Friday, February 6, 2009

Weekend Cocktails - Biloxi Breeze

Patterned after the Bama Breeze Cocktail and made with citrus vodka, rum, cranberry and citrus juices sweetened with simple syrup, my tribute to all the old juke joints all along the Coast that were lost in Katrina.

Biloxi Breeze

At this writing, it's Friday night, the weather's warmed back up again, so what better time for a cocktail? And some music to go along with it. That's on further down, but first a story. Hope you find it interesting!

Now, The Cajun doesn't drink at all these days and so I don't imbibe much myself, so when I do, well, one generally will do it for me, and this is a good one. It's the kind of drink that invokes all kinds of memories of growing up here along the Gulf Coast. And I'm guessing that when CrazySista put it on her menu, and Jimmy wrote the song and did the video, well, they both knew it would.

From what I hear, Jimmy Buffett had originally written this song as a dedication primarily to one little dive that we all knew and loved here on the Coast called the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package store, or better known around here as "The 'Bama" bar.

As you can pretty much guess from the name, the bar was located right on the beach at the border of where Alabama and Florida join. I always heard that half the bar was in Florida and half was in Alabama, though I have no idea if that was actually true.

As you see, it really was quite a hole in the wall, but for some reason it was legendary, and all sorts of famous people seemed to make their way there for some reason. You'd hear rumors all the time of famous people and rock stars showing up there all the time, course Jimmy Buffett goes there alot, but I've heard lately Big & Rich, the NFL Peyton brothers, and Kid Rock have been seen, and they say that Taylor Hicks cut his teeth playing there.

One common practice there was that everybody wrote all over the walls everywhere in that bar, which could be entertaining just reading in and of itself. I left my name (and likely an ex or three's too) written in a couple spots myself over the years.

Now understand that this dive sat right in the midst of some pretty posh high-rise condominiums, so you might spot a millionaire at the bar rubbing shoulders with a hobo sitting next to a model.

It was just that kind of place.

The 'Bama was most famous for its annual mullet toss - yes, as in the fish - which became and still is a huge event. You can learn more than you'd probably ever want to know about all that here if you're so inclined. (click on that "preview" link at the bottom for videos) Anyway, the original Flora-Bama bar was pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and was finally demolished about a year or so later.

Now, I hear it's been rebuilt and is much nicer though I have not personally been there to attest to it with my own eyes.

And I hear some of the old traditions have been carried on.

Anyway, not long after Hurricane Katrina destroyed so much of our shoreline along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi, taking away every single beachfront hotel, casino, restaurant, tourist attraction, gas station, fast food places and yeah, the bars and the beer joints, we heard that Jimmy Buffett was in town recording in the old shell of a washed out building that once housed the Fire Dog Saloon in Bay St. Louis. Bay St. Louis is on the far west side of the Mississippi coast, near the Louisiana border. Nobody quite knew what he was recording at the time or why, until sometime in 2006, when Bama Breeze was released.

What started out as a tribute to the old Flora-Bama bar, became a tribute born out of the destruction of Katrina to all the old juke joints all along the Coast that were lost - the kind of places that we all grew up hanging out in, taking shelter in from the searing sun on the hot beach, cooling off, having a few beers, listening to a jukebox or sometimes a live band, playing pool, dancing and just being with our friends.

This video could have been shots taken in any one of them at any time in my past. It brought tears to my eyes, for that reason and for many others. Well, all those joints are destroyed and gone now, but the memories never will be.

So, here's my salute to the juke joints of old with what I'm calling a Biloxi Breeze Cocktail, an adaptation of the Bama Breeze Cocktail named after the song that can be found at Jimmy's sister's place called LuLu's another one of our favorite places, located less than an hour's drive from us.

Except for those pesky months of hurricane season, it's sure a blessing to live on the Gulf Coast.

(if the video isn't showing up you can catch it here)

First you'll need to make up some simple syrup. Put 2 parts of sugar to 1 part of water, stir together and microwave on high until boiling. Stir well and set aside to cool at room temperature.

Next we need some crushed ice. Just throw some ice cubes in a Ziploc bag...

and smash the heck out of it with a mallet. This is especially good if you have some frustrations leftover from the week.

Fill up your glass with the ice.

And top the ice with the vodka ...

...and the rum. Whoa. Hoochiemama....

Top it off with the cranberry juice, lime juice, orange juice, grenadine (I didn't have any this time) and then sweeten to taste with some of the simple syrup. Garnish with a slice of orange or lime and reminisce about by-gone beach days and string bikinis. Enjoy!

Posted by on February 6, 2009
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