In St. Kitts and Nevis, as with any other Caribbean territory we are lovers of thirst quenching beverages. These local drinks are available pretty much all year round except for those available when in crop or in season, for example Christmas.
Here are a few local drinks made with fruits grown in our gardens, bought directly from the market or mixed specifically with secret ingredients.
The Sorrel Drink
During the Christmas season Kittitians and Nevisians are all fixated on eating, drinking and spending time with close family and friends. I am sure this is the same wherever you go. However here in the federation Christmas means Black Cake, Sorrel and more Sorrel! It is a deep reddish/purple fruit; found in backyard gardens or sold by the pound in the local markets. In other places such as India or Malaysia it is eaten as is, but here we use it to make a drink. Sorrel is not only rich in vitamin c but is used as a remedy for high blood pressure as prescribed by Herbal Practitioners. The whirlwind of flavours explodes in your mouth and surely makes it a Christmas to remember. It is boiled in water, and after cooling is mixed with cinnamon, ginger, sugar and rum! It is surely a unique taste and cannot be compared to anything else.
Golden Apple Drink
An apple a day keeps the doctor away! This drink is usually made with green golden apples. It is blended with sugar, water and ginger. The ginger is the secret that adds to the wonderful flavour. This is definitely a great choice drink on a heated day on either islands.
Mauby is made by boiling a specific buckthorn bark, with sugar and a variety of spices. The beverage is made by adding water, usually to suit the drinker’s taste. It starts out sweet but ends with a bitter after taste; we like to say it is an acquired taste. Nevertheless it is extremely refreshing and is a favourite on both islands.
Ginger beer is made from a turmeric root called ginger. The ginger is washed, peeled and grated. Water, cloves and lime (still in peel) are then added to make a mixture which is left to sit overnight for fermenting. The mixture is then strained and brown sugar is added to sweeten. This one is an old fashion beer but certainly a dynamite. Try it with ice on a hot sunny day.
The soursop is a fruit shaped in the form of a heart. The skin is green with short stubs but falls off as it ripens. The colour changes to a lighter shade of green, when fully ripe. The belly of the fruit is white, and this is the section we use to make delicious delights such as ice-cream and the soursop drink. We also use the leaves (or bush as the locals call it) for tea. The drink is made by blending the soursop with water, milk and spices. It is very creamy and thick but goes down smoothly. If you have never had soursop, we ask that you make this a must have drink once in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. I know you will enjoy this as much as we do!
Sea Moss Drink
This one as we locals say “is good for you back”. It’s supposedly the miracle remedy for men who require an increase in strength and sexual stamina. Scientifically, Sea Moss is said to be a good source of thyroid hormones, filled with potassium, iodine and contains Algin which is good for detoxing of heavy metals. The sea moss is soaked overnight with lime juice. It is then cooked for over 30 minutes or until the mixture becomes more like jelly. The mixture is cooled, then milk and sugar are added. It also flavoured with angostura bitters. This is best served chilled, or over ice.
This is a local homemade root beer which is very mildly alcoholic and is said to be very good for you. As the name suggests, it is made with sarsaparilla but mixed with other roots. The ingredients vary but maintains a similar taste. It is easily brewed by boiling the ingredients for about thirty minutes. The brew is allowed to cool then vanilla and ginger bug liquid are added for flavour and sweetness. Ensure you try the Sarsaparilla!
Tamarind is very sour but turns sweet as it ripens. Here within the Federation, the tamarind is eaten raw or mixed with sugar for a little snack we call tamarind balls. We also boil it with sugar to form a puree called tamarind jam. As this blog is about beverages, let us direct our focus there. You will need water, sugar and of course the main ingredient tamarind. Pour boiling water over the shelled tamarind and add the sugar. Cover and allow to stand several hours or overnight. Strain the tamarind juice through a strainer or clean cloth, then dilute with additional water and add more sugar or honey to taste. This is best served chilled or over ice.
The Killer Bee
It is a sweet rum punch that knocks you off your seat. True enough you will get stung, but not by a bug or bee. Get your taste buds ready for the Infamous Killer Bee Rum Punch at Sunshine’s Beach Bar. The Killer Bee cocktail is by far the most popular beverage on the island of Nevis. We however were not privy to obtaining the secret recipe of this infamous rum punch. For sure it contains lots of rum and nutmeg, which is the norm all around the island! Who knows, maybe you will be lucky to get the recipe and share with us!
“Life’s Not All Beer and Skittles”, Experience St Kitts and Nevis local thirst quenchers and leave in awe with the after taste of what was a Tropical Fantasy.