Shingle Stain

Posted by TraderTiki on March 13th, 2008 — Posted in Rum, Trader Vic

Shingle Stain illustration

Trader Vic concocted a lot of good drinks, the Mai Tai, Honi Honi, Fog Cutter, and a few other here and theres. For all the flack he gets for setting up his bar following Don the Beachcomber’s lead (and, if some books are to be believed, with $8,000 of decor from Don himself), he really was one helluva mixologist. Other than the Japanese, there aren’t many cocktails I can think of with Orgeat that really stick out until Vic got his hands on the stuff.

This drink comes from Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, one of his first books, and certainly the first to focus on “tropical” fare, including a nifty little icon on Trader Vic’s signature originals. This particular drink, a short hoist in a tall glass, doesn’t appear with the logo, but damned if I can find it anywhere else. A few other versions have appeared though, and I’d like to go over these variations here.

Shingle Stain (classic)

Shingle Stain (source Trader Vic’s Books of Food and Drink)

Now don’t take a shingle off the roof. This is really good. No fooling.

  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 ounce dark Jamaica rum (Red Heart or Myers’s)
  • 1/2 ounce St James Rhum
  • 1/4 ounce Pimento Dram
  • Dash of pomegranate syrup (grenadine)

Shake with cracked ice and pour over cracked ice in a 12-ounce Chimney Glass.

One thing you may notice about this drink, this sucker’s about two and half ounces at best, and sitting in one hell of a lot of ice! This brings up an upcoming post I’m planning on, regarding Ice and its part in Tiki Drinks. Basically, these suckers stand up to dilution a lot better than most cocktails, partly because of the strength and depth of the rum, partly because of the complexity of the juice, bitters and booze in most of these drinks. I’ll get into more detail in an upcoming post.

This is a pretty deep drink, and takes one hell of a balancing act, particularly with the dark Jamaican Rum, Pimento Dram, and Grenadine. For the Dark Jamaican, the Myers’s Dark really stands out, where usually I would use Coruba. This drink needs that extra molasses boost from the Myers, and it’s well worth using it. The Pimento Dram is best on the sweeter side, and the Grenadine should be rich, and not watery. Basically, make sure the ingredients you’re using are fully punched up and not watery in the slightest. Of course, that goes without saying for anything, but the delicacy of this drink really needs it. I finally had to toss out the stirrings grenadine and make my own again to make this just right (yet another upcoming post).

For reasons unknown, this drink changed after a few decades, hitting some very different notes, but still keeping its tawny-red color, which is where the name comes from.

Shing Stain (Modern)

Shingle Stain (from Trader Vic’s Tiki Party!)

  • 2 ounces Dark Rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and pour into double-rocks glass. Garnish with Mint Sprig.

Quite a lineup change here, hell, no Pimento Dram, no St James, and adding cranberry and pineapple juices and bitters. Nertz to that, it’s a whole different drink! Then again, a lot of Trader Vic’s drinks have morphed recipes. Still, that’s an awful lot of change from the original drink. It’s still a damned nice drink, with plenty of tang from the cranberry and a bit of sweet from the pineapple juice, sitting on top of dark rich Coruba. The times they change, for better or worse.

Word has it there’s another version in the Revised edition of Trader Vic’s bartender’s guide, but I’m going to have to leave that out until I find a copy.

Many thanks to Rupe33 on TikiCentral for the picture of the Shingle Stain illustration above, taken at Trader Vic’s Emeryville.

The classic version of this drink will be on the menu Mar. 18th at Teardrop Lounge. See you there!

If you liked that post, then try these...

Black Stripe
Looking outside today, the weather is certainly ripe for some nice winter warmers, at least for my thin skin.

Great American Distillers Festival
This past weekend was .

Oy, another week like the one prior and I'd be fine and happy sitting in a cask of rum and sit adrift on the open sea.


Comment by Rick

Sounds delicious! I greatly anticipate your ice post.

Posted on March 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Comment by Rum Balls

Oh, man, my eyes are burning! Thanks for that Polynesian version of “plumber’s crack” to start my weekend.

Posted on March 14, 2008 at 10:27 am

Comment by Swanky

Here is a better image of that, with the nicer side up…
<img src=”

Posted on March 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Comment by TraderTiki

Tim, that is fantastic. Thanks for the contribution!

Posted on March 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Comment by Graydonsmith

Your second version is the same version from “Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide (Revised)”. My copy was published in 1972.

Posted on December 2, 2008 at 4:05 pm

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