This week’s Callaloo Cooler is from the tiki cocktail book Smuggler’s Cove by Martin and Rebecca Cate, owners and co-founders of the famous tiki bar of the same name in San Francisco. I love this book for several reasons. It’s comprehensive. It covers everything from the history of the tiki movement and the first of the classic cocktails that would become its signature drinks, right up through the modern renaissance that’s occurring right now. It’s loaded with recipes (at least 100 of them) that are easy to follow and many of which use ingredients that can be made made from scratch, rather than chased down on Amazon or at your local liquor store. There is an entire chapter entitled “Understanding Rum,” that is devoted to helping readers do exactly that in a way that is both revolutionary in its approach and amazingly thorough in its coverage. Finally, there is a great deal of information within the recipe instructions on achieving the tiki “look,” which covers everything from glassware to tiki mugs to elaborate garnishing.
Tiki cocktails are all about abundance; there’s lots of everything from ingredients, to garnishing, to flavor. Rum is usually the base spirit, and quite often there is more than one kind found in each cocktail. The glassware and tiki mugs are colorful and bright, and the garnishes can be exotic and fabulously fun. Many of the secondary spirits used in tiki drinks have a strong pop of flavor that’s often fruit based and/or warm and spicy. Today’s cocktail is no exception to any of these things. The Callaloo Cooler, created by Melissa Garcia from Smuggler’s Cove, has a lightly aged rum as its base spirit that gets paired with Cherry Heering, cinnamon simple syrup, and Angostura bitters. There is flavor everywhere! I’ve used Cooper River Distillers Rye Oak Reserve rum in this drink for the warm and spicy undertones that come from time spent in oak barrels that previously had rye whiskey in them. It worked perfectly with the strong cherry flavor and the significant spice that are a product of both the bitters and the syrup. This cocktail is incredibly refreshing and dangerously easy to drink. As January closes out, it brought a warm ray of sunshine into an otherwise dreary and cold Sunday here in the Philadelphia area. Cheers everyone. Happy Monday!
Pour the seltzer in a Collins or highball glass. Add remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the glass. Carefully add more ice to fill, if necessary, and garnish with a mint sprig, cinnamon stick, lime peel, swizzle stick, and a cocktail napkin bandanna**. Enjoy!
*Place 2 cups of water in a saucepan with the cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir with a whisk until it runs clear. Immediately remove from the heat. Cover and allow to steep at room temperature for 12 hours. Strain and store in a Mason jar in the fridge for several weeks.
**Unfold a cocktail napkin all the way and then refold it to form a right triangle. Fold or roll the wide edge of itself a few times and then tie the ends around the glass.