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Tiki Bar Happy Hour: The Test Pilot

9 November 2008 No Comment

Believed to be created by Don the Beachcomber in 1941, the Test Pilot is a lesser-known but outstanding tiki cocktail. It is a well-balanced drink that includes Angostura bitters and Pernod. It has an unusual flavor that certainly distinguishes it from other Tiki cocktails.

Most Test Pilot recipes you will find online can be attributed to Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, a fantastic collection of Tiki cocktail recipes from Tiki’s heyday in the 1930’s and 40’s. This is the must-have book for any home tiki bar.

Courtesy of the Grog Log, the Test Pilot recipe:

Test Pilot

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Falernum
  • 3 teaspoons Cointreau
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • 1/8 teaspoon Pernod
  • 3/4 ounce light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces dark Jamaican rum

Blend with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 seconds, then pour into double old-fashioned glass. Add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a wooden oyster fork with maraschino cherry skewered on prongs.

Source: Grog Log by Jeff Berry

As with any traditional cocktail, there are a number of substitutions that can be made to give the Test Pilot a different flavor. Some will substitute lemon juice for lime juice, while The Cocktail Chronicles substituted Herbsaint for Pernod and was pleased with the result. Some Test Pilot recipes do exclude the Pernod and bitters, but you do lose a lot by taking those out.

The flavors really come together with the Test Pilot to create an excellent drink.

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