First of all, with a name like the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail, how could you not be entranced by this drink? Second, if you’ve ever been looking for an excuse to pick up a bottle of John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, here’s your opportunity. Speaking of falernum, if you’re not familiar with it, the girl at the register of my favorite wine and spirits shop in Baltimore says it tastes like Christmas, but oily. It’s a description I endorse and would only add that, to me, falernum smells like a cinnamon broom and tastes like a melted black gum drop. You know the ones. But I digress.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail caught my eye, as more than a handful of drinks before it, while thumbing through Dr. Cocktail’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails in search of inspiration. Like many drinks that evoke tiny tropical islands, it too is one of Trader Vic’s creations, though it predates many of his recipes considered to be in a genuine tiki style. And truth be told, being left out of the tiki category probably would have been just fine with the 30 or so gentlemen from the 20th Regiment of the British Army, who founded the real Royal Bermuda Yacht Club way back in 1844. It’s a fancy place and browsing their website, I’d wager it was not named ironically like some modern establishments I’ve visited along the banks of an EPA Superfund cleanup site.
The cocktail, like its namesake, is elegant. I found it to possess a good deal of subtlety, owing in no small measure to the falernum. I will confess to first mixing it “incorrectly” with a Jamaican rum before trying it out to spec with the Mount Gay and can say without hesitation that the Mount Gay adds more warmth and depth to the drink than I tasted with the Jamaican rum. Finally, I’m not the first–and probably won’t be the last–to wonder why this drink, despite its name, calls for a Barbados rum rather than one from Bermuda. It’s a small loose end, and while it might be interesting to know, it won’t stop me from enjoying this cocktail.
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail
2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
1 oz. Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
Lime wheel for garnish
Combine the lime juice, falernum, cointreau, and rum in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lime wheel.