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Serving industry professionals for over 65 years.
Cocktail Corner: Tropical Musings: Seeking out some of the great “vacation cocktails”
by Dale DeGroff

Well, the new year is upon us and so is the weather; unless you were lucky enough to be in the tropics. How about this for a day-dream? Three boats in on a raft-up floating in Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke, British West Indies and you are slurping on a Tamarind Daiquiri from Foxy’s; or perhaps one harbor over in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, sitting across a barstool from the bartender, KC, sucking on a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar? Not happening for you? Me neither! Don’t worry; pull up a bar stool and grab a shaker, but first shut the blinds and turn the lights all the way up to simulate bright sun. Rent a copy of Key Largo or find some Hawaii Five’O reruns and let’s pretend. We will make these two tropical passports right here in the middle of winter.

The Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke is quaintly named because visitors get wet coming from the boats to the bar and so does their money. On any given day there is usually a clothesline behind the bar with various currencies hanging out to dry. KC, the bartender, features one really great drink called the Painkiller. The rest are the standard rum and coke, gin and tonic, Bud, and Coors. But don’t be distracted; all you want to order is a cheeseburger and a Painkiller. You did not come all that way to have a Coors Light! The cheeseburgers are your head’s protection from the Painkillers, which go down oh-so easy.

PAINKILLER

Ingredients
2 ounces Pussers Rum
1 ounce Coconut cream (Coco Lopez is fine)
4 ounces Pineapple juice
1 ounce Orange juice

Preparation: Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain over ice into a tall glass. Garnish by grating fresh nutmeg over the top. (Never use powdered nutmeg)!


I am fairly certain that Foxy’s in Great Harbor does not make my Tamarind Daiquiri but they do throw the most famous raft-up New Years Eve party in the Caribbean; most years the participants can start at the first boat and walk nearly across the harbor, boat by boat, with a special drink offered at each stop.

TAMARIND DAIQUIRI

Ingredients
2 ounces Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup (made to 50 brix, half sugar half water)
1 ounce Tamarind nectar
1/2 ounce Maraschino Liqueur

Preparation: Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.


I got lucky and landed a gig in Hawaii that brings me to those sweet shores periodically; and to the best Mai Tai cocktails in the world. Let me refresh your memory about this Trader Vic special and in fairness mention that Victor Bergeron’s friendly competitor and sometime mentor also laid claim to a drink called the Mai Tai. But in this case the master was outdone by the student and the serious Mai Tai aficionados all know that Trader Vic’s is the best.


MAI TAI

Ingredients
2 ounces aged rum (Victor Bergeron was showcasing a 17 year old Jamaican rum when he invented the cocktail, but it soon ran out. I suggest perhaps an older Appleton bottling or a Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale).
3/4 ounce Orange Curacao
3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Orgeat Syrup
Optional float of Wray and Nephew over-proof rum
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Note: Tastes vary greatly so use a splash of simple syrup for a sweeter cocktail.

Preparation: Shake well with ice and strain into preferably a Mai Tai bucket glass or a double old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a Vanda Orchid, a mint sprint, and a lime wheel.

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