Classic: Pearl Diver’s Punch

A hidden tiki gem worth taking the plunge for


By Simon McGoram

Photography by Rob Palmer

Butter in a cocktail you say? Well yeah. You’ve likely had a whole raw egg in a flip, tried a ‘fat washed’ spirit before or even warmed your cockles with a Hot Buttered Rum. Butter in a cocktails? It ain’t no thing – though it can take some experimentation to perfect.


One of Bartender‘s favourite butter concoctions is Don the Beachcomber’s Pearl Diver’s Punch.  It is basically a ‘Cold Buttered Rum’ and turns a winter favourite into a summer sipper. It uses a great tiki ingredient called ‘honey cream’ which combines honey with butter, rum, pimento dram and spices. As delicious as this batter like mixture may be there’s still a catch – butter plus cold equals lumps and not a particularly pleasing punch for punters.

It’s important when giving this recipe a crack that you dissolve your honey cream (kept at room temperature) with your spirits before adding juices and ice. Many recipes call for the entire mix to be blended – but a brisk shake will suffice. The key is to then fine strain your shaken/blended mix into your serving vessel (I prefer an opaque tiki mug to conceal any greasy film) and fill with crushed ice.

With buttery lumps removed this makes for a cracking festive tipple, rich with sweet Christmassy spices whilst till having a refreshing tang. The drink is admittedly a little fiddley and your barware will annoyingly be covered in a film of butter, but the resulting drink is good enough for you to pull this out as a seasonal special.

Pearl Diver’s Punch

45ml Virgin Islands rum (a lighter ‘Spanish-style’ rum is fine)
20ml Jamaican rum (something high ester)
20ml Demerara rum
5ml falernum (pimento dram is fine in a pinch)
30ml honey cream or ‘Pearl Diver’s mix’*
20ml lime juice,
30ml orange juice
2 dashes aromatic bitters

Mix honey cream and spirits in the base of a shaker then add juices. Shake and double strain into a tiki mug. Fill with crushed ice and garnish.

Honey Cream:

Gently melt 100 grams of unsalted butter and beat with 100ml honey, 30ml over proof rum, 30ml pimento dram and 30ml cinnamon & vanilla syrup. Keep at room temperature before use, refrigerate overnight.

Adapted from a Don the Beachcomber recipe circa 1937, sourced from Jeff Berry’s Sippin’ Safari

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