Three Dots and a Dash: Don The Beachcomber‘s Tiki Punch

Orange Tiki Cocktail with cherry and pineapple garnish. Don Beachcomber Tiki Punch.

It may not be as well-known as the Mai Tai or the Zombie, but the Three Dots & a Dash is just as essential to the tiki scene. It is characterized by the use of Rhum Agricole Vieux in combination with Demerara rum. Tiki cocktail ingredients such as allspice liqueur, falernum and bitters are also used. These five bottles form a firework of spices that make up the Three Dots and a Dash.


45 ml I 1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole Vieux
15 ml I 1/2 oz Aged Demerara Rum
7 ml I 1/4 oz Falernum
7 ml I 1/4 oz Pimento Dram Likör
15 ml I 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
15 ml I 1/2 oz Lime Juice
10 ml I 1/3 oz Orange Juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a pilsner glass filled with nugget or crushed ice.

As with any tiki cocktail, the garnish plays an important role. In the Three Dots and a Dash, it’s three cherries and a pineapple stick. These visually represent the V from Morse code.

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The story of the Three Dots and a Dash

Donn Beach aka Don the Beachcomber himself, one of the grandfathers of the Tiki movement, made this drink during the Second World War. The name of the cocktail refers to the Morse code for the letter V. This was used during the Second World War as „Victory“. The V is represented in Morse code by three dots and a dash. In English: Three Dots and a Dash.

Which rum varieties for the Three Dots and a Dash?

As with many other tiki drinks, the exact recipe has been changed and adapted over the years. This version comes from Martin Cate, the owner of San Francisco’s famous tiki bar Smuggler’s Cove. As usual with tiki cocktails, a mixture of different types of rum is used here too. Specifically, Cate uses Rhum Agricole Vieux in Smuggler’s Cove, which is darker than normal Rhum Agricoles. A blended, aged rum is also added to the drink. Preferably a Demerara rum from Guyana.

What is rum agricole?

Rhum agricole is a separate type of rum. It differs from normal rum in that it is made from freshly pressed sugar cane juice instead of molasses, as is usual with other types of rum. It is referred to as French-style rum, as it is produced almost exclusively in the French Antilles, primarily Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion. The spelling with H, i.e. Rhum, is intentional.

The Rhum Agricole Vieux is the star of the drink. So the quality should be right. I use the excellent Saint James VSOP. However, the „normal“ Agricole Vieux from the same producer will also do. In this recipe, the Demerara rum is the little assistant that should give the Agricole a helping hand. The El Dorado 12 year old achieves this. (M)a very good standard when it comes to Demerara rum.


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