Elusive Dreams

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Cocktail History

The Elusive Dreams is a rum tiki cocktail that was created by Nashville bartender Demi Natoli as a riff on the Hotel Nacional. Natoli’s variation calls for the unexpected flavor of rich banana liqueur in place of the classic recipe’s apricot brandy, and it also features a touch of cinnamon syrup to bring the telltale spice of modern tiki to the table.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Pineapple Rum: This is one of the base spirits. We chose Plantation Stiggin’s Fancy Pineapple Rum because it has a rich rum taste with notes of pineapple, tropical fruits, citrus, and cloves.

Blended Unaged Rum: This is the other base spirit. We used Appleton Estate’s Gold Jamaican Rum because it’s a great affordable spirit with notes of spices and vanilla. 

Pineapple Juice: This adds sweet and fruity pineapple flavor. We prefer fresh pineapple juice, but you can substitute canned juice if that’s easier than juicing an entire pineapple.

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

Cinnamon Syrup: This is a sweetener that also adds cinnamon spice. We made ours using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

Banana Liqueur: This is a liqueur that adds banana flavor. We used Drillaud Banana Liqueur for its tangy and bright flavor.

Pineapple Wedge: This is one of the garnishes. It adds fresh pineapple aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

The Elusive Dreams begins with aromas of banana and pineapple and features a great combination of the tastes of rum, pineapple, and citrus before finishing with the lingering spice of cinnamon and the sweet aftertaste of banana.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This cocktail was seriously great! I love the surprisingly bold banana flavor it has, which gives some funkiness to the otherwise fairly sweet mixture. The cinnamon syrup is able to give it just a hint of spice, but I love my spiciness so I might consider adding some bitters to the mixture next time to deepen that aspect of it and balance all of the sweetness a bit. Overall a great drink for me, but honestly one you may not love if you don’t like banana.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“The Hotel Nacional is one of my top ten favorite cocktails; it might even be my all-time fave for poolside sipping if I had to pick just one. That said, I really, really wanted to like this riff, but I just didn’t love the addition of banana to a cocktail I already consider perfected. The taste reminded me of the Banana Laffy Taffy I used to eat as a kid, and once I made that association, I couldn’t drink much more of it. I’ll be sticking to the classic formula with apricot brandy.”

Recipe

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

AuthorEasy TikiPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Pineapple Rum
 1 oz Blended Unaged Rum
 1 oz Pineapple Juice
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 ½ oz Banana Liqueur
 1 Pineapple Wedge

Method
1

Add pineapple rum, unaged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, banana liqueur, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with pineapple wedge.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Pineapple Rum
 1 oz Blended Unaged Rum
 1 oz Pineapple Juice
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 ½ oz Banana Liqueur
 1 Pineapple Wedge

Directions

Method
1

Add pineapple rum, unaged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, banana liqueur, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with pineapple wedge.

Elusive Dreams

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More Tiki Cocktails

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

Zombie: A rum cocktail made with velvet falernum liqueur, Donn’s mix, lime juice, absinthe, grenadine, Angostura aromatic bitters, and mint

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

Greena Colada: A rum cocktail made with triple sec, lime juice, lemon juice, Green Chartreuse, velvet falernum liqueur, crème of coconut, mint, and a lime wheel

Fog Cutter: A rum, brandy, gin, and sherry cocktail made with triple sec, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, an orange peel, mint, and an orchid blossom

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