Jeff Marron is the new Barman and director of all things cocktail related at The Whelk & Le Farm.
I like to work closely with the kitchen staff at The Whelk in Westport. The talent in that room is outstanding. I'm always trying to learn something new from them. A couple of months ago, they came to me with with a bottle of coconut white balsamic vinegar from a cool local oil and vinegar store called Olivette in Westport & Darien. It smelled and tasted delicious. As I like to get inspiration from the people around me, I asked Chef Lazlo what the vinegar reminded him of. He said that it reminded him of vacation and suntan lotion.
Vacation and suntan lotion. Okay. Well, what vacation and suntan lotion bring to my mind are Pina Coladas, Margaritas and delicious rum drinks. Somehow, I wanted to put all of those drinks in one glass. I wanted to put summer in a glass, in other words.
The base of the Island Life cocktail is an expansion on a Rum Old Fashioned which satisfies my craving for summer rum drinks. The aromatics of the foam are what bring all of the other flavors and memories together. Between the grapefruit and orange bitters that tie into the fresh lime juice and lime zest lies the coconut white balsamic vinegar. No one particular flavor stands out. They all play well together.