Lemon lessons and the Sunswirl

As lemon month draws to a close I feel quite energized, and not just because I can go back to using the small green overpriced fruit I adore. Thanks to the drinks of Trader Vic and his lemon secrets I now feel confident in mixing with this fragrant citrus. Lemon is a strong flavor and quite sour it can overpower many ingredients, but as shown with the Trader Vic punch combining the juice with other fresh juices lessens it’s strength. In our final drink I present to you one of the best drinks I ever made, and entirely lime free.

Sunswirl (2)
The original Hurricane was not some syrupy sweet college trash drink. It was a New Orleans invention to market rum which was almost all they could get after Prohibition. The drink was a sour mix of Jamaican rum, lemon juice, and passion fruit. Some say it was red due to a highly sweet jammy additive called fassionola which some have said is cherry flavored and some have claimed passion fruit. Either way the drink is strong the we like them but perhaps not deep enough. Armed with our new knowledge in regards to the lemon I aimed to fix that.

I varied up the rums to add flavor and body, also I really just wanted to add some demerera. Pama liqueur gives us the reddish orange hue so many demand. Then we add the juices of lemon, and pineapple before we sweeten it up with homemade passion fruit syrup. The recipe for this syrup is owed to Jeff Berry’s Remixed. The result was surprising and tasty. You may feel free to experiment by adding a dash of bitters, but my tasters preferred this original version. I think a small dash however of a bitters with a strong spice note might make for fun results. Still it is presented in it’s original form because of all the smiles it made.

Sunswirl (4)

1 oz El Dorado 15 year
1 oz Matusalem Silver
½ oz Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz fresh pineapple juice
¾ oz passion fruit syrup

Shake ingredients well with plenty of ice then pour unstrained into a small hurricane or tulip glass. Garnish with two wheels of citrus one larger than the other and a straw.


This drink is lively and bright and fills your senses with tropical fruit. The rich pineapple and rum aroma entice the first sip that brings frothy pineapple, tart lemon, and rich smokey rum. The lemon and rum join well together and then unfold into flavors of orange, passion fruit, and the light hint of pomegranate. This is a drink for the mid evening or a rainy day, it fills your heart with sun in the storm.

Sunswirl (3)
We’ve only scratched the surface on how lemons can be used in classic Tiki style drinks. There’s a lot more to mix and learn. For more classics we recommend you dive head first into Remixed as we did this month and try all the lemon drinks you can. For new lemon drinks keep it here as we use the experience we gained to keep making new ones. 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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