Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. And when you’re tasked with creating a memorable cocktail menu in a restaurant without the standard running water or endless refrigeration that bars in cities enjoy, you need to get creative. Thankfully, at Hartwood in Tulum, Mexico, a restaurant opened by New York expats in 2010, the rich Yucatan ecosystem also provided a plethora of incredibly fresh fruits from local farmers, leading to a cocktail list of a dozen or so tequila, mezcal, rum and vodka-based options that were heavily juice-driven, and decidedly delicious.

On Hartwood's bar stands a row of juices and syrups, including watermelon, mandarin, passion, guava, hibiscus, pineapple and of course, lime — all made from scratch daily and poured into mason jars with booze as needed. For the Passion In The Jungle, it’s easy to guess the dominant fruit ingredient. But, what makes this drink memorable is its surprisingly tart profile. The same pucker also makes it the perfect contrast to the Mayan spices found in the restaurant’s dishes.

If you were to try this at home or for your next barbecue, it's possible to find processed passion fruit juice in some markets. At the restaurant, though, they simply use a blender to juice the fresh fruit and leave the small passion seeds intact as a visual cue. Fresh is definitely the best way to go in terms of flavor. But however you choose to make it, this drink is the perfect cure for cutting through heat on the palate. And, it has the added benefit of being best served in either a 16-ounce ball jar or in a pitcher for groups.

Though I’ll sorely miss Hartwood’s aromas of wood fire and copal incense that accompanied this drink — not to mention the incredible food and people — I’m glad to know that I can at least revisit the Passion In The Jungle back home when desired. Enjoy.

Passion in the Jungle Cocktail

Serving: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:
4 ounces  Flor de Cana white rum
4 ounces passionfruit purée or juice
2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce watermelon juice
2 barspoons sugar
Mint and sugarcane

Directions:

  1. In a 16-ounce mason jar or Collins glass, combine mint, passionfruit purée and two spoons of sugar and muddle together.
  2. Add in rum and orange juice, then add ice to fill the glass 3/4 of the way. Stir all ingredients together briefly.
  3. Finish by topping the drink with watermelon juice and garnishing with a stick of sugar cane and a straw.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 3 minutes

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