Monday, August 1, 2016

paul of the jungle

A trip to New Orleans these days would not be complete with a visit or three to Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29. However, as a drink recipe historian, the secrecy behind Tiki drinks can be a nightmare. While I was able last year to weasel out the recipe for their take on the classic Missionary's Downfall, I was only able to get hints about their Pontchartrain Pearl Diver. With help of Joey from Rated R Cocktails, I was able to get an approximation using Tiki balance principals, ingredients that the bar commonly stocks, and similar logical guesses. Without Joey sitting next to me this year, I was able to do my best with their Jungle Bird riff, Paul of the Jungle, that the menu described as "Our version of the Malaysian Jungle Bird. A trio of Italian apertivi embitter this mix." I later learned that this was their tribute to New Orleans' legendary bartender Paul Gustings.
I was able to tease out of Jeff Berry that the base spirit was an equal split of Bourbon and Cruzan Black Strap Rum. Moreover, in addition to Campari, there were Averna and sweet vermouth to round out the trio of Italian apertivi. There was a chance that the sweet vermouth was the regular stuff as in the Tortuga and other drinks, but perhaps it was the more bitter Punt e Mes? I utilized my taste buds to determine an approximate balance and thus recipe given the skeleton of the classic Jungle Bird provided in Remixed. It was obviously not as Campari driven as the Jungle Bird with a more herbal base that suggested an Averna-driven drink. It certainly was not as pineapple driven as the classic Jungle Bird with 4 ounces, but probably closer to what most people use which is 1-3 ounces. I selected 2 ounces as a safe bet. I have not had time to test my approximation, but I have tinkered with Averna-Campari blends a bit in recipes to have a handle on the guesswork. Without further ado:
Paul of the Jungle (Fred's approximation)
• 3/4 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
• 3/4 oz Bourbon
• 1/2 oz Lime Juice
• 2 oz Pineapple Juice
• 1/2 oz Averna
• 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (or 1/4 oz Punt e Mes?)
• 1/8 oz Campari
Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge with clove eyes, a lime wheel, a trio of pineapple leaves, and an orchid all on a pick. Other drinks I saw looked more bird-like than the one in my photo perhaps by mounting the garnish in the opposite direction using the slit in the pineapple wedge.
Regardless of whether my guesswork is correct, the Paul of the Jungle greeted the senses with a lime and floral aroma besides a bounty of beautiful garnish for the eyes. Next, the lime on the sip countered the rum's molasses and the Averna's caramel, and the swallow presented pineapple and a bitter combination of molasses and herbal notes.

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