Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2014 Contents www.guardian.co.tt
IT'S CARNIVAL SUNDAY and in a few hours the Merry
Monarch will reign supreme on the streets of T&T. For two
days the revelry, costumes, music, drinking and the "wining"
will rule the road. Carnival is being celebrated in other coun-
tries as well, including the famous Rio Carnival and, of course,
Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A few years ago I took a road
trip with my daughter Racquel, to America's southland, end-
ing in New Orleans for "Fat Tuesday". While I appreciated all
the city had to offer including its Carnival pomp and
pageantry, the bead throwing etc., I remember standing on
the side of the road watching all the big trucks passing with
costumed masquerades with all the jazz-infused music and
saying to myself, "What am I doing here, and Machel blazing
soca in Trinidad?" While it was a good experience, I will for-
ever remain faithful to "we carnival".
And what will you be drinking while pumping on the road for
these two days? In Rio the choice is the ever popular Caipir-
inha cocktail, made with cachaça, an intensely sweet Brazil-
ian rum made from sugarcane juice, and in New Orleans it
would be cocktails made from every spirit, plus beers and
To find out what the big bands will be serving up their mas-
queraders, I turned to some band leaders for some answers.
While the past week has been quite hectic and really not a
good time to chat with "mas band generals", I managed to
make contact with Ronnie McIntosh from the mas band
"Ronnie and Caro". He told me his band carries a premium
bar, including some high profile premium brands, and of
course wines for the ladies. Brian Chin of "Colours Fuh So"
indicated that their all-inclusive sections carry premium
brands of spirits and wines.
While I regret not getting the opportunity to speak to an of-
ficial of Tribe/Bliss to get a feel for what these trendsetting
bands offer for the drinking needs of their band members, I
turned to a source close to the band who confirmed that
they serve ultra-premium brands of wines and spirits, includ-
ing rum, vodka, whiskies, some tequila, wines and mixers. I
was told that usually when Tribe/Bliss members exit the Sa-
vannah stage they are greeted with a Mimosa, which is a
sparkling wine with orange juice, or a high caffeine drink like
Café Patron XO, which when consumed maintains the en-
ergy levels of masqueraders.
While I was hoping to hear a little more of mixed drinks like
cocktails, I was told by an experienced mixologist the logis-
tics of mixing exotic cocktails on the road is not very prac-
tical. However, a few mixed drinks are served up e.g.
Mimosas and Sangrias, which can be mixed in batches and
served up to hours later, and also these are two-ingredient
drinks, so it is pretty easy to mix while the band is on the
So what about the masqueraders who are not part of the
all-inclusive carnival bands or sections? What can they do
to enjoy a thirst-quenching beverage on the road for Carni-
val? Of course, there are the ever-popular sangrias that can
be prepared at home on Carnival mornings or maybe even
the night before. Also, another trending drink that is making
quite a stir in the US and to a certain extent here, is white
Sangria, made from light white wine like Pinot Giorgio and
mixed with tequila. This is light, citrusy and flavourful, and
having this beastly cold on a hot Carnival day will "hit the
spot" as we say.
Another trendsetter in the cocktail circuit are pre-mixed,
ready-to-serve cocktails that come in popular flavours includ-
ing: Mojito, Margarita, Pomegranate Cosmo, Pacific Breeze,
Strawberry Daiquiri and Banana Daiquiri. Like box wines,
these pre-mixed drinks are being given a bad name from the
cocktail snobs. While I am a sceptic about most ready-to-
serve recipes, especially drinks, my advice is to read the labels
for alcohol content and other ingredients like sugars. Like I
always say, nothing beats the real thing --- freshly prepared
cocktails made from equally fresh ingredients. I have included
two cocktail recipes that you can prepare and take along
with you to enjoy while body pumping and "wining" your way
to Ash Wednesday or enjoy while being a spectator.
Next week, we are into the Lenten season, and I will return
to my regular writings and pick up where I left off just before
we went into high gear for carnival season. I will talk about
shopping for wines, the do and don'ts. This follows naturally
all my previous articles that would have brought you to this
point, as I would have covered basic wine knowledge since
the start of this column in mid-November.
Have a safe and enjoyable carnival, and be responsible with
all your carnival activities.
WHITE SANGRIA COCKTAIL
PREP 30 minutes
READY IN 1 1/2 hours
For on the road for Carnival, you can either re-
place the fruit with its juice or cut fruit
amount by half.
1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
1/2 cup Cognac (or Tequila)
1/4 cup white sugar
4 oranges, sliced in rounds
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
4 bottles dry white wine, chilled
1 bottle ginger ale, chilled
1. In a pitcher, combine Peach Schnapps, co-
gnac, sugar, sliced oranges and sliced man-
gos. Chill for at least an hour.
2. Pour fruit mixture into a large punch bowl.
Stir in white wine and ginger ale.
THE ISLAND BREEZE
No self-respecting cocktail list would be com-
plete without a nod to the delicious rum
drinks of the Caribbean.
4 oz pineapple juice
1.5 oz rum
1 oz cranberry juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker
with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a
tall glass with ice; garnish with a lime
2. You can premix in a batch, and add lime
juice instead and simply pour on ice when
ready for a nice long refreshing drink to
ramp up your energy on the road.
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