More refreshing than a tropical sea breeze
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club began “under a calabash tree” in 1844, founded by British army officers and Bermudian sailing enthusiasts (“royal” was added to the name in 1846, after Prince Albert became a patron of the private club). In the 1940s, Trader Vic popularized its namesake cocktail.
The club co-hosts the Bermuda Race, a biennial yachting competition that is the world’s oldest regularly scheduled ocean race. It begins in Newport, Rhode Island and ends (where else?) in Bermuda.
Of course, Newport has hosted a lot of yachting races, including the most famous of them all, the America’s Cup (from 1930 to 1983). Speaking of which, this September will see the 34th sailing of that fabled race. And earlier this week, the Louis Vuitton Cup races (to determine which team will challenge the current holder of the America’s Cup) started in San Francisco.
All of this has put us in a seafaring mood here at Kitchen Riffs central — and made us ponder what beverage we should enjoy while following the racing events. Well, what could be more appropriate than the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail?
This refreshing mix of Barbados rum, lime, Cointreau, and falernum has a tangy tropical taste that goes down easy. It’s perfect for beating the summer heat we’re now experiencing in most of the US.
Best of all? You don’t need to wear one of those silly little yachting caps to enjoy it.
Recipe: Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail
Although Bermuda makes some fine rums, they don’t really work in this drink. Instead, you need amber Barbados rum — it has a flavor profile that combines better in this cocktail. Most liquor stores in the US carry the Mount Gay Eclipse brand of Barbados rum, which is reasonably priced and of good quality.
It may be a little harder to find falernum, a ginger- and lime-flavored syrup. Fee Brothers makes a good commercial one, which many liquor stores carry. Alternatively, you can buy it from Amazon (at a price). Despite the hassle, falernum is worth acquiring — it’s a popular ingredient in many tropical and Tiki drinks, such as some versions of Planter’s Punch and The Zombie.
I learned about The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail from Ted Haigh’s excellent Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. My recipe is very slightly adapted from his (see Notes).
This recipe takes a few minutes to make, and serves one.
- 2 ounces amber Barbados rum (you really need the unique flavor profile of Barbados rum to make this drink properly)
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ~¼ teaspoon Cointreau (to taste; see Notes)
- 2 teaspoons falernum
- lime slice, wedge, or wheel for garnish (optional, but attractive)
- Add the rum, lime juice, Cointreau, and falernum to a cocktail shaker that is half-filled with ice.
- Shake hard until the shaker frosts — 20 to 30 seconds.
- Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that’s been chilled) and add optional garnish if desired.
- Ted Haigh’s recipe calls for 2 dashes of Cointreau – so we’re talking maybe an eighth of an teaspoon. The drink needs more, IMO. I like ¼ teaspoon, sometimes a bit more. So I recommend experimentation to find the amount that works for your taste buds.
- Barbados amber (gold) rum has a wonderful fragrance, and is a bit mellower than other Caribbean rums. As noted above, Mount Gay Eclipse is the brand you’re most likely to find in the US, and it’s affordable. You might also see Cockspur’s Fine Rum or Doorly’s 5-year.
- Not surprisingly, better rums make better cocktails. So if this drink becomes a favorite of yours, you might want to seek out a higher quality Barbados rum, such as Mount Gay Extra Old, Cockspur Bajan Crafted 12-year, or Doorly’s XO.
- My usual reminder: I’m naming names here, and my opinion is my own. I receive no compensation from anyone to tout their products.
- The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail is considered a “tropical” drink (meaning it’s a fairly simple and refreshing cocktail that uses rum and citrus). But it’s also a precursor to Tiki drinks, which usually add a number of other ingredients, making them more complex. And BTW, August is going to be Tiki Month on Kitchen Riffs!
Messing About in Boats
The first Bermuda Race was held in 1906 — and some considered it “an act of rebellion.” Why? Because the yachting establishment thought it would be “insane for amateur sailors to race offshore in boats under eighty feet” in length. Reportedly, critics were so pessimistic about the boats’ survival chances that some delivered funeral wreaths beforehand, so that deceased sailors could receive proper burial at sea.
The critics did have a point. Sea conditions between the northeastern US and Bermuda can be rather rough (because of the Gulf Stream’s strong currents and frequently gusty winds). Even cruising from NYC to Bermuda on a large ship, I’ve noticed quite a bit of motion.
Fortunately, the Bermuda Race proved to be a success, though only three entries took part the first time. The race was run yearly until 1910, when the organizers switched to a biennial schedule. The race now takes place in even-numbered years, with the next sailing scheduled for June 20, 2014. The largest number of entries ever was in 2006 (the 100-year anniversary of the Bermuda Race), when 265 yachts took part.
Unlike the America’s Cup, the Bermuda Race has always been meant for amateurs. Some professional sailors do take part now, but they typically make up only about 10 percent of crews.
The America’s Cup began in 1851, by the way. So how can the Bermuda Race claim to be “oldest”? Well, the America’s Cup race doesn’t occur on a set schedule. Instead, a race is triggered when a challenger steps forth to contest the cup. So it can’t match the claim of the Bermuda Race to be the oldest regularly scheduled ocean race.
Fortunately, you don’t need to know any of this to enjoy a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail. And you certainly don’t need to own a yacht — or even a toy boat for the bathtub. All you need is a bit of a thirst.
So let’s raise a glass, shall we? Here’s to fair winds and following seas.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Bermuda Rum Swizzle
Fog Cutter Cocktail
Singapore Sling Cocktail
Thank you kind 'Sir' this is just what I need for this hot weather here , if not a windy breeze and a cool breezy drink will do .
Good to know I won't have to wear one of the silly yachting caps .
I was just pondering that it was high time I came up with a refreshing cocktail for my blog.. I love the look and the flavors in this one! Your photographs always make me thirsty:D xx
Hi Nee, yeah, those yachting caps don't do anything for me. ;-) This is a really fun drink - I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Barbara, I get awfully thirsty making these photos! This is really a super cocktail - highly worth making. Thanks for the comment.
As usual the photos and history are wonderful! Are you a sailor John? Will you be stepping forward to contest the Americas cup?
First let me say I am soooo looking forward to Tiki Month @Kitchen Riffs! I may have to track down a copy of Trader Vic's books just for the occasion:)
The only "professional" regatta I've ever attended was The Long Island Regatta many years ago. I worked at the newspaper that was one of the sponsors so I had a "ring side" seat. No, not on any of the boats. I enjoyed it so much though that I actually took up catamaran sailing which I absolutely LOVED. Oh those were the days:) I even won a first place trophy as an amateur and didn't have to wear one of those "unfashionable" hats:)
However, I must admit I have never heard of falernum which I'm delighted to learn about and, I have never experienced a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail. That will be changing for sure once I locate a place to buy the necessary ingredients.
Thank you so much for sharing, John...Cheers!
P.s. I happened upon a website, while researching Piña Colada Day, that I think you will like. It's called Difford's Guide.
Wow that's an awesome looking cocktail and the name is very interesting!! I bet it is perfect for this weather.
Hi Nazneen, it's a great drink, too. Mrs K R and I actually owned a sailboat briefly years and years ago - it's fun messing about in small boats! It'd be tons of fun to be involved in the America's Cup, but alas, I'm several billion $$ shy. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Louise, the Difford's Guide folks are good - I don't use them as a resource nearly as much as I should. Tiki Month is going to be lots of fun! I don't have any of Trader Vic's books, alas. Although Beachbum Berry does a terrific job on tiki. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Shibi, isn't that a fun name? A mouthful, too! Thanks for the comment.
Really cool cocktail, never tried this one before but it sounds like my kind of drink!
Hi Natalie, it's really a tasty drink! A little like a daiquiri, but with a more distinctive flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Love the colour, this one sounds so cute and refreshing :D
Your soul-soothing drinks and awesomest pictures always mess with my head. Until I try 'em out :)
So you love messing with my head, eh? :D
Never knew that about the Americas cup. I'll have to find some falernum. And need a new bottle of rum. Yo Ho Ho, can't wait 'til Tiki month. I'll carry the torch!
Hi Uru, doesn't this have such nice color? Fun to drink, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Suborna, sorry about all that head messing! ;-) But you gotta admit the drinks are worth it, yes? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Abbe, I actually do have a torch or two; whether I can fit them into pictures is another topic. ;-) Falernum has great flavor - worth seeking out. Thanks for the comment.
Beautiful - I have never had one of these and now I am quite intrigued!
Every time I visit your blog, its always so tempting to go and make a cocktail. This looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing :)
There was so much hype and excitement back here in 1983 when Australia won the America's Cup and the next time there was a race, it wasn't in Newport, it was down here in Western Australia. More than excitement, I think in the US there was outrage! Anyway, I would love one of these cocktails and I think I'd order it on the name alone xx
Hi Alyssa, it's a really fun drink - looks good, drinks better. Worth trying, IMO. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kiran, the Summer Sippin' Series has been a lot of fun! And fun for us to explore some new cocktails. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Charlie, I remember that America's Cup! I don't think most people in the US even knew what happened - the America's Cup isn't something that most people in the US know much, if anything about - but certainly those who were into sailing were upset. I guess in 1987 it was in Freemantle, after which it went to San Diego for a couple of times. Anyway, this is a great drink, and I agree the name is so interesting. Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a fantastic drink!
Sounds like a fantastic drink!
Hi Nik, it really is delish! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Asmita, it's totally fantastic! Looks nice, and is so tasty - perfect! Thanks for the comment.
What a great color for a cocktail! It sure does have that tropical look about it. I really do enjoy the backstory you provide, John, for each of these cocktails. Each makes its respective post a very enjoyable, as well as informative, read. Thanks for sharing today's recipe and post, John.
Such a sunny drink, will transport anyone into the scenario of a scenic island
Hope you love making & devouring our bean curry too :-)
This cocktail sounds amazing John. I am such a fan of rum-based tropical cocktails, it's a bit of 'escapism' that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own arm chair. I had no idea that the America's Cup started in the 1800's. Far out. I think Australians only know about the America's Cup through the 1983 Bob Hawke incident, when he declared that all Australians should get the day off in celebration. Interesting info about the Bermuda Yacht Club race. I love all the history you include in your posts ;)
What a beautiful drink! I love the color! Lots of interesting but subtle flavors in this cocktail - rum, orange, ginger and lime. Hum - I'm quite intrigued with this one. I need a bigger liquor cabinet! Interesting information about yachting and yacht clubs. A funny little side note - Albuquerque has a Yacht Club! I'm not sure why a city in the high desert with a river that can barely float a raft would have one, but we do. :)
Hi John, although not every cocktail has all of that interesting a story, it's the stories that I like best of all. Well, they taste good, too! Thanks for your kind words, and comment.
Hi Kumar, it's a great drink! And it's so much fun. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, the America's Cup is one of those "premiere" sporting events that most people know almost nothing about! It's a lot of fun to follow, though. Thanks for the comment.
Hi MJ, Albuquerque has a yacht club? I wouldn't have guessed that. Maybe so they can create their own drink and name it after the club? ;-) This one really is fun. And you probably do need a bigger liquor cabinet! Thanks for the comment.
That looks like a gorgeous drink John. I've got to say that I am not a big fan of rum (or any of the other really strong drinks) except when it is in a good mix of some sorts and this sounds like it would be perfect on a long hot summer night!
Just the name alone is enough to make me want to drink one :)
Hi Simone, the lime juice really helps mellow the flavor of this drink quite a bit. And it's quite refreshing in hot weather! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Maureen, the name is what first interested me in this drink, too! Then I saw the ingredients list, and knew I had to make it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
I have never heard of falarnum, but the flavors of lime and ginger sound delicious! I will have to seek some out.
Hi Laura, falernum isn't used in a ton of drinks, but unfortunately there's no good substitute for it. Store it in the refrigerator and it lasts a long time! Thanks for the comment.
I love the way the light shines through that lime, just beautiful! Another piece of art work, for sure!
I'm with Laura...I've never heard of flarnum, but if you need it for this gorgeous cocktail, I'm in! Sounds perfect for this mid-July heat!
Hi Chris, it's so much fun to back light citrus slices - don't they look great? And this is a real work of art. ;-) Thanks for the kind words, and comment.
Hi Liz, this drink is worth buy the falernum, IMO. Then once you have it, there are several other terrific drinks that require it (it's an ingredient in a lot of Tiki drinks, for example). Thanks for the comment.
You make a cocktail look sooooo good! I'm thirsty just looking at it. Anything with lime always gets my vote. Thanks for sharing this post with us John!
Hi Anne, lime has such a great flavor, doesn't it? Maybe my favorite (nonalcoholic!) cocktail ingredient. Thanks for the comment.
Mmm, love the breezy flavors in this cocktail, John! I haven't heard of falernum before but I love lime and ginger so know I'll enjoy it. Can't wait for Tiki Month!
I just happen to have a bottle of cointreau that I bought a few months ago for a party...I love that stuff! It's great in drinks :)
Delightful! This cocktail looks absolutely irresistible. The flavors are fabulous.
You have me searching for falernum now. Great drink and wonderful information (again). Happy sailing!
Hi Hannah, I'm looking forward to Tiki Month too! And falernum really has wonderful flavor - worth seeking out. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ashley, Cointreau is wonderful! I can't decide whether I like it or Grand Marnier better, so of course I have both. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rosa, it is totally irresistible! And quite good flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, a good liquor store will carry falernum. A few years ago that wasn't necessarily the case, but it's one of those ingredients that's been "rediscovered." Thanks for the comment.
just mouthwatering....looks delicious!
Hi Kalyan, it really is delish - well worth trying! Thanks for the comment.
say no more....I'm sold on the phrase "More refreshing than a tropical sea breeze!" Would love to have a couple of this cocktail now....especially I'm not having a vacation near the ocean any time soon. :P
Hi Amy, it's hot here today, so one of these would be most welcome! Thanks for the comment.
I've never even heard of falernum. But if there's ginger in it, I'm all over it. I can never resist anything with ginger.
Hi Carolyn, ginger is so good, isn't it? And although it's not the main flavor of falernum, it's definitely there. Thanks for the comment.
Oh I do love a delicious cocktail or two... or maybe three. I can't wait for some warmer weather to give this one a run.
Hi Gourmet Getaways, two for me! ;-) And this one is delish. Thanks for the comment.
Wow, John! First of all, your photography always blows me away! I think cocktails are one of the most difficult things to photograph, for me. But your clicks are always so stunning. I may have to pick your brain about that one day! I love rum based cocktails and the color of this one is beautiful. Also, thanks for the education on Barbados rum and introducing me to falernum. And I'm so looking forward to Tiki Month! : )
Such a gorgeous looking drink. I am with some of your other readers, I have never heard of falernum, but I am sure I would enjoy this drink
Hi Anne, cocktail photos are all about reflections, and controlling them. Alas, it does take some work to get them right - I always find them challenging (and one of the reasons why I do the Summer Sippin' Series is to force myself to learn how to take the photos!). Anyway, this is a terrific drink, and worth trying - it's one I'll make on occasion forever. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Dawn, falernum isn't mainstream for sure, but fortunately is becoming popular enough that any good liquor store will carry it. And it's so tasty! Thanks for the comment.
Ohh La La a real fancy drink for those billion dollar boats and rich Tai Tai's at the Royal Yacht club in HK, so many of those kind here.... however I am thinking that it might be more my style to put your lovely drink in a thermos and rent a kayak for the day... LOL Great drink and great history lesson. Have a super weekend. BAM
Hi Bam, I think this would make a terrific thermos drink! I hadn't thought of that, but love the idea. I can't imagine what you see in Hong Kong - and your view is so terrific, I expect you see everything! I hope you have a great weekend too, and thanks for the comment.
I am glad I don't have to wear one of those odd looking caps to drink your yoyal bermuda John. lol I would look silly and anyway I would enjoy your drink while chilling in the evening. =)
Hi Helene, those caps do look kinda silly, don't they? ;-) But this drink doesn't! It's really refreshing. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Your posts are so much fun to read. I love the word "falernum." What a fun word! The drink looks fantastic as always. :)
Hi Kristi, lol, I think falernum is a wonderful word, too! Fun to say. ;-) And this drink really does rock - it has some wonderful flavor. Thanks for the comment.
I've learned so much about cocktails thanks to you! My husband is quite amazed as I don't drink much. ;)
Hi Nami, glad you've enjoyed my cocktail posts! And happy to help you amaze your husband. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, great posting! I really love all your cocktail recipes, they are really awesome. This is another great cocktail. Very gorgeous picture. :))
Have a nice day.
Hi Amelia, isn't this a nice looking cocktail? And I love the name! Thanks for the kind words, and comment.
I enjoy rum cocktails so I'm sure this one would be right up there on the favorites list.
Hi Karen, this really is quite nice, plus it has such a terrific name! Double win, no? ;-) Thanks for the comment.
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