Nothing says holiday like cocktails. After a day of sailing and exploring tropical islands, surprise your crew with these nautical-themed cocktails as you watch the sun go down.
From a classic Gimlet using Navy Strength Gin to a more modern and hilariously named, Sex with the Captain – these cocktails will get everyone on board chuckling and appreciating their bareboating experience just that little bit more.
And remember, if you’re planning to add cocktails to your sailing holiday menu, remember to pack your cocktail shaker and a hand juicer.
10 Cocktails for your Sailing Holiday
It’s incredible how many nautical cocktail recipes there are. But further digging will show that it’s not that surprising since the old seafaring days were fueled on rum & gin!
Not every cocktail has a story behind it, but the ones that do are pretty interesting. We’ve added a few historical cocktail points to this post.
A Blue Hawaii is typically served on the rocks. Many tropical cocktails have preparation variations, often being blended with ice with lavish presentation. As the recipes in this post are for sailing holidays, we will keep it simple.
- 50ml Bacardi Carta Blanco
- 50ml blue curaçao
- 1 tsp coconut cream
- 100ml pineapple juice
How to mix
- Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
- Shake then strain into a glass with cracked ice to serve.
- Traditionally served with a signature pineapple wedge and a cocktail umbrella
History of the Blue Hawaii Cocktail
The Blue Hawaiian cocktail was invented in 1957 by the famous head bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Harry Yee.
Unromantically, the reason behind the drink’s creation was a marketing ploy! A sales rep asked Harry to create a drink featuring the blue colour of Curacao liqueur.
“Blue Hawaii” comes from a song in the famous 1937 film Waikiki Wedding, although many people think the drink’s name comes from the Elvis Presley movie of the same name.
- 60ml gin
- 75ml grapefruit juice
- Salt for the glass rim
- Grapefruit wedge for garnish
- Rub a fresh lime around the rim of a glass then dip the rim into salt on a plate
- Place the gin and juice into an ice-filled shaker, shake and strain into ice-filled glass
- Garnishing with a wedge of grapefruit or a twist of grapefruit peel
- 35ml Slingsby Navy Strength gin
- 50ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
- 10ml Lime Cordial or sugar syrup
- Shake all ingredients with ice
- Serve in a martini glass with a salted rim.
History of the Gimlet
The Gimlet makes it to our nautical themed cocktail list because it was promoted and drunk by British officers in the 19th century.
Some cite Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette as the namesake of the gimlet. Acting as a doctor to sailors, he is said to have administered gin with lime as an anti-scurvy medication.
- 50 ml Vodka
- 150ml Cranberry juice
- 50 ml Grapefruit juice
- Combine ingredients in a highball or double-old-fashioned glass with ice and stir.
- Garnish it with a lime wedge. For more fizz, top up with soda.
History of the Sea Breeze cocktail
The Sea Breeze cocktail was originally created towards to end of the Prohibition era in 1920 using gin and grenadine. It has since had several re-inventions, from gin with apricot brandy, grenadine and lemon juice to vodka, dry vermouth, Galliano and Blue Curacao to today’s vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice concoction.
Cranberry juice was promoted as a mixer in the 50s as a marketing ploy by the cranberry growers cooperative. The Harpoon cocktail was first created (cranberry, vodka & lime), and then its descendants, such as the Greyhound, the Salty Dog, the Bay Breeze, and the Sea Breeze were born.
In the 1960s, the “breeze drinks” were in the top ten most fashionable mixed drinks.
Lost Sailor Cocktail
- 30 ml Marsala Wine Dry
- 15 ml Gin
- 15 ml Campari
- Pack ice into glass
- Add gin to the glass
- Pour in the Campari & Masala wine, stir
- 50 ml gin
- 25 ml lime juice
- Ginger ale
- Pour the gin and lime juice into a glass full of ice.
- Stir well and then top up with ginger beer.
- Gently mix the cocktail and proceed to garnish with lime.
- 60 ml dry gin
- 20 ml vermouth
- Olives to finish
- Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled ice.
- Stir well and strain the drink into a chilled Martini glass. Make sure it’s shaken not stirred.
- For a nautical kick finish it off with olives stuffed with anchovies.
Dark and Stormy
- 60 ml dark rum
- 90 ml ginger beer
- 15 ml lime juice (optional)
- Fill a tall glass with ice
- Pour in ginger beer and lime juice
- Slowly pour in the dark rum so that it sits on the surface
- Decorate with a lime slice
Note: If you don’t care for rum, try a Moscow Mule. Just switch out the rum for vodka.
History of the Dark and Stormy
In the spring of 1806, James Gosling, the oldest son of wine and spirits merchant William Gosling, set out from Gravesend (Kent) England on the ship Mercury bound for America. But after 91 days on the sea, the charter expired and the ship put in at the nearest port, St. George’s, Bermuda.
By 1860 the Goslings created their branded dark rum – Black Seal. They didn’t call it Black Seal at first, in fact, up until the First World War it was sold from a barrel. People just brought in their old bottles for a fill-up, a fill up of old rum. Eventually, though, the black rum was sold in champagne bottles reclaimed from the British officer’s mess and the corks were sealed with black sealing wax. Pretty soon people began to ask for Black Seal.
So the story goes sometime after World War 1, the Dark ‘n Stormy was born. It has its origins in a Ginger Beer factory that was run by the Royal Naval Officer’s Club. The sailors soon discovered that a hefty splash of the local Gosling’s Black Seal rum was a great addition to the Ginger Beer.
As for the name the Dark ‘n Stormy, it was coined by a sailor who, while enjoying the cocktail, commented that it was the “color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under”.
Excerpt from Scuttle Bugs Sailing news
- 50 ml Dark Rum
- 20 ml Orange Juice
- 50 ml Soda Water
- Place ice in a tall glass
- Add rum
- Pour in juice
- Top with soda
History of Sailor Drinks
This Guardian Article, a rum tale about the navy’s favourite drink, is a great read. It covers why booze is grog, where rum gets its name and lots of info about drunken sailors – the inspiration for Sailor Cocktails!
Sex with the Captain
- 45ml Captain Morgan spiced rum
- 30ml Amaretto liquer
- 30ml Peach schnapps
- 30ml cranberry juice
- Splash of orange juice
- Build all the ingredients in a chilled glass
- Garnish with a cherry and serve
Who was Captain Morgan?
The man, Captain Morgan (Sir Henry Morgan) was born in Wales, 1635. He was a pirate hired by the government to protect British colonial interests, a position known as a privateer. Captain Morgan was appointed to the Caribbean where he attacked Spanish ships and settlements on behalf of the Queen. He had a reputation for being ruthless and destructive, even for a pirate.
The Captain Morgan illustration on the rum label is based on the 17th-century Captain, however, Morgan had no connection to Captain Morgan Rum, which started in the 1940’s. The brand Captain Morgan was founded in 1943 by a company called Seagram’s, which bought the right to create a spiced rum from a Jamaican pharmacy.
Join us to go bareboating in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore