Tiki means rum, right? Wrong. Ish. Tiki almost always means rum. The Saturn is a rare gin based Tiki drink that is really quite fabulous. I would have told you about it sooner but for the issue that it needs three slightly quirky ingredients, however, if you’ve been a good student, you’ll know all about, and how to make, orgeat, falernum and passion fruit syrup. Supposedly the winner of a cocktail of the year competition at the tail-end of Tiki in 1967 the Saturn is the work of J. “Popo” Galsini and one of a number of space-race themed Tiki cocktails (it was almost called the X-15). While the recipe has been kicking around for years in Beachbum Berry Remixed there seems to be a renewed interest in this one with it popping up in many bars and all over the internet. I’m not quite sure why as many of us Tiki-heads have been making them for ages. Maybe we’re at the start of a Tiki revival revival. If so, bring it on!
The Saturn is a very handy drink to have in your back pocket (no, not literally) for those who want a rum-free and relatively low alcohol drink but don’t want to miss out on all that Tiki fun. I’ve also discovered that the Saturn works rather well served “up” although some tinkering with the recipe is required. In fact tinkering is always required with the Saturn because the sweet/sour balance is heavily dependent on the sweetness of the three syrups, especially if they are home-made. Use the recipes below as starting points and adjust the lemon juice to match. Most of the online recipes call for a mere half ounce of lemon juice but I find this a bit light. Yes, drinks served with a lot of crushed ice – like this one – can handle a bit more sugar than those served strained but 2:1 sweet to sour is pushing the envelope of that rule. As always, we’re looking for this drink to be balanced. Not only in sweet to sour but also on the flavours each of those syrups bring. Your taste buds will tell you when you have it right. The original recipe calls for the Saturn to be blended until smooth but I’m no fan of slushy cocktails and always make mine the usual Tiki way with just a few short pulses of the blender. In any case, the Saturn is a drink that’s well worth the effort and an excellent choice to batch up for a Tiki cocktail party.
1.5oz / 45ml gin of choice.
0.75oz / 22.5ml fresh lemon juice.
0.5oz / 15ml passion fruit syrup.
0.25oz / 7.5ml falernum.
0.25oz / 7.5ml orgeat.
Pulse blend with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a Tiki glass.
Shake with cubed ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé. In this case cut back a little on each of the syrups (or boost the gin and lemon juice by a quarter of an ounce each).