I’m rapidly running out of May but I still have plenty of mint. And with the unofficial start of summer taking place this weekend, it feels like the perfect time for a mint frozen cocktail recipe. So here’s a classic Tiki drink that uses a LOT of mint, the Missionary’s Downfall. – Andrew
1 1/2 oz Silver Rum
1/2 oz Apricot Brandy
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Mint Syrup
1 1/2 oz Pineapple-Honey Syrup
2 mint sprigs
To make the mint syrup: first make a simple syrup by melting a cup of white sugar into a cup of water over low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is fully dissolved. Then, blanch 5-6 sprigs of mint in boiling water for 15 seconds, then remove them and immediately immerse the mint in a bowl of ice water. After a minute, remove the mint and blot it dry with some paper towels. Combine the mint and syrup in a blender and blend the mint to a pulp. Strain the syrup through cheesecloth or, better yet, a coffee filter to remove any solids. Bottle and keep refrigerated.
To make the pineapple-honey syrup: combine equal parts honey and pineapple juice in a saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until the honey and juice and fully melted together. Bottle and keep refrigerated.
To make the Missionary’s Downfall: combine all the ingredients in a blender with the leaves of two mint sprigs and a quarter cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth, adding more crushed ice as needed until the drink starts to fold in on itself. Pour into a Tiki mug or coupe glass and enjoy!
The Missionary’s Downfall is an original, a creation of Don the Beachcomber back in the 1940s. And it’s a fun one: mint, of course, and lots of citrus; grassy dry rum and floral honey and fruity apricot brandy, all layered in that perfectly Tiki way. And it’s green, verdantly green, the sort of green that reminds you of those green hillsides in a place like Hawaii.
A note on that apricot brandy: we’re talking here about an apricot (or peach) eau-de-vie, a liquor distilled from apricots, dry up front and with a floral, fruity finish on the back of the palate. We’re not talking about apricot liqueur, a sweet, low proof spirit made by steeping apricots and then blending in sugar. For the most perfect, classic Missionary’s Downfall, you need the real deal. But! It’s not the end of the world if you decide not to stock your bar with a fairly specific, fairly hard to find ingredient. Even though this drink has been around for decades, or maybe because of it, there doesn’t seem to be a single standard recipe for this drink out there. And there’s no cocktail police who will arrest you if you come up with your own.
I’ve seen people use apricot liqueur, or just straight brandy, or peach bitters here. An apricot liqueur will add fruity sweetness to your drink, not quite the same but still pretty good. If you head in that direction – substituting or dropping the apricot brandy, I’d recommend adding in a bit more rum in its place, to balance out the sweetness and proof of the drink.
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Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper