A brief introduction to my friend and Turks & Caicos traveling companion, Ilene: She and I have been friends since high school, good friends who see each other maybe once every few years, but good friends nonetheless. A few years ago she was at my house for dinner. I had cooked an Italian meal, with olives, focaccia and hunks of Parmasan cheese to start, all accompanied by a good bottle of red wine, which was my drink in the days before cosmos. It fleetingly crossed my mind that she might not like red wine or might not drink at all, in which case I wouldn’t either. I offered her a glass and she said, “No thanks, I can’t really drink red wine anymore, it gives me a headache.” Before I had time to process my disappointment, she continued, “Do you have any vodka?”
Anyway, cosmos are Ilene’s drink. We each had one at Point Grace with dinner on our first night here, hers made with vodka, mine with gin, and both were very good. Fresh lime juice and Triple Sec, instead of Rose’s and Cointreau, but in the exact right amounts, very cold, nice glass – a 9.0.
The next night we went for cocktails at the Gansevoort, a brand-new luxury resort down a mile or two down the beach from us. We walked there at around sunset, only to find that the main restaurant and cocktail lounge were closed for a private wedding. We sat at a small outpost where I had the worst cosmo ever. It was warm and had no bite at all. It didn’t taste like there was any alcohol in, nor any juice. It tasted like water. We sent it back, but the replacement was not much better. Shocking, for a place as groovy as the Gansevoort.
Later that night we crashed the wedding, just to dance, but after making some friends and being served wedding cake we felt okay about ordering a cosmo at the bar inside, again for research purposes. That cosmo was better, but still not great. I didn’t notice what gin was involved, but I’m thinking maybe it was a brand that just does not work for cosmos. At least twice Barbara and I have had cosmos made with a very expensive gin, and we didn’t like the results.
The fourth cosmo was at Point Grace on our last full day, and I micromanaged it. I requested Tanqueray gin and Cointreau. It was delicious. So were the free rum drinks we had most nights. I’m not going to start a blog about it or anything, but rum punch sipped poolside does have a certain Caribbean flavor. And after my first trip down there, I can say that it’s a taste I quite like.