Editor’s note: More than four years since our epic mixology class at drink.well, and the cozy local joint is still one of our favorite places in town. With a new summer tiki menu debuting next week, drink.well owner and master mixologist Jessica Sanders stopped by to share two crazy good cocktails that’ll take your next poolside luau to the next level. First up, the Pearl Diver…
In 1934 a Texas native by the name of Ernest Gantt opened a restaurant in Hollywood, California, featuring Polynesian décor inspired by his recent travels throughout the South Pacific. His nom-de-tiki was Donn Beach, and his ‘Don the Beachcomber’ restaurants would forever change the landscape of American gastronomy.
One of the most alluring tiki cocktails to emerge from Don the Beachcomber’s tropical wonderland was the ‘Pearl Diver’ — a drink known as much for its distinctive glassware as it is for is scrumptious taste.
The saying goes “What one rum can’t do, three rums can” and in the case of the Pearl Diver, that has never been more true. A blended cocktail compromised of three styles of rum, fresh citrus juices and island spices, the true magic of the Pearl Diver can be found in its signature ingredients. Once a long held secret known only to a select few of Don’s bartenders was his “Gardenia Mix”, a decadent combination of sweet butter, vanilla, honey, allspice dram and cinnamon. Now, both the recipe for this easy-to-make ingredient and the iconic glass are readily available, making this rare beauty accessible to all.
Next up, The Saturn:
Stretches of white sand beaches and bustling pool decks the world over are dripping with tropical rum concoctions. However, that leaves a burning question — what’s a non-rum lover to do during a tiki soaked summer? Fortunately, there is room at the luau for every type of drinker and the Saturn cocktail is quickly becoming a “go-to” libation for those that want to look beyond cane spirits for their island escapes.
Created in 1967 by award-winning California bartender, J. “Popo” Galsini, the Saturn is a tart, blended highball that combines gin, passionfruit, fresh lemon juice and two essential tiki syrups — orgeat, a rich, almond syrup and velvet falernum which introduces flavors of toasted clove and lime zest.
Be sure to choose a well-made, all natural passionfruit syrup and orgeat for this drink. BG Reynolds in Portland, Oregon or Liber & Company based in Austin, Texas both produce excellent shelf-stable cocktail syrups without artificial sugars that make creating your favorite tiki cocktail at home easy and affordable. This refreshing tipple is truly out of this world!
*photography by Adrienne Denver; recipes and copy by Jessica Sanders