What I’m drinking to this week isn’t an album for once. Instead, I have opted for an all vinyl mix by Worcestershire born, Will Holland, better known as Quantic. Famed for producing and performing alike, the Colombia based master of all trades takes influence from soul, jazz, funk, bossa nova and hip hop from all over the world. As a producer he has worked with the amazingly talented vocalist Alice Russell and with his bands ‘The Quantic Soul Orchestra’ and ‘Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro’. The mix I’m reviewing and matching to a drink is titled simply as ‘Beautiful and deep dancing songs‘, so turn it on, turn it up and get a drink in your hand before the rhythms get you up out of your seat and dancing to Quantic’s funky selections.
I listened to this mix on Quantic’s official Soundcloud page, which doesn’t have a track listing so I have relied on Shazam to fill in the blanks for me. An all vinyl mix of this calibre and by such a man with a grand musical wealth as Quantic is bound to have some tunes that you would never have heard of. It starts with a band called Shleu Shleu, a form of creole Jazz from in Haiti and all sung in French. The song, called En Filant Les Aiguilles (Spinning In Needles) has a really funky beat with a great rocksteady bass riff, cool brass and softly sung vocals that just take you away to a sunny beach in Haiti (or any other Caribbean island for that matter) and longs for you to have a cocktail in your hand.
The mix continues with this great funky bossa nova style until about 17 minutes in when it is met with some more African style chanting and singing not too dissimilar to the work of Missa Luba, a Congolese group who perform a mass in traditional fashion with rhythmic drumming, choral chanting and call and response. However right after this, the pace turns straight back to the more American side of things with Cuban born, Mexican jazz singer Silvestre Medez’s track Malambo that just begs for you to grab a woman in long red dress (or sharp dressed man) and salsa long into the night.
It is remarkable however that the mix can go from one side of the world to the other and make it work. A fade out from a distinctly Cuban feeling tune at 26 minutes reveals a more Far East themed piece complete with typical Asian woodwind sounds. However the bass and beat, though slower really do work well with all that went before. After the mysterious Oriental tune, we are greeted with more accordion laced jazz style music that again calls to the more French colonised islands in the Caribbean such as Martinique and Haiti, which ends very abruptly and with no fade or grand crescendo. That and the lack of track list, are my only gripes with this mix that in cold times like this allow for a tropical retreat in ones mind.
Now a tropical musical journey calls for a tropical drink to match. So for the first time (but probably not the last) I will delve into the world of Tiki cocktails. Made popular by such bartenders as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic in the early 1900s, Tiki drinks usually feature large quantities of rum and fresh fruit juices (most notably pineapple and orange) and are the perfect accompaniment to this mix and best drunk on beaches or at bars under the hot sun. I’m going to go for the most famous of all the Tiki drinks, a Mai Tai. The name literally means ‘good’ but is also known to mean ‘out of this world’ if said in context. There are many different variations of a Mai Tai with little twists and different measures here and there but I’m going to give you the specifications of the bar I work in as I feel its a really good recipe that is also easy to replicate at home.
The Mai Tai
40ml Dark or Golden Rum (We use Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old, 40%abv)
10ml Overproof Rum (Wray and Nephew, 63%, is always a winner)
15ml Curacao/Triple Sec (A drier Cointreau, 40% or Pierre Ferrand 40% works best)
20ml Lime Juice
20ml Orgeat (Almond) Syrup
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass and churn with crushed ice, garnish with an orange slice, cherry and mint sprig.
Imbibe responsibly and enjoy the tunes!