A big part of the enjoyment of drinking is the opportunity to indulge in questionable ideas. Call it the allure of the lowered inhibition or Poe’s masterfully described “imp of the perverse”, but there is something wonderfully seductive about giving in to an idea that you know is bad and just going with your self destructive tendencies. Honestly, I rarely drink to excess, but when I do, I try to make it count and indulge as many of those whims as possible. This drink was inspired by one such evening, when I did not drink to excess, but I definitely enabled many others to dance with that imp. So, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make, the Yabba Dabba Daiquiri.
This one is a monkey original, conceived in a moment of passion in a field in Ohio. It uses an unusual ingredient which is depressingly easy to get and could, perhaps, be improved upon but it might not be worth the time and effort. I will let you decide. The key to this one is Fruity Pebbles syrup. You have a couple of options, the easiest is what we did here, drop $2.87 on a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s Fruity Pebbles Syrup at the grocery and dilute it 50/50 with water, so it flows well and doesn’t stick to your jigger too much, or, if you want to be fancy, you can make your own by boiling 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar before adding in 1/2 an ounce of grenadine and 1/4 ounce each of orange, cherry and lemon extracts. You can play with the grenadine level if you want a more vibrant color or even toss a splash of vanilla extract in there. The end result is similar on both syrups, but the homemade stuff is easier to work with and has the added advantage of not being two different kinds of corn syrup. No matter how you choose to make it, you can always put it in a fancy bottle and pretend like you worked for hours carefully crafting this magical elixir of taste. Anyway, now that you have your secret ingredient ready, let’s make the drink.
Grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of light rum, I went with Bacardi Limon, because I had it handy and figured more fruit in our pebbles would not hurt. To that add 3/4 of an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, 3/4 of an ounce of Fruity Pebbles syrup and 3-4 drops of 18-21’s Havana and Hide bitters. Add in some of that artisanal ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Amanda Palmer’s “Do It With a Rock Star“, sing along like they do in Ohio, if you want to. When your tins are well-chilled, double strain into a coupe garnished with a crushed Fruity Pebble rim and a dehydrated lime.
What can I say? This drink is way better than it has any right to be. It is not terribly clever, just a standard daiquiri with Fruity Pebble syrup swapped in for the simple syrup, but what a difference that makes. While it kills the balance we have come to love in the Classic Daiquiri, it brings a really interesting complexity and depth of flavor that surprised me. Sure, it is a huge nod to nostalgia, but it also works on its own. Seriously, this drink could slay on a menu. However, where most of these kinds of drinks are a triumph of marketing over substance, this one actually delivers. It works in the way that the too desserty Drunken Fruity Pebbles did not. Hey, I am as surprised as you are, but sometimes those bad ideas work out.
Let’s be honest, this drink is a greek tragedy. I made one questionable decision standing in the grocery and every call after that was just a cascade that led to the inevitable conclusion of this drink being created in the middle of a field in Ohio. The best part is, there was no alcohol involved in that crucial first step. Honestly, that is not surprising, since it was in a grocery in the middle of the day. Even the kid was dubious when I picked up a bottle of Fruity Pebbles syrup,”Not on my pancakes” he quickly intoned with his mother nodding in agreement. “We could use it for cocktails”, I replied, tossing it in the buggy. Of course, the next morning we made pancakes and confirmed that while Fruity Pebbles are awesome for breakfast, they belong in the cereal bowl and not in a sticky, sweet syrup on your flapjacks. With that, I slipped the bottle to the back of a shelf and forgot about it.
Our story could have ended there. That bottle languishing in obscurity until it was rediscovered at some point in the future and promptly tossed in the trash. However, fate had other plans. You see, I have the honor of hosting a pop up bar at Midwest Geobash’s Area 51. So once a year, I gather my tools, dubious knowledge and boundless enthusiasm to do my bit in a field in Ohio. We make some free drinks, I do my song and dance, hang out some truly wonderful people and get to give back to the community in a small way. A reasonably large time is had by about 97% of the folks who attend and the other 3% just don’t get why the people think this is fun.
I truly cherish these times and look forward to this evening every year. The quality of the drinks I serve often varies widely, depending on how many shots I share with the patrons, but this year I made a concerted effort to create a fun menu that ran the gamut from bitter to sweet and back again. We had Ferrari’s, Bronar’s, tiny Old-Fashioned’s, Snaquiris, Kamikazes, Tootsie Rolls and much more. Which is where this drink comes in. It was not on the original menu, in fact, I did not realize that my wife had slipped the syrup into my bag until I was unpacking. When I discovered it halfway through the night I decided to experiment, and I am so glad I did. It was not that big a risk, if I failed I made a bad drink and people still got free alcohol, but it was nice that it worked out. Trust me, I have made way worse decisions in the light of those bonfires. I have always enjoyed that idea of the imp of the perverse, “the urge to do exactly the wrong thing in a given situation for the sole reason that it is possible for wrong to be done.” That is what it felt like when I pulled that bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s out from below the bar. Maybe this was a case of two wrongs making a right or just dumb luck, but either way, we could yabba dabba doo much worse. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.