Donga Punch

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Cocktail History

The Donga Punch is a classic tiki recipe that was originally created by Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s at his bar in Hollywood, California. This is one of the recipes that was revived when Jeff “Beachbum” Berry dug into tiki history when writing his book Sippin’ Safari. Unique to this category, this cocktail calls for a simple mix of rhum agricole, a type of rum made from sugarcane juice, as well as Don’s Mix, and citrus to balance out the spirit’s sharp flavor.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Rhum Agricole: This is the base spirit. It’s a type of rum distilled from freshly squeezed sugarcane juice in the French Caribbean Islands. We used Clément Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP because it has a distinct taste with notes of brown sugar and cocoa. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rum.

Don’s Mix: This is a sweetener made with grapefruit juice, cinnamon sticks, and sugar. We made ours at home using Alex’s recipe.

Lime Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer fresh lime juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Grapefruit Twist: This is one of the garnishes. It adds more fresh grapefruit aroma.

Cinnamon Stick: This is another garnish. We used cinnamon sticks from the bulk section at our local grocery store.

Orchid Blossom: This is also a garnish. It adds floral aroma.

Tasting Notes

The Donga Punch features fresh aromas of grapefruit and has a flavor that marries sweet citrus with the fascinatingly complex rum and a cinnamon zing, all with a bit of tart lime after the swallow.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: The phrase “rum funk” gets a little overused, in our opinion, but this cocktail is about the best example of it we’ve ever tried. In fact, as much as we both found the Donga Punch very interesting, we think a split base with something else a little less funky might do this recipe a service!

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“At first, I was a little put off by the slightly dry, complex, and weird taste of this drink that I initially attributed to the lime; I initially thought there might be too much of it. After a few sips, I realized that wasn’t it at all, and instead the spirit was what was resulting in the crazy flavors. The rhum agricole we used from Martinique is one of the most fascinating rums I’ve ever had. I do think using a full two ounces of just that rum in this drink was a bit much, and though I haven’t tried it yet to be sure, I think balancing it out with a half to full ounce of another rum would be even better.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I’m with Alex. This tiki cocktail is a weird one thanks to the rhum agricole. It has a rather bitter yet sour aftertaste that made me wince a little when sipping the drink. I thought it was the lime juice at first, and then Alex had me try the rhum agricole on its own. I think I might like this better with a milder dark rum, but it’s worth trying if you’re already a fan of rhum agricole’s unique flavor!”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes by Chloe Frechette.

Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes
Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Frechette, Chloe (Author); English (Publication Language); 176 Pages – 05/12/2020 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$18.99

AuthorEasy TikiPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Rhum Agricole
 1 ½ oz Don's Mix
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 1 Grapefruit Twist
 1 Cinnamon Stick
 1 Orchid Blossom

Method
1

Add rhum agricole, Don's mix, lime juice, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball or tiki glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with grapefruit twist, cinnamon stick, and orchid blossom.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Rhum Agricole
 1 ½ oz Don's Mix
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 1 Grapefruit Twist
 1 Cinnamon Stick
 1 Orchid Blossom

Directions

Method
1

Add rhum agricole, Don's mix, lime juice, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball or tiki glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with grapefruit twist, cinnamon stick, and orchid blossom.

Donga Punch

Make It a Mocktail: Use Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rhum agricole to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Tiki Cocktails

If you like this tiki cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Iron Ranger Cocktail Recipe

Iron Ranger (Variation): A whiskey cocktail made with pineapple juice, lemon juice, velvet falernum liqueur, cinnamon syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, mint, and a cinnamon stick

Ginger Inferno Cocktail Recipe

Ginger Inferno: A rum cocktail made with ginger liqueur, velvet falernum liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, a lime slice, and candied ginger

Staycation Cocktail Recipe

Staycation: A rum and whiskey cocktail made with lemon juice, coconut cream, apricot liqueur, passion fruit syrup, a lemon slice, and mint

Jamaican Mule Cocktail Recipe

Jamaican Mule: A rum cocktail made with ginger syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura aromatic bitters, candied ginger, a lime slice, and an orchid blossom

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