Toast the holiday season, or just the fact that you are on your holiday on St. Maarten/St. Martin, with unique libations created by local producers.
Of course, the most famous native drink is guavaberry liqueur made with the small, red, bittersweet berries that grow more abundantly on this island than anywhere else in the world. And the most iconic cocktail is the “Guavaberry Colada” (see recipe below.) But islanders also have a huge love affair with rum, after all this IS the Caribbean, and Guavaberry House has also come up with all kinds of specialties using that spirit as well. From upscale oak-aged sipping versions to flavors like island almond and wild lime, they run the gamut of special tastes for rum lovers.
Then on the French side’s there's Rhum Ma Doudou. Tucked away in Cul de Sac, they have an exceptional artisan spirits factory that’s been in operation for over 20 years. You’ll recognize their signature hand-painted bottles by the cheery madras caps on top, and their creative flavors are all hand-infused and natural. Sample some really special essences and flavor combinations like vanilla-banana, orange-cinnamon,ti-punch and orange-ginger at their factory, or find their products at the weekly Marigot market and at many souvenir stores including the new Banane & Vanille in Philipsburg, Ma Doudou's new headquarters on the Dutch side.
Also locally made and seriously creative are Topper’s Rhums that come in cool flavors like white-chocolate-raspberry, mocha-mama, banana-vanilla- cinnamon, and coconut-retriever! Their all-natural and award-winning rums also give island barkeeps a great base for creating outstanding cocktails. Taste them at Topper’s restaurant or beach bar in Simpson Bay. The bottled rums are also available for purchase island-wide, and now also in South Carolina!
On a smaller scale, local Amy Arrindell is becoming famous for creating her own line of award-winning spirits called “Amy’s Island Liquors”. Using rum and locals fruits like kenip, gooseberry, and passion fruit, Amy makes small batches at home and then sells them at craft fairs and cultural events. You can also sample them at The Summit Resort Hotel’s restaurant Tropical Heaven.
And the owner of Jimbo’s Rock & Blues Café also makes his own special spirits for customers. He often offers up what he calls “Dirty Tequila” distilled with tangerines or passion fruit depending on the season. Ask him about it when you are there.
So don’t settle for the same old tropical cocktails this holiday season when you can treat your taste buds to something spectacular and local. And don’t forget to bring some home for your friends and family.
Try this recipe at home compliments of the Guavaberry House.
Put ice in a blender and add 2 ounces of the original wild Sint Maarten Guavaberry Island Folk Liqueur, one ounce of cream of coconut and three ounces of pineapple pieces or pineapple juice and blend well. Garnish with pineapple, toasted coconut, and fresh nutmeg.
Cheers from St. Maarten!
Photo Courtesy: Sint Maarten Guavaberry