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There’s nothing like the arrival of spring to have us feeling fresh, rejuvenated and excited for the months ahead. It may have something to do with the hopeful flower buds (or perhaps it’s just the milder temperatures). While it might not feel tropical just yet, celebrate the prospect of brighter days ahead with a tipple inspired by one of our favourite sunny destinations; the Caribbean. Here are 7 of the very best. Cheers!
Nothing spells sunshine quite like a Pina Colada. Like most Caribbean cocktails, it uses rum as its base before adding the sweetness of pineapple and the tropical taste of coconut. It was allegedly invented in Puerto Rico in 1914 by a man called Ricardo Garcia. The coconut cutters had gone on strike, and he needed something to put in his drinks. Serving them in pineapples and adding fresh juice, he invented one of the most delicious cocktails around. What better way to usher in spring?
120ml pineapple juice, 60ml white rum, 60ml coconut cream, wedge of pineapple.
Blend all ingredients until combined. Garnish with a cocktail umbrella, and you may as well be sitting on a Caribbean beach in the sunshine.
An official International Bartender’s Association cocktail, Planters Punch is a Caribbean favourite. It combines rum with sour citrus and spices which would originally have been grown in Trinidad and Tobago. The recipe first appeared in the New York Times in 1908, and its origins are disputed. Whether it’s named after the Planters Hotel in St Louis, or invented by a planter’s wife as a way to cool down workers, all we know is that it’s a fun take on the classic rum punch.
(To make a jug) 150ml of your choice of rum (light, dark or golden), 175ml orange juice, 75ml lemon juice, 50ml grenadine, dash of Angostura bitters, pinch of nutmeg.
Pour the rum, juices, grenadine and bitters into a jug and stir well. Chill in the fridge for an hour, and then pour over ice, sprinkle with nutmeg and garnish as desired.
If there’s a better way to cool down than with a Cuba Libre, we don’t know of it. The lime elevates the caramel flavours of the coke and the richness of the alcohol, making it so much more than rum and coke. As you might expect, this drink originated in Cuba, during the free-Cuba movement (the name literally translates to "free Cuba"). The beauty of this iconic favourite is in its simplicity; this is one to throw together for those spring garden parties.
50ml light or dark rum, 100ml cola, one large lime wedge
Add the cola to the rum in a highball glass filled with ice. Rim the glass with the lime and squeeze some juice from the wedge before dropping it in.
The Mojito enjoys a reputation as Ernest Hemingway’s favourite drink – he was said to frequently enjoy the sweet and sour concoction. But the origins of the Mojito go back even further. When Sir Francis Drake landed in Havana in the 1500s, his crew were sick with scurvy. They used alcohol created from sugar cane, mint and limes blended together as a tonic to treat their ailments. It isn’t used to treat scurvy anymore, but it’s definitely the perfect accompaniment to a sunny afternoon.
65ml white rum, soda water (to taste), 2 ½ tsp white sugar, 1 ½ fresh limes, 20 mint leaves.
Place the mint, sugar, and limes into a glass and "muddle" together to release the flavours. Add the ice then pour in the rum, followed by a splash of soda water. Stir well and garnish with more mint or lime.
Sipping on this delicious, tropical-tasting creation, we can almost hear the swaying palms. Add coffee for an extra kick and a rich, chocolatey aftertaste. While the Bahama Mama is one of the most well-known and widely enjoyed Bahamian drinks, its origins remain a mystery. What we do know is that it’s best served cold on a warm day (in a coconut, if possible).
15ml dark rum, 15ml coconut liqueur, 5-7ml 151 high proof rum, 5-7ml coffee liqueur (optional), juice from half a lemon, 115ml pineapple juice.
Mix all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour over ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Taking a break from rum, the Margarita uses tequila as its base. We love this classic cocktail at any time of the year, but its fresh, zingy flavours feel particularly appropriate in the spring months. It's said to have been created in 1938 when Carlos "Danny" Herrera was searching for a drink for a customer, Marjorie King, who was allergic to all hard alcohol (apart from tequila).
35ml tequila, 20ml Cointreau or triple sec, 35ml lime juice, a lime wedge.
In a cocktail shaker, mix the tequila, Cointreau and lime juice for around 15 seconds. Pour into a glass using a strainer. Rim the glass with salt, the garnish with lime.
This Cuban favourite was brought to popularity by an engineer called Jennings Cox during the Spanish-American war. He had run out of gin and went searching for alcohol – managing to find rum. To make it more palatable to his fellow Americans, he combined it with lemon juice and sugar – inadvertently creating the Daiquiri. Daiquiris can be customised with all kinds of flavours. How about a Strawberry Daiquiri for a summery taste, or a lime and honey variety for something a bit different?
50ml white rum, 20-25ml lemon juice, 15ml sugar syrup, lime wedge.
Mix in a cocktail shaker, and pour through a strainer into a martini glass.
In such a richly diverse country, where do you start? We’ve put together our top picks to help inspire your next Italian cruise.
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