I had been working my first "real" job as a web editor for a political nonprofit, and dating a handful of clever, beautiful boys. My favorite of these was a Capitol Hill staffer who knew how to live deliciously. In DC, where dates were generally just after-work drinks and dinner spent talking about politics, it was refreshing to spend my weekends with someone who was always organizing some kind of exciting plan--whole pig roasts in his backyard, boozy polo matches, black-tie charity galas, chili cooking contests...
One morning in early Fall, he called me and asked if I wanted to go sailing.
Always game for anything having to do with water, I quickly agreed, then asked, "When?"
"We're leaving for Maryland in an hour," he replied.
I was still in bed, likely hungover from the previous evening, but I shot out like an arrow and started getting ready. I put on my bikini, a pair of jeans and a navy cardigan, and stuffed my hair into a Fidel Castro-style military cap I was particularly fond of those days.
Used to me generally showing up late, he was surprised when I let myself into his place 30 minutes later, triumphantly shouted "I'M HERE!"
"Impressive," he said as I handed him a bag of ripe peaches to add to the cooler he was packing.
Once we were on our way, our host pulled a few bottles and a pitcher out of a bag and started preparing a concoction he called simply "Boat Drink." (I think he was inspired by the Jimmy Buffett song.)
Boat Drink was a mix of pulpy store-bought limeade, white rum, and Coco Lopez--a syrupy, sweetened coconut cream typically used to make Piña Coladas. He stirred it together over ice and then served us each generously-filled glasses, warning that it was significantly more lethal than it tasted.
As the day wore on, it only got better. The hat and sweater came off, and my shoulders were warm from the sun. The salty air thickened and blew my curls into tangled mane that felt wild and lovely. And our gracious host made sure that our glasses were never, ever empty.
This is my version of that fine drink. I replaced the bottled limeade with fresh lime juice and club soda for a bit of fizz. I like to puree the main ingredients in the blender so that they're smooth (the coco lopez can otherwise be a bit thick), but you can also whisk them quickly in a pitcher. When you add the ice and soda, the whole drink fizzes up with a puff of coconut foam that's a lot of fun to drink.
If you're wondering about the flavor, I'd say it's like a tart version of a piña colada made with lime instead of pineapple. If you like it sweeter, add more coconut cream. Stronger? Well, then, just add a bit more rum!
(Cocktail umbrellas and sailboats are totally optional, but definitely recommended.)
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Boat Drink (Fizzy Lime Coladas)
Makes about 4 large cocktails
1 cup sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cups white rum
2 cups club soda
Limes for garnish
Combine cream of coconut, lime juice, and rum in a blender, and puree until smooth. (Can also be whisked vigorously in a pitcher.)
Divide evenly into 4 16oz glasses filled with ice, stir once, then top off with club soda.
Garnish with a lime and serve immediately.