"This drink is like a really bitter, dense rum and Coke -- it would be my go-to happy hour cocktail if I had a desk job!" says Donny Clutterbuck, head bartender at Cure in Rochester, New York.
This recipe is easy to multiply for crowds. To ensure that a large batch stays chilled without becoming watery, serve it in a punch bowl set in a larger bowl of crushed ice.
Brendan Turner developed this drink around the time the hit movie Finding Nemo came out on DVD. "It was popular, as all blue drinks are," he says, "so we kept it on the menu."
Dark & Stormy
According to a Gosling's Rum tale, this drink was invented more than 100 years ago when members of Bermuda's Royal Naval Officer's Club added a splash of the local rum to their spicy homemade ginger beer. They described its ominous hue as "the color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under."
A slice of rhubarb pie gave bartender Katie Loeb the idea for this Floridita Daiquiri variation. "Tweaking a daiquiri with rhubarb seemed like a good starting point," she says. "Ginger and Chinese five-spice powder take the drink to the next level."
Scott Beattie, a third generation San Franciscan, maintains a 40-page, meticulously annotated cocktail and spirits list. His drinks rely heavily on local, sustainable ingredients, many of which are grown specifically for him, then delivered to his door by local farmers. Some of his favorite drink ingredients are herbs, like the Thai basil, mint and cilantro he muddles into his sweet and spicy Thai Boxer.
The origin of this classic rum cocktail is one of the great debates in tikidom. Both Ernest Beaumont-Gantt (a.k.a. "Donn Beach," the father of tiki culture) and Trader Vic founder Victor Bergeron lay claim to its invention. This version borrows from Beaumont-Gantt's recipe, which adds dashes of Pernod and Angostura bitters for complexity.
Ryan McGrale is a perfectionist who specializes in refined riffs on classic cocktails. His take on the mojito is made with an intense mint syrup.
Kill Devil Punch
This punch is cooled with a block of raspberry ice that releases berries into the bowl as it melts.
Mojito Jell-O Shots with White Rum and Fresh Mint
Instead of combining vodka with flavored Jell-O mix, Michael Symon concocts a refreshing mojito and stirs unflavored gelatin into the mint-and-lime-spiced rum drink to mold a fun and sophisticated version of the lowbrow shot.
"I was having a hard time turning people on to the traditional sidecar made with brandy," says Thad Vogler. "So I switched to dark rum, which is soft and sweet and much more of a crowd-pleaser."
Halekulani Melon Daiquiri
This drink is based on a fancy nonalcoholic drink famed mixologist Dale DeGroff concocted. He uses orange bitters and amber rum to add spice and depth.
As the story goes, Beaumont-Gantt created this potent drink in the 1930s and named it for its mind-altering effect after a friend consumed three of them. This lower-proof version is made with Velvet Falernum, an almond-and-lime-flavored liqueur that's a key ingredient in many tiki drinks.
Noted mixologist Ryan Magarian plays up food-and-cocktail pairings. His Spice cocktail goes well with the Jägerschnitzel, a breaded pork cutlet served with mushroom sauce and spaetzle.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Eggnog
Eben Freeman's foamy interpretation of eggnog—infused with the sweet, caramelly flavors of sticky toffee pudding, a British favorite, is halfway between a drink and a dessert. "It's thick enough to eat with a spoon," he says. "So was classic eggnog."
Before the mojito or the daiquiri, Cubans drank this Canchánchara Cocktail. Photographer Romulo Yanes shares his father’s favorite recipe, featuring honey, lime, and (what else?) Cuban rum.