Past and present collide in my glass as the ice cubes clatter together and the rum and fruit juices sink and blend.
Simon Cowell may well have near-world domination but Johnny Depp will always have the Caribbean.
I didn’t think I would be so taken aback by the history of this place and the real feeling of walking in pirate and militia footsteps in English Harbour. I have heard that Galleon Beach is haunted too.
The Antigua Boat Show has just ‘happened’ in English Harbour and there are millionaire’s yachts aplenty moored in town. The bars and restaurants are packed with yacht crew, tourists and locals alike celebrating the warmth of the Caribbean sun.
The Caribbean’s status as a rum swilling haven shows few signs of waning. The islands each have distinct cocktails that put them on the map in notable bartending circles.
Antigua is no shy relative here either. The distinctive local Rum Punch is fruity and vibrant, sweet and sassy. The ingredients all grow on the island so if ever I am stranded, I know I can still host a beach party.
Admittedly, the scenery and humidity help towards the easy drinking culture. When you dig your toes into that fine, soft sand and listen to the steel band playing while feasting your eyes on the emerald seas gently lapping on the shore, your taste buds will tingle and the barman will already be adding ice to the shaker.
Traditional Antiguan Rum Punch
45ml /1.5oz Antiguan dark rum – I’m using English Harbour 5 year old, which is smooth and full of character, while being launched as recently as 2001.
15ml / 0.5oz fresh lime juice
15ml / 0.5oz cane sugar syrup – the least refined sugar you can get, mixed with equal water, boiled and cooled.
60ml / 2oz fresh orange juice – see how the oranges here are green and speckled on the outside? When you slice through them however, they are as orange as you expect!
60ml / 2oz fresh pineapple juice – obviosuly the Antiguan black pineapple is the most authentic and they are in season Now!
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Mix all of the ingredients and pour over cracked ice. Add a dash of Grenadine for colour. Grate some nutmeg over the top and garnish with a slice of pineapple or lime. Add a glacé cherry to the glass if you wish. Drink ice cold!
A festive Christmas drink perhaps?