Friday, July 24, 2015

pontchartrain pearl diver

After returning back from the Cure, I popped my head into Latitude 29 for my first visit of many. As a starter, it was recommended that I begin with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver which was Beachbum Berry's New Orleans-themed variation on the Pearl Diver Punch crafted by Don the Beachcomber circa 1937. The description read, an "iced buttered rum: our house butter spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime, and Jamaican rum." While the staff was not very giving with this recipe, I luckily had JFL of Rated R Cocktails on hand. Besides being a Tiki aficionado, blogger, and bartender, JFL has tasted his way through the Latitude 29 menu and had a good grasp to what ingredients the bar might use. The original recipe lacks passion fruit, and JFL declared that it was unlikely that they would change the sweet to sour balance by using passion fruit syrup; he had also confirmed by asking Beachbum that the bar does indeed carry passion fruit purée.
The original calls for a 2:1 ratio of gold Puerto Rican rum to Demerara Rum. While it is possible that the Jamaican rum here replaced both rums in the original, JFL thought that you would still need the Demerara rum to balance rum flavors (he also thought that it was possible that it was all 3 rums in a blend). Finally, Beachbum mentioned that there was some molecular techniques in the spiced butter batter, but I did not pursue this aspect. Since Sippin' Safari mentions that the Pearl Diver butter mix must stay room temperature (and ice added last) to prevent it from seizing up, perhaps there was some emulsifying agent added to keep it a bit more liquidy and pliable in a cold, food-safe temperature. With all these clues, here is how I would modify everything (save for the butter mix issue):
Pontchartrain Pearl Diver
1 1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (such as Appleton Special)
3/4 oz Demerara Rum
1 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Pearl Diver's Mix (*)
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Purée
1 tsp Falernum
Add the mix first, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Add 6 oz crushed ice last and blend for 20 seconds. Pour into a Pearl Diver glass, add an ice ball and straw, and garnish with an orchid and plaintain leaf.
(*) Cream 1 oz softened sweet butter, 1 oz orange blossom honey, 1 tsp cinnamon syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla syrup, 1/2 tsp allspice dram
Regardless of the mystery, the end result was stunning to both the eye and the palate. On the nose, floral aromas from the orchid mingled with spice notes from the syrups and liqueurs. Next, the sip was rich and laden with lime, passion fruit, and honey flavors, and the swallow shared smooth but slightly funky Jamaican rum notes along with a smattering of spice.

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