Are you muddled by what it means to muddle your cocktail? Don’t know the difference between a dash and a splash or why some cocktails are better shaken and not stirred? Cocktail jargon can be confusing, but there’s no reason to strain – unless the recipe calls for it – because Tortuga Rum Company wants to make cocktail making easy.
Lots of people like cocktails. Very few people make them at home, unless they’re of the very basic nature – rum and coke; gin and tonic; vodka and cranberry – and maybe, if they’re fancy, with slice of lime.
For whatever reason, many people think you have to be a mixologist – a sophisticated word for a bartender – to make good cocktails. No true, says Alex McClenaghan, Tortuga Rum Company Ltd’s senior sales and marketing representative, also known as the company’s ‘Cocktail Tsar’.
To prove the point, Tortuga arranged for a Friday afternoon cocktail hour using Tortuga brands at KARoo in Camana Bay. It wasn’t difficult to find a few people to come along and partake; Friday afternoon happy hours are, after all, a way of life in Cayman, and what could be happier than free cocktails.
Using his tsar-like influence, McClenaghan moved behind the bar – displacing the regular KARoo bartenders – and made three simple drinks he had recently invented that just about anyone of legal age could make at home.
The first drink he called a ‘St. Margarita’, his creative spin on the margarita.
The recipe was easy: Put ice in a glass; add 1/2 measure Cabo Wabo Reposada Tequilla; add 1/2 measure St. Germain elderflower liqueur; top with white cranberry juice; add a squeeze of blood orange; and for garnish, add a whole slice of blood orange, in tact, right into the drink.
The result was very refreshing, a margarita-like drink that was floral and fruity instead of sour. Extremely smooth, it would be easy to drink several St. Margaritas sitting by a pool on a hot day.
“That’s the mark of a good cocktail,” he said. “If you want to have more than one.”
McClenaghan, who worked as a bartender for many years, said the 1/2 measures could be any size, as long as there were equal parts of each. If using a short glass, it could be a half a shot each; if using a tall glass, a whole shot of each could be used.
Tortuga Rum just recently became the distributor of the French-made St. Germain in the Cayman Islands, and McClenaghan wanted to show the liqueur’s versatility. His Elderflower Grand Mohito did just that.
This time he started with a tall glass in which added fresh mint leaves and a half a measure of 7-year-old Flor de Caña rum from Nicaragua. He muddled – mashed – the mint leaves into the rum. He then added ice, a half a measure of St. Germain, and topped it with soda water. He garnished it with a lime slice.
“The end result should be something that is very smooth, very refreshing and very drinkable – without added sugar,” he said, pointing out that a traditional mojito adds sugar to the mix, but here, the sweetness of the rum carries the drink.
To finish this demonstration, McClenaghan made a Rusty Screw, a take-off of a Rusty Nail using St. Germain. The recipe couldn’t have been easier: in a small glass with a moderate amount of ice, he added a half shot to St. Germain to a half shot of Cutty Black Scotch.
“This is a straight sipper; no mix,” said McClenaghan, adding that the smokey flavour of the scotch added to the floral St. Germain made for a layered taste.
“Mixology is like cooking,” he said. “It’s all about layers of flavour.”
Tortuga Wine & Spirits Sales & Marketing Manager Barnaby Richardson spoke about why he decided to unleash the Cocktail Tsar.
“It’s about demystifying cocktails,” he said. “You can do this at home.”
That might be true, but it is also fun having the Cocktail Tsar do it for you.