Meeting the Woman Behind St. Kitts' Most Creative Libations
There are so many terrific reasons to visit the island of St. Kitts, not the least of which is to score a few moments of award-winning bartender Latasha Merritt’s time at the St. Kitts Marriott.
In 2009, she landed the title of Bartender of the Year from the St. Kitts and Nevis Hotel Tourism Association, which invites contenders from all over the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis. They provide competitors with a variety of juices and liquors and, on the spot, the bartenders must whip something up that will thrill the judges and win the title, which is exactly that Merritt did.
She created two drinks at the event and they both won first prize in their respective categories, earning her the title of Bartender of the Year. She calls her first concoction the Atlantic Breeze, because the bar where she works at the St. Kitts Marriott sits just steps from the Atlantic and is always filled with the ocean’s breezes.
The drink is comprised of Bacardi 151 and light rum, a splash of passion fruit juice, a splash of mango juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine. Garnished with a slice of pineapple and a cherry, it tastes just like it looks — bright, fresh, and fruity, without being cloying. It is surprisingly crisp, too.
Her second entry was called "Showtime," because she says the competition was her time to show what she could do. It’s made up of vodka, peach mix, guava mix, and orange and pineapple juices. A cherry and a slice of lime grace its glass, and the flavor is sweeter and smoother than the Breeze, but equally refreshing and appropriately tropical.
Her prize for winning the competition? A trip to anywhere in the U.S. Merritt chose the Bronx in New York City in order to spend a few weeks with her aunt there.
Every month, the St. Kitts Marriott offers a featured Drink of the Month. Their mixologists are very clever, and their creations tend to be a huge hit among guests. This October they mixed good drinks with good deeds by offering the Pink Ribbon and the Pink Flamingo to both honor breast cancer survivors and raise awareness for the cause, donating a portion of the sales to the Essence of Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation.
The St. Kitts Marriott is a killer place for a winter getaway, especially if the place you call home is a cold-weather clime. The multiple pools, wide, sandy beaches, and a number of fabulous on-site restaurants, including a seafood restaurant, an Italian venue, a steakhouse, a beach bar, and a restaurant offering local fare, make the hotel a wonderful destination. And, while you’re there, if you want to try the Atlantic Breeze or Showtime, all you have to do it ask for Latasha!