All mixed up with Calypso Confuser

Well will you look at that It’s cherry season. All around you at the market are those little gems with the cyanide containing pits. Tasty stuff let me tell you, cherries aren’t bad either. But seriously folks we all love cherries, but what about the rest of the year when we can’t enjoy them? Well we have a cocktail here that will keep those cherry season memories in your mind even when it’s snowing.

CalypsoConfuser (3)
The idea was born by a package I was excited to receive. When I was in college nothing was better than Berentzen liqueurs. They weren’t to sweet and I’d always enjoyed their fresh fruit flavor. I still remember the New Years we spent in Mobile with cheap beer, a bar fight, and a bottle of Apfelkorn. Luckily I dodged the fight and ducked out to enjoy some liqueur back at the apartment. Well I’d never tasted the cherry before so when Berentzen came to me to ask for my opinion on bushel and barrel (Pretty much just a blend of the apple and a light bodied bourbon) I asked for some cherry to play with. Well let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not as sweet as Herring, and it has a slight tartness that one would expect from a ripe cherry. That cherry tartness really inspired me to mix.

At the time of writing this I’ve also been very elated about my first Tales of the Cocktail. So Cognac and Absinthe were wanted to help a New Orleans state of mind. Rum is where things got tricky, rum choices affect this drink a great deal. To dark ruined the color, an amber rum was called for and V/X yielded some tasty results. I was happy with it’s flavor and so were my tasters, however when the photos needed to be re-shot I ran out of V/X and decided to use a smattering of similarly colored rums. Well damned if the results weren’t pretty good as well.

CalypsoConfuser (2)

Calypso Confuser #1
1 ½ oz Appleton V/X
1 oz Camus VS Cognac
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz fresh pineapple juice
½ oz cinnamon syrup
½ oz cherry liqueur (We used Berentzen)
¼ oz absinthe
1 dash elemakule bitters

Shake all ingredients well and strain into a small goblet. Garnish with a lime speared to a cherry.


Aromas of cherry, island spice, and anise greet the nostrils with light wafts of pineapple that follow. Up front Anise comes in big to play with hints of pineapple and amber rum. Cherry intensifies along with the lime and pineapple in the middle. The finish is mellow with cognac, dark cherry, and light clove notes.

CalypsoConfuser (1)

Calypso Confuser #2
1 oz Cruzan Gold
½ oz Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum
1 oz Camus VS Cognac
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz fresh pineapple juice
½ oz cinnamon syrup
½ oz cherry liqueur (We used Berentzen)
¼ oz absinthe
4 drops Angostura

Shake all ingredients well except the angostura and strain into a small goblet. Garnish with a lime speared to a cherry and drip angostura bitters over the top.


A rich aroma of cherry, lime, oak, molasses, and the spice of the bitters fills the nose. The front is a tickle of the playful marriage of cognac and rum. The Smith and Cross lends lovely funk but the small pour keeps it from stealing the show. Anise and then cherry build to a bright tart pop bolstered by natural acidity and lime. The finish bring a light sweet, tart, spiced note with parting kisses of pineapple.

I realize we just presented two versions of the same drink last time with the Hala Luana and I am a touch embarrassed. However I do think it illustrates just how much seemingly minor changes can effect complex Tiki cocktails. We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below. Until next time…

“You get Hammered America!” – JFL

About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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1 Response to All mixed up with Calypso Confuser

  1. Jack says:

    I really am intrigued by these drinks, and respect your choices of ingredients. Nicely done.

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