Lost Over Jamaica – Jet Pilot inspired Tiki

Of all the classic Tiki drinks (and I can seriously wonk out over the 1944 Mai Tai), a well-executed Jet Pilot with its mix of falernum, rich cinnamon syrup, and Jamaican rum funk is Tiki Valhalla. A descendant of Don the Beachcomber’s “Test Pilot,” the name personifies the ethos of the jet-age 1950s, but also conveys the slight preemptive warning that this drink “goes to 11.”

I frequently use the Jet Pilot as a starting point for Tiki improvisation. I have also been experimenting with the three Lost Spirits rums, looking for recipes to feature their unique flavors to best effect. While the Lemon Hart 151 traditionally called for in the Jet Pilot isn’t overly similar in flavor to the Navy Style 68%, they both have the “strong rum for pirates” attitude. I’m not alone in considering the Navy style as a viable substitute for Lemon Hart 151, although if you were going by proof alone, the Lost Spirits Cuban-style at 151 proof is a closer match. Experiment at will.

The Jamaican component of a Jet Pilot typically specifies “Dark Jamaican Rum.” While this sounds specific enough, rums like the Appleton V/X, Coruba, Smith and Cross, and Ed Hamilton’s Jamaican all fit that criteria but have wildly different flavor profiles. The Appleton is far less funky than the other three, and I find the Hamilton Jamaican funk to be equal in intensity but very different than the Smith and Cross. What to choose? Well, the recipe calls for “Dark Jamaican rum,” but the Navy Style is already holding down the “dark” part. And this is a Jet Pilot variation after all, so I went with an ultra-funky, high-octane unaged Jamaican like Wray and Nephew Overproof or Rum Fire. Either is great in the Lost Over Jamaica, but I’m using the Wray and Nephew here because it’s more readily available.

I named my variation “Lost Over Jamaica”: it implies the notion of flying (“Jet Pilot”), name-checks the Lost Spirits rum, and accents the Jamaican element.

Lost Over Jamaica Recipe

  • 1 oz Wray and Nephew Overproof, or other unaged Jamaican Overproof, e.g. Rum Fire,  Rum Bar, etc..
  • 1 oz Bacardi 8 or other gold Puerto Rican-style rum
  • 0.75 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style (68%) rum
  • 1 oz orange juice (sub grapefruit juice in a pinch)
  • 0.75 oz lime
  • 0.5 oz falernum (ideally house made, as opposed to Velvet Falernum)
  • 0.5 oz 2:1 cinnamon syrup
  • 6 drops Pernod
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice, pour over crushed ice. Garnish with flaming lime shell for best effect.

3 thoughts on “Lost Over Jamaica – Jet Pilot inspired Tiki

  1. Hi,

    I’m “just learning the ropes” of Tiki myself. I just noticed the similarities between the Jet Pilot, the Test Pilot, and the original Zombie. What are the distinctions regarding taste profiles?

    Cheers! John

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