We were in a pinch. Too many pineapples. If they weren’t consumed soon, they’d all go to waste. As anyone in this bind would do we took a trip to the city library and dug through the old archives to find a recipe that just might get us free. After a morning of searching, I came across this letter from the late 1600s. It was translated from its original Russian by a English nobleman in 1756. Whether the embellishments come from him or the original author is unknown to me.
My dearest Katya,
I am still lost here. Somewhere in the tropics, but where I do not know. For the last two weeks I’ve been held in this damp cage and only fed seldom. But I mustn’t dwell on that which is troubling, for I do have a great story of how you managed to save me from thousands of miles away.
How I got on this ship is still unclear to me, but after a night exploring the reputable establishments of Port Royale, I awoke to the sound of water lapping against wood. A bearded fellow with a scorpion earring stood inches from my face. He grabbed my shoulder and drug me along the deck. At least twenty men were rushing about the ship, climbing up the mast, sharpening swords, taking overstuffed crates of golden plates, fruits, and glittering beads below. Scorpion man brought me into a stately room, cleaner and less cluttered than the rest of what I had seen up to that point. He plopped me into a high backed chair and left.
Across from me was a map filled desk. Scattered about were notes on ports and ship movements. The ornately decorated chair on the other side of the desk turned around slowly revealing to me a weathered man who couldn’t have been over the age of twenty five.
“What’s your name?” The words puttered out of his mouth with a boredom that could have only come after doing this routine more times than he could count.
I started to respond, but before I could get a word out he stood and began walking to a small table on the side of the room. “Never mind that. Frankly I don’t care who you are.” He took a decanter from the table and poured a red liquid into a high walled glass.
“It’s as simple as this. Your life now consists of two options. Number one. Join my crew, take a portion of your findings, live a wonderful life of adventure. Et cetra et cetra.” He took a seat back in his chair and slogged down half the drink. “Or, option two. Refuse and walk the plank. Really, the second option is more entertaining to me, but I find the need to still allow choice. Keeps order in this chaotic world.”
I looked at his glass, then back up to him. “What is it that you’re drinking?”
“We ransacked a pineapple farm last week and I can’t seem to get rid of them all. It’s just that and some of the other fruits we picked up there. Heavy dose of rum, but to be honest the sugar is the best part.”
“I have an offer for you then. Let me down in the hold to examine all your fruity findings and I will create a drink for you that will be worlds away from that. If you like it, then we will renegotiate the terms of your offer.”
So, I ventured into the crate lined bowels of the ship and grabbed a medley of ingredients. (I’ve wrote them all down for you at the end of this letter in case you ever come across such delights there in the motherland.) It took a substantial amount of tweaking and fiddling to find the right combination. In the end, I knew what ingredient it was missing. That one item that always makes a drink sing a song worth hearing. I grabbed the flask from my chest, it was almost empty from all the nights I sipped it to remember you. Leftover was just enough of your carefully made vodka to add to the drink. I ran to the top of the stairs and into the captain’s quarters. I was so excited I didn’t even stop to knock, a mistake in retrospect.
The captain took one sip of the drink. And then another. And then once more. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he completely forgot I was standing in front of him.
“Well boy, you’ve made something wonderful. I have a new offer for you. Why don’t you stay here to craft more of these beverages for me.”
“Yes, I suppose that is better than the alternatives.”
“Excellent. It’s settled then.”
So, that’s how I came to find myself the resident bar keep on this ship. The captain is still not as appreciative of my skills as I expected as evidenced by my current lodgings. With time perhaps I’ll receive an increase in standing. For now I’m just an amusement.
I hope this letter makes it to you some way. Hopefully in my hands, and hopefully in brighter times. If it finds you by some other means do not lose hope of my return. The wind changes faster here at sea.
Your love in rough waters
For a how-to on making your own strawberry puree for this drink check out our easy fruit puree article.
- 6 Wedges Fresh Pineapple
- 2 Tbsp Strawberry Puree
- 1/2 Oz Simple Syrup
- 1 1/2 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 2 Oz Vodka
- 1/2 Oz Campari
- 1 Oz Pineapple Juice
- 2 Oz Fruit Flavored Fizzy Water
- Cut Pineapple into small wedges.
- Muddle Pineapple Slices, Strawberry Puree, Simple Syrup, and Lime Juice into a well mixed paste in a cocktail shaker. The acidity of the lime juice and pineapples will assist in breaking down each part.
- Add Ice, Vodka, Campari, and Fresh Pineapple Juice. Shake Well.
- Add Fruit Flavored Fizzy Water into your serving glass, and pour in the complete contents of the shaker.
- Serve with a Pineapple wedge and thick straw to get all the fruity goodness out of the glass.