Favorite Caribbean Cocktails

Those who know me, know that having grown up in the Caribbean, I have a lifelong affinity for rum, and therefore, rum cocktails.

I spent a few years in Puerto Rico, that is not only the birthplace of the Piña Colada, but the home of a vibrant Cuban population, whose homeland is the origin of so many other rum cocktails.

Here are a few of my favorite rum cocktails:

Let’s start with the Piña Colada

2 oz white rum (opt for Don Q Cristal)

1-1/2 oz cream of coconut (you can’t go wrong with Coco Lopez)

1-1/2 oz pineapple juice (get the best you can find)

1-1/2 oz fresh lime juice

While you can simply blend all the ingredients together with ice to make a frozen drink, here is a more traditional way to make. Add all ingredients in a shake full of ice and shake vigorously (at least 30 seconds). Then strain into a hurricane glass full of ice (preferably small pebble ice). Garnish with a pineapple wedge.

Mojito (a Cuban classic)

3 mint leaves

2 oz white rum

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

Club soda

Lightly muddle the mint in a shaker (don’t press it too much, you just want to get the oils out, not pulverize). Add the rum, simple syrup and ice into the shaker and lightly shake. Strain into a glass over ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel or wedge.

Canchánchara

You say you’ve never heard of this one? Well, it is actually the oldest known cocktail from Cuba. Give it a try.

1-1/2 oz white rum (some prefer a more robust aged rum)

Juice of one lime

1/2 oz honey syrup (one parts honey to one part hot water)

Splash of club soda (optional)

You can make the honey syrup ahead of time, or simply start by adding the honey and hot water to your empty glass and stir until the honey is dissolved. Add the lime juice and rum. Then add the ice and stir until cold. The original recipe does not call for soda, but modern versions add a splash.