Jet Pilot Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Jet Pilot Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Jet Pilot cocktail is a classic tiki drink that was created in the 1950s at the famous Don the Beachcomber's bar in Hollywood. It was a favorite among celebrities and was known for its strong, exotic flavors. The cocktail is a cousin to the famous Zombie cocktail, but with its own unique twist.

  • The Jet Pilot was created during the golden age of tiki culture
  • It was a popular drink among Hollywood's elite
  • The cocktail is a close relative to the Zombie, another famous tiki drink

How Jet Pilot Tastes?

The Jet Pilot cocktail is a complex, flavorful drink with a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy notes. It has a strong, boozy backbone with a hint of fruity sweetness, followed by a tangy citrus kick and a touch of warm, spiced undertones.

Interesting facts about Jet Pilot

  • The Jet Pilot is sometimes referred to as a 'jetsetter's drink' due to its popularity among the traveling elite
  • The original recipe called for a specific type of rum, but modern interpretations often use a blend of different rums
  • The cocktail is often served in a unique, tiki-themed glass to enhance the overall experience


Dark Rum

Dark rum gives a deep molasses flavor and acts as the cocktail's backbone. 1.5oz is the sweet spot - too much and you'll overpower the mix, too little and your cocktail flies coach when it could be in first class. Omit it, and you lose the soul of the Jet Pilot.

Emma Rose

Light Rum

This is the cocktail's wingman - 0.75oz of light rum keeps it smooth without stealing the spotlight. Less would make the flavor too mild; more and you're flirting with a hangover.

Mary Mitkina

151-proof Rum

At 0.5oz, it's the turbocharger in the engine. 151-proof rum delivers that extra kick. Think of it like the afterburner - it's not for the faint of heart. Skip it, and your Jet might not make it off the runway.

Alex Green

Fresh Lime Juice

0.5oz of lime juice provides the tartness that keeps things interesting. It's like the daring barrel roll of the flavor profile. Mess with the amount, and you'll either miss the zip or make your lips pucker more than a grandma's kiss.

Emma Rose

Grapefruit Juice

Half an ounce brings a bittersweet complexity, adding layers like a good pilot's flight jacket. More could lead to bitter turbulence, and less might not reach the desired altitude of taste.

Mary Mitkina

Cinnamon Syrup

0.5oz sweetens the deal and adds spice. Too little and the cocktail loses warmth, too much and it's like sunbathing on the sun – a bad idea.

Alex Green


0.25oz is just enough of this spiced syrup to add a hint of Caribbean flair without overwhelming the senses. It's a supporting act, but without it, your cocktail is flying solo in a storm.

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters

A single dash is the spice of life here. It's the slight nod from the control tower - seemingly insignificant but critical. Forget it and the cocktail may lose direction.

Mary Mitkina

Crushed Ice

1 cup is not just for chilling; it's part of the show. It's like the control surfaces on a wing, necessary for a smooth flight. No ice, and it's a no-go.

Alex Green

Mint Sprig

A fresh garnish that's like a cool breeze on a tropical runway. It brings aroma and a touch of class. No mint, and your cocktail loses some panache.

Emma Rose

Grapefruit Peel

The final flair! The essence from the peel adds a zesty note, and it looks stunning. Forget this, and the presentation nose-dives.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Jet Pilot Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the dark rum, light rum, 151-proof rum, fresh lime juice, grapefruit juice, cinnamon syrup, and falernum
  2. Add a dash of Angostura bitters
  3. Fill the shaker with crushed ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds
  4. Strain the cocktail into a tiki-themed glass filled with fresh crushed ice
  5. Garnish with a mint sprig and a grapefruit peel

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail vigorously to ensure all the ingredients are well combined
  • Use fresh lime juice and grapefruit juice for the best flavor
  • Garnish with a mint sprig and a grapefruit peel for an extra touch of freshness and aroma

Perfect Pairings


  • Ceviche: The citrus notes in the Jet Pilot will complement the lime and seafood in ceviche.
  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers: The spicy and savory flavors will balance nicely with the sweet and spiced notes of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Mahi-Mahi: The lightness of the fish pairs well with the rum's complexity and the fruitiness of the cocktail.
  • Caribbean-style Pork: Sweet and tangy flavors in the pork dish will resonate with the Jet Pilot's profile.


  • Key Lime Pie: The tartness of the pie will be a perfect match for the zesty lime in the drink.
  • Coconut Flan: The creaminess of the flan will soften the strong notes of the cocktail, creating a harmonious dessert pairing.

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Jet Pilot

  • Dark Rum: Can be substituted with any other strong rum
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Can be substituted with bottled lime juice, but fresh is always better
  • Cinnamon Syrup: Can be substituted with simple syrup and a dash of ground cinnamon

Explore all drinks starting with J here

And of course - twists🍹

Honeyed Pilot Twist

  • Replace the cinnamon syrup with honey syrup.
  • Swap out lime juice for lemon juice.
  • Add a splash of ginger beer on top. The honey will offer a smoother, richer sweetness, while lemon adds a different citrus profile. The ginger beer lifts it up with a spicy fizz, transforming the Jet Pilot into a more approachable, yet still adventurous, cocktail.

High Altitude Twist

  • Use meyer lemon juice instead of lime.
  • Add a few drops of absinthe.
  • Substitute grapefruit juice with blood orange juice. This twist takes you on a different flight path, with meyer lemon bringing a sweeter tang, absinthe adding a mysterious layer, and blood orange providing a floral and deep citrus note. It's for those looking to explore uncharted cocktail skies.

Spiced Islander Twist

  • Add a bar spoon of allspice dram.
  • Double the Angostura bitters.
  • Include a stick of cinnamon as garnish. The addition of allspice dram will add a warm, spicy undertone that dances with the cocktail’s existing flavors, while the extra bitters give it a more intense depth. The cinnamon stick garnish acts as an aromatic invite to this spiced-up island journey.

In case you forgot basics how to make Jet Pilot

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Jet Pilot

What is the alcohol content of the Jet Pilot cocktail?

The Jet Pilot cocktail contains three different types of rum, including 151-proof rum, making it a strong, high-alcohol content drink. Please drink responsibly.

Why is the Jet Pilot served in a tiki-themed glass?

The Jet Pilot is a classic tiki drink. Serving it in a tiki-themed glass is part of the overall experience and presentation of the cocktail, and helps to capture the spirit of the tiki culture.

What's the significance of the Jet Pilot's garnishes?

Garnishes not only add aesthetic appeal but also enhance the flavor and aroma of the cocktail. The mint sprig and grapefruit peel in the Jet Pilot contribute to its fresh and citrusy notes.

What type of meals pair well with the Jet Pilot cocktail?

Due to its complexity and strong flavor, the Jet Pilot cocktail pairs well with foods that can balance its strength. Think hearty meats, spicy dishes, or creamy desserts.

Is the Jet Pilot a summer cocktail?

While tiki cocktails like Jet Pilot are perfect for summer due to their tropical flavors, you can enjoy this cocktail any time of the year.

More similar recipes to Jet Pilot!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe