It’s hot in our part of the world, folks. And humid.
So we need a hit of cool, refreshing Tiki. The Never Say Die is one of the most interesting Tiki potions we know. It’s a bit of a production to make, but totally worth it.
‘Cause the heat is on.
Recipe: The Never Say Die Cocktail
Tiki drinks often require a fairly lengthy list of ingredients – and this one takes more than most.
It was created by Tiki legend Donn Beach (who founded the “Don the Beachcomber” restaurant chain). We discovered a recipe for this drink in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s Grog Log.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to make and serves 1.
- 1 ounce gold Barbados rum (see Notes)
- ½ ounce light Puerto Rican rum (see Notes)
- ½ ounce dark Jamaican rum (see Notes)
- ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce orange juice (fresh-squeezed is best, but bottled works)
- ½ ounce white grapefruit juice (fresh-squeezed is great, but bottled works)
- ¼ ounce pineapple juice (we generally use canned; see Notes)
- ½ ounce honey simple syrup (see Notes for how to make)
- dash or 2 of Angostura bitters
- lime wedge for 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 (or ice cubes, if you prefer). Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
- The original recipe for this drink says to add the ingredients, plus 4 ounces of crushed ice, to a blender. Blend for 5 seconds (more than that and the ice turns too slushy), then pour the contents unstrained into a tall glass (Tiki bars often use a wine goblet or a pilsner glass for a fun presentation). Add more crushed ice to fill the glass, and serve.
- Or you can just shake the mixture and pour it unstrained into a serving glass. We prefer to strain over fresh ice, but your call.
- To make honey simple syrup: Measure out equal amounts of honey and water (we use ½ cup of each). Place the honey in a heat-proof container. Heat the water until it’s hot (it doesn’t have to boil; we generally microwave it). Add the hot water to the honey, then stir until the honey dissolves, creating a syrup. Pour the syrup into a squeeze bottle or an airtight container, then store it in the refrigerator until ready to use (it will keep for a couple of weeks).
- Barbados rum comes from (you guessed it) the Caribbean island of Barbados. Their rums tend to be medium bodied. The brand of Barbados rum you’re most likely to see is Mount Gay. But we prefer Plantation 5-year-old (which is becoming more widely available). There are more expensive Barbados rums available, and those would be excellent – but overkill for cocktails, we think. BTW, Barbados claims to have invented rum.
- Puerto Rican rum, particularly the white (light) version, tends to be rather mild. Bacardi Superior is probably the brand most commonly stocked in liquor stores, and it has OK flavor (unassuming, but it works in mixed drinks). We often substitute Cruzan white rum (from St. Croix, but it has a similar character to Puerto Rican rum – and more flavor). Cuban white rum would also be a good choice. It’s difficult to buy Cuban rum in the US, but it’s widely available elsewhere.
- Jamaican dark rums tend to be fairly strong and often a bit funky. Our usual brand is Myers’s. We’ve seen a lot of favorable references to Coruba, but haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial. We are not compensated for, and do not benefit from, naming brands. We recommend only what 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 when white grapefruit is in season, we often buy one and squeeze our own (again, don’t use the ruby/red/pink varieties).
- Some medications (like statins) don’t mix well with grapefruit juice (the juice intensifies the drug’s 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.
- For the pineapple juice? You can try juicing your own, but it’s easier just to buy unsweetened juice in cans or bottles. We usually buy mini cans, which are just the right size for cocktail use.
- We don’t know how Donn Beach decided to name this drink. The phrase “never say die” has been around for a while. It dates back at least to 1825, when it was used in a story that appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine. Charles Dickens later used it in The Pickwick Papers, and it became a common expression in 19th century Britain.
“Refreshing!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Intricate blend of flavors.”
“Our local rum distributor must be delighted,” I said. “He’s scored a threefer.”
“The honey simple syrup will help if he gets hoarse from all the cheering,” said Mrs K R.
“Yup, the honey makes it smooth,” I said. “Plus, all the juice adds plenty of Vitamin C.”
“I’d definitely call this a health drink,” said Mrs K R.
Indeed. Our kind of smoothie.
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