The Dark Magic

October 15th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki

The Dark Magic

My lovely wife has a weekly cocktail column over at This week she chose to cover an original creation of mine: The Dark Magic.

This drink is inspired by The Mai-Kai’s Black Magic, but has evolved into its own animal. Here’s the recipe:

Dark Magic
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz unsweetened pineapple juice
½ oz Coffee Syrup1
¼ oz Passion Fruit Syrup2
¼ oz Vanilla Syrup3
2 oz Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum
1 dash Aromatic Bitters
8 drops (1/8th oz) Herbsaint

Blend ingredients with 8oz ice for 5 one-second pulses. Alternately, mix with crushed ice using top-down drinks mixer. Pour into 12oz hurricane glass.


  1. 1 part strong coffee, 2 parts sugar: bring almost to boil, remove from heat, bottle and store in fridge for up to 30 days []
  2. Colonel Tiki recommends Trader Tiki brand Cocktail Syrups []
  3. Colonel Tiki recommends Trader Tiki brand Cocktail Syrups []

12 Responses to “The Dark Magic”

  1. Dr. Bamboo says:

    These are precisely the times when I curse Coruba for being so difficult to find.

  2. Colonel Tiki says:

    You can sub Appleton VX, just stay far away from the Myer’s. I thought I’d jazz it up by splitting it to 1 oz each of Smith&Cross/Coruba, but the Smith and Cross didn’t pair well with the coffee undertones, unfortunately. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t … right.

  3. Craig,

    +1 for avoiding Myer’s, which has far too many molasses flavours in it. Was the S&C perhaps too aggressively flavoured to work here? Just curious.

    I was at the Mai Kai for the first time since I was 12 years old 2 weeks ago, and it was a fantastic night; great drinks, delicious dinner and a spectacular floor show. My wife, Tabitha, has a far better palette than I have and she thought that the coffee flavours in the Black Magic came from a coffee liqueur (most likely NOT Kahlua which is too sweet but perhaps Bols or Hiram Walker, etc) and not from a syrup. I’m not sure either way, but I did note something about the Mai Kai’s drinks- they all tend to have a wonderful viscosity & spiciness. Their drinks have a particularly thick and silky mouth feel, an unctuousness if you will. It’s a texture that I don’t get at home, nor have I encountered at the many great Tiki bars & restaurants that I have visited around the nation. I wonder how they get this texture in their drinks? There’s definitely honey involved, but there’s something else as well. I use honey syrup generously in many of my drinks (Navy Grog for instance), but I don’t get quite this level of silky texture, so there’s something else going on here. Gomme syrup? Different varieties of honeys?? Or could the Mai Tai be using something like the legendary Don The Beachcomber honey butter mix in their drinks??? All or none of the above????? Any thought?

  4. Colonel Tiki says:


    If you do not already, I would suggest using a top-down drink mixer (like used for milkshakes) to mix the pre-crushed ice and liquor/mixer, make sure you syrups are 2:1. This is a key aspect and was used by Donn, Vic, Mai Kai &c.

    I’d wager that the more velvety texture is coming from some kind of gum – guar gum, gum arabic, &c. If you use rich sryups, they’ll act on the mouth feel too.

    I suggest these series of articles by my friend Blair:

  5. Brian says:

    I can vouch that this drink is delicious. And now with Trader Tiki’s syrups, it’s a whole lot easier to make. 😉

  6. Swanky says:

    I had a crack at it a bit ago myself. I used Hyram Walker Coffee Brandy instead of coffee. I have it on some authority that Mai-Kai uses a touch of cinnamon syrup in many of its drinks. Sometimes so little you can hardly perceive it. I need to try your recipe. Mine is available on my Grogalizer site as the Head Shrinker. Add the Hyram Walker to your bar to see it.

  7. Colonel Tiki says:

    Hey Swanky! The grogalizer is a resource like no other, I love it!

    I’ll have to try yours soon. I made a vanilila/cinnamon syrup (4:1 celyon:cassia) and used it in this batch of DMs and it was a wonderful addition. The lime/pineapple/coffee combination is fabulous – it hits most places on the palate and has a good entry and exit and complexity.

  8. Swanky says:

    Indeed. I keep intending to try my recipe subbing actual coffee for the brandy as the brandy has a bit of a syrupy finish that is not in the original Black Magic. I also intend to tweak the lemon juice amount. It should add just a little high note sparkle. The original is a very subtle drink and I think mine captures that.

    Hey, hows about a link to the Grogalizer on your fine blog here?

  9. Colonel Tiki says:

    Oh, my! My face is red; I thought It was already there. Done!

    I couldn’t find that fine drink called the “Rumscullion” from pg. 210 of Remixed in the grogalizer.. 🙂

  10. Swanky says:

    Many recipes were left off due to their having obscure ingredients. If there were 4 or 5 recipes with an obscure ingredient,it might be okay, but when it is one recipe that calls for soemthign I never heard of and likely don’t even know where to get it, I chose not to clutter up the Grogalizer with those oddballs.

    I have added a coupel recently. I went back and decided Mezcal is something most people have access to. So, the Mezcal Mule got in there.

    If you think I need to add one, let me know. I have not gone back into it since those long nights of making it through the first time.

  11. Carole Hickman says:

    I can vouch that this drink is delicious. And now with Trader Tiki’s syrups, it’s a whole lot easier to make. 😉

  12. […] Colonel Tiki has written about creating his own coffee syrup for us in his original Tiki drink, the Dark Magic, but I’ve got enough new syrups to make this time through Tiki Month without adding coffee […]

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