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TROPICAL TASTES STIR UP SOME FUN WITH VACATION- MADE COCKTAILS. By Erica Moody 10 ARMCHAIR EXPLORER Nothing says vacation quite like a colorful umbrella drink in hand. Whether you’re at an all-inclusive resort or bar-hopping across the Caribbean, fruit-filled elixirs fueled by the island’s local spirits are par for the course. While you’re awaiting your tropical getaway, here are a few tasty beverages you can easily prepare at home. Let’s drink to that! PIÑA COLADA Do you like Piña Coladas? Most would answer with a resounding YES. In 1978, the creamy, rum-based cocktail was declared the national drink of Puerto Rico. Throw calories to the sea and indulge in this heavenly, coconut-milk concoction that songs have been written about. History has it that the Piña Colada was created by bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero at The Caribe Hilton in San Juan in 1954, where he served it personally for 35 years. The Caribe Hilton has kept that tradition strong with its signature drink. Caribe Hilton’s Original Piña Colada Recipe: • 2 oz. white rum • 1 oz. coconut cream • 1 oz. heavy cream • 6 oz. fresh pineapple juice • 1/2 cup crushed ice Mix rum, cream of coconut, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add ice and mix for 15 seconds. Serve in a 12-oz. glass and garnish with fresh pineapple or cherry. HIBISCUS MARGARITA The margarita is America’s favorite cocktail, ordered more often than any other drink. The sweet and salty libation is associated with Mexico, but its origins are questionable, with several people claiming to have invented it. We do know that the first frozen margarita machine was invented by Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez in 1971 and now sits in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Whether frozen or on the rocks, there are multiple ways to order the festive drink—one is by adding hibiscus flowers, a method the Ritz-Carlton, Waikiki Beach has perfected. Hibiscus Margarita at The Ritz-Carlton, Waikiki Beach • 1.5oz Corozòn Reposado Tequila • 1oz Cointreau Orange Liqueur • 0.5oz Lime Juice • 0.5oz Hibiscus Syrup Combine all ingredients over ice. Shake until chilled. Strain over fresh ice into a glass with sea salt and dried hibiscus rim. Garnish with Marinated Hibiscus Flower. 11