Just because it’s ‘Pandemic Summer 2020’ doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy summertime vibes. In fact, it’s likely that in the last few months many (of you) have enjoyed an imbibed vibe as alcohol sales were up over 30% (gin sales were up over 40% and a 30% increase for wine).
When it comes to the best cocktails in the Caribbean, it’s likely that they’ll involve rum…….so…..
Change up what you’ve been drinking with your spirits and make these cocktails at home – unless of course, you’re ready to leave Dodge, pack your mask and bathing suit, and head down to the islands for the ultimate tropical vacay. As always, drink responsibly.
Cue the tropical music and let’s get shakin’.
The Painkiller/Pusser’s Painkiller®
British Virgin Islands’ Signature Drink
Ah, The (iconic) Painkiller!
This concoction originated in the ’70s at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke and the rest is history.
I understand that the ‘real’ proportions were a secret (we used the pina colada recipe as a guide since it’s similar). By the way, it appears that the ’70s were ‘the’ time to create tropical drinks, wear bell-bottoms and listen to disco! And, the Macarena is considered Tropical Disco – who knew “Tropical Disco” was a thing?!
2 oz Premium Dark Rum
1 oz Cream of Coconut
4 oz Pineapple
1-2 oz Orange Juice
Add to a shaker, shake it up and pour over ice. Top with fresh grated Grenadian nutmeg.
Source: Soggy Dollar
Noteworthy – this cocktail is now known as Pusser’s Painkiller® as it was trademarked in the 1980s by Pusser’s Rum.
Dominican Republic’s Signature Drink
I know. You had to do a double-take at the name, right?
Rum, red wine, and honey need to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. I know….tree bark? Well, yes. And it has a deep red color. It’s a bit medicinal, too.
This is a potent drink so it’s recommended to only drink one shot (that’s all you may want). And, you can find this bottled all over the Dominican Republic (just be sure to buy the liquid version and not the one that has tree bark in it). It’s also available in the U.S.
Source: Go Dominican Republic
Dark ‘n Stormy®
Bermuda’s Signature Drink
Bermuda is known for several cocktails including the Rum Swizzle, one of the more famous ones and considered the ‘unofficial national drink’ of Bermuda, which the Swizzle Inn created in 1932. The Dark ‘n Stormy® name was trademarked in 1991 because this cocktail exclusively uses dark Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. If not Gosling’s then it isn’t the authentic cocktail.
4-5 oz. Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer
1.5 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
Fill a tall glass with ice, add the Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer and top with the Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. Garnish with a lime wedge (optional).
Recipe Source: GoToBermuda.com
Puerto Rico’s Signature Drink
It all started in Puerto Rico in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton. The bartender, Mr. Marrero, experimented for months and finally settled on a recipe that he called Pina Colada as he felt it captured the flavors of the island. How could you go wrong with rum, right?
In 1978, Puerto Rico named his cocktail concoction the national drink of the island! And it’s where I had my first one (not in 1978 though).
Here is the original Caribe Hilton Piña Colada Recipe:
2 oz rum
1 oz coconut cream
1 oz heavy cream
6 oz fresh pineapple juice
1/2 cup crushed ice
Mix rum, cream of coconut, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add ice and mix for 15 seconds. Serve in a 12-oz. glass and garnish with fresh pineapple and a cherry.
Recipe Source: Caribe Hilton
Aruba’s Signature Drink
This cocktail has a few more ingredients vs the other options here and one of them, Coecoei, can only be found in Aruba. It’s made with the sap of local agave plants and is red in color. Passion fruit nectar could be used as a substitute sans the alcohol, but it’s an option and something that could be found fairly easily outside of Aruba.
This cocktail also uses vodka and yes, rum. Aruba is a fairly dry island so this is a refreshing drink for island days and sultry nights.
½ oz Vodka
½ oz 151 proof rum
1/8 oz Coecoei
1/8-oz Crème de Bananes
½ cup Orange Juice
½ cup Cranberry Juice
½ cup Pineapple Juice
Grenadine – a splash
Directions: Pour into a glass. Stir slightly. Splash with grenadine. Top with Grand Marnier. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Drink a few of these and you’ll see why Aruba is known as One Happy Island!
Recipe Source: Divi Resorts and Visit Aruba
(Okay, so this isn’t from the Caribbean, but hey, what kind of Italian would I be if I didn’t include this one and the beaches of Italy are stunning like on Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll likely be able to order this in most Caribbean destinations – and Aperol is readily available globally.)
3 oz Aperol
3 oz Prosecco
3 oz Sparkling water
Orange and lime slices, for garnish
Fill a wine glass with ice. Add the Aperol, prosecco and sparkling water and stir until well chilled. Garnish with a slice of orange and lime and serve immediately.
Recipe Source: Valerie Bertinelli, Food Network
So there you have it! Caribbean-inspired cocktails that will bring the tropical vibe to you.