When Keith Richards was in his hard-partying prime in the 1970s, he and his fellow band mates on the Rolling Stones showed up one night at the Trident, a watering hole in Sausalito on the edge of San Francisco Bay, looking for some alcoholic refreshments. Richards ordered a margarita and the bartender, a creative mixmaster named Bobby Lozoff, served him something different instead: a then mostly unknown drink of tequila, orange juice and grenadine.
Richards loved the Tequila Sunrise, as it was called, and it rapidly became his go-to party drink. His fame, and the fame of the Stones, helped spread the fame of their favorite cocktail, and the Tequila Sunrise became not just a mere drink but a cultural touchstone for that era of rock ‘n roll. The Eagles’ hit song “Just Another Tequila Sunrise” added to the popularity of Lozoff’s invention.
This story—and the accompanying recipe—is only one of the many nice treats in Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks (Oxmoor House, $25), a new book by the editors of Coastal Living Magazine that contains the recipes for 125 cocktails. Generously illustrated with photographs of tropical sand and surf scenes, the theme here is that of the beach—light, refreshing cocktails that you might enjoy in your leisure on the beach, or on your backyard patio, in those lazy hazy days of summer.
The cocktail that Lozoff did not serve Richards that day, the margarita, is of course here. As are The Drunken Sailor, Caribbean Rum Swizzle, Sex on the Beach, Key Lime Gimlet, the Bahama Hurricane, Missionary’s Downfall, Singapore Sling, and other delightfully named and often quite delicious concoctions that Richards in his prime probably also imbibed.
A good cocktail, like a good book or movie, has a good story attached to it. Beach Cocktails has many such stories, such as:
- One extraordinary mixologist, Ernest Gantt, invented three cocktail classics: Zombie, Navy Grog, and Mai Tai. Gantt is better known as the impresario of Don’s Beachcomber Café, a famed tiki bar of the 1950s.
- There is a cocktail named after the star of “Lawrence of Arabia,” and “Doctor Zhivago.” It’s called the Omar Sharif; it’s a citrus vodka drink designed to evoke the actor’s Egyptian roots. Have one while hosting a game of bridge; Sharif, an expert bridge player in his day, would approve.
- Unlike the Tequila Sunrise, some people still argue over who invented the Bushwacker, which contains rum and vanilla ice cream (four scoops, according to the recipe here). Two bars, one in Pensacola and the other in the Virgin Islands, both claim they invented it and the dispute continues to this day.
- Every cocktail book must contain at least one reference to the great novelist and drinker, Ernest Hemingway, and this one has two. Hemingway is credited with the invention of the pink daiquiri; he was the one who suggested that maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice be added to a traditional daiquiri, thus creating a new pink variation. The authors also run a brief excerpt from Hemingway’s posthumous novel, Islands in the Stream, in which the main character sips gin and coconut water.
The recipe for gin and coconut water and these other drinks are all included in this 288-page hardcover volume, along with tips on what bar snacks to serve, “mocktails” for non-drinkers, glassware recommendations, and other features.
One celebrity who would surely enjoy this book is Francis Ford Coppola, who never directed Omar Sharif but did direct Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert DiNiro, Diane Keaton and a host of other fine actors in his “Godfather” movies. Early in his moviemaking career, Coppola loved tiki drinks, as you can read here.
Actually, most anyone who enjoys a tasty summer drink will appreciate, and perhaps learn from, Beach Cocktails. Whether on the beach or the back patio, it’s a tasty mix. —Kevin Nelson