Yael Vengroff, the beverage director at The Spare Room in The Hollywood Roosevelt and the 2018 Spirited Awards American Bartender of the Year, created this coconut-sherry liquid sunshine.
The drink is simple and yet more layered than your standard patio pounder. It compels its drinker through a journey of creamy coconut, rounding it out with the nuttiness of amontillado sherry, holding attention with herbaceous absinthe and then bringing it home with cinnamon spice. “My goal is: How do I make something so incredibly simple but next-level mind-blowing also?” says Vengroff.
The idea for the Cabana Club first came to Vengroff years ago in her hometown of Houston when she survived a particularly hot summer by drinking sherry and coconut water. And that combination, which she calls her desert island go-to, married perfectly with one of her favorite cocktails, a Prohibition-era Bahamian classic, Sky Juice, also known as the Gully Wash. “I loved that flavor profile,” she says. “And I just took those two ideas and merged them.”
Even though this coconut drink is ideal for summer, it transitions seamlessly into fall. “It’s definitely not your May summer cocktail, which is more like watermelon fizz,” says Vengroff. “It’s guiding you toward warm, complex flavors that you typically experience in the fall or winter but still retaining that delectable-treat aspect.”
- 1 1/2 ounces amontillado sherry
- 1/2 ounce Pernod absinthe
- 1 ounce Coco Lopez cream of coconut
- 1 ounce coconut water
- 1 ounce The Perfect Puree coconut
- 1/4 ounce cinnamon syrup*
- Garnish: shredded coconut
- Garnish: grated nutmeg
- Garnish: edible orchid
Add the amontillado sherry, absinthe, cream of coconut, coconut water, coconut puree and cinnamon syrup into a blender with 3/4 cup crushed ice. Blend until frothy.
Pour into a coconut.
Garnish with shredded coconut, grated nutmeg and an edible orchid.
Serve with a straw.
*Cinnamon syrup: Add 2 ceylon cinnamon sticks (crumbled and toasted in a pan), 4 cups sugar, and 2 cups water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to cool, then strain out and discard solids. Will keep, sealed and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.