The Tropical Itch is a cocktail that was first poured…
There aren’t a great number of berry tiki drinks out there (though there are quite a few innovated or recorded by one) and we wouldn’t say that it’s an essential tiki flavor. That being said, there is no reason that berries can’t be incorporated into a tiki cocktail because they go fabulously with rum, citrus and the kinds of spices that you so often fint in tropical drinks.
We were inspired to come up with this Berried Treasure cocktail after making up a batch of the mixed berry syrup from Brooklyn’s Clover Club, as found in Craft Cocktail Party. The syrup is only slightly more difficult to make than a traditional simple syrup. Essentially, smashed berries (we used a blend of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) are combined with a rich simple syrup and cooked just slightly, until their juices are released but their berry flavor is still bright. The syrup is incredibly flavorful and lasts for a couple of weeks in the fridge. We used it in everything from lemonade (amazing) to cocktails and loved how summery it made some of our favorite drinks.
This particular drink starts with a generous pour of that bright berry syrup, then adds lemon and pineapple juice to make the fruity base of the drink. We added allspice dram, a little vanilla syrup and three types of rum – a nice white rum (we used Flor de Cana), some Smith & Cross and Hamilton 151. Since the berries are so potent, we wanted to make sure that we picked rums that would add some bold flavors to the drink, though we started with a nice white rum so as not to take away from the vivid color of the cocktail. The results are nothing short of outstanding. The drink is funky and complex, with plenty of pungent tropical fruit and spice underlying the bold berry flavors. It isn’t overly sweet, but it goes down smooth and fast.
We recommend serving this in a big goblet. While it looks great in a rum barrel tiki mug, its bold color deserves to be seen when you are sipping one!
1 1/2 oz white rum
1/2 oz Smith and Cross
1/2 oz Hamilton 151
1/2 oz allspice dram
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz mixed berry syrup (recipe below)
1/4 oz vanilla demerara syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until cold, then strain into a large goblet-type glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a spent lemon half and, if you have any leftover after making the syrup, a few fresh berries.
Mixed Berry Syrup
from <em>Craft Cocktail Party
1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
In a medium saucepan, crush the berries with the sugar using a potato masher or other blunt kitchen tool. Add the water and heat the mixture. Stir continuously to dissolve the sugar and cook for about 5 minutes on low heat, making sure the syrup does not simmer or boil (to preserve the fresh fruit flavor). Remove from heat and let mixture sit for 20 minutes. Strain out the berry solids and refrigerate the syrup.
Syrup should keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Makes about 3 cups.