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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with dark rum

22Jul 12

The Tornado, a Caribbean classic

TornadoLast Easter, a couple of friends decided to go to the Caribbean for a few days, so I tagged along. We went to the Dominican Republic. As soon as we arrived at the hotel in Santo Domingo, we were greeted by their wonderful staff with a drink I had never heard of before, but which has become a favourite both in flavour and memories: the tornado.

The Dominican Republic turned out to be a vibrant, hectic and incredibly invigorating experience. We spent quite a lot of our time wandering the streets of the capital and became fixated by its people. The stories we heard mostly involved two topics: merengue and tornado cocktails. Merengue is a type of music and dance from the Dominican Republic. It was created by Nico Lora in the 1920s. There is a saying in the country which goes: “It does not matter if you are rich or poor, it is all about the rhythm in your hips.” And believe me, the people there can dance!

The tornado is a classic in local bars and dances. It is both a straight drink and a cocktail. The cocktail version is a little milder than the original one, but still has a punch. The main ingredient in it is dark rum, which is not surprising as it is the most important beverage Central America produces. It has a sweet and pleasant taste, and you can sip tornados endlessly on a warm summer evening, especially in the Caribbean.

One piece of advice: Be sure to shake this drink well to ensure the egg white mixes with the other ingredients. It is called tornado for a reason! (Another drink that uses egg white is the pisco sour. I definitely recommend it!)

The trip turned out to be a success, and I have since become a fan of both meringue music and tornado cocktails. The Dominican Republic is a place where I certainly want to return in the near future.

The tornado, a Caribbean classic
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
The tornado is a classic in local bars and dances. It is both a straight drink and a cocktail
  • 2.5cl dark rum
  • 1.5cl light rum
  • 1 egg white
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Dash of passion fruit juice
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake for no less than 1 minute.
  3. Strain into a chilled glass.


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24Jun 12

The mai tai, an out of this world drink

Mai TaiThere are certain things about cocktails which I am very fussy about. Usually, if it includes an umbrella, I turn away in disgust. Moreover, if the garnish piles a slice of orange, a lemon twist, a mint sprig and even a straw in the glass, there is no way I am settling for it. At least, this is what I thought until I was presented with a beverage with all the above mentioned overcrowding my glass. Rules do happen to have exceptions, and the mai tai cocktail is mine.

The mai tai is a drink based on rum, Curacao liqueur and lime juice, associated with Polynesian-style settings, also known as tiki bars. According to history, it was first concocted by Victor Bergeron in 1944 at his restaurant in Oakland, California. Vic admitted during an interview that he was actually trying to impress some friends from Tahiti whom, after trying his sweet colourful cocktail, promptly exclaimed “Mai Tai, Roa Ae”, which in Tahitian means “Out of this world, the best”.

The original version included large amounts of both white and dark Jamaican rum. Over the years, the recipe has changed a lot, disguising the rum under layers of fruit. Still, the white and dark give it a unique, scented and strong taste that mixes nicely with the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients. As a friend of mine put it, “a mai tai should taste like a holiday on a tropical island where there is nothing but sun, fun and a good hangover the next day.”


  • 3cl white rum
  • 3cl dark rum
  • 1.5cl orange curacao
  • 1.5cl syrup
  • 1cl pineapple juice
  • 1cl lime juice

How to make it:
1.Pour all the ingredients except the dark rum into a shaker with ice cubes and shake for 30 seconds.
2.Strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice.
3.Top with the dark rum.
4.Garnish with one, some or all: orange slice, a lemon slice, a mint spring, a straw and an umbrella!

Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

Note: The combination of fruits in this drink reminded me of a recipe that I saw for poached pineapple upside-down cake. It might make a great combination with the mai tai tipple!

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