The Sweet Tropical Paradise
► By Mixologist Gerson Albay of Madame Janette
“Making new drinks, that’s my thing,” says Madame Janette veteran bartender Gerson Albay.
— Photography Kenneth Theysen
Turns out goldsmithing, tattoos and rock music are also his thing – the mixologist used to work at a number of local jewelry shops, he has odes to Soundgarden and Linkin Park permanently inked into his arms and chest (he changed out of his Megadeth T-shirt for his Menu International photo shoot) and he sings with a rock and alternative band called Banzaai once a month at Café Chaos.
But he gave up the jewelry work after a few years of day shifts followed by late nights as a mixologist or musician. Now, twelve years later, three of his bestselling cocktails are still on the menu, including one that’s been tweaked for the new rum- and fruit juice-based tiki menu. His Sweet Tropical Paradise used to be served in a glass as a layered drink that you stirred after serving, but now it’s been renamed the Wiki Tiki and comes in tiki mugs inspired by Polynesian carvings. What else has changed? “They added Bacardi,” because one type of rum just isn’t tiki enough.
The result is a refreshing, fruity drink that combines the sweetness of peach schnapps and melon liqueur with the sweet-and-sour pineapple – with a deceptively subtle hit of rum. A few of these and you’ll be singing along to Nirvana or headbanging to Megadeth, too.
Sweet Tropical Paradise / Wiki Tiki
Makes 1 cocktail
¾ oz. peach schnapps
¾ oz. Midori melon liqueur
2 ½ oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. Myers’s dark rum
1 oz. Bacardi white rum, for a Wiki Tiki
Pour the peach schnapps into a clear glass filled with ice, followed by the melon liqueur and pineapple juice.
Float the Myers’s rum on top to create layers. Serve with a wedge of pineapple for garnish.
If you happen to own a proper tiki mug, use that to serve the cocktail. Otherwise, use a glass that lets you see the layers. Don’t forget to stir the cocktail before drinking or the drink will end up being very boozy on top and very sweet at the bottom.
ON AND OFF THE MENU
Gerson’s other bestselling cocktail on the menu is Heaven’s Gate, made with Malibu rum, Captain Morgan rum, Cointreau, Chambord, pineapple juice and a splash of Sprite. But he also makes an off-menu cocktail with avocado purée called The Devil’s Avocado. “You know the film The Devil’s Advocate?” He doesn’t have it on the menu because it’s too complex to make when the restaurant gets busy every night, but it’s a favorite of one of Madame Janette’s owners and he’ll make it by special request. “It’s a good after-dinner drink,” he says.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 ½ oz. avocado purée (½ a ripe avocado blended with ½ oz. milk)
1 ½ oz. Hendrick’s Gin
½ oz. evaporated milk
½ oz. elderflower liqueur (Bols)
¼ oz. Malibu coconut rum
¼ oz. agave nectar
Combine everything in a shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.