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TIKI COMBER FRIENDS: Giovanni Ceccarelli "Cinnamon"


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Cinnamon: essential raw material for Tiki

Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world, and widely used also in the world of mixology.

Tiki Comber cannella

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and is obtained from the inner bark of the Cinnamonum verum plant (or Cinnamonum zeylanicum). It’s not to be confused with Cassia, a spice that comes from the Cinnamonum cassia plant.

Cinnamon is much more delicate and has a more complex flavour, while cassia has a more intense aroma but less complex. The main aromatic component is called cinnamic aldehyde and represents about 70% of the aromatic components of these plants. The latter is slightly soluble in water. This means that home-made non-alcoholic preparations can be made, but they have a shorter life.

Now let's see what these preparations are.

Cinnamon can be used to make syrups, sodas, to flavour spirits (home-made Pimento dram) or to make a colourant (and if distilled, an alkoxide). Excellent to use as an ingredient of a spicy punch.

The really important preparations however belong to the world of Tiki, where it’s not only used to fuel the drink!

Don's Mix is, in fact, the combination of cinnamon syrup and yellow grapefruit juice while Gardenia Mix is a blend of butter, cinnamon syrup, vanilla syrup and liqueur pimento (Pimenta dioica).

In a future article I promise to explain how to prepare the Gardenia Mix. But now let's see how to prepare a Don's Mix.

Pound the cinnamon in a mortar and make a fast decoction in water. Simmer for no more than 5 mins. and remember to use the lid. Allow to cool, strain and add approx. 167gr of white sugar per 100g of cinnamon decoction. It’s not a problem if you use white cane or beet sugar, both are the same kind of thing. Once the sugar has dissolved, add fresh grapefruit juice. Gianni Zottola, the best Italian Tiki expert, recommends two parts grapefruit and one part cinnamon syrup.

Recipe for 300ml of Don's Mix:
- 100ml home-made cinnamon syrup;
- 200ml yellow grapefruit juice.

This preparation must be used up in one evening to ensure the highest quality possible. Citrus juice oxidizes quickly. The syrup can be kept for a max. of three days, after which it will notably lose its flavour.

And to finish, a recipe with Don's Mix.
Donga Punch (Don Beach, 1937)
- 5cl aged rum from Martinique;
- 5cl Don's Mix;
- 2cl fresh lime juice.

Pour the ingredients into a shaker, shake and strain into a glass. In the past it was shaken with crushed ice, probably to tone down the rum. Personally, I prefer to shake it with ice cubes and serve in the glass.

See you soon!


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