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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

Trader Vic's PB2Y2

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

A WWII era drink from Vic's original Oakland location.

PB2Y2 Aircraft
the PB2Y2's Namesake

There are a few images that loom large in my romantic notions of the South Pacific. One is flying boats. While few can match the PBY Catalina flying boat for graceful lines that scream 1930's, by the time WWII came around the Navy was already looking for a replacement. Consolidated Aircraft decided to follow their Catalina with the PB2Y2 Coronado. They were used throughout the war but were completely outdated by wars end. I think they only saved one of them and it's at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. However, it appears that their pilots had a thing for Trader Vic's and he decided to return the favor. According to his 1972 edition of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide, "Whenever they could these flyers would get some booze from me to take away for their pals who needed a drink. We were able to distribute hundreds and hundreds of bottles of cheer during that time. We later made this drink in honor of those flyers in those times."

The PB2Y2 is a perfect example of drink from Tiki's golden age. It's after the tart and dry cocktails that dominated the 1930's and early 40's but before the overly sweet drinks of the late 1960's and 70's. While it does contain a fair amount of fruit juice, it's very well balanced so that it comes off as fruity but not necessarily sweet.

The PB2Y2

Source - Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide (1972)

PB2Y2 Cocktail

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 ounces orange juice

  • 1/4 ounce grenadine*

  • 1/2 ounce orange curaçao

  • 1 1/2 ounces Puerto Rican rum

  • 1 ounce dark Jamaican rum*

Blend in a spindle mixer with shaved ice. Open pour into a personal Scorpion Bowl or a double old fashioned glass. The traditional garnish in the Scorpion Bowl is a gardenia.

*Bamboo Sam's customizations - Per usual I sub Cruzan for Puerto Rican rum; in this case the white. For the Jamaican I'm using Appleton Estate Reserve Blend. Occasionally I'll use Plantation Xamayca if I'm in the mood for a bit more funk. Once again I say, make your own Grenadine! It's soooo much better than the bottled stuff.

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