No Bananas Today!

Meet the classiest banana cocktail you’ll ever drink

By Erica Duecy

Published on March 4, 2015

No Bananas Today

This sophisticated cocktail is made with Giffard Crème de Banane du Brezil, a banana liqueur made from macerated bananas, it combines two types of rum and a homemade banana syrup to make a deeply flavored drink that’s not too sweet. Get the recipe for No Bananas Today

It's hard to take a banana cocktail seriously. The banana daiquiri and its relatives are more likely to be spotted whirring in a poolside blender than shaken or stirred at a craft cocktail bar. So it was an unexpected treat, on an icy February evening, to find a banana cocktail on the menu at Wallflower in New York. The quietly refined West Village French restaurant is the drinks domain of co-owner and head bartender Xavier Herit.

A known cocktail tinkerer, Herit is skilled at coaxing unexpected ingredients into harmonious submission. A Scotch drink, for example, features allspice liqueur and pinot noir syrup; a jalapeño-infused mezcal cocktail is accented with corn purée and basil syrup. So the odds were strong that Herit’s banana cocktail would offer a fresh take on the spring break standby.

"No Bananas Today!" It taunted me from the menu. But still, I hesitated. A consultation was required. Herit said the cocktail tasted like being on a beach in Jamaica; he was inspired to create it after tasting Hamilton Jamaican Black Rum. “It’s a fantastic, dark rum made from molasses that has the strong smell of bananas,” he says. “So I decided to make a riff on a banana daiquiri.”

To complement the rum, Herit turned to Giffard’s Banane du Bresil, a recently introduced banana liqueur. Instead of chemically synthesized banana flavor, the French product is based on a maceration of Brazillian bananas in alcohol, which is finished with oak-aged Cognac. The result was still not banana-y enough for Herit, so he added an intense, homemade banana syrup to the mix.

These ingredients meet in in ice-filled shaker, accompanied by lime juice, Angostura bitters, and spicy El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum. The crowning touch—the name—comes from "Yes! We Have No Bananas," a 1923 song whose lyrics were attributed to a banana shortage in Brazil at the time.

The drink reminded me of Bananas Foster, but without dessert-level sweetness. Brown sugar and caramel were layered over ripe banana, and cut through by tart lime. Despite the banana's presence, this was undoubtedly a serious cocktail. It had tropical flavor and big city sophistication. But after a round, I found that I wasn't immune to the call of the beachside bar. On the way home, I checked flights to Jamaica.

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