Fassionola, a tropical syrup that might be best described as “inspired” by the flavor of passion fruit, was among the occult ingredients of midcentury drinks, including such tiki favorites as the Cobra’s Fang and the New Orleans–born Hurricane (the original, not the versions you see in oversize plastic cups along Bourbon Street today). The syrup was everywhere, and then one day it was nowhere. Max J. Messier and Lauren Myerscough of Cocktail & Sons, makers of imaginative mixers, set out to bring it back. “Tiki has so much history to it,” Messier says. But no original recipe for fassionola turned up, so Messier reverse-engineered the formula. After lots of tinkering and feedback from respected bartenders, he settled on a blend of syrups, all made with Louisiana sugar. He starts with a mélange of pineapple, passion-fruit puree, and mango, then layers in Ponchatoula strawberries and a syrup crafted of hibiscus flowers. It’s an intensive process, all the more reason for home bartenders to rejoice. With fassionola, tropical cocktails somehow become sunnier. Even seltzer benefits from a splash, for a refreshing nonalcoholic drink.
>Fassionola syrup, $15 from cocktailandsons.com
MORE MADE IN THE SOUTH:
> Drink winner: Tropic Thunder
> Drink runner-up: Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
> Drink runner-up: Urban Tree Cidery
> Drink runner-up: Copper & Kings