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  • Brian Maxwell

Day 74: Passion of the Cane


American comedian, Wanda Sykes, once said “If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” This is the mind-set, which brings about so much great work in the world. For whatever reason, people feel their calling speaking to them, and it's something they can't live without. They throw caution to the wind, and they chase after their dreams. This is how passion is nurtured.


Hello again, thirsty readers. These days really keep moving along, but it's hard being away from what we're all most passionate about. I've spent this morning thinking and wondering when I'll be able to serve all of you a cocktail from behind the bar again. Is it even going to look the same again? Will it be fun?


Nothing makes me happier than being behind a bar, nothing. Since everything has shut down, it's been interesting to see how everyone has handled things. First off, I don't think there's a right or wrong way to feel about bars and restaurants being closed or the uncertainty of life moving forward. Your feelings are always valid, but what has struck me as strange, are the amount of people who've suggested to me, that I should look for work in another field. To me, that's just not an option.


Now, I wasn't always such a rum guy. Like any spirit, it's always interested me, but my infatuation didn't come until about seven years ago, when I first visited Jamaica. I was on a vacation with my family, but I really wanted to turn it into a rum trip. I spent so much of my bartending life immersed in whiskey, gin, and amari, since that was the vibe for most cocktail bars at the time. For me though, these "faux-speakeasy" bars just felt pretentious and too serious. In my heart, I wanted to make it all fun. Nobody really wants to come in and hear you talk about your extensive spirits-knowledge after all. They came to the bar to have a good night out, and if they're lucky, they'll even have some fun.


There we are, in Ocho Rios, and I'm mixing up some cocktails on the beach. We have all of these fresh fruits I snagged from the breakfast buffet, and there's a bucket of ice I grabbed from the hotel. With a few plastic cups, and a few bottles of local rum, I'm dishing out drinks for some friends I'd made at the resort. That's when it hit me, these drinks are delicious! There's no pretension. There's no fancy, antique glassware. I'm not wearing suspenders and a bow-tie. Hell, I'm not even wearing shoes! It became clear at that moment, that I was going to make it fun from here on out and live every day like it's my last day of vacation. Every time I set-up my bar station, that's the feeling I want to bring to you. That's my passion.


Passion of the Cane

1.5oz Aged Jamaican Rum (I like a 2:1 blend of Appleton Reserve and Aged Hampden Estate)

.75oz Aged Agricole Rhum (I like Rhum J.M. VSOP)

.5oz Passion Fruit Liqueur

3 dashes Absinthe

5 dashes Angostura Bitters


Double Old Fashioned Glass

Stir with large cut ice.

Express and discard lemon peel.

Garnish with flower and freshly grated cinnamon.



I can't wait to come back. I know the idea of "back" isn't going to be exactly the same. With the world in so much turmoil, for multiple reasons, it's hard to think, with any certainty, what bars and restaurants will look like. I can only promise you this: if I'm there, it's going to taste good, you're going to be welcomed, and it's going to be fun. I'll see you all tomorrow, and keep shaking.




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