If the Bum hadn’t just pawned his hat, he’d tip it to New Orleans mixologist Chris Hannah, whose Tiki-inspired drinks and exotic syrups are turning Arnaud’s restaurant bar, the French 75, into the French Polynesian 75.
That’s Chris above. The drink on the right is an original tropical concoction of his called the Ohanna (a play on ohana, the Hawaiian word for “family”). To make one, shake 1 1/2 ounces El Dorado 12-year Demerara rum, 1 1/4 ounces each falernum and orange juice, and 1/2 ounce coffee syrup with plenty of ice. Pour unstrained into a tall glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
What makes the Ohanna an experience best had at the French 75 is the unique nature of the syrups Chris makes at home, then brings to the bar to put in his drinks. His falernum, which he based on Paul Clarke’s recipe, is the best we’ve ever tasted, and his coffee syrup is delicate enough to sip straight, as you would a liqueur.
Without the Bum even having to beg (which he has been known to do, especially in bars), Chris has graciously consented to share these two recipes.
Here’s Chris on how to make his falernum: “In 6 ounces of rum (I use Old New Orleans 3-year), I steep the zest of 6 limes, 20 cloves, 10 cracked coffee beans, 10 whole dried allspice berries (I crack them too), 3 broken cinnamon sticks, and 1 cup of toasted pecan pieces. I sit this in a container for 2 days and then strain it. Then I mix it with the juice of three whole limes, 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of almond extract (if I could find pecan extract I’d use that).”
Chris’s coffee syrup: “Take 1 cup of medium-roast coffee beans, crack all the beans, then add 2 cups of brandy. The brandy sits with the coffee beans for three to four days in a jar. Then I strain the brandy.” Chris then makes a brown sugar syrup with 1 1/2 cups each water and brown sugar, and combines the syrup with the coffee-infused brandy.
If all that sounds like just too much work, hop a freight down to Chris’s place of employ and join his ohana of fans: