Bahama Breeze’s Legendary Island Cocktails
Posted by Tampa Bay Food Monster on July 3, 2012
Setting: The “Internet” – a futuristic wonderland of glowing circuits and pure information flowing, through a series of tubes, from computer to computer. Thousands of people are all around, transporting themselves on computer keyboards functioning much like flying surfboards, wearing backwards baseball caps. Love flows freely.
BAHAMA BREEZE, a giant beast of man with a tiny palm tree apparently growing from his head, approaches FOOD MONSTER, a slovenly, unbathed man. There appears to be food in Food Monster’s beard.
Bahama Breeze: Are you the Food Monster?
Food Monster: (suspicious) …I am the one known as Food Monster.
Bahama Breeze: Do you like food?
Food Monster: Yes.
Bahama Breeze: Do you like to drink?
Food Monster: I enjoy a snifter of brandy now and then.
Bahama Breeze: Would you like to come to my place and eat and drink and invite as many people as you want?
Food Monster: (enraged) I AM NOT MADE OF MONEY!
Bahama Breeze: Free of charge.
Food Monster: …
Bahama Breeze: …
Food Monster: I reluctantly accept your proposal.
AND SO IT CAME TO PASS that the food monster and four of his most loving friends went to bahama breeze to sample their legendary island cocktails. and what, pray tell, makes these cocktails so “legendary”? they were all birthed from “world-famous island bars”, and allegedly each have their own unique legend. we… we were not told the legends, so i will have to make them up as i go along. not an easy feat! but a job i shall take up for you, the reader. SO PAY ATTENTION!
bahama breeze is a chill place. i reviewed it in the early days of my blog, almost two years ago (here). i still regret not getting that grouper. they must not have seen that blog, because they still invited me to this rather large blogger event.
we were situated outside, which is normally a “florida no-no”, as outlined in my first book, AH AH AH! THE ULTIMATE FLORIDA NO-NOS GUIDEBOOK, but they had so many fans set up, it was like a constant, wonderful beach breeze on a hot summer day – an ideal situation for enjoying island drinks, i’d say. there were about a billion other people there; the place was packed, and it wasn’t even due to the event. i guess this is just the favorite local spot to go to and get trashed after work. lots of… lots of “cool dudes” there.
“cool dudes”, like the “live band”, consisting of one dude playing the steel drum who looked suspiciously like he wasn’t playing the steel drum. i dunno i guess there’s a lot of subtlety and finesse to playing that thing that i don’t understand. regardless, the sounds coming out of the speakers standing near this gentleman was a lot of island music, all of which sounded exactly like this:
[i recommend you play that song while reading this review, to get the full effect.]
so they sat us all down, and we were each given three tickets to exchange for delicious island beverages. not tiny thimble-full samples, mind you; they were giving us full drinks. they also brought out a bunch of food items, mostly appetizers. the food was not billed as being legendary.
food items such as salsa! a nice, fresh salsa that doesn’t necessarily blend itself together into a cohesive salsa, but makes use of fresh ingredients, and has a kick.
and these corn pancake… things! they were strange, like potato pancakes, but with corn. they actually taste like corn fritters, or corn casserole, sweet and a bit chewy. they were served with a mango salsa chutney deal, which was nice and had a little spice to it. and the other thing you see there is butter, which is kind of weird. but whatever. they were decent, but not something i’d likely order.
and there was this! this one was special. pulled pork, served atop fried plantains, with a nice warm molassessy barbecue sauce. the pork was decent by itself, nothing really special, but when paired with the plantains and sauce, it somehow worked really well! definitely a good combination.
so these were the foods we began with. we had put in our drink orders, and soon they arrived.
THE PARROT PASSION from puerto rico
“Premiere drink from the renowned Parrot Club in Old San Juan. A knockout blend of passion fruit juice, orange juice, Cointreau and Bacardi Limon… this drink will get you out of your cage and singing.”
AS LEGEND HAS IT, the parrot passion was the only drink actor jack nicholson would drink when staying in puerto rico for the filming of the famous island scene in easy rider. one night he decided that even the drinks being served to him were impure, and so he resorted to drinking his own urine. he died the day before the film saw its release, as a result of complete liver failure.
the drink is excellent! one of the best offered as part of the legendary island cocktail set. light and heavily fruity, with lots of passion fruit, orange, and lime flavor. it was delicious, with no trace of alcohol whatsoever. a good start!
THE ORIGINAL DAIQUIRI from cuba
“The glamour of 1950′s Havana… Bacardi Superior Rum, lime juice and fresh squeezed sugar cane pressed daily in-house. Hand-shaken with crushed and cubed ice for a special kind of cold.”
LEGEND STATES that the original daiquiri, the one that this recipe is based on, actually consisted not of lime juice, but of the juice of cuba’s infamous panchlora nivea, the cuban cockroach. the large green bug was considered a delicacy, but once they were hunted to extinction in 1915, the recipe substituted the similar-in-appearance-but-not-really-in-taste lime.
oh god okay well this one wasn’t great. it was not served to me, as they described, “a special kind of cold”, unless that ‘special kind’ is actually just warm. it was lime-tastic, very limey and VERY tart, but it totally suffered from being warm, bringing out the taste of alcohol, and letting the sugary sweetness fade a bit away. i assume it was warm due to having trouble keeping up with the huge crowd, but it was disappointing nonetheless.
THE PAINKILLER from the british virgin islands
“Pusser’s Dark Rum, Cream of Coconut, pineapple and orange juice, finished tableside with freshly ground nutmeg. Originated at the Soggy Dollar Bar where patrons swim to the bar to pay for this tasty beverage with wet Washingtons.”
LEGEND TELLS of a pair of young lovers vacationing in the british virgin islands. one evening, they decided to have a drinking contest; first to pass out would be responsible for the bar tab that night. they drank extensively, passing the point of simple drunkenness early on, and even going beyond simple belligerence to the point of simple embarrassment and public shame. the others at the bar around them soon became concerned for the couple’s safety, but they insisted no one touch them, or stop them from drinking. one of them pulled out a gun, and threatened to kill the first person to come too near them. the drinking continued well after the bar had closed, and the couple laughed, cried, argued, wrestled, danced, performed various sexual acts, and yelled insults at passersby. eventually, one of them finally submitted to alcohol poisoning. the other went to sleep, and the next morning invented the painkiller to cure their mild hangover.
this one… this one i didn’t really care for either. the alcohol is definitely present here, which i guess isn’t a terrible thing. i mean, rum is an islandy drink, and it’s a good one. but i mean… it’s coconut cream and pineapple, with some orange juice. we’re basically looking at a piña colada here, with some orange juice spilled in it. so that was what i expected. it’s just not as good as the real deal. the nutmeg did not factor in for me.
amid the heavy drinking we were blessed with the sweet stylings of bahama breeze’s famous coconut shrimp. i discussed them in my actual bahama breeze review, wherein i mention “delicious, stringy cat”. so go read that if you’re interested. but you can keep looking at them here, if you want. i’m cool with that. go for it.
HAVANA HOTEL SPECIAL from cuba
“Synonymous with the historic and star-studded Hotel Nacional in Havana… a tantalizing trio of Bacardi Superior Rum, pineapple and fresh lime juice, rounded out with a splash of DeKuyper apricot brandy.”
THE LEGEND GOES THUSLY: many years ago, rumors started circulating among the staff at the hotel nacional that there were “angry spirits” roaming the 13th floor. guests staying on the floor frequently went missing for days, only to finally wander back into the hotel with no recollection of their time there, indeed without realizing any time had passed at all. one plucky young elevator operator decided to see for herself what went on up there, and decided to spend an evening in one of the rooms on the floor. that evening, as she got ready for bed, she heard a strange noise out in the hallway. she went to see what it was, and found one of the guests from another room on 13 standing ion the doorway, staring into her with deep, blank eyes. the two stood, quietly looking at one another, until the strange man beckoned for her to follow him. she felt compelled to follow, not knowing why. the two went down the very elevator she ran daily, down to the fifth, fourth, third, second floor. down to the first. and then, somehow, down below that. BUT THERE WERE NO FLOORS BELOW THE FIRST! the doors opened up to a bar, at which they served the havana hotel special. and they proceeded to get shitfaced for days and later forgot all about it.
yeah. true story. the drink is good! a good balance of sweet and sour, yet still light. a refreshing cocktail.
GOOMBAY SMASH from the bahamas
“Made famous by the Grandmotherly Miss Emily at her Blue Bee Bar… Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum and Meyer’s Original Dark Rum mixed with fresh orange and pineapple juice.”
I AM LEGEND. the goombay smash was created when the grandmotherly miss emily got shitfaced playing mario brothers, and she thought “goomba” ended with a “y”. later her sexier, cooler friends made fun of her for the simple mistake. she had been drinking what became known as the goombay smash.
ohhh yes. the dark rum plays strongly here, which is a great balance for the light fruitiness of the drink. the spiced rum also plays into it pretty well. basically, if you enjoy rum, you are going to enjoy this drink. warm, spicy, sweet, and refreshing.
DARK ‘N STORMY from bermuda
“Bermuda’s infamous waters have terrified many a strong sailor. Beware, the combination of Gosling Black Seal Rum and ginger beer brews a storm cloud no fool would sail under. Warning: if served in a triangular glass, do NOT drink.”
LEGENDARY POKEMON – the dark ‘n stormy was actually conceived as a drink to be served during performances of a highly offensive minstrel act of the same name.
allow me to quote my notes directly: “gingery… bitter. earthy. like earth. not very pleasant. not sweet at all. ): it’s like eating dirty dirt.” now, i may have been tipsy at this point, i cannot quite recall, but the takeaway is that the ginger beer is a big part of this drink, so if that’s not what you’re looking for in a summer cocktail, stay away from it.
and there were quesadillas! the chicken filling was a bit over seasoned, and their pepper taste (giant slices of pepper inside) really only worked when combined with some of the salsa it was served with (perhaps the sour cream worked similarly… i don’t know because i hate that stuff). it was alright, but nothing special.
BATIDA DE COCO from the islands of brazil
“Brazil’s quintessential coconut cocktail made with Leblon Cachaca Rum, Cream of Coconut and pineapple juice. Batida, pronounced ba-chi-da in Portuguese, means shaken… and this rhythmic concoction will make you want to shake your tail feather.”
THE LEGEND: brazilian barman alvaro thais took a trip to puerto rico, had a piña colada, then stole the drink for his own bar renaming it the batida de coco.
yeaaaahhhh so a batida can use whatever kinda juice it wants, or coconut cream. or both. this batida uses coconut cream and pineapple juice, making it… just a piña colada. which is fine by me! i love them. it was well prepared, creamy sweet and perfect. the perfect cocktail. and it did, in fact, make me want to shake my tail feather, so extra points for that.
BARBADOS RUM PUNCH… from barbados
“You’re officially welcome in Barbados when you’re handed one of these… Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, passion fruit juice, fresh lime juice with Grenadine and Angostura bitters. Finished tableside with freshly ground nutmeg.”
THE FINAL LEGEND GOES: there is a hidden temple located somewhere in barbados, inside which young children are brutally forced to perform meaningless tricks and run obstacle courses for the amusement of others. if they do not cooperate, the temple guards will whisk them away to a secret location within the temple, and do god knows what with them. the temple guards are known for drinking liberal amounts of barbados rum punch.
the final drink in the legendary island cocktail set is one of the good ones. there is a strong passion fruit flavor carrying the drink, playing sweet and just a bit tart. the nutmeg also surprisingly has a noticeable impact here, which is a nice little touch. it’s a solid drink.
and finally, after all was said and done, we got a taste of what we had really come for in the first place:
allow steve martin to field this review for me:
yes, it was a pleasant time for all involved. i would like to thank bahama breeze for giving me this opportunity, and making me think it would be a good idea to make up a bunch of stupid stories about drinks. now let’s all go there and get drunk together.