Panama’s Bird of Paradise Fizz

Gin? In a tropical drink? From Panama? Don't scoff—this classic raspberry cocktail from the early 20th century is the consummate Caribbean refreshment.
Photo by Todd Huffman

This drink is a bit of an outlier. It showcases gin, and it hails from Panama, which is part of the Caribbean region, but not one of the islands. Still, it’s delicious and a perfect example of what a Caribbean cocktail can be.

This pretty pink sipper makes an appearance in The Gentleman’s Companion: Around the World With Jigger, Beaker and Flask (Derrydale Press, 1939), written by globetrotting mixologist Charles H. Baker. The drink originated at the Strangers Club in Colón, once a popular watering hole for weary travelers who sought passage through the Panama Canal Zone.

“We always have found welcome there during the [12 or so times] we have been in the ‘Zone’ going west to east, or vice versa,” wrote Baker, where this vibrantly hued drink provided “a colorful, eye-filling experience.”

Adapted from Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean (Cocktail Kingdom, 2013) by Jeff Berry

Ingredients
  • 3 ounces dry gin
  • 1½ ounces lime juice
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons raspberry syrup
  • 1 tablespoon egg white
  • 3 dashes orange flower water
  • 1 ounce club soda (more if desired)
  • 1 tropical flower, like bougainvillea, for garnish
Directions

In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lime, cream, raspberry syrup and egg white with plenty of crushed ice. Shake well, and pour unstrained into a tall glass, leaving some room at the top. Add orange flower water, top with soda and stir. Garnish, and serve with a straw.

Tiki Time

Are the drinks at tiki bars Caribbean? Sometimes. They tend to be a mashup of influences from the South Seas, Hawaii, the Caribbean and beyond.

Published on March 23, 2017
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip. and NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening, which debuts in September 2018. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net



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