Montessori SPAM Sour

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It:  Create a Cocktail Using SPAM.  Why, you ask?  Honestly, I’m not exactly sure, but perhaps to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the famously maligned mystery meat.  Regardless of the motivation, this is the story of the “Montessori SPAM Sour.”

SPAM is a mash-up of ‘Spiced’ and ‘Ham’.  It is a can of processed pork products first produced by the Hormel Corporation in 1937.  The ingredients listed on the can:  Pork with Ham, Salt, Water, Modified Potato Starch, Sugar, Sodium Nitrite.

Mulling over the SPAM challenge, my first thought goes to using SPAM as a garnish.  But that idea just seems too easy and predictable.  Sitting next to fellow cocktail enthusiast Cocktail Quest at Rob Roy the other night, I describe my dilemma.  CQ’s immediate response:  “Fat Washing”.  Of course, fat washing, what a great idea!  This method of imparting meaty flavor in liquor has been used most successfully with bacon fat and bourbon.  Jamie Boudreau, proprietor of Canon, demonstrates fat washing in his Raising the Bar video:  http://www.smallscreennetwork.com/video/467/raising_the_bar_fat_washing/

I will use this fat washing technique to impart the SPAM flavor profile to a base spirit.  Thus, time to choose a base spirit.  To me SPAM seems like ham and that reminds me of pineapple, which reminds me of Tiki drinks, which leads me to Rum.   Again, conferring with CQ, we came up with a variation of a Rum Sour.

Step 1:  Fry Spam

I chopped the SPAM into small chunks and fried until oil was released into the pan.  I was also surprised to learn if you fry SPAM long enough, it tastes like bacon.  Who knew?

Step 2:  Fat Wash Rum

I cooled the SPAM slightly and transferred to a jar.  Then I added 750 ml Cruzan 151 proof Aged Rum.  I mixed and refrigerated for a few days.

Step 3:  Filter

After a few days in the refrigerator, I filtered the SPAM Rum through at least 4 layers of cheesecloth.

Step 4:  Build Cocktail

Mix the Montessori SPAM Sour cocktail.

1.5 oz SPAM Rum (Cruzan 151 Proof Aged Rum)
1.0 oz Pineapple Juice
0.5 oz Lemon Juice
0.25 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
0.5 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters

Shake and strain into a coupe.  Garnish with fried SPAM cube and Maraschino Cherry.

I admit I was a little apprehensive to taste this cocktail.  Upon taking the first sip my thought was “Damn, this tastes like Easter Ham in a glass.”  I’m talking memory rush back to a 1970’s Mid-West dining room table on Easter Sunday fighting with my brother over the roasted pineapple rings that covered the ham.  I’m not about to order this drink in a bar, but this experiment turned out to be surprisingly drinkable.

Cheers and Happy Easter.  This case is closed.

>Cocktails for a Cause! LUPEC Throws a Party!

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The inaugural Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) group was founded in 2001 in Pittsburgh.   The group was established with the goal of “dismantling the patriarchy – one drink at a time.”  Their Mission Statement:

“In a post-millenium world of beer and prepackaged Chex Mix™, LUPEC works tirelessly to breed, raise, and release cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct.  The collecting of anachronistic recipes by women, and the resulting creation of endangered cocktails in an all woman setting is intended to achieve the following goals:
    • To create a secular “coven-like” atmosphere in which Classy Broads of today can invoke and honor the spirits of their Forebroads
    • To continue the 150 year American tradition of dangerous women calling themselves Ladies and getting together in groups, clubs, and societies to work undercover while they chipped away at the patriarchy.
    • To protect the collective Joie de Vivre of LUPEC members by assuring them at least one good party a month
    • To encourage the accumulation and use of vintage serving and barware.”

Since the formation of the original Pittsburgh group, active LUPEC chapters now exist in a number of other cities such as New York, Boston, Denver, Portland, and Seattle

Saturday Night, the Seattle Ladies of LUPEC opened the door (of the Rob Roy Penthouse) to the masses.  What an opportunity was bestowed upon the Seattle cocktail community.  Lucky guests (yes, guys too) could join the Ladies for a night of tasty, original cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  The cocktail menu included drinks by Anu Apte and Jenn Hegstrom and were made with the new Makers Mark 46 (loved the Hestia!), Voyager Gin, Sound Spirits Ebb and Flow Vodka, and Corrido Tequila.  Proceeds from the evening benefited the Jubilee Women’s Center. 

Ted Munat was there mixing cocktails and signing his book Left Coast Libations.  (Buy. This. Book.) Please read his wildly entertaining blog post about his coming-of-age exploits with a young pre-LUPEC group. 

The integrated LUPEC party was a great success.  Stay tuned for more LUPEC fun.  I’m sure there will be future opportunities for the boys to join again.

LUPEC Ladies with Token Boy