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Crafting Cocktails With The Help Of Hutchinson Shore's Drift Kitchen + Bar

The days of ordering a Jack and Coke are behind us. While soda guns hang idly and premade powder mixes go unopened, bartenders are busy muddling fresh fruits and topping off drinks with herbs grown on-site. Craft cocktails are taking over beverage menus, and leading the trend on the Treasure Coast are Drift Kitchen + Bar at the Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa and the District Table & Bar.

Drift Kitchen + Bar

When asked to define a craft cocktail, “fresh” is the first word that comes to mind for Karen Belanger, director of Food & Beverage at Hutchinson Shores, which opened its doors in Jensen Beach during September. “Not only fresh, but it’s a drink that takes time,” she adds. “You’re taking the time to muddle everything, making sure you’re using the freshest ingredients. You have your fresh purées, your herbs, your juices, your berries, your fruits.” The result is a drink that’s not only healthier than a classic Piña Colada (made with a powder or syrup), but it’s also more complex—ranging from sweet and refreshing, to savory and spicy. Guests at Hutchinson Shores can take a seat at the bar inside Drift Restaurant + Bar to watch as their cocktails are prepared, or they can order poolside and beachside in order to snag an Instagram-worthy photo.

District Table & Bar

Jason Stocks opened the District Table & Bar at Willoughby Crossroads four years ago as a litmus test—to see if Stuart was ready for farm-to-table fare. Turns out, it is. So much so that demand led Stocks to move the restaurant in November to the corner of SE Dixie Highway and SE Bayview Street. The new location offers more seating, a kitchen that doubled in size and maybe most important: a full bar. In order to develop a beverage menu that’s up to his standards, Stocks brought Bob Higginbotham, owner of Atlantic Ave Beverage, on board to create craft cocktails and train his staff to execute them. “For me to work with a chef like Jason, it really coincides with my belief,” Higginbotham says. “[He’s] sourcing his ingredients from local fishermen or local farms. In regards to the cocktail program, everything will be made in house.”

Ocean Bloody Mary

1.5 ounces Tito's Handmade Vodka 3 ounces House Bloody Mary Mix

Shake well, strain over fresh ice in an Old Bay rimmed glass and top with pepper jack cheese,“flthy” red piri piri pepper-stuffed olives, celery and a colossal shrimp.

“The garnish is the filthy red piri piri pepper-stuffed olives, and when I say they are hot, I do mean it—because I picked one up one day and tried it not realizing. I do encourage my staff to tell people that.”

- Karen Belanger

Put the lime in the Coconut

.75 ounces Bacardi Coconut Rum

.75 ounces Bacardi Superior Rum

.05 ounces Fresh Pressed Lime juice, Fresh Squeezed Pineapple

.05 ounces Toasted Coconut Syrup

3 ounces Fresh Pineapple Juice

Mix and top with a golden pineapple wedge.

Raspberry ginger crush

1.5 ounces Stoli Vodka

1/2 ounces Simple Syrup

3 Lime Wedges

2 Ginger Slices

3 Raspberries

Add all ingredients into highball glass. Muddle and add ice. Stir gently from bottom of glass. Lay garnish on top.

“It’s one of those crisp, refreshing drinks, sitting by the poolside. It’s citrusy but with mild flavors. It’s very tasty.”

- Karen Belanger

If You Like Coffee Coladas

1/2 ounce Don Q Coconut Rum

1/2 ounce Afrohead Dark Rum

1/2 ounce Kraken Black Spiced Rum

3 ounces Coconut Cream

1.5 ounces Pineapple Juice

1 ounce Sherry Float

2 x 1-inch Pineapple Chunks

5 Coffee Beans

12 ounces Crushed Ice

1/4 ounce Coffee Syrup

Combine chilled rum, chilled coconut cream, chilled pineapple juice, pineapple and coffee beans. Blend quickly. Add ice. Gradually build up speed on blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a frozen pilsner glass. Inject 1/4 ounce of coffee syrup to bottom of frozen pilsner.

“This cocktail was a real labor of love. We played with this one quite a while to get the right flavor profile and proper consistency.  We make the coconut cream in-house, which coincides with our mission.”

- Bob Higginbotham

Kitchen Fire

2 ounces Four Roses Bourbon

1/2 ounce Honey Syrup

.25 ounces Ancho Reyes

2 Dashes Cardamom Bitters

Combine ingredients, stir, strain, add a big ice cube to a double old fashioned glass and garnish with torched rosemary sprig.

District Swizzle

3/4 ounce Afrohead Dark Rum

3/4 ounce Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

3/4 ounce Aperol

1/2 ounce Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

1.5 ounces Pineapple Juice

2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters

Combine ingredients in a pilsner glass. Add crushed ice. Swizzle. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg and pineapple fern.

“This is a riff on the classic tiki cocktail ‘The Jungle Bird.’ We have made it into a swizzle and added spiced rum, grated nutmeg and aromatic bitters. The drink typically is made with Campari but I find it a bit too bitter for an afternoon sipper, so I replaced it with Aperol, which has a lower alcohol content and is less bitter.”

- Bob Higginbotham