As I’ve made my way through Beachbum Berry’s remixed, the section on the Beachcomber’s Gold has somehow managed to elude my attention. The time seemed right to master yet another original Don the Beachcomber classic. Which brought me a problem: which is the best or “right” recipe? As I started wading into the history of the Chicago, Waikiki and Hollywood/Palm Springs versions, I quickly realized I had made a mistake; the more I read, the more confused I got. I should have heeded the Beacbum’s initial warning: “the Beachcomber’s Gold, a little cocktail that gives us a big headache.”
But leave it to Beacbum Berry to offer a way out: The Gold Cup. It bears a strong resemblence to the Hollywood/Palm Springs version of the Beachcomber’s Gold, but calls for maraschino liquer, something I haven’t seen in any other tiki drink, but really appreciate in the Last Word.
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
- 1 1/2 oz gold Jamaican rum
- 1 teaspoon Pernod (sub Herbsaint)
- 3 drops almond extract
Shake well with ice and strain into coupe glass served with an ice shell
Hukilau Room (Long Beach, CA) circa 1962 via Beachbum Berry’s Remixed
It certainly makes for a nice photo. The dominant flavor is certainly the Maraschino which gives the Gold Cup a sharp dryness to the drink. The maraschino/lime combination works really well to provide a dry base to the drink, which allows the Appleton V/X to stand out. The one thing I wish I was able to get more of in the drink was the almond extract. It really didn’t come through at all.
All in all, it’s a nice drink. The maraschino is a rare site in the world of tiki recipes, making the Gold Cup somewhat unique. The Beachbum’s preference for the Gold Cup over the original Beachcomber’s Gold(s) may have saved me a headache tonight, but I’ll be back soon to master the Beachcomber’s Gold, ice shell and all!
There really isn’t much history available on the Aku Aku Lapu other than it’s origin: The Aku Aku restaurant in Las Vegas circa 1960.
What really attracted me to the Aku Aku Lapu is the potent rum list. Dark Jamaican, Lemon Hart 151 and Gold Puerto Rican. What’s not to like! The recipe is a double, but eyeballing the ingredients and it looks like it could just as easily be a single.
Aku Aku Lapu
- 1 oz gold Puerto Rican Rum
- 1 oz dark Jamaican rum
- 1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 1 oz falernum
- 16 oz crushed Ice
Combine all ingredients in blender and give it a spin for 5 seconds. Pour into Tiki Barrel mug or share with two. Garnish with parasol.
Aku Aku Restaurant (Las Vegas) via Beachbum Berry’s Remixed
Putting the drink together, I knew it was going to give me a blast of citrus right from the get go. A combined four ounces of pineapple, grapefruit, orange and lemon juice starts the Aku Aku Lapu off with a bright floral note (coming mostly from the grapefruit and orange).
Next up, you’ll get some sweetness from the orange, pineapple and falernum, followed up by the rich smokiness from the rum. The LH151 really does a number here. The drink finishes up with the tartness from the lemon, which is actually refreshing and really nice.
For me, the weakest part of the drink is the sweet notes. The falernum is omnipresent, but the pineapple and orange juice aren’t quite enough to stand up straight against the rum and tartness of the lemon at the end. I would recommend adding some simple syrup (no more than 1/2 oz) or overpour your homemade falernum slightly.
The rivalry between Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic was never exactly a secret. While the two had great respect for each other, they were fiercely competetive with regard to the secrecy of their recipes. This left many classic tiki drinks with a shroud of mystery over who actually created it. Rightly or wrongly, the tiki community and most notably, its leading Tiki historian — Jeff Beachbum Berry — tends to come down on the side of Don the Beachcomber.
But the Scorpion is different. Where there is often doubt or at least an argument to be made, the Scorpion is decidedly a Trader Vic creation. Along with the Mai Tai and the Fog Cutter, the Scorpion came to define the Trader Vic genre of tiki drinks. But as was so often the case, the Scorpion suffered at the hands of inept bartenders over the years and more often than not bears a closer resemblence to a Long Island Iced Tea than a tiki drink.
But the old recipes remain, and there is thus potential. While I could have experimented with the original 1938 Trader Vic recipe, I felt compelled by my overly tart Fog Cutter to go in another direction. The recipe I chose is an adaptation created by Steve Crane of the Luau Restaurant in Beverly Hills.
- 2 oz orange juice
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz brandy or Cognac
- 3/4 oz orgeat
- 8 oz crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and spin for 3-5 seconds. Pour unstrained into a generously sized tiki bowl or share with a friend.
Scorpion from Steve Crane of Luau (Beverly Hills) circa 1958 via Beachbum Berry Remixed
Music to my lips. Theres so much going on in this drink. It starts with a nice jolt of orange which is supported by the floral notes in the gin as well as the orgeat. The almond and brandy really play well off of one another. Meanwhile, the lime provides much needed tart without punching through like lemon juice has the tendency to do. The gold Puerto Rican adds just the right amount of booziness to set the drink apart. The recipe is built as a double, but if you can eyeball 3/8 oz of orgeat, it’s easy enough to cut in half. All in all, this one is a keeper.