Black Sand, Blue Sea
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
A Hiphipahula dedication to the Tikiyaki Orchestra
After my Blue Curaçao epiphany with the Cherry Blossom, I've been going back through my library looking for other cocktails I dismissed out of hand due to their use of Blue Curaçao. In doing so, I was reminded of the Black Sand Blue Sea from The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails. While I skipped the drink, the description introduced me to the Tikiyaki Orchestra for which I will be forever grateful. Mrs. Bamboo Sam, not so much. I started out as a musician so when I get into a band or album I tend to listen like it's an assignment in a music history class until I can just about score it out from memory. Apparently this is not the way most people listen to music. Do yourself a favor and check them out for yourself. Open it up in another tab and let it play in the background while you read the rest of this. Trust me, I'll seem like a better writer.
At any rate, this cocktail was inspired by that song and created by Hiphipahula for the Tikiyaki Orchestra in 2010. She says that it was her attempt to create a better blue drink. Sounds like we may have had some similar hang ups about Blue Curaçao! I'm happy to say that she succeeded as this is a great tasting drink. It's what I tend to categorize as a "poolside sipper". They are lower alcohol drinks (compared to high octane tropical specialties like the Zombie or Navy Grog) that go down a bit too easily.
This drink does require layering to get the signature look of black sand running into the blue sea. This is accomplished by floating the dark colored ingredients (sand) on top of the blue colored ones (sea). Floating is not difficult but it takes little practice. Essentially, ingredients with a lower specific gravity will float on top of other heavier ingredients without mixing if you keep them from mixing when you pour them into the same glass. That's the tricky part. Your goal is to increase friction to counter gravity while you pour. Take a bar spoon and flip it so the back of the spoon is facing up. Rest the edge of the spoon against the inside of the glass right at the top of the liquid already in the glass. Slowly pour the next ingredient on the back of the spoon so that it runs to the edge of the glass. As you add the new ingredient, slowly raise the spoon so that it stays at the top of the liquid in the glass. It should float on top instead of dropping into the existing liquid.
Historically, layered drinks were designed to stay layered as they were enjoyed. The idea was to have a different flavored drink for every swallow. Nothing pisses a bartender off more than taking the time to make a layered drink only to watch some rube stir it all together before turning it up. However, that's not the case with the Black Sand Blue Sea. While it is served layered, it should be stirred with the straw a few times to mix it all together before drinking.
Lastly, I should discuss the Pimento Allspice syrup called for in this cocktail. The recipe is:
5 tablespoons ground pimento (allspice) berries
3 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups water
2 ounces overproof rum
5 tablespoons molasses
Mix the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the allspice and heat to near boil. Let steep at that level for 3 minutes. Then simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool then strain into a bottle. Add the molasses and overproof rum. Go for Lemon Hart 151 if you have it. Keep refrigerated.
All that being said, you only need 5 dashes for this drink so you can get the flavor by using St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in a pinch.
Black Sand Blue Sea
Source - Kelly "Hiphipahula" Reilly, The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails
1 ounce Coco Real Squeeze
1 1/4 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce Blue Curaçao
2 ounces coconut rum*
5 dashes pimento allspice syrup
1/3 ounce Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
1/4 ounce crème de cassis*
1/4 ounce caramel syrup (optional)
Add the top four ingredients to a mixing tin and flash blend to suspend the Coco Real using a spindle mixer (about 5 seconds). Pour this mix (the blue sea) into a piña colada or small hurricane glass. Top with crushed ice if necessary. Then float the last four ingredients (the black sand) on top. Garnish is a cherry and pineapple chunk speared to a paper umbrella.
*Bamboo Sam's customizations: In The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails Hipipahula calls for Cruzan Coconut rum. While it makes a great drink, give Rum Haven a try for a drier (less sweet) option. As for the crème de cassis, when it comes to liqueurs like this it's tempting to go cheap. Don't. Many times liqueurs are used sparingly as many have intense flavors. When you're going through a bottle 1/4 ounce at a time it takes awhile! It's worth spending up for higher quality in this case.