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Nui Nui

How to make a Nui Nui Cocktail
by Don the Beachcomber

nui nui cocktail dark rum

Which dark rum is best for a Nui Nui cocktail

Many Nui Nui recipes are now being shared out there on the internet and they usually mention Gold rum or a blend of Gold rum and darker Jamaican rum. Dos Maderas 5+3 is an excellent rum choice for the base of a Nui Nui cocktail. You can also incorporate a darker style like the 5+5 in the blend for a richer version.

dos-maderas-5-3-bottle-cocktail

About Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum

Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum blends the lighter Baja Rum with the richer Guyana style and ages for 5 years in the Caribbean followed by 3 years in Jerez, Spain in Palo Cortado casks. The smooth character of the 5+3 is awash with pleasant vanilla, hazelnut, coconut and subtle maple.

dos-maderas-5-3-bottle-cocktail-mobile

About Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum

Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum blends the lighter Baja Rum with the richer Guyana style and ages for 5 years in the Caribbean followed by 3 years in Jerez, Spain in Palo Cortado casks. The smooth character of the 5+3 is awash with pleasant vanilla, hazelnut, coconut and subtle maple. 

Nui Nui Cocktail ingredients

  • 2 oz. / 60ml Dos Maderas 5+3
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Orange Juice
  • 1 bar spoon / 10ml Cinnamon Syrup
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Vanilla syrup
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Pimento Dram
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Dash of Absinthe (optional for garnish)

Nui Nui Recipe - Step by step how to prepare a Nui Nui using a tiki glass

  1. Prepare your cinnamon syrup by simmering 2 broken cinnamon sticks in a cup of boiling water like tea. After an infusion of roughly 20 minutes, add equal parts hot cinnamon tea to equal parts sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool.
  2. Prepare a simple syrup by adding equal parts sugar to equal parts hot water. Stir until fully dissolved and add 1 tsp. of vanilla extract for every 8 oz.
  3. Chill a Collins glass or a tall ceramic tiki mug
  4. Cut your lime in half and juice
  5. Peel a long twist from your orange and set aside for garnish.
  6. Cut your orange in half and juice
  7. Add your ingredients to your shaker
  8. Fill shaker with cracked ice
  9. Shake for 10 seconds
  10. Double-strain, using a fine mesh strainer to remove excess pulp and ice shards, into your chilled glass
  11. Fill glass with crushed ice
  12. Stir and refresh with more crushed ice
  13. Garnish with your a cinnamon stick wrapped in a long orange twist
  14. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top and add a dash of Absinthe
  15. Serve with reusable straw.

Nui Nui Cocktail ingredients

  • 2 oz. / 60ml Dos Maderas 5+3
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Orange Juice
  • 1 bar spoon / 10ml Cinnamon Syrup
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Vanilla syrup
  • .5 oz. / 15ml Pimento Dram
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Dash of Absinthe (optional for garnish)

Preparing a Nui Nui using a blender

  1. Repeat steps 1-6 from above
  2. Add ingredients to your blender with 1/2 cup of crushed ice
  3. Flash blend about 5 seconds
  4. Pour contents into your chilled vessel
  5. Garnish with your a cinnamon stick wrapped in a long orange twist
  6. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top and add a dash of Absinthe
  7. Serve with reusable straw.

Donn Beach and the history of the Nui Nui

To understand the Donn Beach Nui Nui cocktail origins, we must first delve into Don the Beachcomber, aka Donn Beach, aka Don Gantt, aka Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt. (February 22, 1907 – June 7, 1989) He holds the distinction of being the founder of Tiki, the style of rum-escapist-tropical drinks that took hold of the nation first in the 1930’s with elite Hollywood and then all over in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The Zombie cocktail is likely the most well-known of all Don the Beachcomber cocktails. One can truly not claim their love for Tiki cocktails if ignorant of the history of Donn Beach cocktails. So what made cocktail inventor Donn Beach so special? He’s like George Washington, only in the post war culture bar scene. His fame and talent for mixing a good rum cocktail with fresh citrus and tropical flare made him number one on the list of “who to steal ideas from.” Ironic, naturally, since the Tiki trend essentially “stole” from Polynesian culture to begin with. So who tapped this list? So many people including part time friend and colleague Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron as well as many bartenders and yes, even the mafia. So it is no small wonder that Beach often kept his recipes secret to many including his own staff. Copyright law wasn’t like it is today, afterall. 

Unlike his later famous counterpart, Trader Vic, who openly admitted to being very inspired by Don, Beach never published his own cocktail books. Evidence of his recipes throughout history come from research into the many cocktail menus from his chain of bars & establishments that opened as early as in the 1930’s. Notable Tiki cocktail researcher Jeff “Beachbum” Berry unearthed much of his creative work this way. Sometime around 1937, menus with the Nui cocktail were being printed in his Don the Beachcomber establishments. Other recipes including the older “Pupule” and the later named “Desert Rattler” also seemed to have had a similar infrastructure as the Donn Beach Nui Nui cocktail. So what does Nui Nui mean? Like Trader Vic, Beach often named his concoctions using the Tahitian or other Polynesian languages he came across during his travels. In Tahitian, nui means “big or grand.” Nui nui translates closer to “much more.” Also of interest, in Hawaiian, pupule means crazy.

Nui Nui Variations and types

Chicago Barman-extraordinaire Paul McGee redefined this original Donn Beach recipe by opting for dry orange curaçao over orange juice, adding more lime and subbing out the syrups for falernum & honey syrup.

Inspired by Donn Beach’s travels and war time experience in the US Air Force, this 1941 original shares the orange & lime kinship of the Nui Nui and is yet another in the canon of Beachcomber to have been mimicked, cloned and riffed into other versions like the Jet Pilot, Ace Pilot, Space Pilot & Astronaut.

Here we have another original Donn Beach cocktail that seems to take the infrastructure of the Nui Nui and just keep going adding 2 more juices, honey, grenadine and absinthe.

Perhaps Donn Beach’s most famous cocktail is The Zombie and it has been riffed on over the decades. It’s known to have more ABV than other similar concoctions so be wary. On Beach’s original menus, he would often limit the number of servings of his drinks based on their boozy strength.

FAQ

The best dark rum for a Nui Nui cocktail should be one that isn’t too sweet but that has a fine character of integrated spices to its character. The Dos Maderas 5+3 works well, for example.

The Nui Nui cocktail came to be in the 1930’s (likely circa 1937) in Hollywood at Don the Beachcomber’s now defunct establishment. It may have been formerly known as the Pupule.

When you search: Origins, Nui cocktail, you will find many variations of the same man’s name: Don the Beachcomber, Donn Beach, Don Gantt, Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, etc. All refer to the same person who created the cocktail, the latter being his original name. Before he started the Tiki-trend back in the mid-1930’s, he ran a Prohibition speakeasy and found that changing names was a good habit to have in the business of the era. He is famously credited as the creator of the Zombie as well as the Three Dots and a Dash cocktail which was named in honour of his time spent in the air force during WWII. It’s morse code for “Victory.”

Yes, Don the Beachcomber likely used a blender to make this cocktail more often than not. Just be wary you do not over dilute your cocktail and create a slushie.

Cocktails with Dos Maderas 5+3

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