Spring break has come a long way since its origins in 1936, when Colgate University’s swimming coach Sam Ingram brought his team to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for training over the spring holiday. The April 1959 TIME Magazine article “Beer & the Beach” brought spring break revelry into the mainstream, setting the stage for the explosive success of the first spring break-themed film, 1960’s Where the Boys Are. However, we have the late ’70s and early ’80s to thank for spring break’s current reputation—including the Tom Cruise film Spring Break and the advent of MTV’s coverage of the event as a debaucherous, alcohol-fueled marathon of wet T-shirt contests. True to this ideal, the Maroon brings UChicago’s sun-starved, overworked, and fed-up students a selection of three wholesome shooters, inspired by notorious spring break. Each recipe is intended to fill five equally sized shot glasses. As they say in Cancún, ¡¡¡Bebe con moderación!!!
The Cancún Tap Water
Did you know that Cancún is a Mayan word meaning “nest of snakes”? Yuuuuup.
1 hibiscus tea bag
4 ounces tequila
2 ounces lime juice
1 ounce agave nectar, sugar syrup, or other sweetener
Begin by steeping one hibiscus teabag in about 4 ounces boiling water for 5 minutes. Then, in a glass or a cocktail shaker, combine 4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces lime juice, 1 ounce agave nectar or other sweetener, and a ton of ice. Stir or shake until the drink is very cold. Using a strainer or anything to keep the ice in the shaker, pour the margarita into five 1.5-ounce shot glasses, making sure to leave a bit of room at the top of each glass.
When the tea has turned a deep, rich, dark red, remove the tea bag. Place a small spoon upside down over the shot glass, and gently pour the tea over the back of the spoon to evenly disperse it on top of the margarita. This is called a “float,” and it is a technique used to layer liquids atop one another in a shot glass. When you’re finished, your shooter should contain a vibrant red, tart, cranberry-like layer followed by a strong but balanced margarita. If tequila isn’t your thing, this can be made with mezcal, vodka, or any other clear liquor. But tequila is what all the cool kids will be drinking.
The Daytona Beach Bomber
Did you know that Daytona Beach was the site of MTV’s first ever Spring Break special in 1986? And that tornado strikes in the Daytona Beach area are 33 percent above the national average?
4 ounces rum
2.5 ounces pineapple or mango juice
1.5 ounces ginger beer
According to legend*, the spring break epicenter Daytona Beach was named after the mythical Seminole spirit Day’Toya, a fire-breathing, half-manatee, half-cougar goddess of ecstasy and hedonism. Every spring, Daytona Beach plays host to over 100,000 spring breakers over the course of six weeks.
Start this shooter by mixing 4 ounces of rum with 2.5 ounces of pineapple or mango juice in a glass. Sweet fruit juices pair best with rum, which is distilled from sugarcane or molasses. I recommend using Bacardi 151, a higher-proof version of traditional rum. If there’s none handy, any variety of clear rum will work fine, as these don’t have a noticeable taste, while dark rums, those that have been aged in barrels, have a strong flavor which can detract from the other components of the drink.
To this mixture, add 1.5 ounces of ginger beer. This isn’t “beer”; it’s a spicy carbonated soda with a strong ginger kick—very different from ginger ale. Pour the shooter into 5 shot glasses and enjoy. The sugary juice and the peppery kick of the ginger beer pair well with the subtle taste of the rum. Sweet and spicy, like Day’Toya herself.
*This is unverifiable.
The Punta Cana Pucker
Did you know that the island of Hispaniola, where Punta Cana is located, was part of the New World discovered by Christopher Columbus? He even made his brother Bartholomew the island’s first governor! Then, they were both imprisoned, along with their less famous brother, Giacomo.
3 ounces Southern Comfort
2 ounces lime juice
2 ounces amaretto
This drink is a take on the classic SoCo and lime, with the addition of almond liquor giving the drink the tart, sweet taste of sour gummy worms. Rather than suggest a logical connection between this drink’s name and the worldwide spring break headquarters of Punta Cana, I want to reiterate that it tastes like sour gummy worms.
Southern Comfort has a rich history in its hometown of New Orleans and can be thought of as a type of infused whiskey, although today it is made from a proprietary mixture of vanilla, lemon, cinnamon, cherries, honey, and grain alcohol. Amaretto is an Italian liquor that is almond-flavored but is made from apricot pits and may not contain any almonds at all. It makes drinks taste like candy. Popular brands include Disaronno and Lazzaroni Amaretto.
This drink couldn’t be any easier: combine all three components in a cocktail shaker or glass, add ice, stir, strain, and divide easily between shot glasses. If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to add cranberry juice or peach nectar. Depending on how much lime juice you use, this drink can taste like anything from Swedish fish to Warheads. Remember those? Throw a few of those into the shaker as well, to keep things interesting. And remember, Easter is right around the corner….