Privateer (Variation)

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Cocktail History

The Privateer is a modern tiki cocktail that was created by Chris Vanderginst of Mutiny Bar in Detroit. It was his belief that tiki “should evolve with the people and the community” and that bartenders should continue to innovate with spirits outside of the classic rum when choosing a base. His choice of tequila here is an example of that; by using a non-traditional base spirit with other classic tiki flavors including passion fruit, he created an inventive variation on a classic template.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Tequila Reposado: This is the base spirit that lends agave flavor. We used Arette Reposado because it’s light and peppery, and it’s affordable.

Passion Fruit Syrup: This is a sweetener that also adds passion fruit flavor. We used Liber & Co. Tropical Passion Fruit Syrup for its tangy and lush taste.

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 for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Smoke & Salt Bitters: These add smoky aroma and sea salt flavors. We used Crude Bitters “Pooter” Smoke & Salt Bitters.

Rosemary: This is the garnish. It adds rosemary aroma and flavor and lends an herbalness to the drink.

Tajín: This is added to the rim for a hint of chili lime flavor on the tongue as you sip.

Tasting Notes

The Privateer features aromas of smoky rosemary, Tajín, and passion fruit and has a very easy taste that blends passion fruit and tequila, both of which are balanced by lime before fading into the lingering flavor of smoky pineapple.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: In homage to Chris Vanderginst’s ideals, we made a few innovations of our own to the original Privateer recipe and created this variation. When making ours, we added a Tajín rim for more fragrance and flavor and swapped the salt for Crude Bitters and Sodas “Pooter” Smoke & Salt Bitters to add aspects slightly reminiscent of mezcal without its overpowering characteristics. After making those tweaks, we both thought this drink tasted as fruity and delicious as it is beautiful. We will certainly be revisiting it before the warmer weather leaves us.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I quite liked this drink. The use of tequila instead of rum is a nice change, and you really can’t mess up a drink with three different kinds of delicious fruit flavor. It was definitely a very sweet drink, and I think on my palate it could benefit from a bit more citrus; I also think the 1 ½ oz of tequila could be upped for a bit more spirit-forwardness, since the cocktail is already packed with all of the other non-spirit ingredients. Our addition of the smoke and salt bitters really made a big difference, I think, giving it a very slight mezcal tinge without all of the loud mezcal flavors, and a Tajín rim is never out of place on a glass filled with the agave spirit.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“If you enjoy passion fruit juice, you are in for a treat with this tiki cocktail! I thought it was tangy, easy to drink, and a nice break from rum. The only change I’d make to it is omitting the Tajín rim. That was Alex’s very creative addition, and while it certainly pairs great with the fruity flavors, I’ve just never really been a fan and would rather drink it sans flavored rim. Other than that, this is a tasty sip for summertime.”

Recipe

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

AuthorEasy TikiPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Tequila Reposado
 ¾ oz Passion Fruit Syrup
 ¾ oz Pineapple Juice
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 2 dashes Crude Bitters Smoke & Salt Bitters
 1 Flamed Rosemary Sprig
 Tajín

Method
1

Pour Tajín onto a plate, rub part of outer rim with lime wedge, and roll in Tajín until coated.

2

Add tequila, passion fruit syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, bitters, and ice to a shaker.

3

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

4

Strain into a lowball glass or tiki glass over crushed ice.

5

Flame the end of rosemary sprig and drop into glass to garnish.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Tequila Reposado
 ¾ oz Passion Fruit Syrup
 ¾ oz Pineapple Juice
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 2 dashes Crude Bitters Smoke & Salt Bitters
 1 Flamed Rosemary Sprig
 Tajín

Directions

Method
1

Pour Tajín onto a plate, rub part of outer rim with lime wedge, and roll in Tajín until coated.

2

Add tequila, passion fruit syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, bitters, and ice to a shaker.

3

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

4

Strain into a lowball glass or tiki glass over crushed ice.

5

Flame the end of rosemary sprig and drop into glass to garnish.

Privateer (Variation)

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:

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

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

Paradise Lost: A vodka and sherry cocktail made with coconut water, lime juice, orgeat syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, and mint

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

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