that I tried to light it abalze to and it broke after I washed it next.

1-20151018_132958Swizzzlestick wins the award for best photo. My God just check that out. The Dead & Thirsty is full of tasty peated scotch and ginger. Then garnished with a very spooky gummy eyeball. Make sure to give this one a look while it looks back at you.

freudstein-3The Freudstien is a creation of Robin from Kitchen Shamanism. It seems to be a take on the classic Zombie and is definitely looking lovely. As a shameless plug we played with rosary garnishes last year ourselves. A fellow horror fan always gets a hearty cheers from us. Especially when they tantalize us with a Tiki Treat. Thanks for the submission!

Drinksburgh Karloff ColadaIt didn’t take to much arm twisting to get my good buddy Mike from Drinksburgh to enter the fray. I’m certainly glad he did because he gave a tasty tribute to one of my favorite horror icons with his Karloff Colada. He gives a good dash of spice and citrus giving the drink balance and a nice blend of rums as well. “Colada Goooooood”.

photo 4It just wouldn’t be MxMo if my buddy Dagreb from Nihil Utopia didn’t make it in. He brings us a Mai Kai treasure the classic Last Rites. He uses the super tasty tribute drink made by another great friend Hurricane Hayward. I’ve made the original version out of Sippin Safari more than once and loved it. I’m sure you’ll love either version as well. Thanks for all the hard work my friend to the north! Reading his post he tried a lot of different routes to end up here.

IMG_5360Joel DiPippa of Southern Ash slides in just before the coffin door closed. He worked hard to bring us the tasty Voivode’s Hospitality, a tipicular tribute to Vlad Tepes aka Dracula. Grappa is powerful stuff. Strong enough to wake and summarily roast even the dead. We’re happy to have him join us.

Rotanone (7)Lastly you know us, we always keep it spooky, but even moreso when October rolls around. We highlight the Rotenone for you. A punch dedicated to the Creature of the Black Lagoon. Of course we also have our Gozer’s Gulp, Witch’s Apple, and a few more sips before the month is out. So join us and subscribe won’t you?

mxmo halloween

I must say after hosting 3 MxMo’s this was definitely the most fun. I hope you’ll agree. Thank you everyone for your entries. They all look just great. Until next time…

“Unpleasant Dreams America!” -JFL

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Dark Isle Blitz: Bitchin Witchin

The witch girls cackled on in the corner at the same old booth. It seems Ghoul’s night out was lasting all October long for them. A picky bunch they liked colorful drinks with a touch of sweet. No one wanted to get hexed, so I whipped up a cocktail of herbs, fresh juice, apple brandy and a little poison. The result, a treat no old crone could resist.

WitchsApple (2)

This cocktail came from a love of American IPA’s, and the thought one drunken night “Hey Hop syrup would be cool”. It got pushed to the back burner for months. Even though the funky flavor in my mind would be on point I had no real idea to pop it into. A little Calvados in August brought this idea on, and I’m really glad it did. Some pieces fell in last minute, to be honest they just made the drink better. The Foco bears mention in that I had seen it in Remixed and Potions from the Bum. After being burned by Ceres I was skeptical about other juices. Ceres kind of sucks because it’s mostly pear, and it tastes like it to. Luckily in Foco it’s lengthened by water, So it still tastes like the advertised fruit. Also it’s way cheaper. Look for it at your local Asian Food mart. I’ll be honest it’s a lot of fun to use. If you lack Foco just remove it and the Strega, shake, and serve in a coupe. I call that the Witchy-Poo and it’s alright to, but a different animal.

WitchsApple (12)Witch’s Apple
1 ½ oz Calvados (Christian Drouin Selectcion or Domfrontais style)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz FOCO passion fruit juice (Check you local asian food mart)
½ oz Green Chartreuse
½ oz Hop Syrup (See Recipe below)
1 tsp Midori (Stop cringing hipsters)
1 tsp Strega
dash Bittermen’s Hopped Grapefruit bitters

Shake together with ice. Pour unstrained into a tulip and garnish with green apple and a straw.


Hop Syrup
Heaping ½ cup Simcoe hops (not pellets)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Bring to a decent boil stirring often then dial back the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and leave to infuse for 4 to 5 hours before bottling and straining.


This drink really takes you on some twists and turns. It has a lovely aroma of apple and herbs. The Calvados and notes from the Strega take a quick bow at the open only to meld away to citrus peel and balanced hops. As the herbaciousness rises the apple and passion fruit come out to do their big number, fading with a waft of mellow sweetness. This drink sort of reminds me of a Missionary’s Downfall. It has some sweetness, but the herbs and citrus keeps it from being to sweet. The syrup is actually a lot of fun. It gives a good hop bite but doesn’t overpower. However after 3-4 weeks the flavor really weakens.

WitchsApple (4)Don’t be afraid of the Midori, cocktails are supposed to be fun. You should definitely make that hop syrup. We’ll keep our ghastly groove moving as Halloween draws closer. Until next time…


“You Get Hammered America” – JFL

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Dark Isles Blitz: Drunkard of the Black Lagoon

“You know Joey, they just don’t get me man. All I want is some love, I mean that and fish.”, the Gill-man said at our swim up bar.
“Hey Gil, We’re all misunderstood around here, lets see if we can’t take your mind off it. After all it’s a party.”
I mixed up something with the swampy color of his far away home and slid it to him. I could see the effect as he drooped sleepily and begin to swim along with the music.
“What’s in this man? This hits hard.”
“Oh just something a river fisher told me about. He said it really mellowed out Devonian era fishmen.” The party was just getting in full swing and the Gill-man was already wasted. A monster after my own heart.

Rotanone (12)
The Creature of the Black Lagoon is one of those immortal movies that critics snub and fans love. You can say that about a lot of classic horror, but I’m not sure any of those films was more influential in future monster movies than this. The Gill-man certainly paved tmxmo halloweenhe way for modern favorites like the Predator, Alien, Jaws, and even Jurassic Park. The last monster to be admitted to the beloved Universal monsters pantheon he didn’t show up until the 50’s. He brought with him a bevy of innovative effects including underwater cameras and 3-D. Still even without the gimmicks this film stands the test of time making him one of the most collected and beloved of the Universal Monsters. So of course he had to make an appearance for MxMo Spooky Sips here on Rated R Cocktails.

Rotanone (14)

Sadly this means when it comes to tribute recipes most of the best names have been taken to. My buddy Jim is proud papa to the epic Gill-man Grog. Not only a very tasty cocktail but a super name as well. Sadly “The Black Lagoon” was also taken and is beyond rancid. While I’d like to usurp it my numbers can’t beat Martha Stewart even if my product is superior. I’ve probably watched this movie 50 times, and that’s not an exaggeration. In the interest of not stepping on the toes of others I decided to dig deeper in the movie for a reference. Rotenone is a compound used to sedate the creature and kill fish several times in the first movie as well as the beginning of the second. It’s also a real life chemical. In the movie it’s used to sedate the Creature more than once. I wanted the cocktail to seem swampy like the creature’s home. I also wanted to use funky agricole rums to emulate Brazilian sugar cane spirits. In the end I think we have a drink delightful enough to put a true Devonian era dynamo to bed.

Rotanone (1)Rotenone
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (We Like Coruba)
½ Neisson Eleve Sous Bois (Or other 100 proof aged Martinique rum if you just happen to have some)
½ Barbancourt White (You can try other white agricole)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh pineapple juice
½ oz coffee syrup
½ oz blue curacao (We used Senior)
½ tsp absinthe (We used Lucid)

Shake together with ice and pour unstrained into a chimney. Garnish with a few mint sprigs and keep away from Gill-men if you can!



Lovely hints of molasses, pineapple, and anise in the nose. This drink’s flavor is like holding on through a fast river. The flavor keeps changing. The drink starts out light and bright full of lime, anise, and agricole, then the pineapple and dark rum make their appearance giving way to notes of sweet coffee. I like the way this drink kind of fools you into thinking it has Chartreuse. As it dilutes some of the orange peel notes come out more and the agricole is enhanced significantly. We used a few different rums to get here. Appleton Extra also does decently well in here but moves more to the background. I encourage the acquisition of Senior for this cocktail. It’s got a good flavor, but also the dye isn’t as strong as Bols. This helps get that green color easily.

Rotanone (7)

I’ve wanted to do a Creature of the Black Lagoon tribute drink for a long time. I wanna thank my buddy Dan for making me try again and this time succeed. I love this cocktail, I hope you’ll make it and tell me what you think in the comments below. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America!” – JFL

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MxMo CII: Spooky Sips

October is the most magical time of year. There’s a ghoulish revelry in the air, a perfect time for kitschy creeps. As the Tiki Terror and the master of my own brand of Horror Tiki I’ve always saved my best works for October. A time when I can present them in a month long Halloween Bash here on the Dark Isles. This month as the host of MxMo I invite all my blogger friends to join in my party. This year we’ve remade all manner of classics that are complex in their simplicity. However my idea is more esoteric and out there. Something to challenge your creativity. I trust all of you will rise to the challenge.

mxmo halloween

Spooooky MxMo!

October means Halloween. Halloween means kitschy parties and my favorite classic horror movies on the television. Here on the blog we’ve done tributes to Karloff, Dracula, and of course Vincent Price just to name a few. Tiki is rich with adventurous drinks that call to the terrifying. The Sidewinder’s Fang, the Shrunken Skull, the Shark’s Tooth, and of course the venerable Zombie. However I am sure there are creepy classics as well. Your challenge for my MxMo of Horrors is to create a terrifying tipple. It could be a drink that just screeches Halloween. Maybe it’s a recipe to honor your favorite horror movie or star. It could be a spooky garnish or petrifying punch. Heck if you wanna make eyeball jello shots who am I to tell you no. Let your creativity shine, I want to hear the blood curdling screams of your readers as they sip your creepy creations. Want to join my haunted bash? Here’s how to play.

  • Find or Create a booze filled item to celebrate all things Halloween and Horror. Feel free to make it a tribute to a horror icon or movie. Spooky garnishes and effects are also highly encouraged. Then include a photo, recipe, and such on your blog or eGullet’s Spirit’s and Cocktails forum.
  • Do all of this by midnight Monday, October 19th. Late submissions may be taken, but lets try to be on time lest you face the horrors of being left out! Make sure to post a link to your post on THIS article in the comments. Or Tweet it to @RatedRCocktails.

We hope this excites you Guys and Ghouls to rise from the dead. Shake those tins till you lose a limb. Then lets drink a toast to the best holiday of the year. The Dark Isles annual Halloween bash is rockin and we need your help! Until next time…

“Welcome to my Nightmare America!” -JFL

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