Backpacker Travel Trends and Culture Blog

Izuno Travel

Stage 2 - Roughing in Ingredients

April 23rd, 2009 by Jordan


NOTE: This is a continuation from Stage 1 - Setting Guidelines. I encourage all travelers and those at home to participate and create your own drink. Think of this project as your own drink you will want in your hand when you die, the drink you want when celebrating, and the drink to toast to the world.

Stage 2 - Roughing in Ingredients
From the beginning I knew I wanted to use rum as a major ingredient in the ‘Izuno’ cocktail. Rum has been a staple of the warm zone I love so much, and the Caribbean is a major player in the rum industry, which I enjoy visiting. So I first needed to study rum. After a jaunt to wiki-load myself with facts on rum, I realized most cocktails use light rum. However most light rum is produced faster and cheaper out of a by-product of sugarcane (molasses based). I wanted this drink to be about discovery and truth (stage 1 guideline #4). So I think to be true, rum should be made straight from the product and not the by-product. The rum must also be able to be infused and mixed with different ingredients, so a long aged rum in oak barrels to add hints of spice, nuts, etc. wasn’t necessary. It is not going to be drunk straight, so a premium aged rum is just a waste of money. After a few trips to the store, I decided on Agua Luca. It fit my requirements (mixable, straight from the sugar-cane, and not premium aged) plus the clerk recommended it based on what I wanted.

Next, I need to add some uniqueness to it. Agua Luca is from Brazil, so I wanted to find out the exact opposite area (globe and weather wise) and what that area produces so that there is a balance in opposites which will fit my global requirement (stage 1, guideline #3). So I went to look at a globe. What is on the other side of the world from Brazil?…The Philippines/Malaysia area. Naturally, the weather is similar since both locations are close to the equator, but that is okay. After more wiki-ness and searches, I found a few potential fruits that might play a part. The papaya, mangosteen, lime, or pineapple are all potential fruits that just might find a home in the ‘Izuno.’ I will have to do some testing to get a final decision.

More ingredients I might choose to add later may be simple syrup, sugar, soda, or really just some standard cocktail ingredients. Those will have to be on trial during Stage 3 - Testing and Elimination - Coming Soon.

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Stage 1 - Guidelines for an ‘Izuno’ Drink

April 6th, 2009 by Jordan


There are many questions one must find their own answers to in life…and one of those questions is…”What will by my drink.” A drink to be created by oneself and take the name of the creator or in this case the name of my handle (izuno) for years after I am gone. I introduce…the story of an ‘Izuno’.

Stage 1 - Setting Guidelines

So to begin the long process in figuring out what concoction of cocktail I will be using, it’s important to set some general guides and limits. If you are making your own drink, be sure to define yourself when defining guidelines for your drink.

1. The drink must be chilled with 2-3 squares of clear ice. I thrive on warm weather, and I’m happiest when warm…so therefore a perfect drink must accomodate the perfect temperature.

2. The drink must be unique. I’m sure whatever my final recipe is, there will have already been 20 different online versions of the same drink…so whether it is a particular brand of alcohol or a particular volume…I must be orginal and specific in creation.

3. I’m a traveler. Therefore I need to incorporate ingredients and liquors from around the world. Being careful not to get too wrapped up and sacrifice on taste. If I leave a continent or two out the drink it is not a big deal, however it must not be direct from one region.

4. A drink is special only when there is cause for celebration. So what I celebrate will have an impact on the drink. My life has been a celebration of discovery and truth…therefore an ‘Izuno’ must also be about discovery and truth.

5. And finally, as a designer, I realize the important of aesthetics. The drink must be a good color, a good scent, a proper smoothness, a natural clean look, and of course a great taste.

Stage 2 - Roughing Out Ingredients

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Absinthe Now Legal in US? Sort of

September 22nd, 2008 by Jordan
green devil website logo

Absinthe was illegal in the US for a long time (as long as I’ve been alive), and now all of a sudden, with very little warning…it is legal. How did this happen? Well, it’s not as good as it sounds, yes, absinthe is now legal in the US, but it is different from it’s overseas versions. It is without Thujone, the stuff that makes you hallucinate…the reason most people are drawn to this mysterious liquor. FDA apparently doesn’t like Thujone, and that is how the US importers can make money off a well known new liquor. I’m probably just as disappointed as you. Anyways, if you haven’t tried it, I always describe it to people as a green schnapps without as much sour punch. talks all about it if you are interested in reading more.

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Airforce Nutrisoda

March 17th, 2008 by Jordan

Airforce Nutrisoda

Sure it may not be “travel” related or within a backpacker budget, but it does have a little plane on the can…which I feel qualifies it for a post. Airforce Nutrisoda is yet another drink for those concerned about their well being. I’m still debating wether I’m in that category or not, I’m back and forth between excercising and drinking…What can I say, I like to do both when I’m not travelling, and one when I am.

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Cheap Backpacker Travel Tip - Rum and Coke

January 1st, 2008 by Jordan

rum and coke cheap backpacker travel tip

Rum and Coke my friend….Rum and Coke. Otherwise known as a cuba libre (more lime juice is usually involved though). Travel to any bar and order one it will cost you at least twice as much as what you can make one yourself.

Gathering the ingredients is easy. There is hardly a country on this planet that doesn’t have readily available Coca-Cola, and rum is generally not too far behind. The hardest part is usually finding a glass in the hostel. To save yourself money, buy a small bottle of rum from a grocery store or corner market when you first arrive. Packing rum on a plane is not a good idea and it will usually be confiscated. A small bottle won’t cost you all that much if you buy local product. From there, any time you want a good drink, just go find a cold coke. If your hostel has a refrigerator that makes it even cheaper, as usually you will end up paying a little more for a cold can or bottle than buying off a shelf of room temp. I usually put about a small shot in a glass and just fill the rest with coke. If you desperately desire lime, pick one up from a local vendor as it won’t be all that much. Some of my favorite nights are just hostel bumming with fellow travelers sharing cheap drinks.

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Flavor Packets

October 5th, 2007 by Jordan

I thought I would continue the water bottle article with a slight offshoot just briefly mentioned. Flavor Packets. Flavor Packets are the newest additions to my pack while traveling. Drinking water saves a lot of money, and when you get tired of plain old water, it helps to have a low cost alternative available wherever you go. In addition to cost, it’s never a bad idea to lay off the soft drinks and chug the agua. That’s where these flavor packets come in handy.
lipton water packetscrystal light travel packets water bottle

The typical flavor packet can be used for about 12-20 ounces of water, depending on how strong you want it. A few different companies make these flavor packets and the number of flavors has dramatically increased.

Crystal Light is kind of leading the way with marketing, and at last check they had 12 flavors available. Great Value also makes a cheaper alternative. Kool-Aid and Lipton are also just entering the market as well. Lipton seems to be pushing their green tea, which I have yet to try. Kool-aid obviously has kid friendly flavors such as tropical punch, cherry, grape, and orange. Actually, when you think about it, Kool-Aid has been doing this for years, now, they just put it in a smaller packet and call them singles. Airborne is a new provider as well, trying to corner the immune conscience consumer, and marketing it as a dietary supplement.

I added these to the packing list because they almost force me to drink more water, which saves money, and they are so small and can pack anywhere with no problem or worry about additional weight. The downside I suppose would be the cost, I just know that buying things in smaller quantities is never a good value. So, for the extreme shoe-string budget traveler, think about buying a larger supply, or see what’s available in your kitchen, and instead of individual packets, dump the powder in a 35mm film case. Those hard plastic, well sealed containers are small and sturdy and can probably hold the equivalent of 3-5 flavor individual flavor packets.

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Yerba Mate

August 20th, 2007 by Jordan

yerba mate

It’s a pick me up drink used for socializing…that should be enough to justify it’s existence on this list. Although Mate is served in a few South American countries, Uruguay has made it culture….pure gourd hourding bombilla-suckin’ tastic. Even if you don’t like teas, you have to admit, this one is unique. If you’re interested in more has plenty.

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