Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Nui Nui Cocktail

The Nui Nui Cocktail

Tame summer heat with this 1930s Tiki smooth sipper

It’s hot outside (where we live, at least). So let’s seek relief in liquid refreshment.

Today we’ll quench our thirst with the Nui Nui Cocktail, a Tiki classic. It’s a delightful combo of rum, fruit juice, and flavored syrups.

Fearless ingredients combining forces to beat the heat? A heroic feat of satiation, we say. 

The Nui Nui Cocktail

Recipe: The Nui Nui Cocktail

The Nui Nui was created by Donn Beach, who kicked off the Tiki craze when he started his chain of Don the Beachcomber restaurants during the 1930s. Like many of his drinks, the Nui Nui calls for rum, fruit juice, and some specialty syrups – in this case, vanilla simple syrup and cinnamon simple syrup. You can buy both of these, but it’s easy enough to make your own (recipes and instructions are in the Notes).

Our recipe comes from Tiki maven Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Check out the Notes for an alternate formula.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gold Virgin Islands rum (see Notes)
  • 1/8 ounce allspice dram (AKA pimento dram; see Notes)
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ¼ ounce cinnamon simple syrup (see Notes)
  • 1/8 ounce vanilla simple syrup (see Notes)
  • dash of angostura bitters
  • garnish of orange peel (optional)

Procedure 

  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (about 20 seconds).
  2. Strain into a tall (highball) glass filled with chipped or crushed ice. Add more ice to fill the glass, if necessary. Then add garnish, if using. Serve and enjoy.

The Nui Nui Cocktail
Notes

  • Donn Beach made a lot of his drinks in a blender – including this one. His procedure: Add ½ cup of crushed ice along with the drink ingredients (sans garnish) to the blender jar. “Flash” blend on high speed for 5 seconds. Then pour the contents of the blender (ice included) into a tall glass, adding more ice if necessary to fill the glass.
  • But we prefer to shake with ice – we just find it easier. We like to serve this drink over chipped or crushed ice, but you could use standard ice cubes if you want.
  • Donn Beach was notoriously secretive about his cocktail recipes. He also tinkered with them over time. So it’s hard to find the original, “authentic” versions of his drinks. Beachbum Berry has done extensive, meticulous research on the topic, however. His books are worth checking out.
  • An alternate recipe for the Nui Nui that we’ve seen (and like) goes as follows: 1½ ounces gold Virgin Islands rum, ½ ounce dark demerara rum, 1 teaspoon allspice dram, ½ ounce lime juice, ½ ounce orange juice, ¼ ounce cinnamon simple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla simple syrup, 1 dash Angostura bitters. Prepare as directed in the Procedure above. Garnish with an orange peel (and maybe a cinnamon stick).
  • Both versions of this drink are quite good. In fact, we have trouble deciding which we prefer. So try both! And decide which one tickles your taste buds.
  • To make cinnamon simple syrup: Crush a couple cinnamon sticks. Add them to a small saucepan, along with 4 ounces of sugar and 4 ounces of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours (3 or 4 hours is better). Strain into a jar and store in the refrigerator (the syrup will keep for a couple of weeks).
  • To make vanilla simple syrup: Combine 4 ounces of sugar with 4 ounces of very hot water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture steep, then add a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a jar, seal tightly, and refrigerate (the syrup will keep for a couple of weeks).
  • Donn Beach used gold (amber) Virgin Islands rum in this drink. VI rum has a bit more complexity than rum from Puerto Rico. 
  • Which brand of Virgin Islands rum to buy? Cruzan is what you’re most likely to see in liquor stores, and it’s good. Their gold rum is called “aged dark rum,” but its color is gold (on the dark side, but still gold), which is what you want.
  • If you make the alternate recipe for the Nui Nui, you’ll also need demerara rum, which is from Guyana. El Dorado is the brand you’re likely to find. We buy the 8-year-old version for cocktails. You can also find longer-aged versions, which are more expensive. We like to save those for sipping, although of course they’re wonderful in drinks.
  • Allspice dram (AKA pimento dram) is a liqueur infused with allspice and other flavorings. You can make your own, but it’s easier to buy it from a liquor store. St. Elizabeth is the brand you’re most likely to see, but others are available.
  • Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and don’t benefit in any manner from mentioning brands. We recommend what we like and buy with our own money.

The Nui Nui Cocktail
Oh No

“Great drink!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I hear it originally was called the ‘Pupule,’ which means crazy in Hawaiian.”

“I like the Nui Nui name,” I said. “Kind of musical, don’t you think?”

“Do I feel a song riff coming on?” said Mrs K R.

“Yup!” I said. “Inspired by Louie Louie, that great tune from our youth:

       Nui Nu-I, oh no
       Me gotta drink
       Aye-yi-yi-yi!”


“That sounds pupule,” said Mrs K R.

Me gotta go now.

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44 comments:

  1. As usual, I laugh at the puns. The song cracked me up, but I am a threat to alter lyrics all the time!
    The drink sounds perfect for summer nights on the porch, under a fan!

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    1. Hi Anne, this is a GREAT summer-on-the-porch drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I'm with Angie---your last lines made me giggle! What a great cocktail to sip around the pool!

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    1. Hi Liz, this is a wonderful pool drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I always enjoy the conversation between you and your Mrs. :-)) The cocktail looks so beautiful that I want one too, John. Gorgeous shots!

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    1. Hi Angie, we really enjoy writing those endings. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. We’ve got a birthday boy in our house (my husband) and I was looking for a special tipple. I have got everything I need except for cinnamon syrup which, as you say, is easy to make.

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    1. Hi Greg, hope the birthday boy has a most excellent day! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Wow this looks like the perfect summer cocktail!

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    1. Hi Raymund, it's a good one! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Looks like a great summer drink and sounds delicious

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, it's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I met a Hawaiian named Nui Nui, which means great in Hawaiian. He was quite a character!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, this is a great cocktail, so that makes sense. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Ooo that's my kind of cocktail - (relatively) light and fruity. I bet it would be good with lavender simple syrup, too :) Beautiful pictures as always!

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    1. Hi Ben, definitely on the fruity (and spicy) side. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. That is one fabulous supper sipper! If you close your eyes, you might feel like you have escaped to a tropical island.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, escaping to a tropical island sounds like a delightful idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. A lovely Summer cocktail on the porch no doubt, and I'll save this for our Summer howver Rum is a very satisfying Winter drink here as well. It won't be long, heaven forbid, and I'll be using it to make our Christmas cake. You would love our Queensland Bundaberg Rum for sure. Enjoy your Summer on the porch.

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    1. Hi Pauline, although we usually drink this in the summer because it's such a refreshing drink, the spicy flavor of this would be nice in the cooler months as well. I really need to look for Bundaberg rum -- sounds interesting. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Replies
    1. Hi Natalia, good flavor, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. My husband is a haole who loves anything Hawaiian-inspired. I'll have to try this out on him.

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    1. Hi Jeff, he'll love it! You will too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Replies
    1. Hi Denise, and really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. That looks like pure liquid sunshine. And the cinnamon is a surprising and wonderful addition.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, the cinnamon adds a nice flavor tone to this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I am dreaming myself lounging on the couch in front of the AC and enjoying this fruity cocktail.

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    1. Hi Balvinder, a worthy dream. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Having been to Rapa Nui (where “nui” means big), this cocktail is definitely big-big! I need to get some allspice dram — and have (or can make) everything else. This is perfect for the weather we have been having!

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    1. Hi David, we have more drinks coming up that require allspice dram, so you'll be wanting a bottle. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I have not been drinking cocktails, but I do love rum and this looks really good and refreshing. I can understand how this would be great on a hot summer day.

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    1. Hi Judee, rum is good, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Do I see new crushed ice in those photos? They look great. What a pretty drink, perfect for the hot, humid days we’ve been having.
    Cheers
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, you do! And it's been REALLY hot and humid here lately, so this is welcome. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Wow - love the citrus and spice combination in this cocktail!

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    1. Hi Amy, this is SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Me gotta go now-to make this drink! Aloha!

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  21. This would make the heat feel a whole lot better!

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    1. Hi Inger, it does. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. You seem to be on quite the tropical kick this summer. A vacation, for an hour or a week, is always welcome :)

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    1. Hi Laura, well it's summer. :-) And we've had fun with Tiki drinks this year! Thanks for the comment.

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