The Caribbean

The Caribbean is a recipe dating back to Bob Esmino's time as bar manager for the Kon Tiki in the 1960s. It was unpublished until Jeff "Beachbum" Berry put it in 2014s Potions of the Caribbean. It was a recipe I've been intrigued by but hadn't made until now because I rarely have Coca-Cola on hand. Determined to actually try this drink, I brought home a bottle of "Mexi-Coke" (Coca-Cola produced in Mexico, meaning the high fructose corn syrup is replaced with cane sugar and the whole bit is put in a glass bottle - sorta like the way Coke actually existed in the US once upon a time).

In any case, this was as described: a tiki-fied Cuba Libre. In addition to the dark rum, Coke, and lime, there was the addition of simple syrup, ginger syrup, bitters, and Pernod. A complicated rum and coke, if you will. In its original form, with dark Jamaican rum and gold Puerto Rican rum, I found it to be multi-dimensional but a bit in the sweet side. It certainly seemed like the sort of thing that could benefit from a modified rum base. So out with the Coruba and in with Hamilton Black Jamaican rum and its distinctive funk. Sure enough the sweetness was cut, though the strong profile of the Hamilton Jamaican may have swung the pendulum too far in the opposite direction as it overpowered the ginger syrup. I had cut the sweetness, but also the depth.

I don't think this is a drink that would make its way into my regular rotation, but it is something I would deploy when a guest asks for a rum and Coke.