- 1½ oz Beefeater London dry gin
- ¾ oz Lillet blanc
- ½ oz Giffard crème de pamplemousse
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- ¼ oz Coco Reàl cream of coconut
- 1 tsp Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- ¾ oz/½ oz Japanese jigger
- 2 oz/1 oz Japanese jigger
- Large and small shaker tins
- Hawthorne strainer
- Conical mesh strainer
Shake ingredients with ice, and fine strain into a coupe. Garnish with half an orange wheel.
Cream of coconut can be kind of annoying to measure. Using a squeeze bottle of Coco Reàl really helps (perhaps there’s another brand out there with similar packaging?), but I have an even better trick. Take the ½ oz side of your small jigger and fill up to the ¼ oz line with simple syrup, then fill the rest of the way with cream of coconut. The simple syrup will lubricate the cream of coconut so it doesn’t stick to the jigger (at least not as much as it would otherwise). See? Those fancy Japanese jiggers are worth it.
The union of cream of coconut and London dry gin isn’t the most obvious, but even if this unconventional pairing isn’t to your taste, at the very least, it’s an eye-catching cocktail.
On the nose, the scent of the orange wheel dominates, and the crème de pamplemousse adds a hint of grapefruit. Things take a turn on the palate where gin and bitters come to the fore, accentuating the bitterness of the pamplemousse before giving way to an almost tropical citrus flavor. The cream of coconut lends more to the appearance and body of this drink than it does to the flavor—any notes of coconut are hidden deep in the background—but the drink’s milky look makes the cream of coconut worth including. Curaçao is used to enhance the tropical flavors by adding a subtle floral note and playing off the garnish. Lillet is present mostly in the aftertaste, but it also provides a clean backbone to the drink, preventing it from becoming too syrupy and sweet and too astringent. Simple syrup serves to add just a little more neutral sweetness (I originally thought that elderflower liqueur would serve well in this position, adding a floral note in addition to some sweetness in order to enhance the tropical vibe of the drink, but even at a quarter ounce, it did not blend nicely with the rest of the ingredients).
The bright, summery appearance of the drink brought to mind white sands beaches and crystal clear water, and with London dry gin as the base spirit, I thought a British Virgin Island would make an appropriate name. As much as I enjoy the MTV Cribs episode of Richard Branson showing off Necker Island, I decided to go for a place with fewer well known associations.