Tag Archives: light rum

Mixology Monday LXXIV: San Juan Sling


For my second attempt at Mixology Monday, I decided to stick with the theme of this blog and pull something from Playboy’s Host & Bar Book. Andrea at Gin Hound selected cherries as this month’s MxMo theme, so between maraschino, kirsch, and cherry brandy I had a lot of options, but eventually settled on the San Juan Sling. I’d recently done up a pitcher of Singapore Slings for a party, and I think that may have influenced my choice a bit.

San Juan Sling

San Juan Sling
3/4 oz. light rum
3/4 oz. cherry liqueur
3/4 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. lime juice
Iced club soda
Lime peel
Shake rum, cherry liqueur, Benedictine and lime juice well with ice. Strain into tall 14-oz. glass half-filled with ice. Add soda. Twist lime peel above drink and drop into glass.

For this recipe I used Bacardi silver and  Bol’s Cherry Brandy.

This ended up being a really nice drink. The Benedictine is the dominant flavour, but it doesn’t take over at all. Rum and cherry make up the finish, and the lime mostly just keeps the sweetness in check. Next party I may do a pitcher of these instead of the Singapore.

I can’t find much on the history of this one. It doesn’t show up in any of my books, and the few recipes I can find online are identical to the Playboy version. There are mentions of a variation that adds Angostura, but no recipes.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Here’s the roundup of MxMo LXXIV posts: Part 1, Part 2


Port Maria

Port Maria
Port Maria
1½ ozs. light rum
3/4 oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. lemon juice
1 teaspoon Falernum
Grated nutmeg
Shake rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice and Falernum well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.

For this recipe I used Bacardi silver and homemade Falernum.

This one didn’t do much for me. It was okay, but it didn’t quite come together. The big problem was not enough falernum to really make itself known. I then tried it with different proportions (3:2:1:1), and it was excellent! The nutmeg and falernum combo is wonderful, and both work really well with the pineapple.

I’ve only found a few versions of this online, and none in any of my other books, so I’m not sure exactly when this drink originated. Based on the tiki-esque nature of it, though, I’d guess the 40s or 50s.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Cuba Libre Cocktail

Cuba Libre Cocktail

Cuba Libre Cocktail
1 oz. light rum
½ oz. 151-proof rum
½ oz. cola drink
½ oz lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
Lime peel
Shake both kinds of rum, cola drink, lime juice and sugar well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. Twist lime peel above drink and drop into glass.

I used Bacardi white, Wray and Nephew white overproof, and homemade cola syrup* in place of both the cola drink and the sugar. I’ll probably try it again at some point with actual cola and sugar, but I can’t see the cola flavour standing up very well against the other ingredients.

This wasn’t too bad, a cocktail version of the classic Cuba Libre highball. I’d make this again, but I might add a dash of bitters (orange, or possibly my homemade calamansi bitters) next time.

This one is proving particularly difficult to research. It doesn’t appear in any of my other books, and any online search I can think of brings up mostly results about the highball version. I found 2 sites with basically the same recipe as above, the only difference being one uses 3/4 oz. of cola and the other 1 oz.
*Cola syrup No. 3
Fill a saucepan with 2 cups water and add:
Zest of 2 oranges (this time around I used 1 Valencia and 1 Seville)
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lemon
2 pinches ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 point of a star anise (crushed)
½ tsp lavender flowers
½ tsp ground cola nut
¼ tsp coriander (crushed)
10g stem  fresh ginger root
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp citric acid
Leave it to simmer for 20-30 minutes then strain it through a tea towel into a large container whilst it’s still hot. After straining stir in:
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
½ c Caramel colour**
The result is a cola syrup. After cooling, mix 1 part syrup with 4 parts soda water to make cola.
**Caramel Colour
Melt 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water together over low heat. Increase heat to medium high, cover pan, let boil 2 minutes. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to boil, uncovered, until almost black (it will be smoking a lot at this point). Remove pan from heat. Let cool slightly, then add ¼ cup boiling water (slowly – the sugar may splatter). Stir until dissolved.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Frosty Dawn II

Just for fun, and because we happened to have a bottle of white wine open for dinner, I thought I’d try making the other version of the Frosty Dawn that’s floating around out there (for example, from here, but the recipe is repeated on any number of sites and in at least one book I own).

Frosty Dawn Cocktail
4 ozs. light rum
4 ozs. orange juice
1 oz. white wine
1 oz. maraschino liqueur
Mix all ingredients together in a highball glass, and serve.

First thing is, I halfed the recipe. A 10 ounce cocktail with 4 ounces of rum seemed a bit extreme to me. Halving it makes 5 ounces, which would fit nicely in a highball over ice. I went with Bacardi, an organic Valencia orange, Jackson-Triggs Chardonnay, and Giffard maraschino.

It wasn’t all that bad. Light and refreshing, and all the flavours blended well but also stood out enough to impart some character. Not as good as the original Frosty Dawn, but definitely drinkable.

Sesame Cocktail

Sesame Cocktail

1½ ozs. light rum
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. sesame-seed syrup (ajonjoli)
Shake well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. […] A rummy and offbeat drink.

For this recipe I used Bacardi and homemade sesame-seed syrup (recipe below). The book says that the syrup is available in stores featuring Caribbean products, but I couldn’t find any and it didn’t seem too tricky to figure out a recipe for.

From the moment I discovered this recipe I’ve been itching to try it. Sesame-seed syrup struck me as a really interesting ingredient with a lot of potential, so it seemed strange that it is only found in 2 recipes in the Playboy Host & Bar Book.

I’ll say this for the Sesame, it’s well balanced. It also has a nice creamy texture from the sesame-seed syrup. But other than that it’s surprisingly plain. The flavours play so well together that it loses any distinctiveness. There’s a hint of sesame in the finish, but the ingredient isn’t showcased at all. It’s not a drink I’d make again by choice.

I’ve only found this recipe in 2 places: the PH&BB and CocktailDB (plus sites that pull recipes from CocktailDB). The recipes in both places are identical, so it is possible the recipe originated in the PH&BB. If anyone knows of an earlier citation for this drink, please let me know in the comments.

I decided to play with the sesame syrup some and see if I could improve on the original recipe somewhat. I think I succeded with the Margarita de Ajonjolí (I love it, at the very least).

Margarita de Ajonjoli

Margarita de Ajonjolí (Sesame Margarita)
50ml gold tequila
30ml sesame-seed syrup
20ml lime juice
Shake well with ice. Strain over ice in a Margarita glass.

The smokiness of the tequila really shines in this, and the sesame flavour stands up for itself much better than in the Sesame Cocktail.

Sesame-Seed Syrup
1½ c. sesame seeds
3 c. warm water
1½ c. sugar
Lightly brown the seeds in a frying pan. Allow the seeds to soak in water for 4 hours. Grind the seeds and water in a blender. Strain. Heat over medium heat and add sugar. Stir until dissolved.

I used a basic sesame milk recipe I found online and then sweetened it, so this is essentially a horchata (orgeat). I did find this difficult to strain effectively, so for my next batch I’ll try skipping the blender entirely, increasing the amount of seeds, boiling them in the water, and then straining the whole seeds out.


For anyone interested in trying some other sesame-based cocktails, check out the Domo Arigato at The Cocktail Virgin Slut, and Tess Posthumus’ La Ninja.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Frosty Dawn Cocktail

Frosty Dawn

Frosty Dawn Cocktail
1½ ozs. light rum
1 oz. orange juice
½ oz. Falernum
¼ oz. maraschino liqueur
Shake well with ice. Strain over rocks in prechilled old-fashioned glass.

I went with Bacardi, Seville oranges, homemade Falernum (Kaiser Penguin’s recipe), and Luxardo Maraschino, and garnished with an orange twist. I scaled the drink up a bit, as well, since I got 40 ml of juice from my orange (so 60 ml rum, 40 ml OJ, 20 ml Falernum, 10 ml maraschino).

I chose to start with this recipe mainly because I had a batch of Falernum looking for a use. I also had recently come across some Seville oranges, which are a nice change from the ubiquitous Navel.

I really enjoyed this drink. All the flavours balance and blend well, but still keep their identities. Everyone I’ve made it for so far liked it, too. I think this one will go into regular rotation, at least for those times I have Falernum in the fridge.

The earliest version of this recipe I’ve found so far is from The Webtender Wiki, and is dated 1954:
1954, “Frosty Dawn”, Albert Carillo.

  • 7 parts Puerto Rican Rum,
  • 2 Parts Falernum,
  • 1 part Maraschino,
  • 1 oz Orange Juice

If you assume that the ‘parts’ add up to 2 ozs (60 ml), then this comes to 42 ml rum, 30 ml OJ, 12 ml Falernum, 6 ml Maraschino; pretty darn close to the Playboy proportions.

In digging around (mostly online) I found a really common variation that didn’t make a lot of sense to me: 4 oz rum (white), 1 oz maraschino liqueur, 1 oz white (or sometimes red) wine, 4 oz orange juice. It’s clearly based on the same original recipe, but the change from Falernum to wine was odd (not to mention that that is a LOT of rum). Then I found a recipe that specified that the wine should be Falerno del Massico and everything clicked into place. At some point someone came across the recipe and didn’t know what Falernum was. Assuming the it must mean Falerno del Massico, the substitution was made and the proportions changed to suit the new ingredient. There are also a few recipes floating around out there that use the wine-variant proportions, but have changed the wine back to Falernum.

I also found one book that had the name as ‘Frothy Dawn’, which I assume must be a typo, since there really isn’t anything frothy about this drink.

Edit: I did some digging on the name mentioned in the 1954 recipe (as I was unsure if he was the creator of the drink or just someone who submitted the recipe to the newspaper) and found this article, which states that in 1959 Albert Carrillo won a prize for his Honeymoon Cocktail. This drink (not to be confused with the more common applejack-based Honeymoon) contains 1 oz brandy, 1 oz orange juice, ¼ oz Cointreau, ¼ oz Falernum. This is similar enough to the Frosty Dawn that there is little doubt in my mind that Carrillo was the creator of the Frosty Dawn as well.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.