I am only to be in Southampton for a couple more days – and then my first year will be over. It’s been rather an emotional nine months at university – what with money going down the drain and just being generally miserable, but also having fallen in love with radio presenting and news reading, while also completely out of favour with news writing.
To treat ourselves after our hard year so far, but also because of its convenience, my highly-esteemed co-presenter Mr Dean Connor, along with fellow journalism students Lina, who you may remember from the Paris series, Jon, who joined me in the last issue and his boyfriend Jacob – a student in fashion photography – took a little trip last Friday (the 3rd) to the local Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay. Not to eat, mind you! We went to drink.
You may remember reading the review of a lunch I had at Turtle Bay back in October and I recall mentioning the cocktails that had been recommended to me. Well we went down with the purpose of sampling as many as possible. Because they run a seven-hour happy hour, would you believe? From midday until 7pm, and then again from 10pm until they close. And it’s two (of the same cocktail) for £6.65 – better than anything you’ll get in a Slug and Lettuce!
Enough jabbering now, let’s get down to the important things: the drinks. This is to be an sporadic series, I think, and I’ll only give a selection for this article. I’ll start off with probably one of the most potent: The Beachcomber Zombie (see pictured).
This one is a particular favourite of my lady-friend Ellie Wicks, the very person who told me about Turtle Bay in the first place.
They look harmless enough, don’t they. Now naturally I can’t give the full recipes to these beverages like in other Cocktail Columns – they’re trade secrets, of course. I can tell you what they mainly consist of. There’s a reason why I bought this for all my friends to taste first – it contains a total of four different types of rum, plus bitters, Grenadine syrup and – to give it that little extra kick – a shot of absinthe. What amazed me most was that Dean, with whom I have been trying to have cocktails since Paris, didn’t actually think too fondly of them, even though he goes through copious amounts of rum and other forms of alcohol on a daily basis!
To me, the Beachcomber Zombie has the flavour of a tropical fruit salad – the different flavours in the rums and the Grenadine giving it a nice cherry undertone, and then it literally does kick you in the teeth with a lethal liquorice sting from the absinthe as you swallow. Seeing as I was the only one who thought they were gorgeous, I had them both to myself in the end!
Onto something a little lighter, perhaps. Something a little fruitier, like the Raspberry Reggae (see pictured) for example. Cockspur Gold Rum and a deliciously-tart raspberry liqueur, topped up with soda water for a little extra bitterness, and garnished with lime.
Truly one of the most refreshing things you can order from their rather eclectic menu. But perhaps not as refreshing as one that I chose for Dean and Lina, who were sharing rounds, the Jumbled Julep (see pictured below). This one was very similar in appearance to the Caribbean Pimms they serve, which I’ll deal with in a later issue. But it was Vodka and Passoã – a French passionfruit liqueur – with apple juice as its mixer. It also contained strawberries and mint.
And I think that one was superior to the Raspberry Reggae in how refreshing it was, on a day as hot as this was.
I’ve got one more to show you this issue, which I thought I’d talk about while I had mentioned passionfruit. The Passion Rum Punch (see pictured below) as it is entitled is one of the same Cockspur Gold Rum along with orange juice as its primary mixer – plus they put bitters in my one. Half a passionfruit is then squeezed into the beverage – quite like a Pornstar Martini in this respect.
And after mixing thoroughly, the other half is placed on top as a garnish. With the Pornstar Martini, they will usually hollow out the passionfruit shell and fill it with Cointreau or some other form of liqueur and set alight to it.
With this one, it’s such fun to drink because you have the added pleasure of eating a passionfruit at the same time. The only time I think I have ever had a passionfruit before is in a fruit pavlova I either made or ate at a restaurant (I forget), but the pulp was contained in the centre of the meringue.
The list goes on as to the amount of cocktails on Turtle Bay’s menu. I’m only reviewing things you don’t normally see. But the “Classic Cocktails” such as the Cosmopolitan, the Strawberry Daiquiri and the Long Island Iced Tea can be found at your local Yates or Wetherspoons – I daresay they don’t make them any different here, albeit the price for two of the same cocktail is probably better.
So yes this is the first in about three articles I’ll be producing on the subject of Turtle Bay Southampton’s cocktails. There will probably be a couple of other reviews in between – there’s still a visit to an Oxford Street (Southampton) restaurant to do, plus I’ve got a couple of food-lifestyle features in the pipeline.