What seems like overnight, spring has hit Portland. Cherry blossoms and daffodils are blooming throughout the city and local tulips in vases are strewn throughout my house. One day it’s 73 degrees and sunny and the next it’s overcast and rainy. Yep, spring is here.
I love observing Portlanders’ behavior when the temperature rises. Shorts are donned, pasty white legs can be spotted, and some feel compelled to go shirtless. I tend to leave my shirt in its proper place, and instead, shift my cocktail choices when spring comes to town. I change from the brown liquor-based drinks that I gravitate toward in the fall and winter, to rum and vodka drinks.
My first spring back in Portland reminds me of my all time favorite cocktail from back in my heavier drinking twenties in late ’90s. Along with my co-workers, I used to frequent a downtown Portland spot called Saucebox because it offered a decent happy hour menu and was located a block from where I used to work. Saucebox had a menu full of craft cocktails before craft cocktails were a thing. One of Saucebox’s drinks, the coconut lime rickey, was one I returned to time and time again when the rain ceased and temperatures started to rise . It’s almost like a tropical milk shake, but lighter. It’s a perfect sipper for a warm spring day.
I bought a cocktail book for the sole reason that the coconut lime rickey recipe was featured. That is how much I loved that drink. Remember, these were the days before going to a book store and surreptitiously snapping a picture of a recipe with your iPhone was a way around purchasing a $12.95 book. I have held onto the Atomic Cocktails book through many moves, and always return to the coconut lime rickey recipe. The cocktail is a perfect balance of sweetness, creaminess and citrus.
I was happy to learn that Saucebox is still open, and I recently went there with a couple of friends. I was elated to see that the coconut lime rickey has stood the test of time and still appears on the menu. Of course I had to order one, for old time’s sake. I took one sip, and was reminded of why I was so obsessed with the coconut lime rickey back in the day.
My kitchen notes
If you want to punch up the coconut flavor in the drink, consider using a coconut rum.
I like to sprinkle lime zest into the drink to add an extra bit of lime flavor.
Coconut Lime Rickey – adapted from the Atomic Cocktails book
Makes two drinks
6 ice cubes
3 ounces light rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces coconut syrup, can be found in liquor stores and in the mixer aisle of grocery stores.
2 ounces half-and-half
1 lime wedge for garnish
1. Fill blender will all ingredients. Blend for a few seconds, or until ice cubes are crushed.
2. Strain the mixture into two glasses. Garnish with lime zest and wedge.