Four festive Caribbean cocktails to try this holiday season

For children, the holidays are a time to sample the latest and greatest in seasonal confectionary; an all-you-can-eat feast of whatever cookies and sweets their relatives baked that year. For adults, the holidays represent a time to indulge in sweet things of a more liquid and alcoholic variety. Mulled wine, snowballs, and spiked eggnog may headline the list of festive favourites for many cocktail drinkers, but they certainly aren’t the only drinks you should be filling your glass with this season. 

For a bit of mixological inspiration, we looked to the sunny islands of the Caribbean: renowned both for their love of rum and fruity flavours and their general enthusiasm for the holidays. We embarked on a bit of a Caribbean tour to bring you signature recipes from four different destinations. Inject a little tropical sun into your festive fun this year with these flavourful, punchy cocktails that are quintessentially Caribbean.

The Bahamas: Goombay Smash

The Goombay Smash is a rum-based cocktail with a historic pedigree in The Bahamas, originally formulated by Emily Cooper on Green Turtle Cay. While the original recipe may remain a secret, versions of the drink have spread to all of The Bahamas’ major islands, impressing locals and visitors alike with its strong fruity flavour.

Recipe:

  • 11 ounces dark rum
  • 11 ounces light rum
  • 11 ounces coconut rum
  • 11 ounces apricot brandy
  • A whole can of pineapple juice (46 oz)

Mix in a container and shake vigorously before serving over ice. 

Anguilla: Sorrel

Sorrel is a tangy, intensely aromatic brew with a trademark red colour derived from the plant of the same name – a close relative of Hibiscus. Sorrel drinks are the holiday drink in the Caribbean, and that includes Anguilla, the luxurious yet quiet island known for embracing the holidays with its own dedicated “Festive Season”. This a cocktail that smells as delicious as it tastes and immediately conjures nostalgic memories for many Anguillian drinkers. 

Recipe:

  • Sorrel petals – 4 ounces
  • Ginger- 2 ounces
  • Cinnamon- half a stick
  • Cloves- 4
  • Lemon or orange rind (let this boil and steep overnight)
  • Add ¼ water

Combine ingredients in heatproof bowl

Boil water and pour over mixture. Cover, and refrigerate overnight

Strain the mixture, then chill it again. Strain once more if desired. Add rum to dilute or sweeten your liking and enjoy!

St. Martin: Guavaberry Kir

Guavaberry is one of St. Martin’s most famous flavours and exports. Boasting a complex flavour profile including woody, sweet, and spicy notes, Guavaberry is carefully cultivated on both the French and Dutch sides of the island and used in jams, spreads, and spirits. This simple cocktail highlights the incredible flavour of Guavaberry Liqueur. Feel free to substitute raspberry liqueur or your favourite fruity schnapps if you forgot to bring some Guavaberry back with you on your last trip!

Recipe:

  • 1oz St Maarten Guavaberry Liqueur
  • 5oz Champagne

Pour pre-chilled liqueur into a frozen champagne glass. Top with chilled champagne and dress with a small curl of orange skin. 

Antigua & Barbuda: Hibiscus Sangria

Nothing says “indulgence” like Sangria, and where better to get a Sangria recipe from than one of the capitals of indulgence, Antigua and Barbuda? This dual-island destination may be known for its mix of excellent resorts and wild beauty, but it’s quickly developing a reputation for excellence in mixology! Here’s a fresh take on using the familiar ingredient of sorrel to achieve some truly refreshing flavours. 

Recipe:

  • 1 bottle of red wine 
  • 1 cup of sorrel juice 
  • 1/2 cup of hibiscus tea 
  • 1/2 cup of brandy or rum 
  • Assorted fruits (pineapples, oranges, limes, grapes)

To brew your own hibiscus tea: place several (2-3 fresh or ¼ cup of dried flower) petals in a teapot and cover it with boiling water; allow to steep for approximately 5 minutes. Strain and bring to room temperature (preferably the tea should be chilled). Combine red wine, sorrel juice, and hibiscus tea with brandy or rum. Add sliced fruits of your choice to the mixture. Using a ladle, serve the beverage in a glass of your choice. Ensure you include a mixture of the fruit for a festive holiday beverage.

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