In search of SXM’s hottest 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 a secret location in Little Bay, Belair, for one of the Lituation Series parties. Here, we met with international mixologist Sájari Q to try one of her top-shelf craft cocktails and to share the recipe with all you cocktail-lovers.
Sájari Q is an American mixologist, creator, and activist. She has worked behind over 20 bars in her career, some of which have won the notorious James Beard Award. And now she is on St. Maarten to host the Lituation Series, which are silent headphone luxury VIP experiences with the best DJs, all-you-can-eat chef designed appetizers, and all-you-can-drink craft cocktails – all wrapped in an all-inclusive vibe dedicated to giving back to local initiatives.
On Friday night, May 6, we parked our cars at Belair Beach Hotel and stepped into the complimentary shuttle to be transported to the secret villa location to learn more about Sájari and her bartending secrets, her events and, of course, to try one of her signature sips so that we can report back to you!
Sájari tells us that she started bartending 15 years ago through a friend’s recommendation. “I started as a server and was eager to learn more,” she says. So as soon as she was old enough, she became a bartender in Chicago.
Having visited St. Maarten four times, the mixologist fell in love with the island and its people. She explains that she wanted to create a unique experience fitting to St. Maarten’s “Little Miami” or “Vegas of the Caribbean” vibe. Her silent disco villa parties attest to this: They are intimate, luxurious and exclusive events – perfect for networking, talking, dancing, eating, drinking and even taking a dip in the pool.
Her favourite part of being a bartender? “The versatility – both in who I meet and what I end up doing after work,” she says. It is for that same reason that the mixologist loves making different types of margaritas: they are versatile enough to make a million versions.
Sájari’s secret is communication. “No one has the same taste buds,” she explains. Everyone has a different taste, so you have to tailor drinks to their preference, she adds. “That is how I got into mixology: to create new recipes.”
Of course, we had to put Sájari’s drinks to the test. She decided to make us a Lemon Drop Fizz, which is her spin on the lemon drop martini.
The bartender makes the drink unique by garnishing it with a smoked wild berry aromatic bubble – Sájari pulls out her flavour blaster to smoke drinks and add aromatics. Of course, this will be difficult to do at home, so it’s a great excuse to come to one of the Lituation events to experience it for yourself.
It’s refreshing, fruity, flavourful, smoky, and slightly bitter while still sweet – perfect for any occasion, if you ask us. It comes as no surprise that Sájari’s Lemon Drop Fizz is perfectly balanced, and the smoke bubble adds to the overall experience. As one of our friends said, “It tastes like a summer afternoon in a glass.” Now what more could you ask for?
Lemon Drop Fizz
1 oz. citron vodka
1 oz. orange vodka
0.5 oz. mango vodka
0.75 oz. agave (or 0.5 oz. simple syrup)
2 dashes orange bitters
Sparkling lemon soda (or 0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice and club soda)
Garnish: smoked wild berry aromatic bubble (or substitute a low-priced drink smoker and smoke over lemon and orange peels)
The directions here are sweet and simple: Combine the three different types of vodka in a shaker with the orange bitters and agave or simple syrup and shake it, baby. Pour into chilled glass with ice, and top it off with as much soda as you please.
The last step: Garnish with a smoke bubble if you are a pro like Sájari, or, for us laypeople, use smoked lemon and orange peels. ENJOY!