Wishful Thinking

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Cocktail History

The Wishful Thinking is a modern tiki cocktail that was created by Julia McKinley formerly of Three Dots & a Dash and Lost Lake in Chicago, Illinois. Unlike other tiki recipes, this relatively low-proof drink uses a base of tart sloe gin and pairs the liqueur with the unique flavors of rhum agricole, spicy ginger, lime, a hint of absinthe, Angostura bitters, and mint.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Sloe Gin: This is one of the base spirits. It’s a British liqueur made with gin and sloes, a relative of the plum. We went with Plymouth Sloe Gin because it’s flavorful and affordable. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Fee Brothers Non-Alcoholic Sloe Gin Cordial Syrup in place of the sloe gin.

Rhum Agricole: This is the other 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.

Ginger Syrup: This is a sweetener made with ginger, white sugar, gum Arabic powder, and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

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

Absinthe: This is a spirit made with anise, wormwood, fennel, botanicals, and a neutral alcohol. We used Great Lakes Distillery Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Absinthe in place of the absinthe.

Angostura Aromatic Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with botanicals. They add more spice and complexity to the drink and tie the other flavors together. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the bitters.

Mint Sprig: This is the garnish. It adds fragrant mint aroma.

Tasting Notes

The Wishful Thinking features the aromas of mint, ginger, and sloe gin’s berry-like notes and has a taste that largely involves the liqueur’s sweet-tart flavor mixed with the overripe fruit notes of rum, ginger spice, and tart citrus, and it all leaves with a pucker-inducing aftertaste that blends the sloe’s flavor with the rum’s funk.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We were both very pleased with how this one turned out, and despite being the cherry-red color of overly sweet Shirley Temples, the Wishful Thinking has a great amount of bitterness and depth that’s sure to convert sloe gin’s nonbelievers.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I’m not generally super optimistic about drinks that have sloe gin because I find it to be a unique but mostly sugary yet bitter liqueur, and I fully admit that the reason is probably only because I’ve only ever had bottom-shelf sloe gin. But this drink pleased the hell out of me. It’s brilliant red color was a great teaser into all of the exotic flavors it would display, which included the ginger, rhum agricole, absinthe, and obviously sloe gin’s berry-tinged bitterness.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Up until now, we’ve only tried two other sloe gin cocktails, and neither one stand out in my mind. This is an incredibly tasty and a very unique tiki drink though. It has a sweet-tart flavor you don’t find in tropical recipes, and although I thought I had learned to steer clear of rhum agricole, its funkiness is much more muted than it was when we used it in the Donga Punch. I imagine if we made this one for friends they would be hesitant to try it given its rather unknown list of ingredients, but they would be as pleasantly surprised by how delicious it is as we were.”

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 Sloe Gin
 1 oz Rhum Agricole
 1 oz Lime Juice
 3 dashes Absinthe
 3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Mint Sprig

Method
1

Add sloe gin, rhum agricole, ginger syrup, lime juice, absinthe, bitters, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a tiki glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with mint sprig.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Sloe Gin
 1 oz Rhum Agricole
 1 oz Lime Juice
 3 dashes Absinthe
 3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Mint Sprig

Directions

Method
1

Add sloe gin, rhum agricole, ginger syrup, lime juice, absinthe, bitters, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a tiki glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with mint sprig.

Wishful Thinking

Make It a Mocktail: Use Fee Brothers Non-Alcoholic Sloe Gin Cordial Syrup in place of the sloe gin, Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rhum agricole, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Absinthe in place of the absinthe, and All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the bitters 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:

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

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

Nui Nui Cocktail Recipe

Nui Nui: A rum cocktail made with orange juice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, vanilla syrup, St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram, Angostura aromatic bitters, an orange twist, and a cinnamon stick

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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