Behind the Bar Snap Shot

A Story of Shipwreck and Imported Citrus

A classic Manhattan meets Bermudan beach vibes at 1609. (Photo courtesy Fairmont Hamilton Princess)

Tradition is often the best guidepost for the future.

At Bermuda’s new 1609 Bar & Restaurant at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, the team took a hard look at beverage history to launch its drinks program earlier this year. Marooned sailors, Dark & Stormys and the trouble with citrus: All in a day’s work while trying to debut a bar on the island of Bermuda.

1609’s breezy waterfront view.

The Name and the Liquids

The bar’s title, 1609, references the island’s past by commemorating “the year the survivors of the Sea Venture became Bermuda’s first settlers,” explains Bradley Lacey, director of food and beverage. A fleet of boats set out from England, then were shipwrecked on the island. The historical occurrence is the root of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest.

The Dark & Stormy, a classic Bermudan rum drink, has a place of prominence at 1609. It is generally made here with Gosling’s, a family-owned business for two centuries, and is 1609’s top seller. The tropical Bermuda Old Fashioneds are also made with Gosling’s. International trends from the island’s past, such as the Pimm’s Cup, also grace the list, according to Lacey.

Don’t miss the bar’s individually made Piña Coladas.

Hold the Sweet!

The Fairmont food and beverage team worked with veteran cocktail consultant Kathy Casey, of the Seattle-based Liquid Kitchen, to create the drinks program and train the staff. Almost everything but local fish, she says, had to be brought in, because not even citrus grows in Bermuda.

So Casey created a fresh juice program to make classic drinks with a modern viewpoint. Many of the drinks previously served on the island—and in the Caribbean in general—are often so sweet that guests can rarely have more than one.

Casey gave the beverage program a breezy vibe with test drinks like a Swizzle, served in a young coconut with a float of coconut juice. She also culled other local ingredients to fire up the cocktail program. One example: Gombey jam, a local pepper-flavored treat, which she integrated into a pepper-flavored Collins.

Plenty of recent trends, like communal drink service and sangria, are also gaining traction at the property. By-the-pitcher cocktails include hibiscus punch—which perfectly complements those beach views.

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about drinks for two decades. She is the principal of the San Francisco–based Liza the Wine Chick consulting firm and regularly contributes to publications such as Wine Business Monthly, DrinkUpNY and the SOMM Journal.