The thin little book Tiki: Modern American Cocktails by Shannon Mustipher has been on our shelf for a minute or two, but until now we’ve yet to try any recipes from it. This is a shame, as this tidy little book sports some excellent variations on tiki classics with beautiful photography in tow. As far as cocktail books go, this one gets straight to the point: it’s recipes from cover to cover, and that’s exactly the way we like it. The beautiful Tour le Carbe is a standout from the book and an excellent expression of the proto-tiki formula. It begins as a riff on the classic Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail, but with the fragrant Suze liqueur replacing Curacao. The name of the recipe is undoubtedly a reference to this french influence crossed with the Bermudan base, as Le Carbet is a beach commune in the French overseas department of Martinique. Mustifer notes that “the drink is inspired by Martinique’s black sand beaches and spectacular views of Mt. Pelée,” the later of which should be visible from Le Carbet’s beaches.
The flavor of this drink revolves around the fascinating combination of rhum agricole and suze. These two ingredients are almost never paired, and the trim ingredient list means the expression of these two combined ingredients can take front and center. Suze adds a kick of bitterness that is rare in tiki drinks (the jungle bird is another excellent example) while the rhum brings a funky grassiness. The lime helps balance out the sip and carry the drink along the basic daiquiri formula, though the rest of the drink is really a thing to itself. The original recipe recommends Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc. We typically only keep one bottle of Rhum Agricole on hand and it is often Rhum JM VSOP, which was the case here and we were no worse the wiser.