Tiki cocktails often feature rum and fruit juice, a tasty pairing that lends itself to slow sippers. Like the Beachcomber’s Punch.
This soothing elixir packs a lot of flavor, but just enough alcohol to let you know you’re imbibing a grown-up drink.
Because you don’t want a hangover to distract you from summertime lazing.
The Beachcomber’s Punch was developed by Donn Beach, a founding father of Tiki culture and creator of the “Don the Beachcomber” restaurant chain. This concoction dates back to the 1930s, when it was created at the original Hollywood restaurant that launched Beach’s empire.
We found this recipe in Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, a collection of Tiki recipes and lore by Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.
This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 1½ ounces aged Demerara rum (see Notes)
- ½ ounce apricot liqueur (aka apricot brandy; see Notes)
- ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce white grapefruit juice (bottled is OK; see Notes)
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon absinthe or substitute (about 6 drops; see Notes)
- dash or 2 of Angostura bitters (to taste)
- mint sprig garnish (optional)
- Add all the ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed or chipped ice. Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
- The original recipe calls for adding all the ingredients (except garnish) plus ¾ cup crushed ice to a blender. Blend for 5 seconds (more than that and the ice turns too slushy), then pour unstrained into a glass. Add more crushed ice to fill the glass, garnish if you wish, and serve.
- If you don’t want to use a blender (we never bother), you can just shake the ingredients with crushed or chipped ice, then pour unstrained into a serving glass. We prefer to shake with cubes and then strain over fresh ice (chipped, in our case), but your decision.
- It’s traditional to serve this drink in a champagne flute or a pilsner glass, but any tall glass will work. We’ve become fans of stemless champagne flutes, so that’s what we use.
- Demerara rum is a smoky amber rum from Guyana. Its flavor is unique, so there really are no substitutes. We generally use El Dorado 8-year-old Demerara rum for mixed drinks (though even longer-aged versions are always welcome).
- BTW, you may see some 151-proof Demerara rums. Those aren’t appropriate for this drink (or any cocktail that requires Demerara rum unless the recipe specifies the 151-proof version).
- Many cocktail recipes call for apricot brandy when they really mean apricot liqueur. True apricot brandy isn’t easy to find. It’s distilled directly from apricots, while most apricot liqueurs have a neutral spirit as their base (and are flavored with apricots). Adding to the confusion, many brands that are labeled “apricot brandy” are actually apricot liqueur.
- The best brands of apricot liqueur we’ve found are Marie Brizard’s Apry and Rothman & Winter’s Orchard Apricot. The latter is what we typically use.
- In this drink, absinthe serves nearly the same purpose as bitters – so don’t use too much. If you don’t have absinthe on hand, a substitute like Pernod will work well. BTW, the combination of absinthe and bitters was one Donn Beach used often in drinks that contained strongly flavored amber or dark rum.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and do not benefit from mentioning brands. We suggest only those products we like (and buy with our own money).
- Unless a cocktail recipe specifies otherwise, you should stick with white grapefruit juice when making drinks. The pink stuff is too sweet (and the wrong color). We use bottled grapefruit juice because it’s convenient. But if fresh white grapefruit is available, we sometimes juice our own, which provides superior fresh-squeezed taste (again, don’t use the ruby/red/pink varieties).
- Some medications (like statins) don’t mix well with grapefruit juice (the juice intensifies the drugs’ effects). The amount of juice called for in one or two of these drinks isn’t a problem for most people. But if in doubt, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
“Punchy!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “But in a good way. More hula than haka.”
“Yup,” I said. “My kind of punch in the gut.”
“After that comment, I may need a leave of absinthe,” said Mrs K R.
“So you’re going to citrus one out?” I said.
“Careful,” said Mrs K R. “This drink may be mild, but I still pack a punch.”
OK, better stop. After all, good puns are rare. But great puns? Demerara.
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