Cocktail #40: Siboney

I just realized the other day that about one year has passed since I embarked on this little project. And here I am, only 40 cocktails in after 52 weeks. So it goes. I guess I need to pick up the pace!

The Siboney. Fresh Passion Fruit Syrup Makes this Drink

This week we have a very simple cocktail that's easy to make and very accessible -- and is now one of my new favorites. I found it in Jeff Berry's Potions of the Caribbean and he credits it back to Trader Vic, circa 1950s, but found in The Trader's 1974 book, Rum Cookery & Drinkery. Berry notes that the Siboney "is a good example of how Trader Vic took the Daiquiri template in interesting directions--and how he kept the inventory down at his bar. Double to Siboney, add a dash of Angostura bitters, and serve over crushed ice in a pilsner glass; now you have the Trader Vic Grog."

This cocktail contains passion fruit syrup, and readers of this blog will be familiar with my bad luck/incorrect use of Monin Passion Fruit Syrup. Well, this week I decided to bite the bullet on some expensive passion fruits at the shop and make my own. There's tons of recipes out there for this stuff, and Berry and Cate have their own variations that use passion fruit puree (which, for me has been harder to find than passion fruit), so I landed on this one from Episurious.com, which I halved:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup passion fruit pulp (from about 7 ripe passion fruits)

Combine all ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low; simmer until syrup is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover, and chill. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

I added about an ounce of vodka to what I had leftover hoping to make this keep for a couple weeks.

Anyway, WHAT A DIFFERENCE THIS MADE! Instead of being totally overpowering, the fresh passion fruit syrup gave this just a hint of what the Monin stuff would have done with a similar amount. It was subtle and delicious, and didn't hit you over the head at all. I'm tempted to dump the Monin stuff down the drain after tasting a cocktail with the real McCoy.

To make a Siboney:

1.00 oz. dark Jamaican rum (I used Plantation)
0.50 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.50 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
0.50 oz. passion fruit syrup

Shake well with ice cubes. Strain into a tiki-stemmed (or regular old coupe) cocktail glass. I garnished with a slice of lime.

As I said, the verdict for this cocktail for me was fabulous - a new favorite! The most present flavor is pineapple when you first sip, followed by the rum and passion fruit. The lemon juice takes the edge off of the sweetless of the passion fruit syrup, and balances it all very nicely.

This is a cocktail I will undoubtedly come back to again and again this summer. Next time I might reduce the pineapple juice by a hair to let a bit more of the rum shine through, but all in all, this one's a keeper.

Cheers, and happy spring!

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