Specialty Sips: Jerome ‘Gege’ Geay

Specialty Sips: Jerome ‘Gege’ Geay

In search of SXM’s hottest drink

Fellow drink-lovers, unite! Time to quench your thirst in another segment of an island-wide hunt for St. Maarten’s best drink!

The Friendly Island is sometimes also referred to as the “Little Miami of the Caribbean”, so it is high time to put those names to the test to discover where we can get both a friendly chat and a good drink. We took the crucial task upon ourselves to go out and about and sample the island’s specialty sips and then to report our findings back to all you thirsty people. The best part? While we’re at it, we might as well ask the island’s talented bartenders, baristas, and smoothie specialists for their secret recipes so that you can try your hand at these special sips at home!

This week, our search for the island’s hottest drinks took us to The Boon Beach Bar & Restaurant at Mary’s Boon Beach Resort & Spa located right on the beautiful tree-mile long Simpson Bay Beach. It is around 4 o’clock on a sunny Monday afternoon; locals and tourists alike are enjoying the free beach chairs, catching a soccer game or chatting to the friendly staff at the conveniently located bar – most with a delicious-looking drink in hand. We meet with resident bartender Jerome “Gege” Geay to discuss his passion for smiles, the Caribbean, and drinks – and, of course, to try some of the Boon’s signature sips!

Jerome has worked in the restaurant industry for 25 years. His father had a catering business, so he was introduced to the food industry as a little boy. Jerome had been a waiter for many years before making the switch to the bar four years ago. Although he was nervous at first, he now thoroughly enjoys the creativity that comes with bartending.

Some 20 years ago, Jerome, who is originally from Cognac, France, decided to move to the Caribbean. He explains that he lived in London at the time, but was fed up with the rainy and cloudy weather. Jerome was planning to move to Madagascar when a friend suggested St. Maarten instead. He took the leap of faith and has not looked back since.

Of course, his current work environment helps. “Who doesn’t dream of working on a beautiful beach,” Jerome wonders. He adds that he prefers the island-time pace on St. Maarten over the hustle and bustle in Europe. “Customers here are either on vacation or enjoying a day off on their island. In Europe, everyone is always in a hurry; here they are more chill.”

Jerome’s secret? Fresh fruit and a special touch. “I always use fresh fruit for a more real flavour. And I like to fuel a cocktail by adding a special and unexpected touch,” he says. For example, the Boon’s Tai features Amaretto instead of orgeat syrup for a sweet almond surprise. And, instead of artificial pineapple mix, Jerome makes his piña coladas with fresh pineapple for a fresher taste and a vitamin boost.

Now for the time to put Jerome’s theory to the test: For our first drink sample, the bubbly bartender makes us his passion fruit rum punch. It is no surprise that this drink is one of the Boon’s bestsellers – the fruity, sweet, slightly sour drink is basically the Caribbean in a glass. With fresh passion fruit, a tropical taste and a gorgeous pink hue, this drink is dangerously good – and may or may not have been finished embarrassingly quickly.

The second drink is the famous Boon Tai. This one should come with a warning: the alcohol packs a punch, yet the drink is sweet and refreshing. The sunny coloured drink reminds us of summer, while the froth layer makes the drink surprisingly creamy – a perfect beach cocktail if you ask us.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Chocolate Martini. As Jerome makes us this signature sip, one of the waiters passing by warns us that “once you try it, you’re addicted” – a bold statement, but he was not wrong. This drink is a true dessert in a glass: think chocolatey and creamy goodness without being overly sweet. Move over, espresso martini, there is a new after-dinner drink in town!

Passion Fruit Rum Punch

  • 1 oz. white rum
  • 1.5 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1.5 oz. orange juice
  • 0.5 oz passion fruit liquor
  • 0.5 fresh passion fruit
  • Ice
  • Myers rum floater
  • Splash grenadine syrup
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry and orange peel

Combine rum, juices, fresh passion fruit, liquor and ice in a shaker and shake it, baby. Pour mixture over ice in a glass, garnish with cherry and orange and ENJOY!

Boon Tai

  • 1 oz. white rum
  • 1 oz Myers rum
  • 0.5 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.25 oz. sugar
  • 0.25 oz. Amaretto liquor
  • 0.25 oz pineapple juice
  • Ice
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry and orange wedge

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake it ‘real’ good for that nice, frothy foam layer. As usual, pour over ice in a glass, garnish and ENJOY!

Chocolate Martini

  • 1.5 oz. Absolut vodka
  • 1.5 oz. Godiva chocolate liquor
  • 1 oz Baileys Irish Cream liquor
  • Ice
  • Chocolate syrup

Create swirls inside a cocktail glass using the chocolate syrup Combine vodka, ice and liquors in a shaker and, you guessed it, shake. Pour mixture into glass with chocolate swirl and ENJOY!

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