Anung Un Rama - A Hellboy Tiki Cocktail
Most food and drink blogs tend to lead with a long, boring article before getting to what you really came for - the recipe. I think I'll place the boring essay at the end.
Make the drink, come back, and read my thoughts on it.
Anung Un Rama
1.5 oz. Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum
1.5 oz. Kraken Rum
0.5 oz. John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
0.5 oz. cinnamon syrup
0.5 oz. maple syrup
1.5 oz. blood orange juice
1.5 oz. grapefruit juice
0.5 oz. pineapple juice
Add all ingredients to your shaker with ice.
Shake then strain into tiki mug filled with cracked/crushed ice.
Garnish with a blood orange wheel on top that has been cut to fit 2 cinnamon sticks. Place a crouton soaked with lemon extract on the blood orange wheel away from the cinnamon sticks and light on fire.
Blow out flame, insert straw and enjoy.
I'm a huge fan of the comic book/movie/cartoon character, Hellboy and I'm a huge fan of his creator, Mike Mignola, in general. His core characters are great and deep and every story arc that branches off adds brilliant twists and complexities while remaining true to the spirit of its origins - it's never phoned in, it always feels authentic.
Recently, the comic reached a milestone 25th anniversary and to celebrate, the publisher, Dark Horse Comics announced Hellboy Day. Free swag was available at comic shops, people shared their Hellboy stories on social media and a beer was even released in the characters' honor. Gigantic Brewing released the first in a series of thoughtfully crafted beers based on "Big Red" and the characters in the Hellboy universe. One thing in particular that I loved was that they even included maple syrup as an ingredient in the beer - Hellboy had a thing for pancakes especially in his adolescent years - it's a rather subtle factoid to pick up on and my point is that this was a VERY well thought out project; kudos to the Gigantic crew. I was inspired by that level of craftiness and started putting together some ideas of my own on how I could honor this character that has brought me joy and entertainment for so many years. I had also been doing a lot of research about tiki drinks at the time and began to connect the dots that formed the conclusion that I must make my own Hellboy tiki drink.
I began drafting ideas. What would go in a Hellboy drink? Well, it's a tiki drink so there had to be rum and citrus. Hellboy fights a ton of creatures with tentacles - so Kraken Rum was an obvious choice, and I figured I should pair that with a nice, funky rum like Smith & Cross. What about the citrus? It couldn't be anything other than a blood orange - lots of blood in the Hellboy universe. The other ingredients came naturally as well; cinnamon syrup and falernum for some depth; maple syrup because the dude liked his pancakes (a nod to Gigantic Brewing as well). And there you have it. The drink was basically done.
Then came the question of what vessel to use. With one swift Google search I found that Geeki Tikis actually made a Hellboy tiki mug. How fuggin' perfect is that? There was only one question left to answer: how do we garnish this puppy? Fire, of course. A few times throughout the series we witness Hellboy's horns sprout to an enormous size and a flaming crown appear above his head as he assumes the star-crossed form he's been destined to assume as the bringer of the apocalypse, Anung Un Rama. His true name. As I pondered this on a walk with my wife one day, it came to me. Garnish it with two cinnamon sticks to represent the horns and a flaming crouton for his crown.
Bam. The drink was fully conceptualized. A test or two later and, voila, we've got a fully-fledged, bad-ass tiki drink (if I do say so myself).
I set out to create a tribute suitable for my favorite comic book character (and one of my favorite characters of any medium, for that matter). Did I succeed? I hope so. At the very least, it's a good, strong drink by my standards; one that I think most tiki and comic book connoisseurs alike could appreciate and, just as importantly, one that could provide a tasty, refreshing oasis on a hot summer day.
I like to picture Hellboy sipping on one or two of these, belly up to some supernatural tiki bar, lost in the Bermuda Triangle, surrounded by a couple reanimated skeletons for bartenders. Cut to the next panel where giant squid tentacles burst through the front door.
"Son of a --."
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