Together with concoctions like Fassionala, Falernum, and Don's Mix - a grapefruit-cinnamon syrup - the Gardenia Mix is one of these seemingly undefinable cocktail ingredients from the height of Tiki Cocktail Culture.
Donn Beach, a true Tiki icon, was pretty secretive about his recipes which caused many of his creations to fall into oblivion - at least for a while.
But people like Jeff Beachbum Berry, restaurant owner and tiki cocktail historian, went through a lot of trouble to uncover some of these old formulas.
So, thanks to his detective skills, we can make an authentic Pearl Diver Cocktail. Because that is the drink for which Beach traditionally used this mix.
What is Donn's Gardenia Mix?
The Gardenia Mix is a mix of butter, honey, cinnamon syrup, allspice dram, and vanilla. It's sweet, only slightly spicy, and a lot thicker than average syrup.
It is also more complicated and time-consuming to make than most other Tiki ingredients and syrups. What's more is that with butter as a part of the recipe, the Gardenia Mix won't last very long.
These two things, plus the fact that this mix is traditionally only part of one drink, the Pearl Diver cocktail, explains why Gardenia isn't something you will see in many bars.
Who is Donn Beach, and why all the fuss?
When you came here intending to make your own Gardenia Mix, chances are high you know who Donn Beach was.
Even those who just wanted to know what it was might have heard that Donn Beach was the founding father of modern Tiki Cocktail Culture.
He invented dozens of cocktails with bizarre names like Cobra's Fang, Three Dots and a Dash, the Missionary's Downfall, and the legendary Zombie cocktail.
If you want to know more, read our article about the history of modern Tiki Culture.
And for more tropical cocktails, check out our 20 Tiki favorites.
Are there other uses for Gardenia Mix?
The honest answer is that if you look for existing, recognized cocktail recipes made with the Gardenia Mix, you will only find very little. The Pearl Diver is the most popular.
Then there is also the Mystery Gardenia cocktail: 1.5oz White Rum, 0.75 oz Gardenia Mix, 05. oz lime juice, two dashes of Angostura bitters.
That drink gave the buttery syrup its name. But that may be it -At least as far as I am aware.
However, that should neither stop you from making it nor should it stop you from getting creative.
- 1 sauce pan
- 1 hand whisk
- 3 oz butter unsalted
- 3 oz honey orange blossom or acacia
- 1 oz cinnamon syrup
- 0.5 oz vanilla syrup
- 0.5 oz Allspice Dram
- Heat up the butter until it's melted and runny.3 oz butter
- Now add honey, cinnamon syrup, allspice dram, and vanilla syrup and whisk until everything is well blended. -You can also use a hand mixer for this step.3 oz honey, 1 oz cinnamon syrup, 0.5 oz vanilla syrup, 0.5 oz Allspice Dram
- Use immediately while the mix is still runny.
- If you don't plan to use it immediately, store your Gardenia Mix in the freezer and reheat the creamy butter only shortly before mixing your drinks.
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