La Palapa began as a question posed to our very busy friend Scott Baird: “banana liqueur in ten words or less.” I’d been trying for two years to get his recipe and it seemed like something always came up, derailing my plans. But the rapid fire approach worked, and what I got in response was more than enough to make a liqueur that’s equally delicious in a cocktail or poured over pancakes: White rum, dark rum, Sherry, sugar, vanilla, coffee bean, banana.
There’s something about Mexican food, an outdoor bar and an open-air patio that makes one crave a refreshing, crushed-ice cocktail. And while it’s easy to bring the tropics in the middle of summer when seasonal fruit abounds, winter has always been tricky to pair with island drinks. Knowing that we had to say goodbye to the Zip Line as watermelons are now hibernating for the winter, having a banana liqueur in our arsenal now provides us with perennial “tiki” possibilities. In this instance I kept it simple and reverted to childhood memories of ‘vacation juice’ and making banana bread: Pineapple, orange, banana and walnut bitters.
-Matthew McKinley Campbell