Captain Lou (Off the Top Rope) (Russell House Tavern)

Alexis Jesup

“I may have gotten carried away,” confesses Russell House Tavern bar manager Joe Slavinski. He’s referring to Captain Lou (Off The Top Rope), a tiki mashup of a drink named in honor of professional wrestler (and Super Mario Bros. Super Show! voice actor) Lou Albano.

Its original inspiration is the tiki classic Jungle Bird, a mix of Campari and dark rum with pineapple and lime juice. “The Jungle Bird is one of my favorite tiki cocktails,” Slavinski says. “It’s more on the bitter side of tiki. Not so juicy or overly tropical.”

To this he adds coconut liqueur—a signature ingredient of the spring-break-favorite Caribou Lou—and banana liqueur for good measure. A fresh grating of cinnamon atop the drink lends aroma and counteracts the bitterness.

The heart of this rich cocktail is still the Black Strap Rum, which is made with blackstrap molasses and provides a rich, coffee-like quality. It’s balanced out by the juices, and has a strong undercurrent of banana and coconut throughout.

As for the flamboyant name—parenthetical and all—Slavinski’s just following a personal philosophy.

“It takes the full seriousness away from cocktail menus. These are supposed to be fun.”

Captain Lou (Off The Top Rope)
1½ ounces Cruzan Black Strap Rum
¾ ounce Campari
½ ounce Rhum Clément Mahina Coco
½ ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
½ ounce pineapple juice
¼ ounce lime juice
1-2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
Pineapple wedge and freshly grated cinnamon, for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with pineapple wedge and freshly grated cinnamon.

Brian Samuels

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