Planter’s Punch #1 – Delicious Original 1878 Recipe

Planters Punch No1
Planters Punch No1

The History Of The Planter’s Punch.

The truth is, no one alive knows the origins of this cocktail, and every best guess of its origin is just the best guess. The issue I have struggled with (and I’m sure many other drink writers have, too) is hoping to find that one true origin story. There are two common origins to the Planter’s Punch that get tossed around:

  1. Mid 1800s Jamaica.
  2. The Old Planter’s Hotel in Charleston, SC.

Had I been asked ten years ago, I would have pushed the hotel idea; then, I pivoted to the Jamaica one. Now I kinda say to hell with it; there seems to be a planter’s punch for every island in the Caribbean, with neither more “authentic” than the other. But the different significant versions are worth exploring. After much reading, I have concluded that every place that had a plantation probably had a version of the planter’s punch.

Fun Magazine’s Sept 1878 Planter’s Punch Recipe.

This is the oldest currently known reference to the Planter’s punch. It was printed on page 102 of the September 1878 issue of Fun Magazine in the UK. Here is a link to that digitalized issue if you want to check it out. That first recipe is a pretty straightforward punch (I’ve updated the measurements to modern units from the older antiquated ones like wineglass or pony etc.):

  • 2 oz (60 mLs) Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) Sugar
  • 6 oz (180 mLs) Gold Rum
  • 1 cup (240 mLs) Cold Water

That’s the extent of the recipe in Fun. The Recipe had no context or story. Just a simple recipe told as a ditty. The song is.

A wine-glass with lemon juice fill,
Of sugar the same glass fill twice
Then rub them together until
The mixture looks smooth, soft, and nice.

Of rum then three wine glasses add,
And four of cold water please take. A
Drink then you’ll have that’s not bad—
At least, so they say in Jamaica

Why Are There So Many Planter’s Punch Recipes?

I include all these because they are all delicious, and one is not more authentic than the others. The oldest known recipe may be the Fun magazine recipe, but there is no certainty that it is even the original. There are more versions of this cocktail than I have included here, and they are all different and good. So don’t let anyone tell you your recipe is wrong because there is no right way to make the drink.

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Planter’s Punch – 1878 Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Jamaican
Servings

1

servings
Calories

300

kcal
ABV

11%

Total time

3

minutes

Make the oldest known planter’s punch recipe

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1.5 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Gold Rum

  • 3 oz Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher.
  • Add Ice to chill and pour out individual servings.

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Simple Syrup – Easily Make Rich Sugar Syrup For Drinks

Simple Syrup
Simple Syrup

What Is Simple Syrup And Why Should You Use It.

Simple Syrup is sugar dissolved in water. That’s it. It’s no more complicated than that. The only thing to remember when making simple syrup is there are two kinds of simple syrup. Standard 1:1 syrup and rich 2:1 syrup. 1:1 is just that, 1 part sugar to equal part water, and rich is two parts sugar to 1 part water. The clear winner between the two is rich simple syrup, it’s sweeter, last refrigerated longer, and most of the old recipes used rich syrup. Standard 1:1 is kind of the lazy man’s simple syrup, IMO. Advantages to standard simple syrup are it’s easier to make and pours a bit better. Although both taste good, simple syrup is a great way to add sweetness to a drink without changing its flavor.

The reason for using simple syrup, instead of just adding granulated sugar or sugar cubes, is it helps sugar incorporate into other liquids easier and much faster. Don’t use powdered or confectioners sugar as those are mixed with corn starch to prevent clumping. Some use sugar cubes in their drinks, and while they look fantastic and many old books call for using them, they don’t dissolve well and end up making a sugary crystal sludge on the bottom of the drink. Simple syrup solves many of the issues of regular white sugar by mixing easily with alcohol. It is easily measured in a jigger, is a consistent ingredient, and helps you work faster with less effort. There are no downsides to using simple syrup, but many use sugar cubes or granulated sugar.

Do You Need To Use Hot Water To Make Simple Syrup?

It depends on whether you are making rich or standard simple syrup. Rich simple syrup requires hot water to make it, and standard simple syrup does not. It all comes down to the concentration of sugar. Hot water can be saturated more than colder water. At room temperature, 1000 mLs of distilled water becomes completely saturated with around 2000 grams of sugar, which is 2:1 and even though it is technically possible with distilled water in a perfect environment. Even with filtered water, the sugar fights back and competes with other dissolved minerals in a typical environment. To reasonably combine sugar and water in a real-world setting, the water has to be able to hold 2x the sugar you are asking it to keep at a particular temperature. Near boiling temperatures, 1000 mLs of distilled water can contain around 4000 grams of sugar. Thus it’s reasonable to dissolve equal parts sugar and water at room temperature and 2:1 sugar and water at near-boiling temperatures. Check out this handy chart for the solubility of sugar in water at various temperatures.

Should I Buy Simple Syrup Or Make It?

Always make your own simple syrup. Never buy this. It is just two ingredients: water and sugar. On top of that, most store-bought simple syrups are the cheaper standard simple syrup. Not even the better rich simple syrup. Most folks already have sugar at home, which saves a trip to the store, but if you need to go to the store, buy a bag of sugar instead of a bottle of syrup and make it at home. Simple syrup can only really be used as simple syrup, but sugar can be used to bake or cook. There are countless things you can make with a bag of granulated sugar.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Simple Syrup?

Again that depends on the kind of simple syrup and whether it is standard or rich. Always refrigerate simple syrup but even refrigerated, it goes bad pretty fast, so make it the same day you plan to use it instead of ahead of time. Standard simple syrup will last about one week in the fridge, and rich simple syrup will last 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Toss it out once you start to see any cloudiness, regardless of how old it is. That’s mold growing, and the syrup has gone bad. Take it from some who had multiple food poisoning and even salmonella once. Don’t mess with turned food.

Simple Syrup Substitutes.

While simple syrup is the gold standard in adding a clean natural sweetness to drinks, there can be reasons you want to use something else. Whether to impart additional flavors or for dietary reasons, here is a list of simple syrup substitutes.

  • Honey Syrup: Honey is about 1/2 sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 2:1 (200 grams of honey to 100 grams of water) to get a syrup similar to a rich simple syrup. Try this recipe here for simple honey syrup.
  • Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is around 3x as sweet as regular sugar. Try mixing this 3/4:1 (75 grams maple syrup to 100 grams water) to water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
  • Stevia: Stevia is around 100x sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 1 teaspoon (5 g) powdered stevia or 2 teaspoons (10 mLs) liquid stevia to 2 cups (500 mLs) of water to get a syrup similar to rich simple syrup.
  • Monk Fruit sweetener: Pure monk fruit is around 200x sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) Monk fruit sweetener to 2 cups (500 mLs) of water to get a syrup similar to a rich simple syrup.
  • Agave syrup: Agave is around 1.5x sweeter than regular sugar. Try mixing this 1:1 agave syrup to water to get a syrup similar to a rich simple syrup.
  • Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is the exact same sweetness as regular sugar. Try mixing this 2:1 coconut sugar to water to get a syrup similar to a rich simple syrup.
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Simple Syrup

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

8

servings
Calories

120

kcal
Total time

1

minute

A quick and easy simple syrup recipe.

Ingredients

  • 200 grams White Sugar

  • 100 grams Water

Directions

  • For rich simple syrup combine the 200 grams of sugar and 100 grams of water in a heat proof container and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir to combine
  • Rich simple syrup can only be made with hot water. The sugar concentration is too high for room temperature water to dissolve.
  • For standard simple syrup combine the 100 grams of sugar and 100 grams of water and simply stir to combine.
  • Standard simple syrup can be made with room temperature water.

Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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English Milk Punch – Benjamin Franklin’s Original Recipe

English Milk Punch
English Milk Punch

The History Of Clarified Milk Punch.

The typical origin story of this cocktail is provided in David Wondrich’s book “Punch” is the Clarified Milk Punch was invented by Mary Rockett. This cocktail seems to have been designed to preserve milk punch by curdling and removing the parts that go bad and would turn the drink. The alcohol and milk fats protect the drink from spoiling. When Charles Dickens Died, there is a story that months-old bottles of milk punch were found in his cellar still good. The recipe I have provided here is the classic Benjamin Franklin English milk punch from 1763.

The Clarified or English milk punch started to fade in the middle of the 1800s, and by the 1900s, there wasn’t a single book that mentioned it. The invention of commercial refrigeration in the mid-1800s meant people could now get their drinks cold even in the middle of summer. Hot cocktails, room temperature cocktails, and preserved cocktails like this fall out of favor with chilled beverages. Jerry Thomas gave one of the last printed recipes for it, and he is very similar to Benjamin Franklin’s recipe.

What Does English Milk Punch Taste Like?

This tastes absolutely nothing like what you would expect, and it should not taste as good as it does. English milk punch is refreshing and tastes like a fancy sparkling lemonade but without the bubbles. You would never guess this was the byproduct of cheese. I’m usually pretty good at tasting something and thinking about what is in it, or reading a list of ingredients and knowing what the final product will taste like, not all the time but enough. Still, I was utterly wrong when guessing what English milk punch would taste like. This is a fantastic drink that blew me away and one I will make many more times.

Just for fun, I also tried the leftover cheese strained out of the milk punch, which tastes EXACTLY like what you would expect. It wasn’t perfect. A sweet and sour, booze cheese, and it was so gross. If you make this, which you should, try both the cheese and the punch, and you will be amazed they both came from the same mixture.

How Do You Make Clear Milk?

By making cheese, of course. Milk is made mainly of 4 things, water, protein (cheese), fat, and lactose (sugar), and by denaturing/cooking the protein, you can isolate it. Cooking can be done two ways, with heat or acid. Typically when making cheese, you keep the protein part and throw out the whey, but this cocktail reverses that, and instead, you save the whey (water, fat, sugar) part. By removing the cloudy white protein, what is left is the clear pale yellow liquid.

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English Milk Punch

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

15

servings
Calories

180

kcal
ABV

19%

Total time

2

hours 

Learn how to make English Milk Punch.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

  • 2 Cups Water

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

  • 3 Cups Brandy

  • 1.5 Cups Milk

Directions

  • Using a knife cut the zest of 5 lemons and juice the lemons to the required volume. Set juice aside. add the shaved zest to the brandy and let it sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours remove and discard the lemon zest.
  • Add the sugar to the brandy and stir till dissolved. Now set brandy aside.
  • In a large pot combine water, nutmeg, and milk and bring to 100f/37c.
  • Once milk has warmed turn off heat and add the lemon juice and brandy. Stir the mixture for 30 seconds then let it sit for 2 hours undisturbed.
  • Line a mesh strainer with a large paper coffee filter and strain out cheese, letting the clear whey run into a large pot. Bottle, refrigerate and serve cold.

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Tamagozake – A Traditional Japanese Cold Remedy

Tamagozake
Tamagozake

What Does The Tamagozake Taste Like?

The Tamagozake is a Japanese cold remedy drink like how the hot toddy is in the United States. While I love hot toddies, I’m not the biggest fan of this drink. It’s both sweet and quite tart, and the flavor is not to my liking. I tried making this several times with slightly different proportions, and this is the best I could come up with. Maybe it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of sake, and this drink would taste better with another wine or spirit, but it’s an acquired taste. Don’t get me wrong; I bet if I was sick and a sweet little Japanese grandma made me this, it would be amazing. Unfortunately, as a man in his mid-30s, I do not possess that level of supreme skill yet, but it does give me a new cocktail to practice getting better with. I will provide what I believe to be the standard traditional recipe. No one can cook as well as a grandma.

How To Prepare A Tamagozake Properly.

To make this cocktail, you should be familiar with tempering, and you must have a whisk and a heat-proof container with a handle (a basic coffee mug works). Tempering combines two ingredients of different temperatures, where the colder ingredient cooks at a low temperature. The goal is to combine the two without cooking the colder ingredient. In this case, you are adding hot sake to cold eggs to gradually increase the temperature of the eggs without cooking them. You do that by having one hand whisk, the other hand slowly pour, the bowl staying in place.

  1. Whisk the egg and sugar till the mixture has thinned out and runs loose. Like a really well-mixed egg for scrambled eggs.
  2. While whisking very slowly pour the hot sake into the egg mix.
  3. Continue pouring at a constant rate till the sake and egg are mixed together.
  4. The final result should be a light semi-opaque yellow with a small foam on top. Like the photo.

You can’t add a hot liquid to eggs without cooking them. The egg parts the liquid first touches will absorb most of that heat, but constantly agitating the mixture prevents the cooked egg proteins from bonding together and forming clumps.

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Tamagozake

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Japanese
Servings

1

servings
Calories

332

kcal
ABV

13%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a tamagozake.

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Egg

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 5 oz Hot Sake

Directions

  • In a bowl crack a whole egg and add simple syrup.
  • Whisk together until the egg runs thin.
  • Very slowly pour the warmed sake (113f/45c) into the egg mixture while continuously whisking.
  • Pour the final mixture into a glass and serve.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Espresso Martini – Dick Bradsell’s Original Recipe

Espresso Martini
Espresso Martini

The History Of The Espresso Martini.

Invented by Dick Bradsell at Fred’s Club in London during the late 1980s, the espresso martini was the request of one of the patrons. Dick Bradsell claims a famous supermodel walked into the bar and requested a cocktail that would “Wake me up, and fuck me up.” He liked to elude to who, but he never said precisely who requested the drink, but most think it was Kate Moss; the other guess is maybe Naomi Campbell. Interestingly Kate Moss was born in 1974, so for this version to be true, the oldest Kate Moss could have been was 16. She didn’t turn 18 till 1992. Maybe that’s why he never wanted to say who the model was, or the story is a bit exaggerated to make it sound cooler. Either way, who cares. It was over 30 years ago, and the espresso martini is excellent. The original name for the espresso martini was the vodka espresso, but somewhere along the line, they went with espresso martini because it sounded cooler. During this period, there was also Cold War resentment, and Dick Bradsell mentioned in interviews how he would try to avoid using Russian vodkas as it upset some in positions of power over him. Perhaps dropping the word vodka from its name was a strategic move to help avoid criticism.

Can You Use Normal Coffee To Make An Espresso Martini?

Of course, you can use regular coffee for an espresso martini; you can do whatever you damn well please, but it may not have the same flavor or foam on top. If you want to make an espresso martini, you need espresso. Drip coffee gets you 50% of the way there but not all the way. It will still be good but not the same. This matters, and why espresso is much better for this drink than regular drip coffee is the water to coffee ratio of espresso vs. drip coffee. Espresso is a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of coffee to water, and traditional drip coffee is around 1:10 for a medium flavor cup of coffee. The drip coffee is fine, but since you are only using 1 oz of it, you want as much flavor and coffee bean oils as possible. The oil helps give it foam (read the section below on froth), and drip coffee will leave the drink underwhelming, but the Kahlua does help.

I won’t lie; I was gifted a big espresso maker that cost a ton when helping a friend move; I would never personally pay for a coffee maker that cost as much as this one cost, but it is super fast and easy to use and convenient for getting an espresso shot or two right away. Although, after all the years of drinking good and bad coffee and owning different makers, my favorite espresso maker is still my old little cheap Bialetti stovetop unit. It’s 30 bucks, has no moving parts, is easy to use, and makes hands down the best espresso. I would challenge my old dirty little Bialetti to the most expensive espresso machine any day. It’s one of those things invented 100+ years ago and has never changed because the first design was perfect. TLDR, if you are planning to make a ton of these, then get a machine to pull quick shots, but if you’re making a few for yourself and friends, save your money and use a cheap stovetop unit. Also, I find how tight the espresso is tamped down to be more meaningful. There are little torque tampers that click when the pressure is ideal, but you press until you can press anymore and feel the grains stop compressing. Don’t hulk it, but don’t be afraid to smash it down. This helps promote a more even and slower extraction. This was a bit of a coffee rant, but I hope it helps if you were wondering.

How To Make An Espresso Martini Frothy?

Shaking produces tons of bubbles but without something to stabilize the bubbles and keep them from falling apart back into the drink. Typically in cocktails, the denatured protein in egg whites is used to create foam but how do you make foam without egg whites? Try shaking a martini, it will never get foamy. So the bubble stabilizing parts of an espresso martini are oil and sugar. Oil and sugar help increases the viscosity of the drink and makes it difficult for the bubbles to break apart or combine into larger bubbles. Also you kinda just gotta shake the shit out of it. You don’t need to shake it any longer but it should be a bit harder than usual since you’re trying to get a drink to foam that doesn’t want to.

The photo I took of this cocktail was made with this exact recipe, but sometimes you get different results even when you do something the same way. That’s life. So if the foam does not quite look like this, then first check your espresso. The rule of thumb is the more light brown foam on top of your espresso, the more oil. The foam on top of the espresso shot is the oils from the coffee bean. Experiment with a longer or slower extraction, if you can, to see if you get more foam on the top of your espresso. Personally, my machine pulls a shot a bit too fast. I found that my second shot of the same grounds has way more foam than my first shot and tastes better. Maybe it is a setting I need to change or how this one works. White foam is not helpful, though, and is just the shot getting watered down. White foam is mostly watery coffee bean oil that won’t hold or taste good. It should be a nice light brown; once the espresso foam starts to lose color, you are pulling too long. Also, try different brands. Different brands roast differently, which can change how much oil the toasted seeds can hold. I’ve always been a big fan of the Cuban brands, but the Italian ones are good. Another thing to try is adding a bit more sugar or coffee liqueur. Not too much as these proportions are good, but a teaspoon more (5mls) can help hold the foam after shaking. Also, if you ever watch a video of Dick Bradsell making an espresso martini, it’s not very foamy, and he’s the guy who invented them.

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Espresso Martini

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: British
Servings

1

servings
Calories

246

kcal
ABV

20%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Espresso Martini

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1 oz Espresso

  • 2/3 oz Coffee Liqueur

  • 1.5 oz Vodka

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.
  • Garnish with 3 espresso beans.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Ideal Cocktail – Delicious 1933 Sloppy Joe’s Recipe

Ideal Cocktail Sloppy Joe
Ideal Cocktail Sloppy Joe

The Many Variations Of The Ideal Cocktail.

The Ideal cocktail was invented by Hugo Ensslin and is printed in his 1917 Book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks.” The ideal cocktail is a grapefruit variation of the martini, and you can see that in the way the cocktail changed over time. As Hugo saw it, a classic martini was what we would consider today to be a sweet martini. It is made of gin and sweet vermouth. During this time and more so into the 1930s, the dry martini becomes far more popular. Modifying Hugo’s original version based on the sweet martini, Jose Abeal (owner of Sloppy Joe’s) substituted sweet vermouth for dry vermouth (like the dry martini) but made up for the sweetness with a little bit of simple syrup. Grapefruit, dry vermouth, and dry gin are a bit much, and the drink needs a little sweetness to taste good. A clean and herbal grapefruit martini is more suited for a warm tropical climate.

The History Of Sloppy Joes Cuban Bar.

There are two famous pre-revolution Cuban bars. Well, there are at least two famous pre-revolution Cuban bars that printed books and provided future generations with their recipes—Bar La Florida and Sloppy Joe’s Bar, both in Havana, Cuba. Sloppy Joe’s was created by Spanish immigrant Jose Abeal. The 1936 edition of his book details his biography. Jose immigrated from Spain to Cuba in 1904, where he worked as a bartender for three years. He then moved to New Orleans, where he worked as a bartender for another six years, and then to Miami, where he worked for another six years. Upon moving back in 1918 to Cuba, he opened a liquor store and added a bar. When a few of his American friends visited, they commented on how dirty his store was. “Why, Joe, this place is certainly sloppy, look at the filthy water running from under the counter.” They were commenting on how he let the melted ice run all over the ground. His friends would call him dirty or sloppy Joe, and the name stuck. Jose sold classic American and Cuban drinks from his liquor store and bar and Spanish and Cuban food. One of the most popular food items he sold was a traditional Spanish picadillo sandwich. A loose ground beef sandwich where the beef is cooked with crushed tomatoes, Spanish olives, spices, and herbs became more commonly known as a sloppy Joe in the United States. Although Sloppy Joe’s Picadillo sandwich is nothing like the midwestern BBQ sauce covered, Manwich style sloppy joes most of us are used to.

A political revolution later, and Sloppy Joe’s fell on hard times. Now owned by the state and American tourists prohibited from visiting, Sloppy Joe only stayed open for a couple more years. The 1959 movie “Our Man In Havana,” starting Sir Alec Guinness, features some of Sloppy Joe’s in its prime before its business dried up. After a fire in 1965, the bar and store closed entirely with no real intention to ever open again. In 2013 though, the bar was restored, where it was, as it was, and currently sells the same drinks and food items as it did in the 1930s – 1950s.

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Ideal Cocktail – Sloppy Joe’s Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Cuban
Servings

1

servings
Calories

239

kcal
ABV

23%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Ideal Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Simple Syrup

  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 2 oz Dry Gin

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Pearl Diver – A Fantastic Donn Beach Tiki Cocktail

Pearl Diver
Pearl Diver

What Does The Pearl Diver Taste Like?

The Pearl Diver is a unique cocktail. Even in the tiki world, its inclusion of Creamed spiced honey butter is unusual. The Gardenia mix adds a creamy texture and hot buttered rum flavor to a tropical drink. I have consistently found that people who don’t like hot buttered rum also don’t like this. I have also noticed that people who want hot buttered rum also like this. It tastes like a citrusy cold buttered rum, and I love it.

Don the Beachcomber’s Forgotten Recipes.

Immediately after the 21st amendment had repealed prohibition, Donn Beach opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, California. Donn single-handedly created the first Tiki bar and, with it, tiki culture. But like most innovators, Donn was worried about others copying his Hollywood-style Polynesian-themed bar and profiting off his ideas. Donn would show up a few hours before the bar opened, mix large batches of his spice mixes and mixers, and give them nondescriptive labels like Donn’s spice mix #1, #2, #3, or Donn’s Zombie Mix, Grog Mix, Gardenia mix. This was all done to hide the recipes. Donn never told the other bartenders or published a recipe, and while he did open other bars, his recipes never got out. Thus Donn’s original recipes died with him in 1989. So keep that in mind anytime you see a Don the Beachcomber cocktail; it is never an original recipe, just the best guess. And some guesses are better than others. Tiki was a lawless free for all for a little over a decade with no continuity between drinks of the same name. There is still a lot of that today. How many Mai Tai recipes have you seen even though we know the original canon recipe for it?

In the late 90s, a Tiki cocktail enthusiast named Jeff Berry came along with the intent of preserving the old recipes and Tiki culture and helping revitalize the public interest in it. Jeff interviewed old bartenders of Donn the Beachcombers and set out to recreate Donn’s secret recipes to the best of their knowledge. Gathering whatever information he could and testing recipes against people who remembered what the old drinks tasted like, he is credited with having saved recipes that would otherwise be lost to time. Remember that these are not Donn’s original recipe but Jeff’s best attempts at recreating them and that Jeff Beachbum Berry is probably the closest one to get it right.

What is Gardenia Mix and How to Make It.

The secret Gardenia mix recipe Jeff Berry eventually settled on was:

  • 1 oz Honey
  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Syrup
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice Dram.

The stuff taste and smells fantastic. Although not everyone has vanilla or cinnamon syrup around, I wrote a recipe that is a bit more accessible. Here is my specific article on gardenia mix and how to make it.

The Most Important Part Of This Cocktail.

The most important part of the pearl diver is how you mix it. Butter is mostly milk fat and protein, and it does not stay emulsified in water. So you have two options. 1). Use a blender and turn it into a slushy. 2). Use an emulsifier like gum syrup or something to mix the gardenia mix while making it evenly and it is still warm. If you don’t blend it or use an emulsifier, the butter oddly sits at the top and looks pretty gross.

The first option of using a blender is the more common one. There will still be tiny butter particles, but the blender’s speed helps to mix them evenly, and the slushy ice prevents them from forming together. If slushies are not your style, then try option #2.

The second option is to use an emulsifier while making the gardenia mix while it is still warm. You’re not fighting the fat when the cocktail is cold. I’m not the most versed in that method but guides online talk about how to do it that way.

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Pearl Diver – Classic Don the Beachcomber Cocktail Recipe

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

456

kcal
ABV

19%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Pearl Diver.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1 oz Orange Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1 oz Gardenia Mix

  • 1/3 oz Falernum

  • 1.5 oz Gold Rum

  • 1 oz Anejo Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender with a single scoop of ice cubes.
  • Blend on low for 10 seconds or till the ice is mostly pulverized.
  • Now blend on high for 5-10 seconds to completely crush the ice and turn the drink into a slushy texture.
  • Pour into serving glass. Garnish with an orchid flower.

Recipe Video

Notes


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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Zombie – Don The Beachcomber’s Classic Tiki Recipe

Zombie
Zombie

The History Of The Zombie Cocktail.

On the menu, it seems from day one, or at least very soon after, the Zombie is one of Donn Beach’s most famous tiki cocktails. The Zombie was so strong that it would put someone into a blackout drunk automaton state. The Zombie proved to be so renowned it was probably one of Donn’s most copied cocktails. Even though Donn tried to keep the recipe a secret, even from his bartenders, Zombies started popping up at other tiki bars all over the USA. The Aku Aku at the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas, La Mariana Sailing Club in Honolulu, The Tonga Room in San Francisco, and Even Trader Vic’s had a Zombie on the menu (but he did credit Donn for inventing it). The Zombie gained the slogan of being often imitated but never duplicated. As with all Donn Beach cocktails, there is no definitive recipe because he never published them and kept them secret from everyone, even the staff. You couldn’t do anything like that today with allergies and such. You don’t want to be known as the bar that withheld information that ended up killing somebody. Donn is also believed to have changed the Zombie recipe several times to improve it and stay ahead of the competition.

I also find it very cool that he went with this name as Night of the Living Dead didn’t debut till 1968, starting the American zombie craze. Zombies are also traditionally Haitian folklore and not Polynesian. This shows that Tiki was a mish-mash of exotic island Hollywood imagery and not something born of actually Polynesian tradition.

From just looking at the Don the Beachcomber menus, nothing is exciting. It just has the zombie listed as a cocktail with a little voodoo man next to it on some versions. If you wish to google it yourself and check it out, the primary menu years you can find online are 1934, 1941, and 1954, and there is a separate 1960s drink menu.

What Does The Zombie Cocktail Taste Like?

This drink will knock you on your ass. It goes down like a tropical Long Island Ice Tea, and I won’t lie, I had just one of these (the one in the picture), and I had a hard time walking straight. In 1934 Don the Beachcomber sold these for $2.00 and had a limit of 2, and even that seems a bit generous. This cocktail is perfect and very successful at having just enough juice and sweetener not to make the volume of booze overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very alcohol forward, and you feel it, but it toes the line that even a non-old fashion drinker would like it—something the Long Island does not do.

Zombie Cocktail Variations.

There are as many zombie variations as there are bartenders, and that’s fine, considering there is no definitive known recipe. The recipe I have provided here is the Jeff “Beachbum” Berry recipe, as it is regarded as the most accurate and probably the closest to one of Donn Beach’s Zombies. Again, Donn was thought to have changed the recipe several times, so this may be an amalgamation of several versions.

The Most Important Ingredient.

The essential ingredient in the Zombie is the 151. Surprising right? It’s only a half-ounce float on top, but the 151 you use will make or break this cocktail. I personally like Lemon Hart’s 151. It’s the original and surprisingly flavorful for being such a high proof. Donn Beach was said to hunt for this particular brand because it was just that good, and I agree with that. Other lighter 151s add booze (Granted, this cocktail doesn’t need more), but the Lemon Hart ads booze and flavor. If you do not find this particular brand, I would try using a navy strength (57% ABV) rum that is a bit darker in color instead. For an excellent article on 151 and its history, check out this link to The Lone Canner. The Lone Canner also has a great article on the proof system, its history, and technical details here.

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Zombie Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

414

kcal
ABV

27%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Zombie.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Lime Juice

  • 2/3 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 2/3 oz Papaya Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 oz Apple Brandy

  • 1 oz Black Rum

  • 2 oz Gold Rum

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1/2 oz 151

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker except the 151.
  • Add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all.
  • Top Cocktail off with a float of 151.
  • Garnish with maraschino cherries, pineapple, and mint.

Recipe Video

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Irish Coffee – The Delicious Original Buena Vista Recipe

Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee

This cocktail became a hit in the early 1950s when Stanton Delaplane brought it from Ireland to the United States. He was working at The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, and after perfecting the recipe, this quickly became their signature cocktail.

The Buena Vista Cafe is still open today, and they make some of the best Irish Coffees, but be warned, this place is always super full of other people ordering them.

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Irish Coffee

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

314

kcal
ABV

9%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the an Irish coffee.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey

  • 5 oz Hot Coffee

  • 1 oz Heavy Cream

Directions

  • Simply combine the ingredients in warm glass except the heavy cream.
  • Add quite a bit of heavy cream to shaker and shake for around 1 minute to thicken into whipped cream.
  • Float about an ounce or 2 of cream on top.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Chilcano – A Delicious Classic Peruvian Pisco Cocktail

Chilcano Cocktail
Chilcano Cocktail

Think of this as a Peruvian Moscow Mule, but the bitters add a nice spice. Invented somewhere in the early 1900s in Peru, it can be prepared with simple syrup and bitters or without. While the bitters add a nice kick to the drink, if you choose to prepare it without syrup and bitters, I would add 1 oz (30mls) of ginger beer. The chilcano predates the Moscow Mule, but it is unknown if the chilcano had any influence on creating the Moscow mule in Los Angeles.

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Chilcano

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Peruvian
Servings

1

servings
Calories

221

kcal
ABV

10%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Classic Chicano.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1 tsp Simple Syrup

  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 oz Pisco

  • 4 oz Ginger Beer

Directions

  • Add ice to the serving glass. Combine all the ingredients in the serving glass.
  • Give the drink a couple turns to chill and mix.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.