Elixir for the Soul

This is a blog about sophisticated drinking, because alcohol doesn't have to be a poison, it can be a medicine for the soul.

Shawn, 21. Currently studying foreign language at university in China. Researching about cocktails is one of my passions, and I hope this blog can introduce others to the true way of imbibing. Every drink on this page is mixed, tasted and photographed by me.

Feel free to ask.

Waikikian
Light Puerto Rican Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Dark Jamaican Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Lemon Juice - 1 1/2 oz
Orange Curaçao - 1 oz
Orgeat Syrup - 3/4 oz
Blend everything except the Jamaican rum with 3 ounces crushed ice, pour into an old-fashioned glass 2/3 filled with crushed ice. Float dark Jamaican rum on top. Garnish with a lime wheel and an orchid.
From Beachbum Berry’s “Grog Log”. Based on the Island Hopper, circa 1960.
Everything about the recipe reminds me of a Mai Tai by Trader Vic, with lemon replacing lime, and a combination of light and dark rums. The beauty of floating the dark rum on top instead of mixing it in is that you get a light and refreshing drink in the beginning, and when the drink becomes too light due to the dilution, you can stir in the dark rum to bring back the strength, as well as adding a complex flavour that wasn’t there before.
Ciro’s Special
Dark Jamaican Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Lime Juice - 1 oz
Crème de Cassis - 3/4 oz
Grand Marnier - 1/4 oz
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Featured in Beachbum Berry’s “Grog Log”. The drink is from Ciro’s nightclub, Hollywood, California, circa 1940s.
It’s a break from your usual sweet Tiki drinks, this is one may be slightly too tart for most people, which is to be expected when mixing 1 ounce of lime juice to 1 ounce of not-so-sweet liqueurs. This actually worked in my favour, as I prefer a little sourness. Add syrup If needed.
Blackbeard’s Ghost
Light Puerto Rican Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Demerara Rum - 1/2 oz
Orange Juice - 1 oz
Lemon Juice - 1 1/3 oz
Simple Syrup - 2/3 oz
Falernum - 1/2 oz
Apricot Brandy - 1/2 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Shake everything with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a tall glass.
Beachbum’s version of the Pirate Grog, from Blackbeard’s Galley restaurant, Newport Beach, California, circa 1970s.
Quite a delicious and straightforward drink. Dry Puerto Rican rum flavoured with a hint of smoke from the rich demerara; orange and lemon providing the citrus sour; falernum and apricot brandy adds sweetness and various flavours like apricot, almond, ginger and lime; and Angostura just to round everything up.
Don’s Beach Planter
Amber Martinique Rum - 2 oz
Dark Jamaican Rum - 1/2 oz
American Brandy - 1/2 oz
Pineapple Juice - 2 oz
Lime Juice - 1 oz
Passion Fruit Syrup - 1 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Absinthe - 1 dash
Blend everything with 1 cup crushed ice for no more than 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a pilsner glass, add more crushed ice to fill.
Another version of Planter’s Punch by Don the Beachcomber, from 1937. A fine brandy and rum combo for spirit; pineapple and lime as citrus; passion fruit syrup for sweetness; crushed ice for water; and Donn’s Angostura + Pernod (or absinthe) for spices.
For the American brandy, the book recommends Christian Brothers, which I’m using a VSOP grade. It is the first time I’ve used a brandy other than French VSOP cognac. CB brandy is very different from your regular cognac, very rich, pungent, and full of fruity note, aroma-wise it actually reminds of American rye whiskey. A bottle of this is only half the price of a VSOP cognac, and it’s well worth it. I might make some brandied cherries with this in the future.
Instead of a regular pilsner, I felt like using a Don the Beachcomber mug for this Planter’s.
Tahitian
Rhum Barbancourt - 2 oz
Gold Jamaican Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Gold Puerto Rican Rum - 1/2 oz
Pineapple Juice - 1 1/2 oz
Lime Juice - 1 oz
White Crème de Cacao - 1/2 oz
Simple Syrup - 1/2 tsp
Angostura Bitters - 1 dash
Shake everything with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a collins glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a parasol.
An original creation by Beachbum Berry. Four ounces of rum is no laughing matter, when drank too fast, you will feel like you’re in Tahiti.
This is a wonderful blend of three different and complex rums, full of spice and fruit aromas, with an accented vanilla finish. The chocolate notes from the Barbancourt was brought out by the cacao liqueur, which makes a fine accompaniment to the upfront pineapple flavour.
Only Rhum Barbancourt 3-Star upwards should be used, with 5-Star (8-year-old) being your best choice. For the other two I’m using Appleton Estate V/X and Bacardi Ron 8 Años. 
Don’s Own Planter’s
Dark Jamaican Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Light Puerto Rican Rum - 1 oz
Lemon Juice - 1 oz
Honey Mix - 1 oz
Soda Water - 1 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Shake everything with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a pilsner glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, a cherry, and mint sprigs.
From Beachbum Berry’s “Grog Log”.
In the same way that all mixed drinks evolved from the Punch, all Tiki drinks evolved from Planter’s Punch. Without this centuries-old cocktail, there would be no Mai Tai or Zombie.
The forefather of Tiki cuisine - Don the Beachcomber, built his career on Planter’s Punch, a drink that started off as nothing more than sugar, lemon juice, Jamaican rum, and water put together. He took the simple Planter’s Punch formula: “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.” and enhanced it. Instead of just lemon juice, he added lime and grapefruit; using different sweeteners like falernum and honey to complicate the flavour; instead just one rum, he put in two or three different styles of rums; and lastly he didn’t rely solely on water from the ice, but also incorporate soda, as well as quick blending with small amount of crushed ice for a more controlled dilution.
Of course Donn had created numerous versions of Planter’s Punch, and this is a relatively simple but delicious one: using only lemon juice for citrus, honey mix as sweetener, a combination of dark and light rums, and soda and ice for dilution.
For the darker, use Myers’s, and for the light use Bacardi Superior; the dry Bacardi will thin out the heavy molasses from Myers’s. The honey mix can be made by combining equal amount of honey and water.

Don’s Own Planter’s

Dark Jamaican Rum - 1 1/2 oz

Light Puerto Rican Rum - 1 oz

Lemon Juice - 1 oz

Honey Mix - 1 oz

Soda Water - 1 oz

Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes

Shake everything with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a pilsner glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, a cherry, and mint sprigs.

From Beachbum Berry’s “Grog Log”.

In the same way that all mixed drinks evolved from the Punch, all Tiki drinks evolved from Planter’s Punch. Without this centuries-old cocktail, there would be no Mai Tai or Zombie.

The forefather of Tiki cuisine - Don the Beachcomber, built his career on Planter’s Punch, a drink that started off as nothing more than sugar, lemon juice, Jamaican rum, and water put together. He took the simple Planter’s Punch formula: “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.” and enhanced it. Instead of just lemon juice, he added lime and grapefruit; using different sweeteners like falernum and honey to complicate the flavour; instead just one rum, he put in two or three different styles of rums; and lastly he didn’t rely solely on water from the ice, but also incorporate soda, as well as quick blending with small amount of crushed ice for a more controlled dilution.

Of course Donn had created numerous versions of Planter’s Punch, and this is a relatively simple but delicious one: using only lemon juice for citrus, honey mix as sweetener, a combination of dark and light rums, and soda and ice for dilution.

For the darker, use Myers’s, and for the light use Bacardi Superior; the dry Bacardi will thin out the heavy molasses from Myers’s. The honey mix can be made by combining equal amount of honey and water.

Tropical Collins
Gold Rum - 1 1/4 oz
Lemon Juice - 1 oz
Pineapple Juice - 2 oz
Pineapple Syrup - 1/2 oz
Shake everything with 1 cup crushed ice and pour unstrained into a collins glass, add more ice cubes to fill. Garnish with a cherry and a mint sprig.
One of the simpler recipes from Beachbum Berry’s “Intoxica!”. From Riccardo’s restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, circa 1940s.
Other than it’s served in a collins glass, it really doesn’t have anything to do with a Collins. I had to make a slight change, the original recipe didn’t include any sweetener at all, but when using unsweetened pineapple juice, it’s just too sour, so I put in 1/2 ounce of pineapple syrup. I’d also recommend increase the amount of rum to 2 ounces. The style of rum wasn’t specified, I’m going with Mount Gay Eclipse.
Mai Tai Swizzle
Aged Jamaican Rum - 1 oz
Light Cuban Rum - 1 oz
Grapefruit Juice - 1 oz
Lime Juice - 3/4 oz
Cointreau - 1/2 oz
Falernum - 1/4 oz
Pernod - 6 drops
Angostura Bitters - 1 dash
Shake everything with crushed ice and pour unstrained into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with 4 mint sprigs.
This is Don the Beachcomber’s Mai Tai from “Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber” by Phoebe Beach and Arnold Bitner, said to be invented around 1933, that’s roughly 11 years before the invention of Trader Vic’s Mai Tai.
There’s no doubt that one of them did “copy” the other, as both the ingredients and flavour are extremely similar. The Mai Tai can be dissected into four major parts: the citrus juice, the orange liqueur, the almond syrup, and the rum. Trader Vic’s is very basic, lime as the citrus, curaçao as the orange liqueur, orgeat as the almond syrup, and the rum was originally a 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew. Don the Beachcomber’s recipe added grapefruit juice to the lime, used Cointreau instead of curaçao, falernum instead of orgeat, a combination of Jamaican and Cuban rum, and signed off with his signature Pernod + Angostura seasoning.
Either Trader Vic attempted to recreate Don the Beachcomber’s with simpler ingredients, or Don the Beachcomber tried to win the Mai Tai battle by creating a Mai Tai based on Trader Vic’s with a more complex recipe, somehow I think the latter is more believable.

mercutios-houndstooth asked: Alright, that's it. China's a bit too far but if you decide to come work a bit in a bar in Europe, I'll arrange a trip just to be able to taste your drinks and will drag husband along to convert him.

Wow, I’m honoured!

But I’m sure there are tons of great bars and bartenders in Europe that can satisfy your thirst (particularly in the UK), a lot of them are probably better than me. Besides, I don’t need to remind you that I’m not a bartender, merely someone who mix drinks as a hobby, or an obsession rather. I have thought about tending bars professionally after I finish university, but that depends entirely on how well the pay is.

Anyway thank you so much for all the support! It’s feedbacks like this that keeps me want to dig deeper into the world of drinks.

Rum Julep
Demerara Rum - 1 1/2 oz
Aged Jamaican Rum - 1/2 oz
Lime Juice - 1/2 oz
Orange Juice - 1/2 oz
Honey Mix - 1/2 oz
Grenadine - 1/4 tsp
Falernum - 1/4 tsp
Pimento Liqueur - 1/4 tsp
Angostura Bitters - 1 dash
Blend everything with 1/2 cup crushed ice and pour unstrained into a julep cup, add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with several mint sprigs.
Clearly this isn’t just a Julep made with rum, but a Tiki drink created by Don the Beachcomber back in the 1940s.
The focus is still on the rums: a rich and smokey demerara with a vanilla and buttery Jamaican. This is slightly flavoured with some citrus and various spices from the honey and liqueurs.
The honey mix is basically honey syrup, made by combining equal parts of honey and water.