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 search for the island’s hottest drinks takes us to Topper’s Restaurant and Bar in Cole Bay. Here, beautiful bartender Yulanda Gentle tells us about the passion for her craft and shows us how to make not one, not two, but three delicious drinks with Topper’s prizewinning homemade Rhum.
Topper’s is set in a beautiful location right on the lagoon – so fresh breeze and gorgeous views are guaranteed. Their daily food specials focus on fresh seafood and Certified Black Angus meats cooked to perfection.
Food-lovers will find pancakes, French toast, eggs benedict, omelettes, and sandwiches on their new breakfast menu. Lunch favourites include coconut shrimp, mango chicken salad, pasta, drunken shrimp salad, and award-winning burgers. For dinner, fans enjoy filet mignon, red snapper, prime rib, Alaskan king crab legs, lobster, brisket, osso buco, sea scallops, rack of lamb and more!
Not only is Topper’s known for its food, but the establishment also hosts their very own rhum distillery. Here, devoted rhum specialists make the ten different rhum flavours sold all over the island – and the world – in addition to the 100 different rhum flavours sold exclusively at the distillery. Locals and tourists alike flock to Topper’s for their rhum tours and tastings.
But today is all about the establishment’s bar: a big blue marble bar that forms the heart of the dining area. It is a local hangout and well-known for its daily happy hour, karaoke and nightly live music. And for the specialty sips that Topper’s talented bartenders happily serve to thirsty patrons.
Yulanda is one of those talented individuals. Not only is she a brilliant bartender, but Yulanda is also a mother, model, singer, and she’s even a dancer (after a few shots); she can truly do it all. She has worked at Topper’s for over five years and is happy to be a part of such a loving and happy family, she said.
She tells us that she has been bartending since she was 18 years old. At 21, she won a modelling competition, after which she worked as a model for some years. But her passion for making people happy pulled her back to the bar.
“I love bartending, because it makes people happy. I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they have a sip of my creations. They appreciate my craft and I appreciate them for enjoying my drinks,” she explains. Her secret? Love. “Everything I do, I do with love,” she says. And, of course, Topper’s homemade rhum and the freshest ingredients.
Now it’s time to try some cocktails! We start with Yulanda’s personal favourite: the new Pink Lemonade, which was a hit at the recent SMILE event. It combines Topper’s famous white chocolate and raspberry rhum, lemonade and cranberry juice for a perfectly pink, sweet, and refreshing drink – perfect for a hot Sunday afternoon at the pool, beach or BBQ.
The second drink is very different, yet equally good. Topper’s Rhumtini is the perfect after-dinner (or anytime of the day really – who are we to judge?) treat. Think an espresso martini, but creamier, chocolatier, and – dare we say– “deliciousier”.
Last, but not least, Yulanda made us a Frozen Jalapeno Lime Mojito with Topper’s speciality lime jalapeno rhum. This drink is perfect for a hot afternoon – but any time of the day really. It is perfectly balanced: it’s refreshing, minty and subtly spicy. And that tajin rim is to die for – make sure to try!
2-oz Topper’s White Chocolate Raspberry Rhum – which is widely available on the island and equally enjoyable over ice or as a premium ingredient in a variety of cocktails.
½-oz cranberry juice
1 scoop of ice
Club soda – optional.
Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake, shake, shake. Pour into glass with ice and lemon slices, garnish with a cherry and more lemon and ENJOY. Pro tip: If you want the drink to be less strong, add a splash of club soda.
2-oz Topper’s Mocha Mama Rhum – also widely available and a fabulous after dinner treat, addition to your coffee or delight any time of day.
1-oz freshly brewed espresso
1-oz heavy cream
1 scoop of ice
Chocolate syrup – optional
Combine all ingredients and – you guessed it – shake it, baby. And if you wanna get fancy (don’t we all?) twirl some chocolate syrup into a martini glass, pour in the creamy cocktail and ENJOY.
Frozen Jalapeno Lime Mojito (makes one 16-oz or two 8-oz drinks)
4-oz Topper’s specialty Jalapeno Lime Rhum – sold exclusively available at the distillery.
2-oz fresh lime juice
1-oz simple syrup – DIY by boiling sugar and water or store-bought.
Fresh mint leaves – Yulanda got hers fresh from Topper’s herb garden, but we certainly won’t judge if you get them from a supermarket.
16-oz cubed ice
Now, combine all ingredients into a blender and blend away. General tip for frozen drinks: 16-oz cubed ice blends down to 9-oz crushed ice – so just add 7-oz of liquid and you got yourself two perfect 8-oz drinks. Wet the rim of the glass with lime, turn into a plate of tajin seasoning, pour in the drink(s), garnish and ENJOY.