There is no family of cocktails that make me smile more than Tropical. Vibrant fruits paired with an endless assortment of spices create delicious and energetic cocktails. During the colder months, making tropical drinks at home is a special form of vacation for me. The liveliness of fruits and their juices have the ability to transport me away from cold nights cramped up indoors, and onto a soft sandy beach far, far away. And because of their playful reputation, making tropical cocktails (and drinking tropical cocktails!) is an enjoyable process.
How should I stock my home bar for tropical cocktails?
Often associated with rum, tropical cocktails are simultaneously juicy, tart, refreshing and strong. Making them at home is a breeze because you can pair almost any spice and any fruit together for a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail. Mango pairs flawlessly with cinnamon. Lime is energized by nutmeg. Passion fruit sings with cloves. If you’ve got a warming spice in your cabinet, chances are you can make an amazing tropical cocktail without breaking a sweat. I’d recommend keeping whole star anise, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg so they’re ready to be freshly grated and used for garnish when that tropical cocktail craving hits. Here in the PNW fresh fruit isn’t always available so I keep a stash of frozen mangoes, pineapple, and strawberries in my freezer. I also keep at least two bottles of New Deal’s Tropical Pineapple syrup in my fridge and have plenty of white rum on hand. When reaching for a spirit to combine my fruits, syrups, and spices, I frequently turn to New Deal’s Distillers Cut Rum. This white rum is produced in a copper pot still and boasts aromas of butterscotch and citrus blossom, making it an ideal spirit for a host of tropical cocktails, especially a daiquiri.
Two Tickets… to paradise.
A daiquiri is a simple, yet delicious, combination of rum, sugar, and fresh lime juice. Just the right ratios and you’re ready to escape to the tropics. To make this cocktail really shine I like to add a hearty dose of Peychaud’s bitters and nutmeg. In the Two Tickets cocktail, the anise and cherry notes from the Peychaud’s elevate the rum and lift the daiquiri to the next level. For me, it’s this unexpected harmony between spirits and spices that makes Tropical cocktails so fun to create. Another one of my favorite spirits to use in tropical cocktails is New Deal Pear Brandy. While dry, it’s intense aromas of fresh pear play with tropical juices and spices incredibly well. Check it out in the Imaginary Vacation which combines Pear Brandy, Tropical Pineapple syrup, lime, mango, and plenty of freshly grated cinnamon.