Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

Join the club.

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Having survived my first year as a cocktail blogger (woo-hoo!) and since the first drink I wrote about was the Daiquiri I thought it might be a good time to look at an interesting twist on that most iconic of sours. Named after the posh hangout of British military officers in Bermuda the RBYC (as I’m calling it from now on to save on pixels) is a Daiquiri variation that has more than a few peculiarities to it. First of all, while the eponymous club has been around since 1844, the drink appears to be more recent with no record of it predating 1941 and even this being a bit vague: “3 parts Barbados Rum, 1 part Lime Juice, half a part of Falernum or sugar syrup and 1 dash of Cointreau or Brandy.” Hmmm. So it could be just a rather tart Daiquiri with a touch of brandy in it or it could be something much closer to my own Calico Jack. Or something in-between. Fortunately Trader Vic came along a few years later and straightened it out a bit and further modernisation has led to the formula preferred today. The other peculiarity is that Bermuda isn’t even a Caribbean island – being more mid-Atlantic with a sub-tropical climate – yet the RBYC is packed full of Barbadian goodies. And Barbados is about 2000km away at the southern end of the Caribbean. You see, Bermuda is just too far north to produce sugar cane and hence rum but both islands were once part of the same British naval empire allowing for a degree of trade and cultural exchange. As a result of all the above we now have a rather tasty drink that pretends to be very old and very Caribbean and is, in fact, neither. It is, however, an excellent illustration in the tweakability of classic drinks such as the Daiquiri. Remember that liqueurs such as falernum and Cointreau are less sweet than simple syrup so the total liqueur content – as here – should be similar to the sour component.


Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (modernised).

2oz / 60ml Barbados rum (I particularly like Plantation Barbados grande reserve).

0.75oz / 22.5ml fresh lime juice.

0.25oz / 7.5ml orange liqueur*.

0.5oz / 15ml falernum (preferably home-made).

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

Garnish with a lime wedge, slice or twist.

Toast Crosby Gaige who either created or codified the original version in his 1941 Cocktail Guide And Ladies’ Companion.


*The original calls for Cointreau but local Caribbean orange liqueurs are more harmonious. Try a (non-blue) curacao, Clement Creole Shrub or maybe even Grand Marnier, which would throw that brandy component back into the mix.

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