Last week I attended the San Francisco launch party of Shellback, a new premium rum from Barbados. Shellback comes in two varietals: a silver and a spiced. It’s a lovely rum and I liked both the smooth floral silver and the caramel nutty spiced. The name Shellback refers to the term that was given to sailors who crossed the equator back in the day. The cool thing about this gathering is that it wasn’t just another party — it was a cocktail class! I love educational events and this one was taught by one of my favorite bar people, the Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.
Five years ago at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I asked Tony the secret to making a good mojito. He said, “the mojito is the most difficult drink to make perfectly. Love, you’ve gotta put love into it,” — what he didn’t share was his preferred technique for the perfect mojito. Luckily, he did at Wednesday’s event! This time he said the most important thing in the mojito is the mint. I was surprised by his use of 20 whole mint leaves. It was also interesting that we used the Shellback spiced rum. Normally a mojito calls for silver rum, but the addition of the spiced Shellback was wonderful. It added a depth not normally found in mojitos.
Tony also showed the crowd how to make a deck hand daiquiri. It’s simply a daiquiri with the addition of seasonal fruit. The silver Shellback is ideal for this cocktail as its creamy tropical flavor pairs wonderfully with everything from strawberries to clementines to pineapple. At the launch, I made a pineapple daiquiri and it was amazing. It was like a light and refreshing piña colada.
At home, I experimented and enjoyed the deck hand with strawberries. What’s great about this recipe is that you can virtually use any fruit you have on hand. Tonight I’m going to try it with oranges. Don’t be afraid of the term daiquiri, the Shellback variation is nothing like the overly sweet, blended kind. It’s clean and pure with the essence of rum as an underlying note. I highly recommend you make this cocktail! Oh, and if you come across the Shellback, buy a bottle.
Deck Hand Daiquiri
by Tony About-Ganim
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
Fresh seasonal fruit and berries (I used about 4 big strawberries, or 2 large pineapple chunks, or 1/2 orange)
2 ounces Shellback silver rum
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lime juice, simple syrup, and fresh fruit.
- Add the Shellback and fill the shaker with ice.
- Shake with ice until well blended, about 30 seconds, and double strain into a chilled cocktail coup.
- Garnish with a thin slice of lime or a piece of the fruit that it is in the daiquiri. Enjoy immediately.
Makes 1 drink.
Images of the event courtesy of James Waynauskas Photography.