Cocktail #8: Myrtle Bank Punch (Don the Beachcomber version)

This week we have another cocktail from Jeff Berry's fabulous Potions of the Caribbean - the Don the Beachcomber version of the Myrtle Bank Punch. It would seem this drink was inspired by Donn's visit to the Patio Bar of Kingston, Jamaica's Myrtle Bank Hotel - which Berry notes was the social epicenter of Kingston in the 20s and 30s. Berry gives us this previously unpublished recipe that he found in the private papers of Beachcomber's bar man Mariano Licudine, which Donn put on his 1941 menu.

Here's the setup:

1.5 oz. dark Jamaican rum
0.75 oz. gold Jamaican rum
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
0.75 oz. white grapefruit juice (I only had red on hand - oh well!)
0.75 oz. honey syrup
0.75 oz. soda water
2 dashes Angustura bitters

Shake with ice cubes. Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. I chose to serve mine in a tiki mug (a naughty one from Frankie's Tiki Room, Las Vegas) and garnished with pineapple leaves, a pineapple wedge, lime wheel, and plenty of mint from our balcony garden.

The slightly naughty side of this great tiki mug

Like many other classic tiki drinks, this one doesn't stray far from the sweet/sour/booze trinity. It's fairly heavy on the fruit juices, but the sours are mellowed by the almost "carmelly" sweetness of the honey syrup mixed with the dark and gold rums. Another refreshing cocktail, with a fun history. Cheers!

And for your listening pleasure this week, in honor of Memorial Day here in the USA, I leave you with a wonderful song (if a bit un-PC) by the Andrews Sisters, who traveled the world in the 40s performing for servicepeople during World War II. Enjoy!


Cocktail #7: The Dorado Beachcomber

I've been reading Jeff Berry's Potions of the Caribbean, which is a fantastic read if you're interested in the history of exotic cocktails and tiki culture. The book has over 70 drink recipes, many of which have never been published before. The Dorado Beachcomber caught my eye so I decided to give it a try. From the book:
[This cocktail is] from the Dorado Beach Hotel, Puerto Rico, circa 1962. An unpublished recipe from an annotated Dorado Beach cocktail menu. 
1.00 oz. gold Puerto Rican rum (I substituted gold Jamaican rum a friend brought back for us from a recent trip there)
1.00 oz. 151 proof Puerto Rican rum (I used Don Q)
3/8 oz. Curacao
1.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/8 oz. orgeat syrup
3/8 oz. white sugar syrup

Shake well with two cups of crushed ice. Pour unstrained into a coconut mug (we bought ours at Chicago's own fabulous tiki bar, Three Dots and a Dash a few years ago when we were visiting; they now have an online shop, though these particular ones seem to be sold out), or use a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge, pineapple slice, and cocktail cherry. 

There are some similarities to a Mai Tai - the orgeat, curacao, etc. But the use of the 151 rum makes this a boozier concoction than a Mai Tai, and the lemon adds a higher level of sour. If you're in the mood for something sour and strong, this is a drink for you. Perhaps an easier drink to make than to drink due to its strength, it's still worth giving it a try.

To get your cocktail shakers shakin', throw on this cha-cha record from Enoch Light:



Cocktail #6: Tonga Zombie

I'm a couple days late this week due to having guests in town over the weekend, so happy Tiki Tuesday!

This week we have the Tonga Zombie, from Jeff Berry's Intoxica!  This recipe is based on the Zombie recipe from the Tonga Room, a fabulous tiki bar inside the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, c. 1945. Despite what seems like constant rumors of its demise, as of today, the Tonga Room is still open. I've been lucky enough to go there a few times and it's incredible. It has a pond with a floating bandstand, and every so often there's a "thunderstorm" inside - it thunders and lightnings, and rain pours down into the pond. The atmosphere is absolutely incredible.

(photo via tikiloungetalk.com)
 Anyway, back to the recipe:

1.00 oz. fresh lime juice
0.50 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
1.00 oz. passion fruit syrup
1.00 oz. white Puerto Rican rum (I used Cruzan, a light Virgin Islands rum)
0.50 oz. dark Jamaican rum (I used Myers's)
0.50 oz Bacardi 151 rum (I used Don Q 151)

Shake all ingredients with one cup of crushed ice. Pour into a chimney glass, adding more crushed ice to fill. I garnished mine with a maraschino cherry speared to lemon and lime wheels using a flamingo pick, a pineapple wedge, and a pineapple leaf. I also recently picked up some bamboo paper straws which are both biodegradable and really cool looking.

On the first sip, honestly I was a bit overwhelmed by the passion fruit syrup - if I made this again, I might cut that in half. But once the ice melted a bit and things melded a little, it got less overwhelming. It packs a bit of a punch, but the booze factor is not over the top. Otherwise, it's a classic exotic cocktail - a little sweet, a little sour, and a little boozy. Nice and refreshing, and excellent to look at.

I've been in a bit of an Elvis mood lately, so tonight I leave you with -- what else -- Elvis' classic, Blue Hawaii. Cheers!


Cocktail #5: Hell In the Pacific

This week we have a new take on a 1930s classic. The Hell In the Pacific is from Jeff Berry's Grog Log. It's his version of the Myrtle Bank Punch, a drink popular in the 1930s, and originating at the Myrtle Bank Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. Berry has a bit of fun with this one, (if it's possible to have fun with WWII symbolism?) turning it into a symbol of the Pacific Theater of World War II. The grenadine gives it an almost blood-red color and of course you cannot miss the miniature USA and Japanese flags used to garnish the drink. Apart from the drink requiring a mini craft project (creating the flags) this is a simple one with only a few ingredients:

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice
0.50 oz. Maraschino liqueur
0.25 oz. Grenadine
1.50 oz. 151 Demerara rum (I broke my own rule here of sticking strictly to the recipe because I used regular 151 rum - c'est la vie).

Shake everything well with one scoop of crushed ice. Pour all the contents of the shaker into a 10-oz. Pilsner glass. Decorate with USA and Japanese flags stuck into a lime wedge on the rim of the glass (and I added a couple pineapple leaves).

Simple, refreshing, and substantial. If you don't like overly sweet exotic cocktails this might be one for you. I'd never had maraschino liqueur before and I expected it to be reminiscent of overly sweet grocery store maraschino cherries. In fact, it's nothing like that. It's actually quite dry and adds a subtle note of bitterness to the cocktail. It's also used in an old classic cocktail, the Aviation (though good luck finding crème de violette update: these days it can be found in most well-stocked liquor stores).

As a nod to the early days (30s and 40s) of exotic cocktails, I listened to the soundtrack to the 1937 Bing Crosby film Waikiki Wedding  while I got this one together. Here's the tune, Blue Hawaii for your listening pleasure. Cheers!