Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gorgeous Libations via St Barths

I always come back from trips filled with ideas, from ways to decorate at home to finding new ways to sport fashions I find find along the way. But, I'm especially interested in presentation-- and that definitely applies to cocktails. As we approach summer, more of us will be entertaining outdoors and quenching our own thirsts (as well as our guests') with creative concoctions. Instead of the (oh so tired) margarita machine on your next back porch soiree, mix it up -- use the best of the season's produce and a bit of creativity to liven up your libations.

Lovely use of color and produce make any cocktail a special treat. 

I'm a huge fan of St Germain, but it isn't just for topping off Champagne. In St Barths, I met a wonderfully talented bartender, Edouard Godard at On the RocksEden Rock, St Barths who showed me inventive ways to utilize fresh cucumber and basil along with a watermelon stick to bring out the essence of the liqueur in a cocktail that literally looks good enough to eat.

The ice ball makes all the difference. Get your own molds online at The Whiskey Ball.

He did the same thing with a flower-infused round ice 'cube' with a bit of gin and hibiscus liqueur topped with sparkling water. So easy. The recipe could include gin or vodka-- but the key is to use what you have on hand and make it gorgeous. In the French West Indies, I even discovered that Mint Juleps were quite popular. The difference? Edouard added a bit of pineapple and bitters to flavor our Southern race-day classic.

Mint Juleps, St Barths style..
But, one of the most interesting drinks wasn't exactly the most beautiful. I instantly saw this as one to make by the pitcher for friends by the pool this summer. A bit of heat, a lot of ice and a punch of color. The Chili-Chili Bang Bang was a hit with us... and I cannot wait to share it with others. Here's the recipe:

Chili-Chili Bang Bang

Jalepeno infused tequila (they used Cuervo)
Passion Fruit Puree
Lime Juice

Mix equal parts of each ingredient into a shaker for a glass, or stirred into a pitcher for a group. Serve over ice and garnish with a lime slice.

What is your favorite cocktail inspired by a vacation? Do share, and keep following the Southern Sophisticate for more St Barths' influenced food, drink and decor to come soon!