Cocktail Overhaul: Surfer on Acid

Cocktail Overhaul

Taking drinks from the Dark Ages of cocktails and revamping them, with delicious results.

Editor's Note: In Cocktail Overhaul, Jeff Lucas re-imagines drinks from what many consider the dark days of cocktails.


[Photographs: JL Studios]

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The Surfer on Acid is most often consumed in a shot and conjures up hilarious images of a surfer trying to stand up on his surfer board while tripping on drugs. The original concoction is an equal-parts mix of coconut flavored rum, Jagermeister, and pineapple juice—a simple mix of alcohol that trends toward the intense-and-sweet side. But what would this drink look like as a long drink? My revamped Surfer on Acid moves away from the shot format with a light and refreshing—but still remarkably flavorful—result.

Coconut rum has its fans (and we even have a recipe for making it yourself at home) but I wanted to go for a more subtle, natural coconut flavor, so I replaced the rum with lightly nutty coconut water. It's best if you can tap it straight from young green coconuts (look at places like Whole Foods or Latin American or Asian markets) but there are also lots of boxed and bottled version available. In addition to being refreshing, coconut water is loaded with electrolytes and potassium—why not start combating the effects of alcohol while you're still drinking it?

I replaced the Jagermeister with one of my favorite herbal liqueurs, Green Chartreuse. This secret-recipe mix of herbs and spirits has a strong affinity for pineapple, complementing the sweet-tart nature of the fruit. Angostura bitters emphasize the spicy side of the liqueur.

As for the base spirit, rum would have been the easy choice—and feel free to experiment with different rums in this drink—but I love this combination paired with spicy and grassy blanco tequila. The bright agave bite of high quality silver tequila is an excellent addition to this drink; I'd steer away from the oaky caramel flavors you might get with any of its older siblings. Keep it light and refreshing: you never know when you might have to hop on a surf board.

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Surfer on Acid Swizzle »

About the Author: Jeff Lucas enjoys gadgets and exotic spirits. When it comes to food and drink he'll try anything at least once. You can follow his cocktail musings on twitter @the_mixlab and his blog at