Will this winter never end? Don’t you wish you could just hop on a plane and go somewhere a lot warmer, relax and drink cocktails on the beach? Well, for those of us who unfortunately can’t just drop everything and go to the Caribbean, there’s always the option of enjoying the cocktail part.
Of course, since the Caribbean is a major source of the world’s rum, these are all based on generous tots of the high- proof spirit.
A wonderfully refreshing concoction of lime, mint and rum, the mojito was first created in the 16th century by Francis Drake and his sailors. It seems a bit decadent for Elizabethan sailors to be lounging on deck, sipping cocktails, but there’s probably the excuse of needing all that Vitamin C. It’s a quintessential Cuban drink, served everywhere on the island and enjoyed particularly by Ernest Hemingway when he lived there. It’s also quite an attractive drink, with whole sprigs of mint crushed in the glass and topped by lime quarters.
The Calabash Rum Cocktail
A bit more of an unusual one, the Calabash Rum Cocktail is enjoyed mostly in Grenada, and makes ample use of the native spice, nutmeg. It’s made with lime juice, rum, caster sugar, blue curacao, nutmeg syrup and nutmeg on top. With this much nutmeg, it might be one to try if you’re curious about the spice’s supposed hallucinogenic properties, but we have a feeling you’ll just get very, very tipsy before you start seeing anything unusual.
Another rum based drink, Planter’s Punch is a pretty pink and orange cocktail usually served decorated with lots of fruit. It’s made from rum, grenadine syrup, fruit juice and sometimes bitters too. It may have originated at the Planter’s Hotel in St Louis, or it may have been created by a planter’s wife to cool down the workers, but either way, it will give you a great feeling of being in Jamaica, where it originates.
Rum, coconut and pineapple, what could be more tropical? The Piña Colada is a sweet drink from Puerto Rico, equally tasty without the rum for a non-alcoholic version. Forget about the office and whip up a batch of these. Don’t forget your cocktail umbrella for the ultimate kitsch effect!
Straight from, you guessed it, the Bahamas, this drink is often served in a coconut shell when you’re on holiday. If you don’t happen to have any lying around, a glass will do. It features two types of rum, coffee liqueur, coconut liqueur, lemon and pineapple juice. Decorate with fruit slices, cherries, crazy straws and anything else that gives you that holiday feeling.
Which sounds good to you? Mix up a jug, invite some friends over, turn up the heater and voila! You could (almost) be in a tropical paradise.