NOT NEAR AS CHALLENGING AS A TWO-SYLLABLE WORD
In their emails leading up to the event, Krewe of Rocckus’s awesome organizers, Ashley, Ashley, Brian, and Maggie (advanced apologies if I screwed up names or left anyone out, but it was an open bar on the Creole Queen, after all!) gave some hints about the Roccktail contest that would be held at the welcome brunch, but in the end, it was really no contest. Word is Michael Jerome pouted a bit last year after his team came in second for everything and he was eager to return with a winner. Either luck or the Patron Saint of Mardi Gras Mojo was on his side, for one of the two sent him fifteen year bartender and food services professional Sally Baker to save the day.
A long-time BTE fan (as pretty much everyone who dropped the dough to travel this far is), Sally decided to attend KOR on a whim. Unable to find anyone in her Peoria, IL home to accompany her, she decided to attend on her own to reconnect with her creative muse. (Sound familiar?! lol) Although she spent a decade in the food services industry with a degree from CHIC–Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago–Sally has spent the last six years working as a Talent Developer for Caterpillar after returning to Bradley University for a Communications & Public Relations degree. While bartending and restaurant work appealed to her creative and outgoing spirit, she realized she needed to make a change from this high-stress industry when her son began to complain, “restaurants made me mad all the time, and that I was always busy.”
Although Sally (who will henceforth be known as Sal because the long-time bartender discovered “for some reason drunk people can’t handle the second syllable”) once visited New Orleans “on a random Tuesday in June,” this is her first Mardi Gras. Now she is “out of [her] cubicle to make a comeback as a bartender after a six year retirement.” The other teams didn’t stand a chance.
Not to take away from the whole of team Michael. Everyone got together and decided what kind of drink they wanted. The consensus was something not too sweet or heavy with a tropical, light feel that could be drank all day. Rocckus is a marathon, not a ‘shot’-put! From there, Sal took the lead and scanned the table with her professional eye for flavor combinations, deciding to go with a cross between a mojito (a Cuban influenced cocktail) and a caippirihina (a Brazilian cocktail.) That kind of crazy cultural crossbreeding is somehow sooooooo New Orleans! Still, it took a few tries with input from the group to get it right. According to Michael: “She took the reigns but didn’t take it personally.” By gauging the reactions, she crafted a winner, and having sweet-talked a special-made Rocck-ito for myself at brunch yesterday, and I have to agree: Light, refreshing, and just the right touch of sweet and minty.
So, if you’re reading at home, mix one up for yourself from the recipe below and be sure to join next year when the Rocck-ito makes its official debut. KOR so far has been all it was billed as and more!
- 2 oz white rum
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- lime wedge
- several mint leaves
- a spoonful of sugar
- splash of lemon-lime soda
- orange wedge and cherry for garnish
Mix the rum and juice in a shaker with ice. In a separate cup, muddle the mint, lime, and sugar and then add to the shaker and shake well. Pour into a glass, top with a splash of soda, and garnish.