Both Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber offered a version of Myrtle Bank Punch, and the drink is presumably their respective attempts to recreate something they’d had at the Myrtle Bank Hotel in Jamaica, long since demolished. Or maybe they just liked the name, because the two versions have nothing in common apart from rum and lime juice, and not even the same kind of rum at that. Vic’s calls for 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara rum, which I happen to have a bottle of and not much call for otherwise, so I went with that version, which appears in his 1946 Book of Food and Drink but appears here in slightly more detailed form courtesy of Jeff Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean, as Vic’s recipe is somewhat vague.
1 1/2 ounces Lemon Hart 151-proof Demerara rum (get it here – you probably won’t find it on your local liquor store’s shelves)
1/3 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 tsp. sugar (I used simple syrup – otherwise, dissolve the sugar in the lime juice before mixing)
1 tsp. grenadine
Shake everything but the maraschino with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Float the maraschino.
A cherry, too, if you like. I do.
Floating an ingredient is a not-uncommon requirement in the world of vintage mixology; the best way to do this is to pour it slowly over the back of a spoon held just over the surface of the drink. Doing so with the maraschino in this case gives you, not surprisingly, a strong jolt of the stuff and it stands a bit apart from the otherwise rummy-limey flavor profile. While maraschino is not in itself overly strong alcohol wise (about 32% ABV), it tastes stronger than that. Coupled with the 151-proof rum, this is not a drink for the beginner, needless to say. It comes on more like a classic cocktail than a Tiki drink per se, probably courtesy of the heavy dose of maraschino, which I might cut down to 1/4 ounce if I make this again. Which I probably won’t. It’s good, but not that good. Three livers.