The vibrant yellow Barracuda cocktail consists of Rum, Galliano liqueur, pineapple juice, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and Prosecco. The warm aroma of Rum and the addition of herbal notes from Galliano work beautifully with the tropical pineapple and lime juice. It is an outstanding drink invented and refined by Benito Cuppari.
The cocktail exudes a hint of Tiki culture and is also classified as such, but actually, the Barracuda is closer related to a classic Rum Sour. And when talking about similarities to other cocktails, I have to mention the role of Galliano. Same as with the Yellow Bird cocktail, the success of the Barracuda goes back to an offensive and very clever marketing campaign by Galliano liqueur. But I get back to that a little further down.
History of the Barracuda cocktail
The roots of the cocktail lie in the high sea. Back in the 1950s, Benito Cuppari invented the drink while working as a barkeeper on the Cristoforo Colombo cruise liner. A few years later, in 1965, he perfected the recipe for the cocktail, soon after starting to work on another ship – the SS Michelangelo.
Cuppari also took the refined recipe as an opportunity to rename the cocktail to Barracuda. As it happens, that was also the name of one of the most famous beach clubs in the 50s and 60s run by a very close friend of Cuppari.
The Barracuda cocktail was a huge success. The first version already was selling well, but the refined version smashed it. It won a cocktail competition in St. Vincent and also brought the Italian liqueur brand Galliano in.
As with the Yellow Bird, Galliano sensed a winner and started getting involved in the marketing for the drink. One of the best moves by Galliano was the glass -or mug- the Barracuda got served in. Originally the cocktail came in a genuine pineapple shell, but Galliano replaced it with a branded ceramic mug. The drink soon became the signature cocktail of the cruise ship.
And as you can imagine, the ceramic pineapple mug was a popular souvenir amongst guests.
Ingredients to make a Barracuda
For making a Barracuda, you’ll need a lightly aged, golden Rum. Havana Club 3 years works great, but honestly, there are plenty of choices. You might as well use your favorite one or the one sitting on your home bar shelf – probably the same anyway.
Then obviously, there is the Galliano liqueur. It is quite distinct and, as one of the essential ingredients for making the Barracuda, you should refrain from replacing it. As for the juices, you should opt for fresh pineapple juice and fresh or aged lime juice.
Now to the sparkling part. I know that many recipes use Champagne or any other sparkling wine. But Benito Cuppari used Prosecco for making his cocktail, and I also highly recommend doing so. But look for a Prosecco spumante (not frizzante) if you want proper sparkling. The frizzante version is semi-sparkling and falls flat too fast when incorporated into a cocktail.
- 1.5 oz Havana Club 3 years
- 0.5 oz Galliano liqueur
- 1.5 oz Pineapple juice
- 0.5 oz Lime juice
- 1 tsp Simple syrup
- 1 oz Prosecco spumante
- Pour Rum, Galliano liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, and syrup into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.1.5 oz Havana Club 3 years, 0.5 oz Galliano liqueur, 1.5 oz Pineapple juice, 0.5 oz Lime juice, 1 tsp Simple syrup
- Shake until the drink is well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled glass or pineapple mug.
- Top with Prosecco1 oz Prosecco spumante