By June Naylor
Photos by Nancy Farrar
We might not get to an island paradise anytime soon, but these cocktails transport us to sandy shores with sea breezes. Made with strong spirits — gin, rum — and blended with fresh fruit juices and spices, they’re a refreshing tailwind in a land-locked summer.
The Soggy Dollar, a beachside bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, is the birthplace of the Painkiller. The 1970s-era cocktail is a spiritual sister to the pina colada, but this stout tonic is a tad lighter, yet deceptively powerful. Because he wanted to learn how to make the perfect version, Brad Bowden — general manager at 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge and recipe creator for its massive list of island-friendly cocktails — visited the BVIs and swam from a sailboat to the Soggy Dollar to try the original Painkiller. At his Arlington bar, Bowden’s creation combines navy-strength rum (that means it’s Jamaican and potent) with a blend of orange and pineapple juices and coconut milk. Served over crushed ice, it’s topped with freshly grated nutmeg and garnished with a wedge of pineapple and paper parasol.
4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge Urban Union, 506 E. Division St., Arlington, 682-276-6097, 4kahunas.com
Singapore Sling for Two
This gin-based drink was made famous nearly a century ago at the renowned Raffles Hotel in Singapore. At Malai Kitchen’s three locations (Dallas, Fort Worth and Southlake), mixologists make this tart refresher with botanical-forward Fords Gin; Cherry Heering, a Danish liqueur made from sour cherries; orange liqueur; and Bénédictine, a French cordial made up of more than two dozen plant extracts and spices. Pineapple and lime juices balance the spirits, and a few dashes of angostura bitters bring the aromatics. It’s not too sweet, and it packs a punch. It also goes down easy, which is why the carafe is designed for two (or more).
Malai Kitchen The Shops at Clearfork, 5289 Monahans Ave., Fort Worth, 682-707-3959; Park Village, 1161 E. Southlake Blvd., 817-251-9141; malaikitchen.com
Overwhelming credit for the original version of this Tahitianesque treat goes to Trader Vic’s outside Oakland, California, but its appearance in Elvis’ 1960s Blue Hawaii made it famous. It’s also the signature drink at the Royal Hawaiian Resort’s Mai Tai Bar, which charges $35 for its deluxe version. Be advised that a proper mai tai is never blue, nor does it contain pineapple juice. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse elevates the classic by blending two rums — the dark golden Cruzan Estate Diamond from St. Croix and Appleton Estate Rare from Jamaica — with almond-cane sugar syrup, lime juice and a cinnamon-allspice tweak from Bittermens Tiki Bitters. It’s served in a cut-crystal double rocks glass with a hibiscus flower garnish but pineapple looks nice, too.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse 812 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3999, delfriscos.com/steakhouse/fort-worth