Add comment January 7th, 2013
While in hawaii this April, i was kindly introduced by Brice at the Okolemaluna Lounge tiki bar to an interesting new liquor i’d never heard of before: Okolehao. When i asked more about it, Brice kindly gave me a little shot to try, i ordered one of his good handcrafted cocktails with it in it, and he also kindly pointed me to where i could get some. With that, out came my geek / history obsessiveness– and i had to have it and learn more….
Okolehao is a moonshine from Hawaii whose recipes have varied, depending on time and who was making it (like moonshine recipes tend to,) but the one consistent is its core ingredient of fermented ti plant. Combine the fact that ti root was common throughout Polynesia, and rationing of spirit grain made alcohol began in Hawaii during World War II, and the populariy of Okolehao moonshine became took off: from the locals, to the stationed G.I.’s on the island.
After the war, Okolehao began to disappear, but today– thanks to several makers (i got mine from Maui Distillers,) the tradition lives on. Once i picked up a bottle, it took some time to find a cocktail recipe that included it. Eventually, i ran across the Happy Buddha:
4 oz. guava nectar
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1 1/2 oz. Okolehao
Shake with ice & strain into a double-old fashioned glass full of crushed ice.
(NOTE: I have tried this yet, as i dont drink so frequently– but i intend to over the coming weeks.)
While researching the Happy Buddha, i wondered if Benihana used to serve it in their Hotei happy buddha mug, which i remember as a kid when we visited the Encino, Ca location on Ventura Blvd…. Here’s a close up shot of a scene from the tv show Mad Men (shown above) of characters Don Draper and his wife enjoying the drink and the mug at Benihana:
While i havent watched many episodes, i dig that the writers of Mad Men do things pretty era correct, when it comes to mid century / early 60′s. In this example, they are right on again– as the first Benihana was opened on W 56th Street in Manahattan, NYC in 1964, by Japanese immigrant “Rocky” Aoki. During that same time, tiki was hugely popular– and Benihana rode that wave along with most everyone else, by releasing their happy buddha “tiki” mug and rum based tiki cocktails.
Unfortunately, i discovered that Benihana didnt actually serve the Okolehao based Happy Buddha cocktail in their happy buddha Hotei mug– but the thought was good Instead, they served their signature “Benihana Punch,” which consists of their “special rum blend,” along with peach & strawberry liqueurs, and pineapple & orange juice. Oh well, at least they’ve stuck to their guns, and still offer the drink and mug to this day.
Anyway– i’ll let you know how the cocktail is, once i make and taste…
Add comment June 5th, 2012
Bay Area sports history includes long forgotten teams, like the San Francisco Seals, the Surf Riders, the Missions, or the Oakland Oaks. It’s cool to see the folks at Ebbets Field Flannels both keeping history alive, as well as handcrafting their products (flannel jerseys, hats, shirts, etc) with painstaking original details– right here in the USA.
Support quality items that are made by craftsmen and artists from right here in the USA.
Check out Ebbets Field Flannels from Seattle, WA.
Add comment June 2nd, 2012
My tiki bar has gone for months with only one stool– my solo, treasured Witco. Ive been hunting for 4-6 more for almost a year now, to no avail. Just last week i started watching new bamboo stool- which are expensive, made by slave labor surely, and have no soul. Then…… i found exactly what ive been looking for– a set of 4 old Witco’s. On top of that, the guy (a great dude from PA) wanted to barter for Apple stuff. My kinda guy….. I’m stoked.
By the way, Witco was founded by Ron Hovde and Bill Westenhaver, and became popular in the 1960′s. Initially, the company started out as Western International Trading Company, importing South Pacific style home furnishing items, like Capishell Lamps (ive got one of those in this deal as well, shown below.) Over time, the founders artistic bugs flourished and they began chainsaw carving rough cedar into furniture and artwork. His is what Witco became famous for, and there tiki setups were seen in the homes of people like Hugh Hefner and Elvis….
Add comment May 31st, 2012
I must miss LA or something today, as i find myself thinking of the Tiki Ti in Hollywood– and longing for a drink. You see, the Tiki Ti appeals to me for several reasons: it’s a historical LA tiki landmark, still run by the original family, and it’s right around the corner from where my wife and i lived when we first met. While San Jose is clearly home in my heart at this point, i’ll always dig my Hollywood memories.
Along the lines of the Tiki Ti, one of their most well known drinks was created by mistake– and it’s thus named “Ray’s Mistake.” Through combination of missing the Tiki Ti, and loving the Ray’s Mistake, i made a run at trying one of the recipes the folks at Tiki Central had posted in trying to reverse engineer the drink. Here it goes:
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 oz White Rum
1 oz Gin
1/4 oz Grenadine
3 Drops of Vanilla Extract
3 Drops of Almond Extract
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Club Soda
And a Float of Dark Rum
Shake all ingredients together (except Dark rum) with crushed ice and pour unrestrained into glass… add Dark Rum float.
Add comment May 31st, 2012
After over 1 year without a kitchen, it sure is nice to finally have it done. In the above photo is a 1949 Kelvinator fridge, which we got for $20 bucks– and i rebuilt and painted it. The stove is a late 1940′s Wedgewood (built in the Bay Area.) Above the stove, i hung a AllClad stainless steel pot rack to hold the matching pots/pans. Behind the stove, i did the cement backer board and then Anissa installed the white subway tile. I installed the flooring– which is 0ld style Marmoleum, and redid all the trim work. Next to the fridge is a pass that opens up into a built-in in the next room.
Walls are painted yellow and all the wood trim is white. The final drywall “body work” and wall paint is the only thing in this project i hired out. I did the rest, with Anissa doing the tile work and my dad came up and during the electrical and plumbing phase. We redid 100% of the electrical, plumbing and gas piping. I took out all the windows and had them rebuilt– then recorded them and put back.
We found our late 1940′s kitchen set at an estate sale for a good deal, and it’s in pretty darn good shape. Has a leaf if we ever need to make the table bigger. Still need to find the right napkins for the dispenser.
This was a lot of work. We got the steel cabinets off ebay, and i had to fully strip them to bare metal and repaint them. I built the counter top from two layers of plywood and laminated with old styled “dogbone” Formica. Then i applied stainless steel trim. The sink is also stainless steel and the faucet is an old Kitchenmaster– which is cool cause it has a pot scrubber wand w/ soap squirter built in. I’ve got my dishwasher hidden away as much as possible to the left, below. Found the cool old German wind up clock (ebay,) seasoning rack (estate sale,) toaster (estate sale) and flour/sugar/coffee/tea canisters (hawaii antique store.)
This is a rear counter i built in the kitchen– to put use to the area, which has stairs going into the basement from the rear porch underneath. Old fan and blender is estate sale. Found shake maker at Alameda Antique Fair. Espresso machine is new.
I restored the built in and it’s in the original location. We’ve got a cool glassware collection– and some of it is in the built in. I still have to put doors w/ leaded glass on this section. Our dishware the old Iroquois collection from Russel Wright.
I relocated the built in ironing board from another wall to here. We found the stool at the Alameda Antique Fair.
This is a neat US WWII era recruiting poster to encourage women to go work in the factories, while the men were away at war. We had this framed.
This picture, above the counter, is 1940′s patriotic hand embroidered (signed by person who made it on the back) that we had framed. Late 1940′s was a patriotic era, with WWII not easily forgotten.
Above the stove i mounted this cool old NuTone kitchen exhaust fan.
By the way…… Here is what the kitchen looked like BEFORE:
Lot’s of work. I dig it. This room is the newest era room in the house. Did it late 1940′s style, as earlier (house is 1907) would have been impractical for use. Yes, i do have a new dishwasher and a microwave hidden away– and as out of site as possible.
Add comment April 30th, 2011
Every year i compose a note to myself listing my yearly goals. For 2010, i succeeded in some and failed in too many. Here are the goals with the results:
1. GET A BOOK DEAL AND WRITE IT.
Result: Well, i landed a book deal, and then had to back out due to my schedule becoming too intense as i adjusted to succeeding in goal #3 below. **PARTIAL SUCCESS, AND THEN FAIL**
2. NEW PATENT AWARD.
Result: Filed a couple related to new technology. Successfully granted one so far, with several still pending. **SUCCESS**
3. PROMOTION AT WORK.
Result: Promoted up into a bigger challenge, with a new boss that i like. **SUCCESS**
4. COMPETE & WIN US OPEN JIU JITSU TOURNAMENT.
Result: Huge fail. I basically stopped training early in the year, as i was buried in the house project and mainly the new challenges at work. **HUGE FAIL**
5. FINISH NEW GARAGE AND MAKE PROGRESS ON HOUSE.
Result: Garage is done. Made decent progress on the house. **SUCCESS**
6. GREATLY REDUCE COST OF LIVING.
Result: Well, costs are lower. However, i’ve been spending a boat load on the house, and we eat out way too much (nope, i haven’t finished my inside kitchen yet. I did, however, make huge progress during this winter break.) **A WASH**
7. BUILD A NEW CAR.
Result: Didnt get the garage done until later in the year. Made decent progress on the model A, but not even close to being considered “built.” **FAIL**
8. GO CAMPING WITH FAMILY AT LEAST 4 TIMES.
Result: Haven’t done anything fun in regards to travel this year. Too much work and house work. **HUGE FAIL**
9. AUSTIN TX, SAN FELIPE, MX and JAPAN TRIPS.
Result: See #8 above. **HUGE FAIL**
10. BEGIN TO LEARN TO PLAY A NEW INSTRUMENT.
Result: Discovered a great cigar box slide guitar at a garage sale, and have strummed around on it a bit. That said, not nearly enough. **PARTIAL SUCCESS**
11. MAKE SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN LARGE SCALE UTILITY COMPUTING CONSTRUCTION / OPERATIONS.
Result: Plan to rewire our whole company approved by our Board of Directors. Executing plan around the globe. **SUCCESS**
12. PUBLISH NEW MATERIAL.
Result: Lots of press, interviews, speaking engagements, magazine articles, big grant award, patents, etc this year. **SUCCESS**
Lessons learned for 2010:
- I worked too damn much, at the expense of my entire personal life. I went through some tough adjustments in having to deal with more “executive” items. Closing out the year, i think i’ve been adjusting well– through working with a coach, etc. Thus, I see (and am hoping for) blue sky ahead for 2011.
- This house project is a fucking killer. I love the fact of living in something built with your own hands. That said…… never again. I’ll stick with cars.
- All work and no play is tough.
- All that said, with the economy and the state of the world……….. things could be way worse. Thus, i’ll shut up.
Over the coming days i’ll be working on 2011 goals. I’m not giving up on the jiu jitsu, fitness, health, family, cars, motorcycles and fun…… no promotion goals in 2011 for me!
Add comment December 30th, 2010
Nothing like sitting on the front porch for Halloween, passing out candy to the neighborhood kids, and enjoying the final version on the Zombie cocktail that i’ve been working on perfecting. After lots of research and experimentation of old recipes, i finally dialed in making a Zombie that i think is pretty damn good.
The Zombie was supposedly invented by Donn Beach of “Don the Beachcomber” fame in 1934. First I experimented with what i believe is Donn’s original recipe. Over time, Don’s modified his original recipe several times. It’s the 1950′s recipe that i used as a base for my favorite Zombie (i like the cherry liquor that was added by Don’s in the ’50s.) Here’s it goes, with exact booze that i used, as well as slight modifications:
- 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed pineapple juice
- 1/4 oz. Nut Tree Falernum#1 (my own recipe described here: http://www.notebooms.com/blogger/?p=844 )
- another 1/4 oz of fresh squeezed lime juice, because i don’t put it in my falernum, because of fermentation.
- 1 1/4 oz. Havana Club Cuban Anejo Anos Dark Rum
- 1 oz. Havana Club Cuban Anejo Especial Gold Rum
- 1 oz. 151-proof El Dorado Guyanan Demerara rum
- 3/4 oz. Heering cherry liqueur
- 1/4 tsp. Scrappy’s Syrups Grenadine
- 2 dashes Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters
- 6 drops Kubler Swiss Absinthe
Don’s original recipe recommended putting all ingredients in a blender with ice for 5 seconds, but i really prefer it shaken in a metal shaker with ice and then poured into a favorite tiki mug (tonight i used the Frankenstein tiki mug we got from Otto’s Shrunken Head in NYC) with a fresh pineapple and a mint sprig garnish.
(NOTE: Fresh squeezed fruit makes a big difference. You’ve gotta be crafty to be able to get Cuban rum here in the USA. For the other stuff, Cask in San Francisco is a great place for top notch ingredients.)
I love to build things. Now i’m ready to make some of these Zombie’s for my pals.
Add comment October 31st, 2010
Through the years, falernum has been considered a drink in itself, a liqueur, or simply an ingredient. To most, and to me, it’s one in the same.
The earliest years that I found falernum mentioned in print was in the late 1800′s (although it’s believed to have been around as early as the mid 1700s.) The recipe consisted of “one part sweet, one part sour, one part weak and one part strong,” with the ingredients being: simple syrup (sweet,) lime (sour,) water (weak,) and rum (strong.) As the Tiki years came around, the recipe got that much more interesting.
In my quest to perfect the “Zombie” cocktail, I realized i needed a good falernum as a key ingredient. This caused me to go into learning mode and obsess over the history, old recipes, new recipes, as well as the science of flavor infusion and fermentation that goes along with wine and spirits making. In the end, i’ve come up with my own recipe. The reason i call it “Nut Tree Falernum #1″ is because my last name (Noteboom) translates in it’s native Dutch to “Nut Tree” (go figure, haha,) and #1 symbolizes my first version (seems lots of folks number their recipes) that i just started to make today. Hope it goes well:
Nut Tree Falernum #1:
6 oz dark Havana Club single barrel rum
2 oz white Havana Club rum
9 medium sized limes worth of zest only, micro-grated
2 cardamom pods
1/4 cup slivered, dry-roasted almonds
1/4 cup peeled, micro-grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
“Stinger Syrup” consists of:
1 part local honey
1 part mint leaves
1 part Fiji brand water
STEPS / NOTES:
1) Wash the 9 medium sized limes (or more smaller ones– i happen to like the smaller, ripe ones) under very hot water– not just to clean, but to make sure that the grocery snake oilmen didn’t put wax on the fruit to make it look good. If so, get the wax off, as that’s no bueno and will corrupt your falernum. Micro-grate the zest off the limes, getting the green only into its own bowl. Avoid the white behind the green zest, as that’s no bueno either.
2) Peel and micro-grate 1/4 cups worth of fresh ginger, into its own bowl. I haven’t seen anyone else do this, and i think it helps make the flavor pop.
3) Sliver 1/4 cup of whole dry-roasted almonds, without cutting your finger off. Fresh whole almonds is key because fresh= good almond oil. Combine in it’s own bowl with 40 fresh cloves and 2 fresh cardamom pods. Mix these ingredients together and then brown them all over medium heat in a non-stick pan. This allows the oils and flavors to come out of the nuts and the spices. You should smell and see it. Be careful not to burn anything on you or your ingredients.
4) Combine the lime zest, ginger and almond/clove/cardamom mixture into one bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. Mix that shit up good.
5) Add 6 oz of Cuban dark rum (I used 45% Havana Club barrel proof) and 2 oz of Cuban clear rum (I used 40% Havana Club) into a one pint Mason jar (wash that shit out good with hot water beforehand.) Note that smuggling Cuban rum into the US helps continue the tradition of rum running and increases your testosterone level a bit through feeling like an outlaw.
6) Put your mixture into the Mason jar with the rum. Seal that shit up tight. Shake it up good. Let it infuse for 48 hours it in a place where temperature is cool and light levels are dim for a couple days. I keep it in my basement. See, it’s totally being a poseur, with Anissa’s tapa cloth and my turtle shell instrument. (NOTE: infusing is different than fermentation. Nothing is rotting over this 48 hour period. Therefore, don’t let it infuse for more than 4 days or so.)
7) Next, make up a batch of my “Stinger Syrup,” by combining 1 part honey, 1 part water and 1 part fresh mint leaves in a pan. Medium heat it all until the honey breaks up and combines with the water. Strain the mint leaves out when you’re done. Bottle what you don’t use for your falernum. (NOTES: I’m using this honey syrup over regular “Simple Syrup” (made of sugar and water) because i think honey’s longer fermentation timeline works better than sugar for this case, and i think that the flavor is likely better suited to the other flavors in the falernum. Think about it: spices, nutty, rum, limey…. better matches honey.)
Now go to the basement and get your mason jar of your 48 hour infused rum mixture. Pour your mixture through a coffee filter (or cheese cloth) from your infusing Mason jar, into a new clean one. It should leave about 8 oz of clean, infused rum. Next add 8 oz of the Stinger Syrup. Put the top on the jar and shake that shit up.
9) You are done, and your mixture should stay good for a month. That said…
IMPORTANT NOTE: your 16 oz of Falernum will still need another 4 oz of lime juice mixed into it before serving. I highly recommend not adding the lime juice until the day you are going to be drinking the Falernum. Otherwise, the lime juice starts to ferment pretty quickly and will quickly destroy the taste you are looking for. We are not looking to ferment the lime juice– we want the original lime flavor.
MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: I came up with this recipe by reading a whole bunch of other Falernum recipes, as well as wine and spirits making tips. I even adjusted the recipe based on feedback from my mom, who is a good cook and advised me to lessen my ginger and nutmeg content. My recipe has a couple unique things about it, but is more based on inspiration than invention. Thanks to everybody that can take credit for influencing me. It’s infusing right now, so i’ll let you know how this tastes in a couple days…..
Add comment October 24th, 2010