Martinique Crusta

The Gentleman’s Companion includes an uncommonly large number of drinks that specify fresh pineapple as a garnish, and as mentioned previously, I’m trying to stay true to the garnishes that Baker recommends. That gave me a perfect excuse to host a Pineapple Drink Night for a couple of friends! Not that one needs an excuse to host a Pineapple Drink Night. Now that I think about it, I ought to be hosting at least one of those a week, simply because they’re awesome.

Anyhow, we kicked off Pineapple Drink Night with the Martinique Crusta, which Baker sampled in Fort-de-France, Martinique, in 1929. The crusta—which dates back all the way to 1840, an awfully long time for a cocktail—is traditionally served in a sugar-rimmed glass, with a spiral of lemon peel curled up inside the top. Baker calls for a completely different, and very weird, preparation:

This effective and eventful drink uses no man-made cup, but the reversed skin of a small orange or lemon, first moistened inside and on the lip with lemon juice or rum, then dipped in lots of fine white sugar, until encrusted evenly on inner yellow side of the whole reversed skin. …Now stand this in any stemmed glass that will fit it.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how one might successfully invert an orange or lemon skin. Thankfully, Baker rescued me by saying that the traditional method of preparing a crusta is perfectly fine, too.

With that, the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 jiggers Martinique rum (3 oz Cruzan Dark)
  • Juice of one lime (3/4 oz)
  • 1 scant tsp maraschino (Luxardo)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 tsp simple syrup

Moisten the rim of a small goblet with lemon juice or rum. Rim the outside of the glass with sugar, and line the inside of the glass with the spiral peel of an orange or lemon (I used a lemon). Chill the container in the refrigerator for an hour (I skipped this). Shake the above ingredients with ice, then strain into the prepared goblet. “Garnish with a stick of fresh pineapple, a slice of orange, or anything that suits.”

As written, this wasn’t such a terrific drink—all the appropriate parts were there, but the balance wasn’t right. A few tweaks turned it into a much nicer drink, with a good balance between sweet and sour and a little funk from the maraschino:

  • 3 oz dark rum
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 scant tsp maraschino
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Thus ends the first installment of Pineapple Drink Night. Next time on Through the Book with Jigger, Beaker & Flask: An extremely delicious drink that doesn’t require any weird ingredients. That’s right, you heard me.

Martinique Crusta (Original):  ★★★☆☆ 

Martinique Crusta (Revised):  ★★★★☆ 

One Response to “Martinique Crusta”

  1. throgers says:

    Yay for Pineapple Drink Night!

Leave a Reply