Boat Drink (Fizzy Lime Coladas)

I was just out of college the first time I tasted Boat Drink.

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 for Maryland leaving 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.

The boat belonged to a friend of his, whose name I don't remember. He was a former Hill staffer who moved over to the (significantly more lucrative) lobbying side, and promptly bought a boat with his first big paycheck. There were 5 of us--three girls and the two guys--as we set sail on the Chesapeake Bay, the day warming up with each minute.

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.

One sip and I was in love. The day had warmed up, Van Morrison's Into the Mystic was playing on the stereo, and I had an icy glass of deliciousness in my hand. It was perfection, and I couldn't remember ever feeling any happier. At one point, as I sat next to my friend with our feet dangling over the side of the boat, I noticed that my cheeks actually hurt from smiling.

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 briskly 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

Ingredients
1 cup sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cups white rum
ice
2 cups club soda
Limes for garnish

Directions
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.









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