Nigel Spence: The Perfect Caribbean Summer Cocktail


By Nigel Spence
CJ Contributor

It’s funny how suddenly we New Yorkers have to be paying attention to the fact that the hurricane season began June 1st. It’s as if we became tropical overnight and no-one bothered to update us. Now every time a new disturbance fires off the coast of Africa, a grey hair fires off the top of my head!

Last year was no joke, with some of the deadliest hurricanes hitting our shores as well as in the Caribbean.   Four of them caused such a significant amount of death and destruction that the World Meteorology Organization stripped them of their titles, retiring their names forever from the rotation list.  The names were recently replaced with new ones to become used in the year 2023 should it become necessary.

I am not so sure yet how to feel about this impending switch-a-roo.  You see, one of those deadly hurricanes wreaking havoc across Central America, then making landfall twice here in the U.S. was none other than Hurricane Nate.  In 2023 the world will be introduced to its replacement:  “Hurricane Nigel”.

Okay, okay, I can already see the bag ah pot shots I will have to endure…  Ha!

Yup, it is true.  I did not make this one up folks.  If the conditions become “ripe” (no pun intended), you could witness my power unleashed…you could be taken by storm…or worse yet, find yourselves blowing in my wind – Ha!  You know us Jamaicans haffi tek bad tings mek joke. That’s how we survive our day to day challenges.

I thought that since I have a few years before my worldwide launch, I would capitalize on the name in a more positive way. So, with a little prodding, my creative juices finally kicked into high gear, producing a mental image of a delightfully, fresh new drink recipe I simply call – “Hurricane Nigel”.

Envisioning the drink was one thing, making it a reality was another.  The taste had to be something bold and rich – something bursting with energy and most of all something memorable (in a very pleasant way). So I dutifully set to work in my kitchen blending here and there, adding and subtracting.  I tossed in a little of this and a little of that and actually tossed more than a little out, but after a couple of weeks of trial and a few errors, I am proud to say, my new sensation – “Hurricane Nigel” is in a category all by itself.  It packs a punch but the only real destruction this one will render is knocking all other drinks aside!

Why not roll this out on Father’s Day (June 15th) or at your next Summer event…It will be certain to make a “direct hit” but with no harmful effects. Enjoy!


4 oz Dark Rum

2 oz Orange juice

1 oz Passion fruit juice (can substitute guava juice)

1 tablespoon Ginger simple syrup (can substitute ginger beer)

½ fresh Lime juice

1 tablespoon Genadine syrup


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, squeeze the juice from half a lime. Add passion fruit juice, orange juice and simple syrup to the shaker. Shake well until all is incorporated and super cold! Strain into a hurricane glass –  with or without ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

Nigel Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Nigel freelanced at the Television Food Network for 3 years where he worked with culinary luminaries such as Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Chef Spence has appeared twice on Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he emerged the victor in cook offs against the Food Network star and was featured on CBS when he appeared on Tony’s Table as well as ABC’s Neighborhood Eats, NBC’s The Today Show , Sirius’ Everyday Living with Martha Stewart and TVFN’s Chopped. The acclaimed and New York Times-reviewed Ripe Kitchen and Bar is Mr Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavour.