In the colourful tiki cocktail world of Hawaiian shirts, palm fronds and over-the-top cocktail mugs, the Saturn Cocktail is an icon but also a black sheep. Instead of the holy rum spirit so prevalent in Tiki cocktails, the Saturn Cocktail uses gin to appease the tiki gods. It’s an intensely layered cocktail with a history to match that was almost lost to time.
Use crushed ice for best blending results.
Once opened, store your Orgeat and Falernum syrup in the fridge.
Use a vibrant gin with a zesty and floral flavour profile.
Add all the ingredients to a blender with 1 scoop of crushed ice and blend until smooth
Pour into a rocks glass then garnish and serve
History of the Saturn Cocktail
In the 50s and 60s, tiki bar culture boomed in America. Tiki legends, Don’s Beachcomber Café and Trader Vic’s had multiple locations, and served more cocktails in a day than you could drink in a lifetime. Rum was the official drink of pirates and tropical islands, and nearly every tiki cocktail featured it. They were mixed and matched with skilful blending and many secret formulas. The world fell in love with everything tiki and many of the cocktails earned their place among the greats.
In 1967, the legendary tiki barman, J. “Popo” Galsini, decided to try a new cocktail recipe. No stranger to inventing award-winning drinks, Popo used gin instead of rum and the Saturn Cocktail recipe was born. It’s a complex blend of gin, lemon juice, passionfruit syrup, and two types of speciality syrups—Orgeat and Falernum. He won multiple awards for the cocktail and led team America to first place at the 1967 International Bartender’s Association World Championship.
The crazy thing about the Saturn Cocktail is that even as famous as it became, it was almost lost to history. As the tiki trend tapered off in the 90s and 00s, the recipe was forgotten. It was only thanks to tiki historian, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry that it was rediscovered. He found it printed on the side of a glass in a California thrift store and reintroduced the world to the Saturn Cocktail recipe.
The easiest way to tinker with the Saturn Cocktail recipe is to change the spirit. Gin is the classic, but a tequila or vodka version would also be delicious. If you really wanted to appease the tiki gods, then go for a rum version. Tiki cocktails are very forgiving, so play around and see what works for you.
When to serve
Once you’ve got all the ingredients and your blender ready then the Saturn Cocktail is easy to blitz up. It’s a tiki cocktail so any beach party or outdoor event suits it just fine. You could even go one further and host a tiki-inspired cocktail party and raise a toast to old Popo himself.