Specialty Sips: Kimani Suarez @ Movida Bistro

Specialty Sips: Kimani Suarez @ Movida Bistro

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. So, 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 at home can try your hand at these special sips!

This week, our scavenger hunt for delicious drinks took us to the Movida Bistro in Simpson Bay. Here, we met with local bartender Kimani Suarez to try three different specialty sips.

We sat down at Movida’s spacious bar to get to learn more about Kimani and his bartending secrets, Movida’s Bar and, of course, to try some of their delicious drinks so that we can report back to you!

It was Monday evening at 7:00 and patrons were enjoying dinner and drinks out on Movida’s outdoor terrace. While we spoke, Kimani prepared gin and tonics, mojitos, wine, and tequila shots for thirsty guests – yes, on a Monday!

Movida is known for their Caribbean-inspired lunch and dinner menu, their cocktails, hookahs, parties and daily dine-in specials, such as steak night (steak and two sides for just US $19.99) on Mondays, 50% off hookah deal on Tuesdays, all-night happy hour on Wednesdays and $5 whiskey drinks on Thursdays. All this continues alongside their daily happy hour, which runs from 11:00am until 5:00pm, during which you can enjoy $2 beers and $5 mix drinks and wine.

Kimani’s secret to a great drink? Love. He makes all his drinks with love, because “with this job, if you are just doing it for the money, you will never truly enjoy it,” he said. “People can tell if you are not doing it from the heart and that is not good for business either.”

Kimani has worked at Movida for six months. The 21-year-old bartender started behind the bar when he was 18 years old and is looking forward to improving his skills as he goes along. His favourite part of being a bartender? Pleasing customers. “If people come here for the first time, I’m so happy to be part of that experience and aim to make them want to come back for more,’ he explained.

According to Kimani, the recipe for good bartending is conversation + a good drink made with love + passion for the profession. “When people come in having a bad day, I actually like that because I can cheer them up and have them leaving happy,” he added.

Of course, we had to put Kimani’s drinks to the test. We started the sampling with Movida’s famous Pornstar Martini. With its tropical flavours, sweet taste and champagne bubbles, it is no wonder that this cocktail is one of Movida’s bestsellers. It truly is a crowd-pleaser: “People come in and have like four or five pornstars because they love it so much,” Kimani said.

Then it was time to try another Movida classic – the Lemon Drop Martini. This one is equally as popular as the Pornstar Martini and – again – for good reason! In one word: YUM. The Lemon Drop Martini truly packs a punch: It is the perfect balance of sour, sweet and refreshing.

Last, but certainly not least, was Movida’s Mojito Fizz. For this fun take on the classic mojito, Kimani uses champagne instead of the regular club soda. The result? A fresh, bubbly, not overly sweet cocktail. The champagne complements the brown sugar, mint and lime surprisingly well – dare we even say better than club soda? Try it for yourself!

Pornstar Martini

2 oz. vanilla vodka

1.5 oz. pineapple juice

1.5 oz. passion fruit juice

Ice

Cherry for garnish – optional

1-2 oz. champagne – or prosecco, we won’t tell!

Chill glass with ice. Meanwhile, combine juices, vodka and ice in shaker – and shake it, baby. Empty glass of ice, strain into glass, leaving some space on top for the champagne.

Pro tip: Pour champagne onto spoon in glass to achieve a layered look. Drop a cherry in the glass and ENJOY.

 

Lemon Drop Martini

2 oz. vodka

1 packet of brown sugar

1.5 simple syrup – Kimani uses a homemade brown sugar syrup, but store-bought works too.

1 oz. FRESHLY squeezed lime/lemon juice (Kimani squeezes a mix of lemon and lime daily and emphasized that you HAVE TO use fresh juice in this cocktail).

Wedge of lime – for rim

Lemon slices – for garnish

Ice

Rub glass rim with lime and cover rim in brown sugar. Then the fun part begins: combine vodka, juice, simple syrup and ice into shaker and … you know what to do. Strain into glass, garnish with lemon and ENJOY.

 

Mojito Fizz

8-9 fresh mint leaves

1 oz. simple syrup (again, Kimani makes his own with brown sugar)

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. brown rum

2 oz. champagne or prosecco

Small cup of ice

Mint leaves – for garnish

Lime slices – for garnish

First, add mint leaves, lime juice and simple syrup into a tall glass. Muddle that up to enhance the flavours before adding the ice, rum and champagne into glass.

Last step: Stir mixture with a spoon, garnish with extra mint and lime and ENJOY.

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