The vibrant yellow Barracuda Cocktail consists of rum, Galliano Liqueur, pineapple juice, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and Prosecco. The full-bodied aroma of rum and the addition of herbal notes from Galliano work beautifully with the tropical pineapple and lime juice.
The cocktail exudes a hint of Tiki culture and is also classified as such. Yet, actually, the Barracuda is closer related to a classic Rum Sour.
Quick Facts El Capitan Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: slightly sweet, fruity
- How to serve it: straight up
- Best glassware: coupe glass or Barracuda mug
- Alcohol content: ~ 16% ABV, 22 grams of alcohol per serving
When talking about the Barracuda, we also have to mention the role of Galliano, who had a crucial part in the success of the cocktail recipe- but first, let's mix a great drink.
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 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
Ingredients & Recommendations
When shopping for the ingredients for the Barracuda Cocktail, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Rum: We like to use a slightly aged, golden rum. Havana Club 3 years works great for us. Yet, plenty of options work with this drink, and you can absolutely use your favorite. As long as it's of decent quality and not flavored in any way, it can go into the Barracuda.
- Galliano: The Italian herbal liqueur has quite a distinct taste and is essential for making the Barracuda. We don't recommend replacing it in this recipe.
- Fresh juices: As for the juices, you should opt for fresh lime juice and, ideally, also fresh pineapple juice. If you don't have the time to squeeze them on demand, prep them a few hours in advance.
- Syrup: Homemade or store-bought, for regular simple syrup, both are just fine.
- Prosecco: Creator Benito Cuppari used Prosecco for making his cocktail, and we recommend sticking to the original. Remember to look for a Prosecco spumante (not frizzante) for a nice fizz. Frizzante is semi-sparkling and falls flat when mixed into cocktails.
Tips for Mixing
Our Barracuda is shaken and served straight up with no ice. It's crucial to use enough ice when shaking - large ice cubes, no crushed ice because this will water down your cocktail. Fill one shaker tin with cubes, then pour the ingredients over the ice.
Shake for about 8 seconds to chill all ingredients properly, and add some ice cubes to your glass while prepping to cool it. Discard the ice shortly before pouring the drink.
History of the Barracuda Cocktail
The roots of the cocktail lie in the open sea: In the 1950s, Italian bartender Benito Cuppari invented the drink while working 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 took the advanced version of his recipe as an opportunity to rename the cocktail into Barracuda. As it happens, that was also the name of one of the most famous beach clubs in the 50s and 60s. That club was by a close friend of Cuppari. A fact that surely played a role in his choosing the new name.
The Barracuda Cocktail was a huge success. The first version was already selling well, but the refined version smashed it.
It won a cocktail competition on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent and almost immediately caught the attention of the Italian liqueur brand Galliano.
Same as with the Yellow Bird cocktail, the international success of the Barracuda goes back to an offensive and very clever marketing campaign by the Galliano brand. One of their best moves was the release of the mug the Barracuda got served in:
Initially, the drink came in a natural pineapple shell, but Galliano replaced it with a branded ceramic pineapple mug. The fruity concoction became the signature cocktail of the cruise ship, and the ceramic pineapple mug was a popular souvenir amongst guests.
The recipe is also part of a small booklet with dozens of cocktail recipes, the brand distributed in 1969.
More Tiki Cocktail Recipes
When you like easy-to-drink, fruity rum cocktails, try some of these Tiki favorites:
- The Hurricane Cocktail: a mix of rum, lime, orange, pineapple, passion fruit, sugar syrup, and grenadine
- The Bahama Mama with rum, pineapple, lime, coconut, and coffee liqueur.
- The Rum Runner Cocktail: a blend of rum, banana liqueur, Crème de Mûre, pineapple juice, lime juice, and grenadine.
For more inspiration, check out our list of the 20 best Tiki Cocktails of all time.