September 27, 2023 2:59 pm

The Expedition

Tiki cocktails can get a bad rap and I understand why.  When ordered at most locales that offer such drinks on the menu, they are usually loaded with artificial flavors that stray so far from the original recipe and become unrecognizable.  Martin and Rebecca Tate, owner of San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove tiki bar, are authors of a magnificent tome called Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki that I have recently finished reading. In this book, the Tates honor traditional Tiki recipes while offering several modern takes of their own. While rum is the focus of these recipes, there are a couple of bourbon and rum combinations that are to die for. The Expedition is a brilliant cocktail, Tiki or otherwise, that any aficionado will love.

The Expedition

Flavor Profile: Strong and Nutty

Ingredients and Preparation:

2 oz Black Blended Rum (I used Hamilton 86)
1 oz Bourbon (I used Elijah Craig Barrel Proof)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
1/4 oz Coffee Liqueur (I used Mr. Black)
1 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Seltzer (I used Fever Tree Club Soda)
Garnish:  Edible Orchid, Mint Sprig, Swizzle Stick


Add all ingredients into a mixing tin.  Add 12 oz crushed or pebble ice with 4 larger “agitator” cubes.  Using a drink mixer blitz on high setting for approximately five seconds.  Open pour with gated finish into a tiki mug of your choice.  

My Take:

I like to think I am an accomplished amateur cocktail enthusiast, but I would never have thought of something like this! At first glance, The Expedition would appear to be too sweet; three heavy syrups and coffee liqueur had me checking my blood sugar level.  However, the drink is perfectly balanced using seltzer and a hefty amount of lime juice. I would highly suggest a higher proof bourbon here; something over 90 proof at least. The Expedition can certainly handle it. Also, if you are interested in Tiki drinks, please pick up a cheap Hamilton Beach drink mixer on Amazon. It allows you to make The Expedition the right way and many other drinks, as well.   



Music Pairing:

John Williams “Raiders of the Lost Ark Soundtrack” (1981, Columbia Records)

One of my all-time favorite films has an equally brilliant soundtrack.  John Williams is a composer that rarely fails to deliver, and this is one of his best.  Trust me. 

"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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