Thanks to some serious interest in mixology and top liquor brands represented in the Cayman Islands, the humble cocktail has been elevated to pride of place in local establishments and indeed, around the world.
What began as a simple rum-and-coke/vodka-and-orange culture way back in the day has grown to mean serious business for bars and bartenders, the latter of which can basically write their own ticket if they win competitions recognized in the industry.
A prime example of this phenomenon is Simon Crompton, who represented the Cayman Islands at the World Class Bartender final in 2013. Originally from the U.K., Simon worked at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and Agua before rising to prominence in the competition scene. He is now the Diageo Brand Ambassador in the Cayman Islands. Not too shabby.
When heading out for beverages, it’s good to look for a combination of nice pricing and quality cocktails. The best cocktails will feature top-shelf liquors and liqueurs, and fresh ingredients. None of your pre-packaged mix nonsense.
Happy hour is a great place to start, and a couple of no-brainers are SIDEbar in Grand Cayman Beach Suites and Seven Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton.
SIDEbar has a daily 2-for-1 happy hour on all drinks. No wonder this watering hole is packed on a daily basis, particularly on Fridays. They say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but honestly there is no downside to this deal.
Seven Restaurant has a 5 – 7 p.m. bar menu listing custom bourbon cocktails, wine by the glass and a selection of bites such as beef sliders and tempura fried brie. What’s the bargain here? Everything on that menu is $7. So you get The Ritz-Carlton service and quality, not to mention the view, for a heck of great price.
Head to Anchor & Den at the Marriott for a lively social vibe, or cozy up to the bar at The Bistro in Caribbean Plaza, whose bartender Laurie Eaton is fresh from his win at the World Class Bartender competition in Cayman. He, like Simon Crompton, will go on to represent Cayman in Miami at the world finals later this year. Our favorite drink at The Bistro? The Watermelon Lush.
Get to Casa 43 on Canal Point Drive, behind Copper Falls, for some of the best margaritas you’ve ever tasted from an eye-popping selection of tequilas, or stop by Lola Bistro in Camana Bay for a Berry Mojito. Simply divine!
We have to order the Basil Mule whenever we visit Agua in Galleria Plaza, as served by Simone Pagnozzi, award-winning bartender. This crisp, ginger beauty is presented in a copper mug as it should be and is a very refreshing drink on a hot summer’s night.
Having a meal at Blue Cilantro? Then be sure to order a drink from Miguel Jorquera, originally from Chile. He makes a mean Pisco Sour, or anything else you’d care to request.
Naturally not all the great drinks are on the west side of the island. There are choices aplenty further afield. The Rum Point Restaurant is open until the end of August before it closes for a short period of time, as it does annually.
Did you know that the Mudslide originated in Rum Point? Supposedly “Old Judd,” a bartender there many years ago created the drink and it’s been a runaway hit ever since. Sure, others have claimed to have invented it, but when history is nice and foggy and people feel passionately about a particular cocktail, there’s no reason why it can’t be Rum Point’s claim to fame.
When at Rum Point, it’s almost criminal to not order a world-famous mudslide, but if you can’t face something creamy, ask Seggy, resident bartender to whip you up something else.
Seggy has been a familiar face at Rum Point for so long, he’s practically part of the furniture. And man, does he know how to make a cocktail.
Another great night spot out that way is Kaibo restaurant. The bar downstairs is known for its daytime business, with boats docking and people drinking, eating and cavorting on the beach while the sun is up, but at nighttime it takes on a whole different aura.
Take a trip upstairs to the Upstairs Restaurant where Chef Laurence Tham brings Michelin star standards to his cuisine. You can relax and unwind in the Rare Rum Bar and Lounge, with Cayman’s largest selection of rums on display.
(We’re not saying that this is the Rum Point version, but it’s certainly tasty!)
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 1.5 oz Irish cream
- 1.5 oz coffee liqueur
- Scoop of vanilla ice cream (optional)
- Chocolate syrup
Blend the vodka, Irish cream, coffee liqueur and ice cream with crushed ice until thick and smooth. Drizzle chocolate syrup around the inside of a large, tall glass. Pour blender mixture into the glass. Add a straw. Fill straw with coffee liqueur. Enjoy. Book a taxi home.