The Louverture, And Inventing A New Tiki Cocktail
I never really had a high opinion of tiki cocktails, relegating them to the echelon of ‘girly drinks’ or watered down sugar alcohol. Little did I know how mistaken I was. Yes, my massive ego has allowed me to admit I was wrong. So, after learning that tiki cocktails are actually stronger and more complicated than traditional cocktails, I set out to create one of my own. Enter: The Louverture, and inventing a new tiki cocktail.
Tiki cocktails aren’t just beach bar drinks like a cuba libre or a daquiri. In fact, I wouldn’t consider them to be tiki at all. A Cuba Libre is just a mixed drink and a daquiri is actually a traditional cocktail. So what are Tiki cocktails? I’ll leave the specifics to the tiki historians, but I like to think of them as complicated drinks consisting of rum (sometimes more than one type), fruit juice, liqueurs, bitters, and syrups. A proper drink will be well balanced, extremely strong, and something unique. By that I mean it’s not something one can easily make with normal home-bar ingredients.
With this information in mind I set out on a mission. A mission inventing a new tiki cocktail. Now, I’m not a bartender, nor have I ever worked in a bar. In fact, I’ve never had a job in service, so my love of food and cocktails stems mainly from being a consumer. All I knew is I needed to create something that I enjoy, which means possibly other people will enjoy it as well.
To invent this drink I knew I had to decide what types of flavors I wanted. I also wanted to use a few rare ingredients, or something that has to be homemade to stick with the overly complicated tradition. Listed below are not just the ingredients, but why I chose each and every one for this cocktail. If you follow the blog at all you may have noticed my recent penchant for using my invented Creme de Butterfly. While I love that it would make the drink even more complicated, I left it out of this tiki cocktail because I didn’t know how the color changing effect would affect the final product. If you want a cocktail that does feature the signature butterfly pea flower liqueur prominently, go for my Butterfly Sour.
The Louverture Tiki Cocktail Ingredients
65 ml Golden Rum (40%). For this I used Havana Club Anejo Especial. This is one of my favorite rums to build cocktails with because it doesn’t have any offensive notes. By that I mean there is nothing that stands out, making this a great rum for the majority of people.
35 ml Lychee Liqueur (30%). This is something that I had to make myself. I originally made it for my Japanese Silver Fizz, but felt it would go great in a tiki cocktail. Lychee is a prominent South East Asian fruit, and as Tiki and Polynesian go hand in hand I felt it would add some uniqueness to the drink.
10 ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (32%). I love the extra dry cherry flavor maraschino brings to drinks, so I felt a bit of it would do the drink good.
30 ml Orange Juice. Freshly squeezed of course. I love cocktails with acidity, and orange juice is an easy way to do that. Of course, the following two ingredients also count so it’s a balance of three different juices.
30 ml Pineapple Juice. Like with the Blue Hawaii and the Scorpion, pineapple juice makes a great addition to tiki cocktails. I figured a shot of it in mine would be a nice flavor for the sweetness and acidity.
15 ml Lemon Juice. Why not add more citrus to the drink.
40 ml Lychee Syrup. This is possible to buy at the store, but it is also something you can make yourself by simmering lychee fruit in a simple syrup mixture and then bottling. As the lychee liqueur made an entry into the alcohol part, I wanted to use more of the flavor for the drink.
1 barspoon Pomegranate Molasses. This is actually the key ingredient I wanted to build the entire drink around. I picked up the best pomegranate molasses in the world (subjective, but widely accepted) from Ozcan on my last trip to Istanbul and really wanted to use it in a cocktail. Grenadine has been used in cocktails seemingly forever, but this ingredient is even more difficult to find, harder to do well homemade, and has a great strong pomegranate flavor. I only use a barspoon amount because it is very sweet, but it definitely comes through in the end.
2 dashes Angostura Bitters. To be honest I didn’t even remember the bitters until the end of compiling the drink. I didn’t know how it would play out, but the finished drink was still so good. Whether the bitters helped I don’t know, but they definitely didn’t hurt. Plus I just wanted to add another ingredient, and many Tiki cocktails do use bitters. Also, I was getting worried the drink would be too sweet.
Making The Louverture Tiki Cocktail
Making the drink is a lot more simple than the number of ingredients suggests. I just add all the ingredients to the drink in the order the ingredients are listed to a shaker. Add in a large singular ice cube and shake hard for at least 20 seconds. I want to ice to not only chill the drink, but also make that pineapple juice foam up.
I’m a big fan of Poco Grande glasses so I just filled one with small ice cubes (you can use crushed or pebble ice if you have it, I just made cubes using the smallest tray I have) and then strain over the cocktail from the strainer. If the foam gets blocked by the strainer you can use the bar spoon to scoop some more pineapple foam on top of the drink.
I garnished the Louverture tiki cocktail with a pineapple wedge, cherry, and skewered lychee. After all, all three of those flavors are present in the Louverture coctkail, and they are traditional tiki cocktail garnishes as well (well, I don’t know so much about the lychee-that may just be me).
Naming The Cocktail
So coming up with cocktail names is something I’m admittedly terrible at. I don’t know how to go about thinking of something that sounds normal not to mention cool. So for this I just decided to ask my friend for naming suggestions. I mentioned that it is a tiki cocktail so I wanted something tropical. Maybe inspired by the Caribbean or Polynesia.
He came back with Louverture, named after the Toussaint Louverture, the first president of independent Haiti. It’s Caribbean, Island-y, and a single name that can be memorable (if this drink is ever made by someone other than me).
The drink, on first appearance, resembles a foamy glass of cherry coke. It isn’t often you see tiki cocktails that are brown in color. In fact, I’d argue the majority are bright colors due to the juice involved (or things like blue curacao). However the brown of the Louverture tiki cocktail is not, in my opinion, unappealing. Rather it reminds me of a root beer float, or something quite delicious.
The foam of course is from the pineapple juice. When shaken hard it creates a foam not unlike adding an egg white in a traditional sour. I quite like the pineapple foam as it is a great way to float a neon colored cherry atop.
I chose to use Poco Grande glasses for this drink as I love the size and shape. I didn’t want to use a proper hurricane glass as the alcohol content would be too high (basically double) for one drink, but it could totally be done that way.
So this was my first foray into inventing a new tiki cocktail. While it may never become a famous drink I’m still happy with how it turned out. If anyone wants to go through the annoying task of obtaining or making all the ingredients please let me know in the comments down below what your opinions are.
Louverture Tiki Cocktail
- Cocktail Shaker
- Poco Grande (optional)
- 65 ml Rum I used Havana Club Anejo Especial
- 35 ml Lychee Liqueur homemade
- 10 ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- 30 ml Orange Juice freshly squeezed
- 30 ml Pineapple Juice freshly squeezed
- 15 ml Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
- 40 ml Lychee Syrup
- 15 ml Earl Grey Tea Syrup homemade
- 1 barspoon Pomegranate Molasses proper molasses, not grenadine
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Add all the ingredients (in order from the ingredients list) to a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes and shake hard for 30 seconds, or enough to make the pineapple juice really foam up.
- Strain into a poco grande glass filled with ice cubes.
- Garnish with a lychee, pineapple wedge, and neon fake maraschino cherry.