I am totally amazed how the Test Pilot has evolved since my post about it over a year ago. The first time I made it, I used the following recipe:
- 1/2oz lime juice
- 1/2oz falernum
- 1/2oz Cointreau
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1/8t Pernod
- 3/4oz light Puerto Rican rum
- 1 1/2oz dark Jamaican rum
Blend with 1c crushed ice for 5 seconds, then pour into a double old-fashioned glass. Add more crushed ice to fill.
Source: Grog Log, Jeff Berry
Yesterday, I followed the same recipe but was introduced to a completely new drink.
- Falernum: In my original batches I was using a commercially produced falernum. Though this wasn’t bad, the homemade variety is much brighter and richly flavored. There is an updated falernum recipe (which adds toasted almonds to the mix) in the purple issue of Imbibe, which if you haven’t purchased or received in the mail, you should. My personal preference is to use my current favorite white rum, Brugal, instead of the insidious Wray and Nephew. I keep having to remind myself that it’s not for drinking, but creating other concoctions with.
- Pernod: Every since I picked up a bottle of Herbsaint in New Orleans this year, it has been added, drop after drop, to nearly every tiki recipe calling for Pernod. Herbsaint has more spice and deep anise notes while the pernod is much sweeter and almost bitter tasting. The Pernod isn’t bad; Herbsaint just adds that extra magical touch.
- Light Puerto Rican Rum: My first Test Pilot was likely made with Bacardi. Not bad, but not nearly as good as the richer-flavored Brugal from the Dominican Republic.
- Dark Jamaican rum: The only two dark rums I had been using for a long time were Gosling’s and Myer’s. But over the past few months, I have been able to get my hands on Appleton Extra and Coruba. Gosling’s has some light sugary notes but is fairly strong in the alcohol department. Appleton Extra is like a dark smoky caramel, and it’s smooth. It reminded me of a tasty scotch. Coruba has a very similar aroma to Appleton V/X, but even more so. It’s very musky and sweet, and perfect for the Test Pilot.
- The Method: In Sippin’ Safari, Berry recommends flash blending the drinks. Basically whizzing them up in the blender for no more than 3 seconds. It helps to aerate the drinks and give them a unique texture without diluting the mixture too much. Even shaving off two seconds of blending improved the final Test Pilot.
So how’s it taste?
The bright array of ginger, cloves, and lime burst through on a falernum rocket ridden by the Herbsaint, waving its spicy, anise flag. The dark and light rums entwine all their best attributes and build the base of what is one of my favorite tiki drinks. Enjoy!
If you don’t have enough already, here’s something else to comment on
Brugal white has become my favorite white rum over the past year or so. I know there are ones out there that I haven’t tried, though. What is everyone’s favorite white rum?