Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Cobra’s Fang

A collins glass rests on a bamboo mat. The drink within is bright, carrot-orange and blended with ice. It’s garnished with a lime wheel and mint sprig.
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

The Mai Tai, the Painkiller, the Zombie: Tiki has many signature drinks. But one lesser-known—but no less delicious—concoction is the Cobra’s Fang. Like many Tiki inventions, this one is a creation of Don the Beachcomber, most likely in 1937. While it dropped in popularity for a long while, in recent years it’s starting to see a resurgence thanks to its intoxicating mix of Guyanese and Jamaican rums, fruit juices, syrups and botanicals.

One reason for its relative obscurity was that it calls for fassionola syrup. Popular in the early part of the mid-century and during Tiki’s heyday, it was reportedly an ingredient in the original Hurricane recipes, though like with all things Tiki, there’s debate. Normally bright red, it’s made from a blend of different fruits, often including passionfruit, papaya, cherries, guava, pineapple and citrus. Recipes vary from bartender to bartender, and a number of companies now produce their own takes, the oldest-known producer being the The Jonathan English Company. Some modern Cobra’s Fang recipes swap it for grenadine or, even worse, Hawaiian Punch. These should be ignored.

Another element of the drink that has been, at times, difficult to get one’s hands on is 151-proof demerara rum, the most famous labels of which are Lemon Hart 151 and Hamilton. This high-proof Guyanese rum is complex, slightly smoky and rich, and pairs beautifully with aged Jamaican rum, which is also included in the Cobra’s Fang.

In addition to the fassionola syrup, the drink is sweetened by falernum. Another popular Tiki ingredient, falernum is generally a syrupy, low-alcohol liqueur, though there are alcohol-free syrups called falernum as well. In any case, it generally contains ginger, lime, allspice and clove. Besides the Cobra’s Fang, falernum is essential for drinks like the Zombie, Corn ’n’ Oil and the Saturn.

Along with lime and orange juices, the Cobra’s Fang also includes a dash each of absinthe and Angostura bitters, which give the drink an added layer of complexity and botanicals. Then the drink is flash-blended, though it can be shaken with ice and served over crushed or cracked ice. Either way, it needs the usual Tiki embellishments of a lime and mint garnish. Beware, though: Once you’ve been bitten by the Cobra’s Fang, you might get hooked on its venom.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces dark Jamaican rum

  • 1/2 ounce 151-proof demerara rum

  • 1/2 ounce falernum

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce fassionola syrup

  • 1 dash absinthe

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: lime wheel

  • Garnish: mint sprig

Steps

  1. Add the dark Jamaican rum, demerara rum, falernum, lime juice, orange juice, fassionola syrup, absinthe and bitters into a blender with 6 ounces of crushed ice and blend for 5 seconds.

  2. Pour into a highball glass or tall Tiki mug.

  3. Garnish with a lime wheel and a mint leaf.