Saturday, April 9, 2011
I came across the Pago Pago Cocktail while preparing for February's Book Club, which featured modern tiki-guru Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's books Intoxica! and Grog Log. A combination of fresh pineapple, gold Puerto Rican rum, green Chartreuse, crème de cacao and lime juice, it's an especially interesting tiki drink because of the use of green Chartreuse. Though he doesn't have much to say about the cocktail's origins, he does note that the first time the recipe appeared in print was all the way back in 1940, in a book called The How and When (a guide to origin, use and classification of 'the world's choicest vintages and spirits').
The original instructions call for muddling pineapple, but on a busy night at The Whistler, unfortunately muddling is simply too messy and time-consuming. So, we infused Flor de Caña 4 Year (a dry, Nicaraguan rum) with tons of fresh pineapple in order to achieve a similar flavor profile to the original.
At first sip, you meet the tartness of the lime juice, quickly followed by the herbaceousness of the green Chartreuse. The cocktail finishes with the slight chocolate flavors of crème de cacao, which play very nicely with the vanillar notes of the pineapple-infused rum.
Pairing chocolate and green Chartreuse is definitely on-trend right now; Jennifer Colliau (Small Hands Foods and the Slanted Door in San Francisco), has an amazing recipe for tequila hot chocolate with green Chartreuse-flavored marshmallows on her blog. Finding that flavor-pairing in a drink from the 1940s is exciting--and goes to show that there are very few things being done behind bars today that haven't been done before, and highlights the fact that there are so many forgotten vintage recipes just waiting to be rediscovered.
The Pago Pago Cocktail will be on The Whistler's cocktail menu in May ($8).
Illustration via Beachbum Berry's blog.