Midcentury exotica didn’t just cater to suburban fantasies of work-free islands and guilt-free sex. There was also the call of adventure, epitomized by these classic “dangerous” drinks: if the sharks didn’t eat you, the cannibals would.
—Beachbum Berry Beachbum Berry Remixed, Pg. 86
There is quite a bit going on in that quote. Expect to see it several times this Tiki Month.
I want to kick off Tiki Month with a pleasant little cocktail with a scary name, the Sidewinder’s Fang. Berry’s words, and the Sidewinder’s characteristics bring to mind other scary things, like rollercoasters.
Everybody likes scary stuff, but while some of us like to really be scared, others just like the idea of being scared. As the Bum notes, the Tiki oeuvre is replete with scary names and images, designed to make you almost fear the drink. Some cocktails, like the Zombie and the Hurricane are as devastating as their monikers imply, others not so much.
The Sidewinder’s Fang is such a drink.
- 1 pt. dark Jamaican rum
- 1 pt. demerara rum
- 1 1/2 pts. fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 pts. orange juice
- 1 1/2 pts. passionfruit syrup
- 3 pts. soda water
Combine all but soda water with ice and shake. Pour unstrained into scariest looking vessel you have. Top with soda water to taste and stir. Garnish as the Tiki gods inspire you.
In a glass, this guy looks pretty much like a washed-out Screwdriver. The taste, assuming you use good juice and syrups, is surprisingly complex and bright. As you can see, it isn’t all that scary, if you know the ingredients. But for a culture built around the deceptive power of the Zombie… And the Sidewinder’s Fang tastes like it might be one of those roll of quarters in a sock-type drinks.
You may think, since it is so relatively weak already, you can omit the soda water. Don’t. Without the soda, the juices totally overwhelm the drink and none of the rum comes through. Undiluted, it tastes too sweet, and you might just as well use have used cheap well rum instead of the interesting stuff. That said, I think 3 parts of soda water may be too much, so use your own judgement as you mix.
Regardless, this drink is an easy and delicious mix to serve to guests as an evening extender. It maintains an existing buzz without advancing it too much. And if you use big ice cubes (which you should, if available) it is a drink you can drink fairly slowly without it losing its appeal.
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2012 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!