Fly away with me.


It’s no secret that I’m a huge Tiki fanboy and am particularly awed by the work of Don The Beachcomber who single handedly created a cocktail genre nigh-on a century ago. Tiki drinks are once more in vogue with a plethora of modernist variations tagged onto the staples created by Don B and Trader Vic many of which rely on more recent products techniques. I recently challenged myself to come up with a new Tiki cocktail that used only the more limited assortment of liqueurs and spirits that would have been available to Don in the 1930s. It would need to be flavourfully deep and rich but also as majestic as the Magnificent Frigatebird* which soars gracefully above the tropical islands that were the (somewhat fanciful) inspiration for all things Tiki. Here I loosely adhere to the typical Tiki formula of one part sour, one part sweet and two parts rum but to create those deep, rich flavours I soar off in a different direction from the tropical fruit flavours that are often used in the sweet component by using the more temperately grounded French blackberry liqueur called Crème de Mûre that would have been relatively available in the US south-east at that time. But it needed more tropicality of course, as well as needing to stay dark to represent the plumage of the Frigatebird. Pimento dram, a heavily allspice flavoured liqueur from Jamaica that Don was very well acquainted with ticked all the boxes and combined beautifully with the mûre. Blackberry and pimento liqueurs vary fairly widely in sweetness so need to be adjusted to taste with a little simple syrup. I started my experiments using a relatively dry blackberry (bramen) jenever which needed half an ounce of syrup but something as sweet as a crème needs less so you’ll need to tweak accordingly. Our rums must also be dark and flavourful and my choice was an ounce of a navy rum and an ounce of a dark Jamaican. I used my own blend of the latter and Woods navy rum as the former but if you’re not in the UK you will have to use another navy proof rum such as Pussers. Assembly of the Frigatebird is a simple affair of shaking with crushed ice and dirty-dumping into a suitable glass – Mai Tai style. Due to the male Frigatebird’s impressive red throat a red or purple garnish is appropriate.


1oz / 30ml Navy rum (see text).

1oz / 30ml Dark Jamaican rum (see text).

1oz / 30ml Fresh  lime juice.

0.75oz / 22ml Crème de Mûre (see text).

0.25oz / 7.5ml Simple/Demerara syrup to taste (text).

0.25oz / 7.5ml Pimento dram** (pref. homemade).

2 solid dashes of Angostura bitters.

Shake well with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a largish tumbler or cognac glass. Garnish with something Tiki-ish in the red/purple end of the spectrum.

Toast the Magnificent Frigatebird, king of the Caribbean skies.

*That’s actually the bird’s name not just some attempt at some flowery prose from yours truly.

** also known as allspice liqueur or a variation of those words. St Elizabeth or Bitter Truth are two brands you can use if you are too damned lazy to make your own and/or don’t like money.


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