frozen pineapple, banana + coconut daiquiris | drinks from my dad’s cocktail garden

“Daddy, do it.”

Over the first several years of my life, that phrase effortlessly and confidently spilled out of my mouth. My dad was there when things needed to be fixed, when I got hurt, when I fell off my scooter, or when the ship was overturning, quite literally, in fact. When you’re little and you have a limited scope on how large and volatile the world actually is, you count on those who show up consistently in your life’s realm.

I counted on my dad.

As a family, we’d sail together, oftentimes in the Gulf of Mexico, in the midst of summer storms, in the face of bracing winds and powerful lightning. Just me, my sister, my step-mom, and my dad at the helm. I’d run down below and hide under my tangled arms, beside my sister, pressing my face to the slate-blue-striped pillows. We’d pray for our lives, at times, whilst trusting that our dad knew what he was doing: sailing the rough seas, braving the swells, navigating the sea floor.

Looking back, I think he was completely insane.

I put a lot of trust in him. Daddy. Please, do it. Please, don’t kill us. I am laughing as I type this, but we grew up as a sailing family, participating in races together, come storm or shine. We’d even take our parrots with us on certain sailing trips. I truly felt like I was living out a pirate’s life, up until there was a swell that knocked us over or a gust that threw us about. My sister fell overboard once. Thankfully, she wore a life jacket. We’re able to laugh about the incident now.

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

Life is bereft with bumps and delays and potholes. Those “vibrations” are inevitable. I believe that it’s where we pick up on those rhythms and beats that we find the algorithm, which enables us to achieve the most enriching opportunities for growth, providing us the most captivating stories.

I’ve always mentioned that the very foods we enjoy and the drinks we sip truly have healing benefits — not only within the nutrients they possess or their hydrating qualities or even their fiber content, but also within their ability to facilitate comfort, sympathy, or joy. For me, even the act of preparing a dish or crafting a cocktail allows me to be present and process the thoughts sifting through my mind.

Meditation.

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

I hadn’t been back home to Florida in well over a year, but when I received an early morning phone call from my stepmother, Jeanne, a few weeks ago in early June, I booked a ticket to Tampa within minutes of my hanging up with her. My dad had fallen in the night and had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. He was unable to move the left side of his body. His ability to communicate was extremely limited. Although we were unsure of the prognosis at that moment, we all knew, as a family, that this was a very serious situation. My sister, Heather, and her new baby began the long drive down from the Panhandle. Jeanne’s family gathered near. And I took a 2-stop, all-nighter, red-eye from Denver.

If Daddy couldn’t do it, I would.

Our families reunited and exchanged hugs and stories, taking shifts keeping my dad company in the ICU. We all tried our bests to stay positive and keep it light around my dad, as he ebbed and flowed out of sleep and awareness. We made jokes and put Snapchat filters on his face, turning him into a dog or a deranged clown. He was a good sport. Heather and I even coaxed a few half-smiles out of him by singing childhood songs, along with a ridiculous rap we made up over a Father’s Day vacation.

I seriously believe that if you choose JOY, even in the face of the unknown or pain, that love will prevail. Our first night together, Heather, Jeanne, and I put little Adriana {my niece} to bed, filled up the hot tub, and poured ourselves some wine. Glen Ellen Merlot, in fact. I would put solid money down that my dad’s healing process was facilitated by the fact that we took time to enjoy each other’s company and dwell on the positive memories we’d built over the years.

The next day, after visiting my dad, Heather and I drove to the store and picked up some fresh, Florida fruit. Tropical Storm Colin was approaching that afternoon, boasting predictions of floods and high winds, so we geared up for a traditional “hurricane party,” complete with rum cocktails. Before we started up the car and headed home, we took a few moments to just sit in silence. We were just happy to be together. She was even more delighted that our stepmom was watching the baby for a while. We didn’t mind hanging out in the car right then. Both of us were grateful for the temporary respite. Our dance moves were beyond epic. We blasted Rhianna and Calvin Harris’ “Lightning: This is What You Came For” on repeat, say, thirty times in succession, and just giggled together, carefree.

I figured that if life were giving us a storm, we were going to have crazy-fun time turning it into a party. After we drove back to the house, I whipped up some frozen pineapple, banana, and coconut daiquiris there on the back porch, and we waited out the storm together.

And all was good and well.

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

A classic daiquiri, or a Hemingway Daiquiri, is much different than the recipe I’m sharing here. That particular version calls for 2 ounces of rum, 3/4 of an ounce fresh lime juice, 1/2 an ounce fresh grapefruit juice, and 1/2 an ounce of maraschino liqueur, shaken well and served either up or over crushed ice. With the heat and humidity on high, however, I figured that a blended drink was in order.

Dad, aka “the Big Kahuna”, this one’s for you.


the big kahuna | a frozen pineapple, banana + coconut daiquiri


    • 4 ounces aged rum {I used Rum Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva}
    • 1/2 a ripe banana, sliced
    • 2 ounces pineapple, sliced and cubed
    • 2 ounces full-fat coconut milk
    • 1 to 2 limes, peeled
    • 1 ounce dry curaçcao {I used Pierre Ferrand}
    • 3 cups crushed ice
    • drizzle of Pedro Ximénez Sherry {I used Alvear 1927 Solera}, for garnish
    • sliced pineapple, for garnish
    • orchid flowers, for garnish
  1. If you have the time, pre-chill your spirits, so that your cocktail blends easier, yielding a much smoother drink.
  2. In a blender, combine the rum, banana, pineapple, coconut milk, lime juice, and dry curaçao. Blend until incorporated, starting on the lowest setting, increasing the speed to the highest setting.
  3. Turn off the blender and add the crushed ice, once again starting on the lowest setting, increasing the speed to the highest setting. Add more ice, if you’d like a thicker consistency, tasting for balance and adjusting with more fruit or lime juice.
  4. Pour the cocktail into chilled glasses and garnish with a drizzle of PX Sherry, a slice of fresh pineapple, and an orchid, if you have one.
  • Go with crushed ice! If you can’t find crushed ice, make your own by using a Lewis bag or simply by wrapping ice cubes in a kitchen towel and smashing them with a meat tenderizer or mallet. I’ve heard that Sonic actually sells their crushed ice, too.
  • Taking the time to pre-chill your spirits and fruits ensures that the ice remains cold and doesn’t quickly dilute the drink, when you make it.
  • If you can’t find PX Sherry, a dark rum substitutes just fine here.

It’s been several weeks since my dad’s stroke, and he has since returned home. He is improving on a daily basis, thankfully. There’s one thing that is constant, however: his sense of humor. I’ll call him, wondering how he’s doing, and he’ll answer, jovially, “Sunnyside Crematory, this is Al speaking. How may I help you?”

And I’ll laugh and oblige, “Um, hi, this is Jayme. I need to talk to you about an urn.”

Have a beautiful week!!

XO,

Jayme

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

 

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Jayme Henderson

Occupationally speaking, I am a sommelier and mixologist at a busy, upscale Denver restaurant. I am lucky enough to spend most days tasting, pairing, and creating, alongside my cherished guests. I am also a contributor at the Kitchn, where I write about wine and gardening, tour cooks' kitchens, and interview innovative growers and makers. When I am not wearing those shoes, you can find me in my garden, preserving, painting, designing, and documenting my experiences along the way. I'm currently learning calligraphy and trying my best at home brewing. And I am seriously obsessed with my cats. And rosé.

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15 Comments

  1. Reply

    Joan Steese

    August 1, 2016

    Hi Jayme! I didn’t know about your sailing adventures as a kid. My Dad was my hero, too! I am so glad he is home and still has his sense of humor. Love you lots! Mom Steese

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 4, 2016

      Mom Steese!! It’s always so nice to hear from you. I’ll have to hear more stories about your dad the next time we are together, which is hopefully soon!! There was never a dull moment around my dad, when we were growing up. Let’s hope that Thanksgiving works out. XOXOXO!!

  2. Reply

    Edith Schmidt Art

    August 1, 2016

    Loved it!!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 4, 2016

      Thanks so much, Edie! I hope you’ve taken some time to make something tropical and delicious over the summer. And I’m sure you have some crazy stories about my dad from over the years, too. I’d love to share stories one day. Hugs to Mango and Gabby from Kazu and Ash!

  3. Reply

    Katie @ Garnish Blog

    August 1, 2016

    Gorgeous photos, and this recipe sounds amazing!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 4, 2016

      Thank you, Katie – it was just what we needed. A good drink and a good distraction. 😉

  4. Reply

    stevesteese

    August 1, 2016

    So glad the “Big Kahuna” is doing better!! I love hearing your childhood sailing stories, they always sound insane to me too! Love this recipe, the PX is a nice touch to finish!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 4, 2016

      Hee hee – I need to call him, like, yesterday!! I’ll have to do that tomorrow. Yeah, those sailing stories ARE insane. I’ll have to find some photos, so there’s proof to my so-called tall tales, lol. Love you! …and PX. 😉

  5. Reply

    Adri Barr Crocetti

    August 1, 2016

    What a beautifully written and touching post. And I say yes, please to this cocktail!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 4, 2016

      Adri, thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. It was such a stressful several days, but being together as a family and finding the positive in everything that we could seriously kept our hope up, which kept up my dad’s. XO

  6. Reply

    Sherrie

    August 4, 2016

    I love your beautiful soul, and I love your sense of optimism and renewal. This is such a beautiful post my friend. xx

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 8, 2016

      Sherrie, thank you so much. It was definitely a trying weekend, and I cannot imagine what it was like for my dad. I definitely have thoughts on what he went through, but only he knows. I am so grateful for the time that I had with my stepmom, who is more like a mom to me, and my lovely sister. So many old memories shared and so many new memories made. I love you, too. …and on a lighter note, you would go crazy in his cocktail garden. I wish I had pineapples growing in my backyard!! <3

  7. Reply

    Pure Ella

    August 5, 2016

    What a touching post…. made me tear up…. I wish you and your family (especially dad) lots of health and joy always 🙂 <3

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 7, 2016

      Ella, thank you so much – that means a lot. Dad is doing better; in fact, I owe him a phone call today. That little cocktail sesh and time in the hot tub will be a memory I’ll cherish forever. Big hugs back at you, lady!!

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