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Tropical drinks for summer

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101_Tropical_DrinksJust in time for summer, James Beard-honored mixologist Kim Haasarud has published the book "101 Tropical Drinks." From classics to blender drinks to "exotic tropical organics," The Liquid Chef™ — that's right, she's got that name on lock-down — has lots of libations to help you make the sizzling season a little cooler. Here are five essential tropical drinks you really should commit to memory, or at least keep the recipe readily available, for when it's time to entertain guests or just get through a rough, steamy week.

1. Classic Daiquiri

Let's start with the beverage that inspired Sarasota's most famous chain of drinking establishments. Haasarud says this is the traditional recipe created in Cuba. She describes it as "simple, tart and delicious."

Ingredients:

2 ounces white rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
Thinly sliced lime wheel

Mixology:

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Top with ice and shake "vigorously." Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with floating lime wheel.

2. Mai Tai

If you're from the Sarasota area and of a certain age, it's understandable if you think the Mai Tai originated at the Bahi Hut. But the drink, which really should have a two order limit if made properly, dates back to California circa 1944, according to Haasarud. She maintains that Vic Bergeron of Trader Vic's invented the drink for friends visiting from Tahiti who, upon tasting it, said, "Maita'i roa ae!" Which means "Very good of the every best."

Ingredients:

1 ounce silver or gold rum
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce aged rum
1/2 ounce Curacao or premium triple sec
1/2 ounce orgeat (almond) syrup
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Float of dark Jamaican rum
Mint spring

Mixology:

Combine the silver or gold rum, lime juice, aged rum, orange liqueur, almond syrup and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Top with ice and shake "vigorously." Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh crushed ice. Float the Jamaican rum on top. garnish with the mint spring.

3. Pina Colada

About three decades ago some guy name Rupert Holmes had a huge hit with "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," which, I'm pretty sure, made the classic drink from the 1950s slightly repulsive for future generations. But give Haasarud's version of this golden oldie a try and you won't be disappointed. Have a few, and you might just find yourself singing the lines: "If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain..."

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez)
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce aged rum
1 ounce coconut rum
splash of coconut milk
Pineapple wedge

Mixology:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup. Add one cup of ice. blend on high until smooth. Pour contents into a tiki glass or tall glass. garnish with pineapple wedge.

4. Rum Runner

This Sunshine State sensation was created in the early 1970s at the Holiday Isle Resort in the Florida Keys, according to Haasarud. She also explains that originally the bartender made the drink from leftovers at the end of the night. Yum, right? Don't worry. Haasarud puts her own fresh, fun (and clean) twist on the beverage named after Prohibition-era booze smugglers.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces silver rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce blackberry liqueur
1/2 ounce creme de banana
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ripe banana, peeled, plus 2 slice for garnish
6 ripe blackberries

Mixology:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup. Blend for 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of ice and blend until smooth. Pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with two blackberries and two banana slices.

5. Tropical Margarita

Years before the silly "Pina Colada" song came out, one-time Key West resident Jimmy Buffett wrote and recorded the most popular, and perhaps best, homage ever to a cocktail with "Margaritaville." Haasarud offers a loving update on "that frozen concoction that helps (us) hang on."

Ingredients:

2 ounces reposado tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce Cruzan Mango rum
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
Pineapple leaf, pineapple wedge and lime wedge

Mixology:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup. Blend on high for 10 seconds without the ice. Add 1/2 cup of ice (preferably crushed) and blend on high for another 10 seconds. Pour into a cooler glass. Garnish with the pineapple leaf, pineapple wedge and lime wedge.

Last modified: September 13, 2013
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