Cocktail with orange, cherry, and mint garnishes
How The Test Pilot Drink Helped Inspire The Upsurge Of Jet Age Tiki Cocktails
The mid-20th century, when aviation was taking off, is often called the Jet Age. The era also saw the rise of flying-inspired tiki cocktails, thanks to the Test Pilot drink.
It all started when Ernest Gantt opened the tiki-style restaurant Don the Beachcomber, which he decorated with items he collected on the beaches of the South Pacific.
In 1941, to honor the bravery of trailblazing pilots, Gantt created the Test Pilot with lime juice, Falernum, rum, Cointreau, Angostura bitters, Pernod, and a cherry garnish.
Gantt's beach-inflected drinks became so popular that he changed his name to Donn Beach, falling in line with the tropical vibe of his restaurant and iconic cocktails.
Because of the drinks’ popularity, Beach was secretive about his recipes, using a series of codes and numbered bottles at the bar to hinder anyone from learning his secrets.
The Test Pilot inspired tiki drinks like the Space Pilot, Jet Pilot, and Astronaut. The latter is a blended drink of rum, lime juice, triple sec, bitters, Pernod, and Falernum.
In addition to the Astronaut, try the Jet Pilot, derived from the Test Pilot. It's a blend of lime and grapefruit juice, rum, Angostura bitters, Pernod, Falernum, and cinnamon.
As you sip these drinks, think of the brave 40s pilots who explored the skies and tested the limits of flight, and citizens cheering them on with drinks at an island-themed bar.