Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Missionary’s Downfall

Missionary's Downfall cocktail with pineapple and mint
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

The irresistible nature of the Missionary’s Downfall is right in its name. And who could turn down this frozen, fruity concoction of mint, white rum, peach liqueur, lime juice, and pineapple? While it’s often overshadowed by more ubiquitous Tiki drinks like the Mai Tai and the Navy Grog, the Missionary’s Downfall is the invention of Donn Beach, founder of the Don the Beachcomber bars and the godfather of Tiki himself.

Born in New Orleans as Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, the man who renamed himself Donn Beach was a restless world traveler who ended up in Los Angeles as Prohibition was winding down. Inspired by his beach escapades, Beach rented a 25-seat Hollywood bar in 1934, decorating the space with souvenirs from his South Pacific travels and slinging blends of fruit juice, unheard-of liqueurs, and multiple rums that he called Rhum Rhapsodies. He also coined a philosophy which inspired countless thatch-roofed copycats across the country, most notably Trader Vic’s in Oakland, California: “If you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you.” Donn’s most famous liquid legacy might just be the Zombie, a powerful blend of three rums, anise-flavored liqueur, falernum, grenadine, lime juice, and a cinnamon-grapefruit mix bearing his name. But he also invented the less lethal, if equally delicious, Missionary’s Downfall in the 1930s or ‘40s.

Today, you’ll find plenty of variations on the classic: Don’s Mai Tai Bar at Hawaii’s Royal Kona Resort (connected to Beach himself) adds ginger liqueur. At Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago, the drink has been served with nitro-muddled mint and also alongside an optional green Chartreuse float. And at Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 in New Orleans, there’s an option to swap the light rum for vodka. But the recipe below hews closely to the original.

A white rum and up to a dozen mint leaves produce a crisp, refreshing cocktail, while creme de peche and honey syrup sweeten the mix. (Avoid using peach schnapps, which will yield a sweeter beverage.) Pineapple chunks and freshly squeezed lime juice, meanwhile, lend their fruity brightness. Compared to other Tiki cocktails, which are often notoriously strong, the Missionary’s Downfall is relatively moderate in alcohol. But as its name implies, you might not be able to limit yourself to just one.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce white rum

  • 1/2 ounce creme de peche

  • 1 large fresh pineapple chunk, about 1/4 cup

  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce honey syrup

  • 8-12 large mint leaves

  • Garnish: mint sprig

  • Garnish: pineapple wedge

Steps

  1. Add all ingredients into a blender with 3/4 cup of ice and blend for about 20 seconds.

  2. Pour into a Collins glass.

  3. Garnish with a mint sprig and a pineapple wedge.

  4. Serve with a straw.