I have had quite the love and hate relationship with the Pearl Diver’s Punch this week. 100% of the hate comes from making it and 100% of the love comes from drinking it.
This drink, simply put, is the Thomas Keller of exotic cocktails. For those of you not familiar with the joys of the French Laundry, imagine a recipe that contains 20 ingredients and takes two hours to make. In Kellerian World, this isn’t the big deal, however. Take 3 – 7 of those ingredients, and make them recipes in their own right, each taking 1 – 3 hours to make. If your one-bite amuse bouche hasn’t taken 15 hours to create, it’s obviously not successful. Enter the Pearl Diver’s Punch.
Pearl Diver’s Mix
- 1oz (2T) butter
- 1oz honey
- 1t cinnamon syrup
- 1/2t vanilla syrup
- 1/2t pimento dram
Why this drink made me curse the tiki gods
Butter separation. Nothing is more foul than a greasy film of milk solids sitting in a hazy pool on the top of your drink. My attempts to make this drink over the past few days have resulting in a bit of a revelation. The difference between the happy, buttery bubbles you see above and a greasy-sea of separated milk solids is very small. And it involves a lot of failure.
Failure #1 – White flakes of Grease
Room temperature butter added to honey. Creamed. The milk solids oozed out of the butter in the foulest of ways possible. Why? I didn’t cream the butter first.
Failure #2 – But I thought it would be a success!
Failure #1 but with creaming the butter first. I added the remaining ingredients to the Pearl Diver’s Mix and ended up with a damn tasty mixture that resembled molasses mayonnaise. I added the mix to the blender with the remaining ingredients and it turned into a bog of white goo. If you’ve ever left a braised stew in the refrigerator overnight to develop more flavor, you know what this looks like. A thick layer of white fat, separated from the lusty broth below. Not so good in a cocktail.
A quick test revealed that it was the citrus juice that was causing the separation.
Success #1, but really Failure #3
I threw one of the separated batches of Pearl Diver’s Mix into the microwave to melt. A syrupy goo resulted with no separation. I popped it in the freezer for 10 minutes. A fine congealed solution resulted, though not as appealing as my previous endeavors. I blended with the remaining ingredients for the drink and achieved success! Bubbly goodness on the top and no separation. Thinking this was indeed the method, I tried again. This time, the milk solids separated and formed a thick layer on the top while freezing. The final blended result did not make me happy.
In reality, this is more like failure #10, but I’m saving you my anger and Cook’s Illustrated-like tests. I decided to microwave the whole load, as many other tiki drinks call for, heating up the honey until liquid. This seemed to work! I put everything in the blender and whizzed it up. Separation ensued, though not as bad as before. I can only attribute this to the following: I left the mix too long on the counter to cool down or I didn’t properly pre-mix certain ingredients: see below.
Success #2, Finally – The Process
The microwave gave me a hint. All other tiki recipes had melted honey, why didn’t this one? I followed “the process” below and ended up with a foamy pleasure ride of butter and glory. If you follow the coming steps exactly, there is a slight chance that your own result will be quite as pleasing. This is the only method that I have achieved success with two times in a row.
- Melt room temperature unsalted butter in a pan or microwave.
- Add honey and melt for a few seconds longer. Stir together.
- Add pimento dram, cinnamon syrup, and vanilla syrup, all at room temperature, and stir. You should have a golden, smooth, and liquidy mixture that tastes like Thanksgiving dessert.
- Add 3/4oz Pearl Diver’s Mix to blender.
- Add orange juice and lime juice to blender and mix on low for 5 or so seconds.
- Add remaining ingredients, including ice, and blend for exactly 20 seconds.
You shouldn’t need to strain anything, as the butter hasn’t separated. Pour into a glass where the neck is no wider than the base, and you should get fun bubbles and the creamiest of textures.
Pearl Diver’s Punch
- 3/4oz Pearl Diver’s Mix
- 3/4oz lime juice
- 1oz orange juice
- 1t falernum
- 1 1/2oz gold Puerto Rican rum
- 3/4oz demerara rum
- 1/2oz gold Jamaican rum
- 6oz crushed ice
Follow the process.
Sippin’ Safari, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry
Each sip brings hints of vanilla, clove, cinnamon, but none overpowers the others. The three rums offer rich and floral tones to augment the mellow orange flavor in every sip. The butter and honey offer a delicate texture not too unlike cocktails that contain egg.
Thank you Gwen over at Intoxicated Zodiac for hosting Mixology Monday. I hadn’t seen your blog before, but I’m glad to have now! Your photography is fun; I especially like the garnish of 8 blueberries and a seashell.
Why is Kaiser Penguin an Idiot?
Please chime in and tell me why I have completly ignored sane thinking or perhaps forgotten some magic process to make the Pearl Diver’s Mix. (Jeff? … hello?) You know, when it comes down to it, I’m quite disappointed that Berry didn’t include the most important ingredient in the Pearl Diver’s Punch.
- Pray to the great god Uddermumous, the bringer of smooth butter and fine drinks.
The fine glass you see above in the picture was sent to me by Derek from Cocktail Vibe in an enormous box filled with tons of very fun and swanky glasses. You’ll most likely see lots of them in upcoming shots, because to be honest, they are pretty darn cool. I’ve only broken one, and the stem at that, but that was entirely my fault for rocketing it out of the freezer onto our hardwood floor.
And finally, something else to comment on.
Does including butter in a cocktail weird you out? (it shouldn’t)