Being based in California, award-winning mixologist Eric Johnson hasn’t experienced a typical autumn in years, so crafting any version of a “seasonal” cocktail presents a bit of a challenge. But his latest creation, a drink called The Black Pearl, finds the perfect balance between California’s balmy climate and the essence of fall.
“This cocktail is fairly versatile,” says Johnson, the mixologist and General Manager of San Diego’s Sycamore Den. “It has some fall flavors from the almond syrup and nutmeg, but the hint of coconut in the rum maintains the summer vibe. It’s the kind of drink that can be consumed anywhere, anytime.” Most recently, it was served as the signature cocktail at Hotel Thrillist, an annual event hosted by the eponymous media company.
The base of Johnson’s recipe is a spirit he says is somewhat misunderstood. “I think there is a label on Malibu as being sugary or sweet but most of the time people are drinking it with sweet and sugary modifiers. Using fresh juice makes any spirit taste better than sours off the gun or soda pop.”
Black Pearl Cocktail
2 ounces Malibu Black
3⁄4 ounce fresh lemon
0.5 ounce Orgeat syrup (Almond Syrup)
2 dashes Barrel-aged whiskey bitters
Combine Malibu black, fresh lemon, orgeat syrup and whiskey bitters in a highball glass and stir to combine. Add ice. Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg.