In Crystal Cruises®, Onboard Pursuits


Featured image courtesy of Paragon Pixels.

Master mixologist Adam Bernstein creates unique cocktails aboard Crystal Serenity. Here are 3 of his trade secrets – and 3 of your new favorites.

By Joe Kita

  1. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

Getting creative with libations doesn’t need to result in your home bar looking like a chemist’s lab. “Take an original recipe and think about its elements,” says Bernstein, who (when he’s not shaking it up on Crystal) is the master mixologist at Sapphire Restaurant in Laguna Beach, California. For example, to create the Roasted Pineapple Margarita (recipe below), he simply tweaked the basic fruit margarita recipe everyone knows and loves. But instead of using, say strawberries, he incorporated pineapple. And rather than using prepared sweet & sour mix, he made his own from scratch. Voila. A margarita, only refreshingly better.

Adam Bernstein demos his skills during one of his interactive sessions aboard Crystal Serenity's recent Wine & Food Festival voyage.
Adam Bernstein demos his skills during one of his interactive sessions aboard Crystal Serenity’s recent Wine & Food Festival voyage. (Photo courtesy of Joe Kita)
  1. Don’t just mix drinks; infuse them.

Simple syrup is a ubiquitous cocktail ingredient. But it’s more than sugar water. “Think of it as the peanut butter in the cracks that binds the different liquors together,” explains Bernstein. He recommends making your own (recipe below) and infusing it with fresh herbs or even vegetables to subtly take a cocktail to the next level. For example, with his Mexican Sour (recipe below), jalapeno simple syrup creates a spicy bite that, along with the tequila and fresh lime juice, takes the classic American Whisky Sour south of the border. Likewise, he likes soaking dried cherries in bourbon and, once reconstituted, using them in Manhattans.

  1. Give the gift of cocktail.

For a birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day present that’s really special, create a one-of-a-kind signature cocktail for your sweetheart. “Think of their personality and what makes them happy,” says Bernstein, “then incorporate elements of that.” For example, his Lavender Margarita (recipe below) is perfect for a woman who’s sweet but strong and, of course, as beautiful as a flower. A dash of lavender bitters on top can even be shaped into a miniature heart with a toothpick.

Likewise, at his bar in Laguna Beach, Bernstein has a granite slab on which he keeps bits of fresh cedar and other aromatic woods. He’ll light some and then cover it with a rocks glass. The resulting smoke subtly flavors the glass and the whiskey he pours into it. A perfect signature cocktail for a rugged gentleman, no?

Oh, and of course, whatever cocktail you create for your special person’s special day, make sure to name it after them. That’s important.

From left to right, Adam Bernstein's signature cocktails:
From left to right, Adam Bernstein’s signature cocktails: Roasted Pineapple Margarita, Mexican Sour; Lavender Margarita (Photo courtesy of Paragon Pixels)

Roasted Pineapple Margarita

1.5 oz. anejo tequila

1 bar-spoon roasted pineapple puree

1.5 oz. fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz. fresh scratch sweet & sour mix

Fresh pineapple wedge garnish

Serve in rocks glass

Mexican Sour

2 oz. anejo tequila

1 oz. jalapeno simple syrup

1.5 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. egg whites

Shake hard and long

Dash of chocolate bitters & jalapeno slice garnish

Serve in rocks glass

Lavender Margarita

1.5 oz. blanco tequila

1 oz. lavender syrup

1 oz. fresh scratch sweet & sour mix

Lime wheel float w/lavender salt garnish or sprig of lavender

Serve in rocks glass

Scratch Sweet & Sour Mix

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 cup lemon

1 cup lime

Bring sugar and water to boil. Let it cool and then add lemon and lime juice.

Scratch Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 cups water

Bring to boil and infuse when warm with fresh lavender (or mint, rosemary, thyme, hibiscus, basil, jalapeno, ginger…) to taste. These infusions can also be used to sweeten ice tea and other non-alcoholic drinks.

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Posted on October 25, 2016

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