The Tiki Tree Viper is one of those newly-invented cocktails you get to see all the time when you read cocktail blogs. Usually, they stick in your mind because of a gorgeous picture, or funky name, or maybe an ingredient that you just haven’t done much with. Most of the time the drink, should you find the time to make one yourself, ends up being fairly “eh”. But sometimes, it ends up being a real find.
JFL, of Rated-R Cocktails, invented the TTV, and posted it just days before Tiki Month began. I had been looking for recipes to blog about, and this one was well-timed. It is a riff on the popular Chartreuse Swizzle, as Tiki/Classic Crossover a cocktail as you will find.
Here is my recipe for it. The brands are a bit altered from the original, and I make one critical change in amount, all of which I detail below.
TIKI TREE VIPER
- 1 1/2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Hart 151
- 1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
- 1/4 oz. Bols Blue Curaçao
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz. orange juice
- 1/2 oz. orgeat
Combine ingredients with cracked or small ice and shake to combine. Serve in appropriate Tiki vessel and garnish with dry ice and lavish produce.
The biggest change I make is to back the Chartreuse back from three-quarters in JFL’s to half an ounce. At the full three-quarters, I think the Chartreuse starts to bully the other ingredients. At a half, you still by God know it is in the drink, but is stays part of the larger ensemble. I think the suggested mint as garnish is also a bit over the top, too. (And I garnish everything with mint in February.) The cocktail doesn’t need more competing herbal notes.
Finally, a sliver of dry ice in the bottom gives it the appropriate atmospherics. This is a very mysterious, darkest New Guinea kind of Tiki drink. I have also saved it for the homestretch of Tiki Month because it has been so very popular with my friends. Incidentally, they all independently drop the work “Tiki” from the name, just asking for a Tree Viper. When I ask, they mostly say they don’t know what a “Tiki Tree” is. The glasses have, with the exception of one guy whose evening was ending and hadn’t expected the potency, come back uniformly empty. I use Tiki Month get togethers as an opportunity to use my guests as lab rats for new drinks, and the Tree Viper has had this year’s best results in both attracting orders, and in well-received results.