Of all the stories I learned in my grade school History and Geography classes, perhaps the most memorable was that of the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. He wanted to prove that it was possible for Incas to have sailed to Polynesia using balsa wood rafts, and in 1947, with a crew of five men, he built such a raft and made the 5,000 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. The name of the expedition was the Kon-Tiki, and this Pisco cocktail tells its story.
What made me recall the story of the Kon-Tiki expedition, was an event I attended last week at Omnivore Books, where Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove was talking about his new Tiki cocktail book. From secret cocktail recipes, to legendary bars, and the rich history of Rum, it was impossible not to leave completely inspired by all the lore and mythology of Tiki cocktail culture that Martin shared.
Just like the Kon-Tiki expedition connected Peru to Polynesia, I wanted to connect those two culture by creating a Tiki cocktail with Pisco. And starting with the traditional punch ratio:
One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of week
the question that I had to answer was — what ingredients would tell this story?
Start with the Pisco, and infuse it with the tropical aromas of mint, orange peel, and pineapple. Then, use a white rum with a strong Caribbean terroir. Next, add a Scandinavian liquor to honor the homeland of the adventurer that led the Kon-Tiki expedition. Balance the citrus with the unmistakable sweetness of orgeat, and as a nod to the Vin Mariani in the Pisco Punch, add a little Lillet Rouge for a splash of color. Finally, garnish it with seared pineapple cubes, fresh mint, and a dehydrated orange round.
Presenting, the Kon-Tiki Punch, a Pisco cocktail with tropical ingredients that connects Peruvian and Tiki cultures and pays homage to Thor Heyerdahl’s journey across the Pacific from Peru to French Polynesia.
- 1/2 oz. Encanto Pisco Acholado infused with mint
- 1/2 oz. Encanto Pisco Acholado infused with pineapple
- 1/2 oz. Encanto Pisco Acholado infused with orange peel
- 1 1/2 oz. Plantation Three Stars White Rum
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 oz. Small Hands Orgeat
- 1/2 oz. Kronan Swedish Punsch
- 1/4 oz. Lillet Rouge
- fresh mint, seared pineapple cubes, and dehydrated orange round for garnish
Combine all the ingredients minus the garnish in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a tumbler with ice. Garnish with fresh mint, seared pineapple cubes, and a dehydrated orange round.
To make the dehydrated orange rounds, I sliced one whole orange into 1/4 inch rounds and placed them in a Waring dehydrator set to medium, or about 140°F, for 6 hours. To sear the pineapple cubes for garnish, I used a dry skillet over medium to high heat.
To make the Pisco infusions, I used a Sansaire sous vide machine and 3 mason jars filled to the brim with 1 cup of Encanto Acholado Pisco. One jar had 8 leaves of fresh mint, another had 3 orange peels, and the last had 8 pineapple cubes. The pineapple cubes weighed 34 grams and had been sautéd with 1/4 teaspoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon turbinado sugar in a skillet. The sealed jars were submerged in a water bath at room temperature, and the target temperature was set to 75°C. Once the target temperature was reached, I let the Pisco in the jars macerate for 1 hour at 75°C before carefully removing the jars from the water bath to let cool. Before using, I used either a fine mesh strainer or a paper coffee filter to strain the infusions into clean jars.