This month's Mixology Monday is being hosted by Joel of Southern Ash. The last MxMo of Joel's that I joined was Highballs, my entry for which can be found here and the roundup can be found here. Thanks for hosting again, Joel! His theme this time around is "Perfect Symmetry" cocktails, which use (binarily) opposed ingredients in the same recipe.
As I've mentioned before on this site, my trial-by-fire entry into the world of cocktails was through tiki drinks, which is not something you'll hear very often. The force that originally bridged my gap from tiki to classic cocktails is Robert Hess, a mixological champion who, if not a founding father of the modern cocktail movement, was at least in the first wave of its cavalry.
Robert Hess' main vehicle of evangelism is his website DrinkBoy, which is where I began my own adventure years ago, and luckily for us all, the site, while simple, remains just about the same today as it ever was(more on that later). Hess also has a video series called The Cocktail Spirit, the episodes of which are linked to individual cocktail recipes on DrinkBoy.com, thereby intertwining the two resources. Be glad!
Hess more often celebrates the artistry and nuance of established recipes than creating his own, but when he decides to flex his creative brawn, his aptitude always shows. A recipe of Hess' that I've been making for years now is the Jolly Roger. Leave it to the personality who pulled my attention from tiki to hold my attention with a classic-tiki style hybrid, which is most certainly my favorite drink of his.
The Jolly Roger uses both light and dark rum, a classic tiki drink trope. However, I could swear that the recipe used to use all dark rum instead of the mix, and that Hess changed the recipe a few years ago. Fortunately, the wonders of the internet responded to this nagging feeling of mine. Archive.org is a website that creates frequent automatic backup "images" of many websites so that you can view how they looked in the past. Looking back to DrinkBoy.com at January 1, 2007, shows that I'm correct, pictured below.
And so, the original Jolly Roger contained only dark rum, while the modern one has a mix of light and dark. I'm not inclined to forget the original, as I think I actually preferred it to the newest recipe. However, I believe the new version is interesting in a different way, and with its light-and-dark rum mixture, I wouldn't hesitate to call it a Perfect cocktail.
A note about the ingredients. Hess seemingly changed the rums in the Jolly Roger recipe to understandably accommodate the assertive character of (my beloved) Cruzan Black Strap Rum, which he later began using for the recipe. Astonishingly, today I will not be using Black Strap.
I will first be using the new Captain Morgan White rum (un-spiced), which deserves your attention, despite what you may think. It's a properly good rum at its price point; notes of its vanilla and raspberry are so strong that they remain detectable while mixed in simple cocktails.
My second rum is Captain Morgan Deluxe, which is also un-spiced and unfortunately not available in the United States. Any non-Jamaican dark rum will do.
This recipe uses falernum, the fruity and spicy syrup/liqueur used in tiki drinks. Instead of searching out obscure bottles of the stuff or soaking spices in rum for a month, I suggest that you make your own rich falernum syrup using a recipe by Kaiser Penguin, which only takes mere minutes, but doesn't taste like it.
Perfect Jolly Roger
1oz light rum
1oz dark rum
1oz orange juice
.25 oz falernum
1 dash aromatic bitters
Shake ingredients in a shaker and strain into rocks glass over ice.