Genre mash-ups aren't just for music and movies anymore: Bartenders, inevitably, have begun combining two of their favorite things—amaros and tiki drinks—for a new delicious category (tamaro? amartiki?) that is the cocktail equivalent of laying Ennio Morricone's red-blooded orchestral chords over Fela Kuti's funky drum beats.
It's actually a perfect marriage—the genius of tiki drinks has always been their balance of flavors sweet and tropical (pineapple juice, cherry liqueur) and bitter and complex (Angostura bitters, falernum). We've seen a couple of versions popping up at some of our favorite bars in New York: At Dram in Brooklyn, you can order the Bitter Mai Tai, which features Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Campari, housemade orgeat, curacao, and lime juice. At Lani Kai in Lower Manhattan, the Varnish's Eric Alperin contributed the E Kipa Mai, which includes mezcal, agave syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, and a secret, unlisted amaro (which, for the uninitiated, is an Italian herbal liqueur). And the Lantern's Keep in midtown Manhattan offers the Jungle Bird, with Black Strap rum, pineapple juice, Campari, and lime juice.
"Amaros just naturally combine really well with classic tiki recipes and also go great with rum," says Jeremy Oertel, who has tended bar at Dram and Mayahuel. He also developed the cocktail program at Donna—the beautiful new high-ceilinged, Art Deco-esque bar in Williamsburg, where our favorite rendition of this mash-up is being served: the Brancolada (pictured above), a mix of rum, coconut cream, Branca Menta, and pineapple and orange juices. It's like an orange-coconut creamsicle with a mint center. Make it yourself at home on a sweltering summer night and try to guess what the next cocktail mash-up will be: aperitif-fizzes? Stirred-sours?
1 oz Branca Menta
1 oz Appleton Estate V/X
3/4 oz coconut cream (three parts Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut to one part coconut milk)
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz orange juice
In a cocktail shaker, shake all ingredients with three ice cubes and strain over crushed ice in a hurricane glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and an orange wedge.
—Christopher Ross, assistant editor at Details