I really thought that I was going to be down in the dumps after returning from Barbados, simply because the transition to warm climate cocktails was so much fun. Coming back to the cold Bay Area was going to be a total downer. But wait! What's this? It's like 70 degrees on the Peninsula today! What a beautiful weekend this is turning out to be. I think I mentioned before we left that I was bringing a copy of Hemingway's Islands in the Stream on my journey. If you're a professional drinker like me there's no better source of inspiration than Papa himself. He's always got his hands on something cold and alcoholic, so I took some inspiration from the tropical novel to make my wife and me some libations this afternoon.
I remember I was still on the plane when I got to page 83 where Hemingway mentions the Green Isaac Special. "What the heck is that?" I thought. It turns out I'm the 99,999th blogger to write about this drink, but as I don't do a ton of cocktail research or Hemingway reading, this was all new to me. Hemingway describes the drink as, "a tall cold drink made of gin, lime juice, green coconut water, and chipped ice with just enough Angostura bitters to give it a rusty, rose color" (remember that this is fiction, by the way, not a cocktail manual – and you thought you only liked non-fiction!). I found a recipe online that I mimicked as soon as I got home. It was alright, but I thought it could be tweaked a bit.
After buying coconut water at the grocery store my wife became interested in the ingredients. It turns out that coconut water is one of the healthiest substances on planet earth. It's like nature's Gatorade, but without all the sugar. It rehydrates you faster than water, apparently, and it promotes healthy bacteria in your stomach. There are all sorts of health benefits to drinking it. That sounds like a great rationale to drink more coconut water cocktails (rehydrate as you dehydrate). I wanted to make a drink with rum and coconut water, however, so I turned to the grassy and aromatic agricole blanc to replace the herbacious flavor of the gin. I didn't want the Angostura addition either, but the rum overpowered the drink with just the coconut water and lime juice. Orgeat! That's it. Now we're talking.
Green Isaac Special Variation
2 oz. agricole blanc rum
4 oz. coconut water
1 oz. orgeat
1 oz. lime juice
Shake with ice and double strain into a highball glass full of more ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The Green Isaac took care of my wife, but I was in the mood for tonic water and bubbles. Hemingway drinks a lot of gin and tonics in the book, but he adds four drops of Angostura bitters to his. I wasn't in the mood for that. Again, I wanted to use rum and not gin for today's beverages, so I decided to return to the Mount Gay Extra Old – a rum I had not had much success with when mixing. The richness of the aged rum can play havoc if you try to overpower it with spice or citrus, so maybe the tonic water would add just the touch of bitterness it needed. Yep. That hits the spot and it's like a fresh gin and tonic with vanilla on the back end – almost like vanilla coke with lime!
Mount Gay XO & tonic
- 2 oz. Mount Gay Extra Old
- 5 oz. tonic water
- twist of lime
Pour on the rocks and garnish with a lime wedge.
Yum. Time to put my feet up.