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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

Volcano Cooler

Trader Tom's take on the Lei Lani Volcano?


Volcano Cooler

Over the holidays I had the good fortune of procuring a bottle of blood orange syrup. As a result, I have spent the last couple of weeks combing through my library in search of every drink I passed over due to not having it during some previous binge. One of my favorites so far is the Volcano Cooler by Trader Tom from The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails.


There are a couple of things I've picked up on by making a bunch of drinks with blood orange syrup. Most notable is how much citrus (lemon and/or lime) juice is needed to offset the sweetness. While typical tropical cocktails keep it to 1 ounce or less most of the blood orange syrup drinks I found used 2-3 ounces! I point tis out because it makes the quality of the lemon or lime juice all the more important. I don't always point out that fresh citrus should be used whenever possible but perhaps I should. I'll admit to using bottled pineapple juice and even OJ but if you ever start with fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice you'll never go back. It seems expensive but if you go to a wholesale club like Costco or Sam's (sadly, no relation) you can get 3-5lb bags for a fraction of the cost at a local grocer. Wash them, place in a gallon Ziplock bag, and refrigerate. They will last 3-4 weeks and your mouth will thank you.


Secondly, most of these drinks tend to be on the sweet side. I've got a pretty big sweet-tooth but I have to be in the mood. The good news here is that your choice of rum can really cut into the sugar. Most contain at least an ounce of Jamaican rum. As we've discussed before, Jamaicans can range from dark and molasses tasting to very funky mouthfuls of hogo. For example, if you make the Volcano Cooler with Myers and it seem a bit too sweet, try something with more hogo like the Plantation Xamayca, or Doctor Bird. If it's too funky for you or a guest, go down to less funky Jamaicans like Appleton Estate or Blackwell.


Now for a bit of conjecture. I suspect this is Trader Tom's take on a famous drink from Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort, the Lei Lani Volcano. While it's not mentioned in The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails, the first clue is that they taste remarkably similar with Trader Tom's being a bit more complex in layered flavors. The next clue is in the fruit juices. He refers to the pineapple/orange/guava combo as POG which is always available at the Polynesian Resort. However, I'm pretty sure theirs is Passion fruit/orange/guava so maybe not. Either way, both make excellent poolside companions even if you're hanging out by the fireplace instead.


As with most of Trader Tom's drinks this one has a high volume with more than 9 ounces before you add any ice so be prepared with a tall glass or mug. This also makes an excellent tiki bowl drink. Just multiply the ingredients by three (assuming you can find someone willing to join in a communal drink nowadays).



Volcano Cooler

Volcano Cooler

Source - Trader Tom Morgan, The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails

  • 2 ounces lemon juice

  • 1 ounce pineapple juice

  • 1 ounce orange juice

  • 1 ounce guava nectar

  • 1 ounce blood orange syrup*

  • 1 ounce Orgeat*

  • 1 ounce white rum*

  • 1 ounce dark Jamaican rum*

  • splash of soda water*


Add everything except the soda water to a shaker, add crushed ice and shake. Gated pour into a tiki mug or hurricane glass. Add a splash of soda water and stir it in using the straw. Garnish with pineapple wedge, lemon wedge and cherry speared to a paper umbrella.


*Bamboo Sam's customizations: In The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails Trader Tom calls for Cruzan white & Coruba Dark Jamaican. I'm down with the Cruzan but Coruba is insanely rare in Tennessee for some reason. I used Myers initially but lately I've moved to Plantation Xamayca. Trader Tom also recommends Monin Blood Orange Syrup and BG Reynolds Orgeat. I'm using the BG Reynolds but I've got the Torani Blood Orange. I've not had the Monin so I can't offer an opinion on the difference.





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