Cruisin’ with Dr. Boozin’: Part One

At the end of September I, with my husband and parents, took a cruise to Bermuda. It was on this exact same cruise, right down to the same ship, that I took, again with husband and parents, four years ago that introduced me to the joys of rum. As this latest cruise approached, I was a woman on a mission. I was going to dive down deep into the land of rum cocktails and chronicle my findings here, for all my readers. That’s right, if you’re reading this, you are totally my enabler. Thanks!

On our previous cruise we toasted each other at the champagne bar after dinner on the first night. It seemed like a fine tradition, so after our first dinner out at sea the four of us went to the aptly titled Champagne Bar to again toast to another wonderful cruise. Four years ago the Champagne Bar was a champagne bar. Let me explain. Four years ago the drink menu had only champagne and a handful of classic champagne cocktails, like Mimosas, to choose from. In fact, it was the only bar on the ship that wasn’t equipped to serve “the drink of the day”. When my husband ordered it, a bartender left to go to the next closest bar to pick one up for him while our champagne drinks were being prepared.

This time around the menu still had a variety champagnes but it also had an expanded champagne cocktail menu and a variety of other non-champagne cocktails. It was that evening that I witnessed my first bar fight. Yes, a bar fight at the Champagne Bar. I know! However, far more exciting than that was my husband’s drink choice, the Sparkling Mojito. What remarkable alchemy was this? A sparkling champagne flute, filled with bubbly that tasted faintly of mint with a tiny bit of lime floating in the glass. It was my husband’s drink of choice for the rest of the cruise. We would walk by the Champagne Bar and the bartenders would wave to us every time, occasionally even calling out our names. This is delicious we thought, but obviously too complicated to recreate at home. We were wrong.

One evening instead of having table service my husband ordered his Sparkling Mojito at the bar and was stunned to find out how stupidly simple it is. Okay kids, ready to learn how to make delicious and affordable Sparkling Mojitos at home? Here we go. Take a champagne flute and pour into it a shot glass worth of Mojito mix. Yes, I’m absolutely anti Mojito mix…..for Mojitos, but for this, it’s the way to go. We used Stirrings Simple Mojito that we bought at our local grocery store. Then pour in champagne until the flute is full. For champagne we went with a suggestion I got a few years back when looking for an affordable but tasty champagne, Cook’s California Champagne Brut. (As you may suspect, long time food and drink confidant Greg of What Greg Eats made the suggestion.) The bottle of Cook’s we bought cost $8.00. There you have it folks, a cheap ass champagne cocktail to amaze your friends. If you’re feeling fancy you can float a mint leaf and some small diced lime in it.

During our cruise my father mentioned that he had read online that the cruise line we were using is trying to break into the market in Brazil. Perhaps that’s why I saw Caipirinhas on one of the bar menus. The Caipirinha is very similar to the Mojito. In fact, if you want to learn more about them you can go to Google and type in “Brazilian Mojito” and you’ll be taken directly to Caipirinha. Mojitos tend to be sweet and refreshing. The Caipirinha had a touch of bitterness to it, you could taste some of the rind of the lime. I have no way of knowing if this is appropriate or traditional to the drink, but I enjoyed the slightly sour, slightly bitter version of the Mojito. It was refreshing in its own way.

Behold the Caipirinha! I'm sure it was the camera that was out of focus, not me.

Check back next week when I’ll be dishing a little more on my cruise ship drinking and will reveal where the title “Crusin’ with Dr. Boozin'” came from!