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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

The Q.B. Cooler

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

Fall = Football around here...



If you haven't heard me mention it before, I live in Nashville. While it's still hotter than hell here in mid-August, it's also the start of the Fall football season. There aren't any football themed Tiki drinks as far as I know, so we're going to commandeer the closest thing I could find - the Q.B. Cooler.


While I'll be pretending that Q.B. is for Quarterback for the purposes of this post, this Don the Beachcomber original is actually named after the Quiet Birdmen, a "drinking fraternity of aviators founded in 1921" which apparently frequented Donn the Beachcomber's often enough to warrant their own drink.


Quiet Birdmen Insignia

More important to those of us with a lust for all things Tiki is the story that the QB Cooler may, in fact, be the inspiration for the Mai Tai. Trader Vic first visited Don the Beachcomber's in 1937 when he (allegedly) obtained Donn's recipe for the Q.B. Cooler. Supposedly, this was Vic's launching point from which he built the Mai Tai. I don't know how true any of that is but from the flavor profile to the use of a mint garnish in a double rocks glass, the similarities are definitely there. As I've mentioned before, the Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai is my preferred version of the drink and even it is a bit different from Vic's original recipe. Given that, and the always challenging decision of which rums to put in a Mai Tai, I've actually found myself preferring the Q.B. Cooler on multiple occasions. Personally, I like Falernum more than Orgeat and the Q.B. Cooler's use of honey & ginger syrups adds a complexity to the sugar in the drink that beats the Mai Tai all day long.


That said, I really like Mai Tais too.



Coconaut with Re-entry

Q.B. Cooler

  • 1 ounce Orange Juice

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 ounce Honey Syrup*

  • 1/4 ounce Falernum

  • 1 ounce soda water

  • 1 ounce gold Jamaican Rum*

  • 1 ounce light Puerto Rican Rum*

  • 1/2 ounce Demerara Rum*

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger syrup


Add 4 ounces of crushed ice and flash blend. Gated pour into a double old fashioned glass and garnish with mint sprigs (the more the better).


*Bamboo Sam's customizations - Honey syrup is a 1:1 mix of honey and water. this will suspend the honey in a way that makes it mixable as straight honey will sink to the bottom of your glass and refuse to mix once it hits the ice. I prefer wildflower honey but most recipes name clover honey as the one to use. The good news is that you can pick any kind of honey you like! As for the rums, I typically choose J. Wray Gold, Cruzan white, and El Dorado 5 yr.

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