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bmdaniel

The Tiki Drink Discussion Topic

499 posts in this topic

After reading somewhere that Don the Beachcomber's Navy Grog was Jeff Berry's favorite tiki drink, I had to refresh my memory.

The ingredients in the Navy Grog (recipe from Beachbum Berry Remixed) are: lime juice, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, light rum (Puerto Rican rum specified, I used Flor de Cana), dark Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 year), Demerara rum (El Dorado 5 year) and soda water. I did not follow the instructions which had me shake all the ingredients (including the soda water). The drink was rather large so I only added a small amount of soda water at the end.

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First sip impression - quite bitter/overly grapefruit-y. Adjusted with a little bit of honey syrup. The grapefruit was still very pronounced. The drink got better over time and I was able to taste more flavors than just grapefruit.

It is nice but I can't say that it's my favorite tiki drink; I don't feel it is distinctive enough (not enough spice - I believe there are other versions that incorporate allspice which would be a good addition - and it felt too dilute). I much prefer Jeff Berry's own twist on the Navy Grog, the Ancient Mariner.

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Still stuck in tiki mode, which is not a bad thing at all.

We had Trader Vic's Mai Tais to celebrate tiki oasis last week - La Favorite "coeur de rhum" aged rhum agricole and Appleton Estate "extra" 12-year rum combo, with Clement Creole shrubb.

Then a couple of days ago, I made Don the Beachcomber's Pearl Diver Punch (1937). It's a relatively involved recipe. First you have to prepare a batter/mix with butter (which I melted at low temperature), honey, cinnamon and vanilla syrups (both from B.G. Reynolds), and allspice dram (St Elizabeth). I found that half the mix recipe in Sippin' Safari was just enough for two drinks. The other ingredients are a blend of gold Puerto Rican-style rum (I use Flor de Cana gold for that purpose), Demerara rum (El Dorado 5) and gold Jamaican rum (Appleton 12) plus orange and lime juice, and falernum. The ingredients are blended for about 30 sec and then strained (maybe to remove unmelted chunks of butter but that was an unnecessary step for me).

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The verdict? This cocktail achieves a great balance between spicy (typical flavor profile for a Don the Beachcomber creation with the cinnamon and allspice), boozy (the rums play very well together), tropical (the juices are just enough to make the drink very easily sippable), rich and slightly sweet (with the touch of butter, honey and vanilla).

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Don's Beach Planter

In typical tiki fashion, this elixir combines no fewer than 8 ingredients. The liquor mix is mostly aged rhum agricole (I used St James Hors d'Age) plus dark Jamaican (Appleton 12) and brandy (I used Remy Martin vsop cognac). For the fruit, we have pineapple juice, lime juice and passion fruit syrup. The spice is provided by the Angostura bitters and herbsaint (I used pastis).

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I thought that this was a robust drink which highlighted the rhum agricole. The passion fruit is in the background, not really identifiable, while the rhum and spices are more prominent. For some reason the St James tends to get lost in the Trader Vic Mai Tai, but it was very good in this drink. Looking up mentions of this drink online, I later found that Jeff Berry had described it as having a "piratical pleasing taste", which is quite an accurate description.

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After the cornucopia of ingredients in Don's Beach Planter, I was looking for something a little more streamlined that would still feature Don's characteristic flavor profile. On paper, the Donga Punch seems to fit that purpose with just four ingredients: aged rhum agricole (I used St James), lime juice, grapefruit juice (Oro Blanco) and cinnamon syrup. A funky rum with the grapefruit + cinnamon combo that is seen in so many creations by Donn Beach.

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It was ready in a couple of minutes. I really enjoyed it. For me it evoked a spicy Mai Tai, a huge compliment as the Mai Tai is one of my favorite tiki drinks. My husband did not think it was quite in the same league as the 1934 Zombie, Don's masterpiece, but I feel that it is close - and a lot faster to make! I am adding it to my list of favorites.

Here is the recipe as posted by bmdaniel a while back on this thread (it's from Sippin' Safari):

Donga Punch

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

1 1/2 ounce Don's mix (2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon infused sugar)

1 1/2 ounce aged Martinique rum (St. James Extra Old)

This was kind of like a smokey Hemingway Daiquri with cinnamon stepping in for the Maraschino - would probably be even more interesting if the cinnamon was more pronounced than it turned out in my version.

Note that with the cinnamon syrup that I used (B.G. Reynolds), the cinnamon flavor was quite pronounced, the way I expected it to be, and I did not have to adjust the recipe.

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The Donga Punch was wonderful but my husband wanted something with even more punch (pun unintended), so I made a Nui Nui last night. I had not had one in a while. It has cinnamon, pimento dram, Angostura bitters and vanilla. The recipes calls for "amber Virgin Islands rum" (code name for Cruzan?) - I used Flor de Cana gold. The juices are orange and lime.

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It was super flavorful indeed. It was interesting to read how Jeff Berry spent years trying to decrypt the Nui Nui recipe which called for "Donns' spices #2" (code for pimento + vanilla). Apparently the bartenders who worked for Don did not know what these mixes contained as they were delivered already prepared... It's a good thing that Jeff Berry was able to finally crack the code, otherwise some of these recipes would have been lost forever.

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A Navy Grog with Appleton 12, El Dorado 12 and Havana Club Anejo Blanco...

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Mmm, three great rums! What's the recipe?

1 oz each of the rums, 1 oz honey syrup (1:1), 3/4 oz white grapefruit juice, 3/4 oz lime juice, 3/4 oz club soda and I read a suggestion somewhere here on eGullet that a 1/4 oz of pimento dram is a nice addition so I did that as well.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Last night I tried a very simple drink from Jeff Berry's Tiki+ app, Jasper's Jamaican (based on a creation by Jasper LeFranc). A daiquiri sweetened with allspice dram and a touch of simple syrup. Grated nutmeg on top.

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Quite bold. Not paticularly subtle, but it works. Not bad for a Monday.

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I've noticed you use the Clement Creole Shrubb as a sub for Curaçao in your mai tais - is that because it's rum based?

Exactly; it's made with rhum agricole so it seems like a natural fit in a Mai Tai. Cointreau also works well but the Creole shrubb is usually my first choice for a Mai Tai. Cointreau is pure orange while the Creole shrubb brings a little more complexity.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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I think it plays well with bourbon and rye. You need to be careful substituting it for other orange liqueurs, though; it's intense and requires some adjustment.


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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Kon-Tiki Mai Tai from Sippin' Safari: gold rum (it calls for Puerto Rican rum but I used Plantation Barbados 5 yr), dark Jamaican rum (Appleton 12), orange and lime juice, ginger (it calls for a small amount of syrup, I used a liqueur instead), honey syrup, Angostura bitters, pastis.

It's a Don the Beachcomber-style Mai Tai accented with spices and the angostura-absinthe/pastis combo.

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Does it play well in non-rum based drinks?

I’ve had it in a L.E.S. Globetrotter with rye and cognac and it was great. Also in a Sidecar a while back. Do you have a specific use in mind?

Nothing specific, I just have Cointreau and Senior Curaçao already do wondering how this would fit in

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I guess it all depends how often you use orange liqueurs (and how much room you have in your liquor cabinet!). For me the Creole Shrubb and Cointreau are different enough and I enjoy the variety. It's nice to have the Creole shrubb for tiki drinks, but Cointreau works great too.

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Of course, there's also Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao on my radar - is that good in any Tiki applications?

I tend to pair this one more with gin or bourbon but it works well with rum too (see the discussion here). It's very good in a Daiquiri No. 2 for example. I haven't tried it in a proper Tiki drink yet.

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Still in tiki mode here.

Don the Beachcomber's Three Dots and a Dash with La Favorite rhum vieux "coeur de rhum" + El Dorado 5 years. I tend not to make this drink very often because I am not sure how easy it will be easy to replace this bottle of La Favorite, which is my favorite aged rhum agricole. This drink requires 1.5 ounces of it which is a lot.

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Here is another recent rendition of the Three Dots and a Dash by rumdood aka Matt Robold at 320 Main, with a 1934 Zombie Punch on the left. What can I say - this is beautiful. Well worth the drive from San Diego. He uses Clement VSOP for the aged rhum agricole.

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Last night I was in the mood for a Nui Nui, which calls for "amber Virgin Island rum" (code name for Cruzan? I don't care at all for Cruzan). Anyway, I decided to use Barbancourt 8 years and was not disappointed. It has enough kick to do great with all the spices.

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As a side note, I decided it was not worth the trouble to use a blender for these drinks. I just use crushed ice, shake, and pour. I like them better this way.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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I've wanted to try the ...- for a while. I've been trying to decide what I could use to at least get the general idea without an agricole (which is not to be found where I live).


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I've wanted to try the ...- for a while. I've been trying to decide what I could use to at least get the general idea without an agricole (which is not to be found where I live).

That's a tough one because there is no good substitute for rhum agricole and it's what makes this drink. Do you have access to Barbancourt? That is probably what I would try. Also aged cachaca if you can find it.

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That's a tough one because there is no good substitute for rhum agricole and it's what makes this drink. Do you have access to Barbancourt? That is probably what I would try. Also aged cachaca if you can find it.

I have the Barbancourt 3-star in my cabinet. The LCBO doesn't carry an aged cachaca that I'm aware of.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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