My family has always enjoyed the salty air and the and the pure white sugar sand beaches of the Florida panhandle. As a child we vacationed many summers on the beaches of Pensacola, Florida. These beaches still rank as my favorite and most beautiful beaches on earth. After vacationing there for much of my life, I do feel as if I have a claim to the area if not a deep attachment.
As I grew older and had a family of my own, we began venturing further east along the panhandle to Destin and San Destin until we finally landed in an area between San Destin and Panama City that I imagine as paradise. The tall pines, swaying sea oats, and scrubby magnolias cling to the dunes and rush to meet the clear blue Gulf of Mexico. The shimmering coastal dune lakes live in harmony with the ebb and flow of the tides and the wildlife, opening without warning into the gulf to release their warm tannic waters.
My cousins Tish and Lisa enjoy these beaches as much as I do and we vacation there several times each year with friends and family. They gave me a beautiful book called “The Saints of Old Florida” which inspired this drink, the Saints of Old Florida Mockingbird.
I have many treasured memories from my trips to the beach. Sunrise, sunset, and happy hour are a few of my favorites.
Sunset is the moment to pull out the rum and fill a glass with ice. Stir the rum and honey and cardamon syrup gently together and pour over an ice-filled cocktail glass. Now, kick up your feet, feel the ocean breeze, and imagine yourself on the white sandy beaches of the Florida panhandle as you sip an Old Florida Mockingbird and dream of a beautiful pink and orange sunset.
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