To paraphrase Prince, “I was buzzing when I wrote this, forgive me if I go astray.” Tonight we made one hell of a drink, twice or thrice, I forget. I love this cocktail, always have. It’s way overproof, one of those good “bang for your buck” drinks. It’s a tiki drink, so yay, and there is fire…I love fire. Plus, we had the perfect receptacle, courtesy of my grandma. I’ll tell you all about it below, but first let’s get the tag line out of the way as we stand and drink, the Jet Pilot.
Three kinds of rum including a navy strength and a 151 give this one, or three, I forget, plenty of kick. This is one of those they sell with a one drink maximum, because marketing. Lots of things came together this week to make this one possible. First, my 93 year old grandma hooked me up with a tall beer glass. Not just any glass, but one of Uncle Doc’s beer glasses. Uncle Doc is kind of a family legend. My grandfather talked about him all the time. I never knew him, he was killed on his Harley Davidson in 1947 racing to get help for an injured friend and was clearly a special kind of guy. There are lots of Doc stories that I heard growing up and while he wasn’t a jet pilot, Monroe Ralston was part of the Army Air Corps in WWII. My grandpa’s bedside clock was out of a B-17 instrument panel that Uncle Doc brought him after the war. War hero, bon vivant, a man who had seen things and come back home, he was a family legend. So when I spotted these glasses in the back of the cabinet, I was surprised to find out that these were not only his glasses, but they’d been waiting for at least 73 years to hold a drink again. So let’s make that drink.
The recipe calls for this one to be flash blended, and we did that. It was good, but then we made another and shook it and it was better. Less dilution and more chilling was the key, so like Old Blue Eyes, we are going to make it my way. Grab your tins and add 1 ounce of Jamaican Rum, I used that funky banana forward Smith+ Cross; 3/4 ounces of overproof rum, Wray and Nephew 151, if you please; and 3/4 ounces of a golden rum, I opted for Lemonhart & Son 86. It seems that rum and ampersands is a thing, well, at least it is today. 1/2 an ounce each of falernum, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit juice and lime juice, 6 dashes of absinthe, I used Corsair Artisan Distillery Red and 2 dashes of angostura bitters. Toss in half a tin of that fancy Sonic pebble ice and shake for about ten seconds. Open pour into a cool tall beer glass, preferably acquired by your great uncle who was in the Army Air Corps, but definitely not a jet pilot. Pop in a reusable straw, garnish with a cherry and here’s the cool part, a flaming crouton in a half lime. This is super easy, grab a crouton, or toast a piece of your grandma’s homemade sourdough bread, as I did, and coat it with lemon extract before placing in half of one of the limes you juiced for the drink. Add fire and you have a Jet Pilot, en flambé, as one does.
That‘s it. This is an amazing cocktail, strong and silent. Great rum flavors, a hint of anise, tropical, but with a cinnamon bottom to the flavor that makes you want more….and more. I’ve got to admit, as much as I like this drink, there is something extra cool about drinking it from Doc’s glass. A sense of connection with the past, touching history. From the stories I’ve heard, he’d have been a hell of a guy to share one of these with. Since I can’t do that, I’ll raise it to him and all those who’ve gone before, maybe that’s what family means. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.