I think it’s time for rum cocktails to make a comeback! We've been all whiskey this, bourbon that forever now, but rum punches, you guys! They’re fun, they’re tropical, they’re sweet but not too sweet, and strong even though they go down super smooth. And the best part!? You can deck them out with all kinds of fun garnishes, fruits, and adorable little umbrellas!
Amanda went to the tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago a few weeks ago, and I was basically obsessed with making tiki drinks from the moment she sent me a picture. So I looked up the menu, and decided to tackle their eponymous drink, the Three Dots and a Dash! The menu describes it as a mix of aged rhum agricole, Guyanese rum, honey, falernum, lime, allspice, and angostura bitters. I got to the liquor store and realized didn't actually only know what most of those ingredients were, so I did a little research. Here’s the lowdown:
- First of all, the Three Dots and a Dash tiki drink was created by the godfather of tiki, Donn Beach / Don the Beachcomber. If you want a very thorough history lesson, I bought this book, it's a wealth of knowledge and fun recipes.
- In Morse code, three dots and a dash is "V", the symbol for the Allied victory in WWII. There was a huge post-war tiki craze, which explains the name.
- Rhum Agricole is rum that’s distilled from cane juice rather than molasses. Look for bottles that say 100% sugar cane or cane juice. I used Rhum Barbancourt from Haiti.
- Guyanese rum is, as the name states, rum that’s distilled in Guyana. You’re looking for something with Demerara on the label, or something golden from Guyana. I used Pyrat (which used to be distilled in Anguilla but now moved operations to Guyana) mostly for the cute bottle. These rums are aged in bourbon barrels, which lends to their rich flavor. Note about Pyrat: If you leave it open to breathe for an hour or so, it really enhances the flavors.
- Falernum sounds like the name of a weird body part that should never see daylight, but is actually a sweet, citrusy, syrupy liqueur (can be alcoholic or non) that dates back to the 30s, and is a must for tropical drinks. I used John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum, which does contain alcohol.
- For the allspice, use Allspice Dram, which I was able to find at BevMo. It’s also called Pimento Dram, and is a spicy liqueur from Jamaica. It’s also excellent in whiskey drinks, so it’s good to have on hand!
- If you have any inkling of a bar set up, you need Angostura bitters, which are a key ingredient in tons of great cocktails, including Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. Also, rumor has it that a few drops of bitters on a lime wedge is a great cure for the hiccups!
- And, I think you know what lime and honey are, but I would definitely recommend fresh lime juice over the bottled kind, for a fresh, fruity, bright cocktail. For the honey, we’re making a quick syrup of 2 parts honey to 1 part water. See the recipe below for more details.
Ok, I know what you're thinking: you have to buy a lot of ingredients here. That's true, and you might drop some serious clamshells setting up your tiki bar, but trust me! These drinks are an absolute delight, and the ingredients are useful in a ton of other tiki and non-tiki drinks!
Alright! I think you’re ready to shake up a few Three Dots and a Dash tiki drinks! Stay tuned all week for the rest of my tiki party menu!
Three Dots and a Dash Tiki Drink
I found this recipe, and tweaked just slightly until I found the combo and flavors I like best.
1.5 ounce Rhum Agricole
1.5 ounce Guyanese Rum
2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
1 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
1 ounce honey syrup (see below)
1 ounce Falernum
1/2 ounce allspice dram
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine everything in a shaker with ice, and shake until cool and combined, strain into two ice-filled glasses. Decorate with garnishes (below).
Brandied or Maraschino cherries
To make honey syrup, combine 2 parts honey with 1 part warm water, and stir until the honey is dissolved.
Want to learn more about rum? Here some good sources:
Serious Eats Rum Guide
Pyrat Rum Review