I won't say that I'm a lush....but I'm no angel either. Definitely not "straight-laced" as the kids call it these days, I do quite enjoy letting loose every now and then with the help of libations. And while I don't generally love being amongst crowds of people, I can appreciate the festive and ever-so rowdy vibe of a big city parade. So it should be no surprise that my hometown's holiday, the Gasparilla Day Parade, is an event that I just simply adore.
I grew up going to the Gaparilla parade. As a family, we'd venture down to South Tampa and enjoy a fun-filled day of pirate ships, cannons, bead-tossing, and floats galore. I can still remember some of my first Gasparilla experiences as a young girl. Some of you may be confused right about now. If you live in Tampa but didn't grow up here, this should be absolutely shocking. A young child going to the debauchery fest that we know as Gasparilla today? Yep, believe or not, the day parade used to be pretty darn tame and there was no such thing as a "children's parade" until the annual event became more and more about boozing and less about bead catching.
I'm not really complaining. For this change in scenery kind of worked out for me. By the time I hit college and was into "misbehaving" with adult beverages, the parade became an excuse for me to make the 4 hour trip home from Tallahassee every January. "Gallivanting," (as my sweet grandma would say) my friends and I made our way down the streets that intersected with Bayshore, making memories that we all still laugh about today. Yeah, the parade holds a special place in my heart. A Tampa native, I've been to a solid 20 pirate fests and every single one has its own happy, funny, and sometimes downright ridiculous, story.
My beverage of choice to get the Tampa holiday started? Well, that's easy. A Pirate Punch made with rum, juices, spice, and everything nice is what gets me going every last Saturday of January. Today, I bring to you my version of the tasty Pirate's Punch. But buyers beware, filled with sweetness, this cocktail will sneak up on you before you know it. Feel free to double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe.
6 ounces Myers Dark Rum
4 ounces Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1/2 ounce Grand Mariner
4 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces orange juice
2 ounces Cream de Coco
1 ounce grenadine
Combine all ingredients except for the spices. Pour over ice and top with a drizzle of grenadine and a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy!
***Makes 4 Pirate Punch cocktails.