Float your boat 

You don’t have to own a boat to have boat drinks; you don’t even have to be on one. Neither is really any issue anyway, because there’s no ready definition of the term.

Some insist that it has to sport a paper umbrella and some slices of fruit. Others say, no matter what, it has to have rum; others say coconut cream. Some truly believe a boat drink has to involve crushed ice and a blender, while others say cubes. The strange few want dry ice "smoke" pouring from theirs.

Jimmy Buffett and his booze-addled Parrotheads popularized the phrase as an integral part of the laid-back mystique. But, perhaps in keeping with that relaxed lifestyle, they left the formula wide-open, without any other stricture than that it must be cold.

So I’m giving you a mixed offering, me hearties! (Don’t you hate it when writers do this in a lame-ass stab at setting a jolly tone?) Most were cribbed from parrotcentral.fateback.com, and angelfire.com/fl/BoatDrinks, where there, and elsewhere, are plenty more.

Pisco Sour — If you want to be ahead of the drink curve, and are lucky enough to find a bottle of the grappa-like Pisco, this is the one to make. The "national drink" of Chile and Peru, it packs much punch and is generally made for several drinkers at a time. Combine 9 ounces Pisco, 3 ounces lemon juice and 3 ounces sugar in a cocktail shaker. Shake until sugar is dissolved. Add 1 egg white and a handful of ice cubes, shake well and strain into lowball glasses.

Myers’s Cuba Libre — This is an improved variation on one of Hemingway’s favorite boat drinks, the simple rum, Coke and lime. Made with wonderful, Jamaican Myers’s dark rum, it was one of my preferences for the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Pour as much rum as you like (use some sense) in a tall ice-filled glass, squeeze in the juice of a half lime and fill with Coke — or better yet, new Coke with Lime.

Banana Puke — Man, doesn’t the name make your ’buds sit up and say howdy? Named for its visual resemblance to post-binge spew, it’s a surprisingly tasty drink. In a blender, combine 4-1/2 ounces dark rum, 3 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil then cooled), three slightly over-ripe bananas and a dash of nutmeg; mix on high until a yak-like consistency. Add nutmeg and a handful of ice cubes and mix until slushy.

Tequila Sunrise — An old summertime standby, and a favored eye-opener. Simply combine 3 parts fresh orange juice and 1 part tequila (trust me, spring for some good quality stuff) and pour into a tall, ice-filled glass. If your hand is steady enough, pour on (not in) about an ounce of Grenadine; otherwise, trust it to a self-righteous non-drinker.

Watermelon Shots — Also called Ragtop Days: Fill a blender to 1/3 with watermelon chunks (it’s a good idea to pick out the seeds), 6 ounces of 151-proof white rum and a handful of ice cubes. Blast it on high until slushy, then serve in a Mason jar garnished with a small melon wedge.

Sex on the Beach (or The Gritty Wedgie) — In a tall glass nearly full of ice cubes, combine 1-1/2 ounces vodka, 1/2 ounce peach schnapps, 1/2 ounce Chambord (raspberry liqueur) and top off with equal parts cranberry and orange juices.

Original Pina Colada (or The Penis Co-lahdi)— Easy to drink by the quart, but it’s a bad idea. In a blender, combine a cup of crushed ice, 1-1/2 ounces white rum, 2 ounces Coco Lopez cream of coconut (there is no substitute) and 2 ounces pineapple juice. Whirr it up good and serve in a tall glass, garnished with a fresh pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.

Tropical Rum Smoothie — After one of these, you can easily convince yourself that it’s a health drink. Fill blender to 1/3 with fresh orange juice, add a shot each of white rum and Myers’s dark, a heaping tablespoon of Coco Lopez cream of coconut and enough banana chunks to nearly fill. Blend well, then add enough ice to fill, and blend again until smoove. Leave out the booze and it’s still a fine breakfast drink.

Mojito— This was the It drink last summer and is already the subject of much thirsty murmuring this season. In a chilled cocktail shaker, combine 3 fresh mint sprigs with 1 tablespoon simple syrup, and "muddle" or lightly crush the mint leaves with the handle of a wooden spoon until you can easily smell it. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, add 3 ounces white rum and a handful of ice; shake well. Strain into a highball glass half-filled with cracked (not crushed) ice, and top with a splash of cold soda water. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig. Your too-too friends will be impressed, and well-slaked.

Bon voyage, even if it’s just a trip from the kitchen to the porch.

Ric Bohy is editor of Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

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