Whenever I take a Caribbean cruise, I ask to be pointed to the ship's top mixologist to see if she or he can whip up some drinks that go perfectly with our particular itinerary. For example, bartender Zak Zlatko of Silver Spirit concocted these 8 Caribbean drink recipes.
On Saturday I returned from a weeklong “Classic Caribbean” itinerary on Wind Surf, the last cruise of the season to St. Maarten, Barbuda, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Barts — but not before I spent an hour with mixologist Maria Lawag in the ship's Compass Rose bar.
You've no doubt heard of most of these drinks, so here are four classic Caribbean cocktail recipes to keep the tropical vibe going after you return home!
“This one should appeal to the ladies because it's not as strong and it has a mild, fruity flavor,” Maria tells me. Because of its heritage, you might call this the national drink of Cuba (along with the Cuba Libre). The classic version of the drink has lemon instead of strawberry as the centerpiece.
45 ml white rum*
90 ml of strawberry puree
20 ml mojito syrup
45 ml lime juice
3 mint leaves
3 lime wedges
*45 milliliters = 1.5 fluid ounces
- Muddle the limes and mint leaves together
- Add mojito syrup and rum
- Top up with strawberry puree and lime juice
- Top up with soda water as desired
- Garnish with mint sprigs and strawberry
“This is a nice marriage of rum and vodka,” Maria tells me. “The ladies in particular like to drink this one in a long-stem martini glass. It's a light drink, not high in alcohol, and the Malibu Rum gives it a hint of coconut.” Maria used Gilbert's vodka but you can substitute a higher-end brand like Grey Goose, Belvedere or Chopin, made from “the most expensive potatoes in the world,” she said.
45 ml vodka
20 ml Malibu Rum
60 ml pineapple juice
- Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker
- Shake and stir in a chilled martini glass
- Garnish with pineapple slice
- Optional: Some folks may enjoy sugar added to the rim
“On a hot day, this is a good choice,” Maria says. It's 80 degrees in St. Barts today so I nod approvingly as she gathers the ingredients. “The frozen ice and tangy tropical fruits will help quench your thirst.” Embarking from or to Miami on your trip is strictly optional.
50 ml Bacardi Rum
25 ml triple sec
100 ml piña colada mix
50 ml strawberry puree
Dash of dark rum float
- Add ice and blend all the ingredients
- Pour into a poco grande glass
- Garnish with pineapple wedge and cherry
This drink was invented by Daphne Henderson at the Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay on Jost van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands before propagating through the Caribbean and beyond. “After a long shore excursion, this is the best way to relieve the pain,” Maria advises. It features a mix of light and dark rum, has a hit of nutmeg for flavor — and is the most potent of the four drinks listed here. “This is the one the guys like,” bar manager Alan Gordon says.
50 ml Pusser's Rum
60 ml pineapple juice
20 ml orange juice
40 ml coconut cream
- Build all ingredients together in a highball glass
- Add a dash of nutmeg
Have your own favorite Caribbean cocktails? Please share in the comments below and don't forget to mention it on your Cruiseable profile page!
In our series: Cruise Food & Drink
- 10 dishes & drinks you need to try on Norwegian Getaway
- 5 rum cocktail recipes born in the Caribbean
- 7 cruise lines to enjoy craft beer at sea
- 5 favorite cruise ship bars
- 5 best cruise ship bars for beer lovers
- All about specialty restaurants
- 5 Caribbean shore tours for food lovers
- 6 rooftop bars with world-class views