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Three Dots And A Dash Hosts 'Potions Of The Caribbean'

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 26, 2014 6:00PM

2014_2_18potions_of_the_car.jpg When we declared that Beachbum Berry Remixed was "the only tropical drink book you'll ever need," in part we desperately wanted to be proven wrong—by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry himself. And the tiki expert and rum historian has obliged us by penning a new book that's equally worthy of a spot on your shelf.

Potions of the Caribbean, a handsome new hardbound tome, examines the adventurers, pirates, plantation owners, entrepreneurs and, of course, bartenders who played a role in the high-proof spiritual legacy of the West Indies. Though the book is packed with colorful images and delightful stories, Berry also doesn't shy away from the unsavory aspects of this largely forgotten facet of history, which ranges from poverty and slavery to outright genocide. However, with 77 recipes packed within its covers, the book's focus is very much on the cocktails of the region. The geographical location of the Caribbean, not only smack dab in the center of rum production but also with easy access to citrus and spices, made it the perfect incubator for new drinks. (And in a region known for its intense humidity and heat, someone's always going to be thirsty enough to try a new concoction.)

Chapters profile unforgettable characters like Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, Hemingway's favorite Cuban bartender, Joe Scialom, the globe-trotting genius who invented the Suffering Bastard and Jasper Le Franc, head bartender at the Bay Roc Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Naturally the two godfathers of tiki, Donn Beach and Trader Vic, also get some attention. And Berry explains the mystery of why the entrepreneurs opened "Polynesian" bars that actually served Caribbean-inspired cocktails. The reason? Polynesia itself had no cocktail history to speak of; and while the Caribbean did, it wasn't "exotic" enough for Americans. Thus, an ersatz mashup was born.

Frankly, we can't think of a more perfect venue for a Potions Of The Caribbean book party than Three Dots and a Dash. On Sunday March 9 from 6-9 p.m., not only will Berry be signing copies of the book, but Paul McGee himself will be mixing up potions from the book. You can be among the first in Chicago to sample such delightful concoctions as the Trinidad Green Swizzle, Hurricane Buster, The Caribbean and Voodoo Grog. Oh, and Berry will also have Martinique Swizzle Sticks and some of those Navy Grog Ice Cone Kits on hand.