Food & Drink

Tiki Tech #3 – The Dirty Banana

Real vacation hours for your holiday weekend

I’m having a bit of an existential dilemma. This weekend is a holiday weekend, yet it feels absolutely nothing like a holiday weekend. As we speak I’m even working a full day on what should be a day off.

There’s not better time, then, to whip up this king of drinks: the Dirty Banana. If you haven’t had a proper one before, it’s hard to understand what a solid cocktail this is; if you have had one before, I can safely assume just reading the name will immediately illicit a pleasant memory and all around good vibes. I promise you that if you make one of these and enjoy it in the sun there is no way your weekend can be ruined.

The Dirty Banana is our go-to drink at the Lei Low, and even though it’s off-menu now they’ll still make them for you if you ask nice. When I decided my hobby during this time would be exploring tiki, I knew right away this would be at the top of the list. However, the issue is there isn’t a solid, universal recipe for this drink. As it toes the line of a boat drink, Dirty Bananas are often found in resorts, so most recipes you find will vary the ingredients greatly, sometimes even excluding rum (perish the thought). It was up to me to figure out the optimum recipe based off a skelton of known ingredients: rum, coffee & chocolate liqueur, and banana.

Reader, the recipe that follows is a labor of love. I went through many awful iterations. Did I drink them anyway? Of course I did. But the end result is more than worth it. I’ll actually present two recipes for the Dirty Banana: one standard, and one involving a special tiki concoction you’ll need to make that really sets this cocktail off.

THE DIRTY BANANA

1-1/2 oz Light Rum
1/2 oz Gold or Dark Rum (I prefer Gold)
1/2 oz banana liqeuer (NOT 99 Bananas. Don’t ask me how I know)
3/4 oz chocolate liqueur
1 oz coffee liqueur
1/4 ounce demerara syrup (optional but encouraged)
1 oz milk
1 oz half & half (if you don’t have this or heavy cream just double the milk)
1/2 ripe banana (ever so slightly over-ripe is best but not banana-bread over-ripe)

Add all ingredients to a blender with a cup of ice. Blend until smooth, up to a minute.

I think you’ll be very satisfied with the above drink. However, if you really want to step it up, I suggest making a batch of gardenia mix, a butter based potion that is quintessential tiki alchemy. This requires a bit more than what I suggested for your stock ingredients and requires a bit of elbow grease, but it’s worth it and you can use the mix for a few other drinks as well.

GARDENIA MIX

Adapted from this recipe at Liquor.com

1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup*
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup**
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (you can buy this at the liquor store or make it at home, worthy investment either way)

In a small saucepan over low heat, add all of the ingredients. Whisk until butter is melted and all ingredients are constituted.

*To make cinnamon syrup: Add 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Add 4 sticks of cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stir until all sugar has been dissolved and you can see the bottom of the pan. Take off of heat and cover, let sit for 8-12 hours. Strain into bottle and keep refrigerated up to a few weeks

**To make vanilla syrup: add 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir until all sugar has been dissolved and you can see the bottom of the pan. Take off of heat, add 2 split vanilla beans (scrape out the interior into the syrup if you can). Cover and let sit for 8-12 hours. Strain into bottle & keep refrigerated up to a few weeks.

LA BANANE VILAIN

1-1/2 oz Light Rum
1/2 oz Gold or Dark Rum (I prefer Gold)
1 oz Gardenia Mix
1/2 oz banana liqeuer
1/2 oz chocolate liqueur
1 oz coffee liqueur
1/4 ounce demerara syrup (optional but encouraged)
1 oz milk
1 oz half & half (if you don’t have this or heavy cream just double the milk)
1/2 ripe banana (ever so slightly over-ripe is best but not banana-bread over-ripe)

Add all ingredients to a blender with a cup of ice. Blend until smooth, up to a minute.

The gardenia adds a nice undertone of spice to the drink while also delivering a bit more velvety texture. Use your leftover gardenia to make yourself a Pearl Diver

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