Tiki Drink: Captain’s Blood

Captain's-Blood-2
Cocktail-style Tiki drinks really have ended up being the central theme of exploration this Tiki Month, and here is another: The Captain’s Blood. Of course, both in name and in flavor, the Captain’s blood is more Pirate than Polynesian, but I’ll allow it. After all, pirate stuff has a long association with Tiki, just as spy-themed music and paraphernalia do. And Tiki’s patron saints, Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, were really pirates in all but the name. (They also omitted the bad hygiene and most of the old ultra-violence, but let’s not quibble)

There are all sorts of recipes for Captain’s Blood on the web, and aside from all pretty much containing rum, lime of some fashion, and usually bitters of some type, there seems to be no definitive recipe. I suspect that this is one of those drinks with a great name that has been reverse engineered from the memory of the taste countless times, and for which we shall never find a rock-solid origin or original formulation. I went with the one of CocktailDB, which has propagated the farthest on the web and which is the most nearly Tiki in character. I made two amendments, which I will explain.

CAPTAIN’S BLOOD COCKTAIL

  • 1 1/2 oz Jamaican dark rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 3/8 oz honey mix
  • 1/4 oz falernum

Shake ingredients and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish nautically.

The original CocktaiDB recipe calls for one dash of Angostura and a half teaspoon of sugar (roughly 1 tsp simple syrup). That result I found to be too thin, even sour, in flavor, especially if you are looking for a Tiki, or at least a Tiki Compliant, cocktail.
Increasing the bitters demonstrates that great, largely unappreciated by the masses, cocktail truth: Bitters in small amounts don’t increase the bitterness of a drink, they knock the edges off other outsize flavor elements instead. In this case, the extra bitters just sands down the sourness of the lime and falernum without hiding the underlying flavorful goodness.
I got the idea for the honey mix from Rumdood’s old post on homemade falernum. It was my choice to up the amount. I like the melding of the flavors resulting from the added sweetness, and the honey also gives a tiny bit of additional complexity. But make no mistake, this remains a tart drink. The honey also gives a tiny bit richer body to the cocktail, which I like as well. Next time I try it, I may even replace the honey mix with gomme syrup, to see how far I can take that effect.

The suggestion for this Tiki Month post from Jason McGrady, who presides over the mahogany at Sazerac Restaurant in the Hotel Monaco in Seattle, where Maggi and I stayed two Summers ago. What’s that? Yes, I keep in touch with bartenders I haven’t seen in two years. I keep track of an incredible number of good bartenders around the world whom I seldom actually see. You never know when I am going to have a sudden need for an agent to do me a favor and make me a good drink. I’m like the Shadow that way.

shadow2.psd
“Someday, bartender, I will need a Manhattan from you….”
Source: Alex Sheikman

And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!

About the author

Doug

I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.

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