Specialty Sips: Nathalie Schoenher @ Rendez Vous Lounge

Specialty Sips: Nathalie Schoenher @ Rendez Vous Lounge

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 Rendez Vous Lounge in Porto Cupecoy. Here, owner Nathalie Schoenher combines her passion for food, drink and people all in one beautiful restaurant overlooking the harbour.

We met with Nathalie, her friendly staff and sweet doggie to discuss all things Rendez Vous Lounge, her passion for food and drink and, of course, to try some of her delicious drinks – and report back to you!

It was Monday afternoon at 2:00 and locals and tourists alike were enjoying a leisurely lunch – some with wine glass in hand, while others sipped on fresh homemade juice.

Rendez Vous Lounge has been a popular breakfast, lunch and dinner spot since they opened in 2010. Back then, their menu was a lot smaller, explained Nathalie; but in 2014, the establishment added more juices, cocktails, and food items to their list.

The Lounge is especially busy on weekends when patrons have more time to enjoy the wide variety of excellent breakfast and lunch options. The Sunday Jazz Lunch is the restaurant’s hottest event – make sure to reserve your spot as they are full every Sunday. Brunch date anyone?

Nathalie’s secret to a great drink? The flavours need to be balanced; and the only way to ensure a good balance is to taste whatever drink you are making, she added; especially when making cocktails on request as you might not make those as often.

Of course, we had to put Nathalie’s drinks to the test. We started the sampling with Nathalie’s special Caribbean cocktail. The drink is named “Pani probleme” – which in Creole means that it will melt your problems away, she explained. Nathalie often offers the refreshing drink to her guests after their meal. It combines three rhums and different juices, but she would not share her secret recipe with us. So you’ll just have to go and try the problem melt-er for yourself.

Then it was time to try her white Russian pudding, which can be ordered as a shot, as a pudding, or alongside chocolate cake. This cool, creamy, caramelly pudding is a delicious twist on our favourite white Russian cocktail – a perfect alcohol-infused treat. Thankfully for us, she shared the recipe!

Last, but certainly not least, was Rendez Vous Lounge’s Caesar Palace Bloody Mary, named after the hotel in Las Vegas. Again, a fun and tasty twist on a cocktail classic – a Bloody Mary with shrimp, clamato juice, olives and pickles, perfectly balanced indeed! We know what we’ll order at the next jazzy lunch!

White Russian Pudding shots

(Makes 50 shots – so you can make a big batch and freeze for all upcoming BBQs and dinner parties)

2 packages (3.4 oz.) Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding mix

1 cup cold milk

1 cup Baileys Irish Cream Liquor

½ cup Vanilla Vodka

½ cup Kahlua

1 tub (16 oz.) Cool Whip (thawed)

50 shot glasses or condiment cups

1. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the instant pudding mix, milk and Baileys in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.

2. Stir in the Kahlua and vodka.

3. Fold in the Cool Whip until well combined.

4. Divide mixture over containers, leaving some room for expansion. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve and ENJOY.

Caesar Palace Bloody Mary

(Makes one cocktail)

2.5 oz vodka

Splash of tobacco

Splash of Worcester sauce

Pinch of horseradish

1 cup Clamato juice – found at most supermarkets

Ice

2 cooked shrimps – seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice

1 pickle

2 olives

1. Put the shrimps, olives and pickle on a stick.

2. Combine all other ingredients in a glass, stir well, garnish with the stick and ENJOY!

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