There is perhaps no better way to toast the brave men and women who served in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II than with a CINCPAC Special. This potent cocktail was invented by Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz during his time at CINCPAC Fleet Headquarters (Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Headquarters) in Hawaii. Nimitz’s recipe called for three quarts of bourbon, ¼ of a fifth of Gold Label Rum, sugar syrup, two whole vanilla beans, and tap water. The Admiral mixed the drink and stored it in a one-gallon jug. Nimitz’s handwritten copy of the recipe, which can be found in the archives of The National Museum of the Pacific War, instructs “Pour generous portions over ice and serve it forth!”
Although mostly forgotten to history, the CINCPAC Special has made a comeback of sorts at Tubby’s, a neighborhood restaurant located across the street from The National Museum of the Pacific War. Now named the Admiral Nimitz, the drink is crafted from Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cruzan Rum, and vanilla syrup. It served on ice with a flamed orange peel.
The CINPAC at Tubby's Ice House in Fredericksburg, Texas. A mini statue of Admiral Nimitz in the background
“Flaming the orange tightens the skin and releases oils into the drink,” Tubby’s General Manager Billy Matlock explains. Matlock said that crafting the Admiral Nimitz took a great deal of trial and error, but that the finished recipe has been extremely successful. “The Admiral Nimitz is basically an Old Fashioned with rum and vanilla syrup. We debuted it on Memorial Day Weekend and it quickly become one of our best sellers. Bringing the CINCPAC Special back with our own twist was a way to honor Nimitz and his community.”
Crafting the original CINCPAC Special was probably a difficult endeavor during World War II as liquor was rationed to one bottle per person per week. Admiral Nimitz probably had no problem in obtaining rum during his time in Hawaii (1942 through 1945) as it was a popular drink with the locals. Vanilla beans would have been as easy ingredient to precure as they were grown on the island at the time. Obtaining bourbon however would have proven difficult to say the least.
The Admiral's CIMPAC recipe obtained from
The National Museum of the Pacific War's Archives.