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The Bermuda Yacht Club

By Andrew Nicholls

This post is inspired by a question I received while working behind the bar at Tales & Spirits in Amsterdam a few nights ago. A guest said she was a big fan of the Daiquiri but wanted something with more of a spicy note and based on a dark rum instead of a white rum.

I’ve had a few similar requests recently, which I guess is due to the winter chill we find ourselves in. Amsterdam is anything but warm at certain times of the year. 

I’ve decided that my go to drink for requests like this is a drink I fell in love with many moons ago, called the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Here’s a brief little history on the club itself. The Bermuda Yacht Club was established on 01 November 1844 and became known as the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in 1846 after Prince Albert agreed to become its Patron. In the 1930’s, the Club moved to it’s current spot in Hamilton (still on Bermuda) and to this day remains a key watering hole to members of the British Navy.

The man who created the drink is one of the biggest names in the bar world and went by the name of Trader Vic. His birth name was Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. Although Trader Vic went on to be one of the top two names in Tiki culture, he created the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club before his legendary Tiki days, at the club itself. I for one am very, very glad he did. Surely, this is one of the drinks that must have made him sit back and say “My God…I’m pretty good at this!”

There are many variations of this recipe to be found on the Internet but the original is said to be:

60 ml Barbados Rum

20 ml Fresh Lime Juice

2 dashes Cointreau

10 ml Falernum

The ingredients should be shaken with cubes of ice in a cocktail shaker and strained into a cocktail glass (a coupe works well).

For the winter months I like to step it up a bit and here is how I make mine: 

60 ml Doorly’s XO (Foursquare distillery, Barbados)

30 ml Fresh Lime Juice

15 ml Orange Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand or Senior Curaçao of Curaçao work well)

15 ml Falernum (you’ll need to adjust this according to which brand you manage to get your hands on)

Once again, this needs a good shaking with cubes of ice and should be strained into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. It is suggested the drink should be garnished with a lime wheel perched on the rim of the glass. To be honest, I don’t see the need. I still believe garnish should serve a purpose and this drink needs no aromatic aid.

The aroma is deep, citrusy and spicy. Taste it and you’ll see why I like to use the Doorly’s XO. The Oloroso Sherry Cask finish adds a wonderful dried fruit balance to the woody notes, which in turn works wonderfully with the Falernum. It’s deep enough to pass as a winter drink, but still fresh enough to whisk you away to your own little tropical paradise, only to be brought back to reality by the realization that your glass is now empty. Oh well, time for another!

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is refreshing, complex and most of all, a celebration on great Rum!

I’ve got mine…Cheers!


 ‘The views expressed above are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of WIRSPA Inc.’     

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