Lately, our fellow tropaholics have been expressing curiosity about the long-lost recipe for Don The Beachcomber’s Pearl Diver’s Punch, circa 1937, which we reveal for the first time anywhere in our latest book, Sippin’ Safari. The curiosity centers around one secret ingredient, which the Beachcomber called “pearl diver’s mix.” The mix calls for 1 part each honey and softened sweet butter, 1/8 part cinnamon syrup, and 1/16 part each vanilla syrup and pimento liqueur (details about these ingredients can be found on page 76 of Sippin’), all creamed together into a batter. At first sight, this batter would seem more at home in a Hot Buttered Rum than a cold drink like the Pearl Diver’s Punch. But when blended with the Pearl Diver’s other ingredients and a handful of crushed ice, then strained to keep the solids out of the drink, it makes for a mysteriously spicy cooler with a velvety mouth-feel unlike any other drink’s.
That is, until now. Exotic drink enthusiast Rick Stutz has come up with his own take on the Pearl Diver, which he calls KP’s Harpoon. (KP stands for Kaiser Penguin, the name of Rick’s popular cocktail ) He’s taken the Beachcomber’s basic Pearl Diver’s Punch template, rejiggered the rums for a smoother base flavor, replaced the orange juice with orange liqueur for extra body, and reduced the amount of batter for a more subtle end-note. If Don The Beachcomber is rolling in his grave, it’s just so he can reach his blender to make a KP’s Harpoon — it’s a lovely drink.
And here’s the recipe: Into your blender place 1/2 ounce each orange curacao and pearl diver’s mix; 3/4 ounce each light Puerto Rican rum, Demerara rum, and dark Jamaican rum; 1 ounce fresh lime juice; and 6 ounces crushed ice. Blend at high speed for 20 seconds, then strain through a fine-mesh wire sieve into a cocktail glass, pressing gently on solids to release all liquid into glass. (Discard solids.)