Passion Fruit Nectar
In the passion fruit category we sampled Ceres and Looza. The vote was fairly split, with some lab rats preferring the sour bite of the Ceres, and others the more boldly flavorful Looza. Looza, a Beligan import, is only 25% juice but really had a good flavor here.
Last came Papaya. Kern’s took a beating once again; the phrase “like store-brand fruit punch mix” was bandied about. Ceres was the obvious favorite – good consistency, mellow flavor, and very aromatic.
The Cocktail Round
Moving on to the Cocktail Round (if only more competitive sports had a cocktail round, dear Rick might be on the Wheaties box by now). The nectars were mixed into a Maui Sunrise, a slight variation on the recipe given in Intoxica:
- 1oz pineapple juice
- 1oz guava nectar
- 1oz papaya nectar
- 1oz dark Jamaican rum
- 1/2t honey
Heat honey until liquid. Blend everything for 10 seconds adding 1/2c crushed ice the last few seconds.
Intoxica! Jeff Berry
The contest between Kern’s and Ceres was a no-brainer. The Kern’s cocktail was almost undrinkable due to the funky, bitter chemical aftertaste. Of course the Ceres cocktail really showcased the fruit flavors and was a real treat!
In additional testing, I crafted an Astro Aku Aku using the Ceres papaya nectar and the Knudsen apricot. The Knudsen didn’t rank so highly in our taste test, but I found it to be very pleasant in the cocktail. I think the Ceres nectars are all pretty strong, and having several of them in one drink might be a little overpowering. I enjoyed the subtle layer of the flavors in this cocktail, tasting the papaya at first, and then the milder apricot. This may be something worth considering in tiki drinks requiring multiple nectars.
In conclusion, I really recommend the Looza and Ceres brands for your tiki-mixing needs. On a per-ounce basis, the cost difference to less desirable brands (Kern’s) is negligible, and if you’re going to shell out for high-quality rum like Lemon Hart, you should be mixing it with high-quality nectars. However, it seems that so long as you’re staying away from the bottom rung of the quality ladder, everything’s pretty palatable. Look for nectars with higher juice contents, and avoid those with high fructose corn syrup.
Looking at value, Looza costs 8.3 cents per fluid oz; Ceres, 8.0; Knudsen, 7.8; and Kern’s, 8.3. Note that some of these may have been slightly on sale, but you can see that when it comes down to it, the best stuff and worst stuff cost the same.
It’s also worth noting that the winner had only 40% juice, whereas Ceres was 100%, Knudsen 100%, and Kern’s 29%.
- Adam, KP’s resident nectar expert and tiki fiend