Strolling through the neighbourhood with the sun shining and a spring in my step, and passing the arts centre that bears his name on the way to West Green Road, I was reminded of the formidable figure of the late Bernie Grant.

In turn, I was reminded of his native Guyana.

In turn I was reminded of rum.

To the uninitiated perhaps a lesser known rum producing nation, Guyana in facts boasts a rich heritage for the liquid, being home to some notable and venerable distilleries, and the only working wooden pot stills in the world.

West Green Punch. Photo: André Ainsworth

West Green Punch. Photo: André Ainsworth

Thus inspired, I dropped into Tropico Foods, a shop that richly reflects Tottenham’s vibrant culture. It was here I grabbed ingredients to make our first cocktail – a gloriously simple rum punch.

Mix together a good glug of your favourite rum (I favour El Dorado, to keep with the Guyanan theme, but any golden rum will do nicely), some pineapple juice and the quintessential grapefruit soda from the Caribbean, ‘Ting’.

Add a splash of Fieldsway Jamaican Sorrel, a sweet and spicy syrup you’ll find with the fruit juices and cordials, and it goes nicely alongside a BBQ.

Moving on down the street I wanted to explore a bit more of the African side of Tottenham and popped into Meere Afro Foods, where I bumped into the proprietor James.

He sold me some Ugandan passion fruit and root ginger, proudly proclaiming that they ‘had a visa’, as he tossed them on the scale.

Ugandan Root Ginger and Passion fruit. Photo: André Ainsworth

After rinsing the ginger to remove any soil from the skin, and scooping the pulp out of the passion fruit, I took James’s advice and blended the two together, to use as the base for two more rummy cocktails.

The Ugandan ginger is smaller in scale than the kind you would buy in the supermarket, and particularly fiery, lending itself to a twist on the Moscow Mule, where rum and lime juice mingle well with the heat and tropical flavour. Top it off with some soda or sparkling water, and garnish with some mint and cucumber for freshness.


Uganda Colada. Photo: André Ainsworth

For those less inclined to spice, coconut milk is the perfect partner to control ginger’s heat, offering an even more tropical rework of the classic Piña Colada.

Stick with the rum theme and add pineapple juice and a little sugar to the mix, you’ll be left with a light and surprisingly refreshing alternative to the deck chair favourite.

With a sunny weekend on the horizon there’s three solid candidates for your drinking pleasure here – but which will get your vote?

West Green Punch

  • 2 parts rum
  • 3 parts pineapple juice
  • 3 parts grapefruit soda
  • Sorrel-hibiscus syrup, to taste
  • Halved grapes & grapefruit slices, or other fruit, to garnish



Jinja Mule. Photo: André Ainsworth


Jinja Mule

  • 1 part passion fruit & ginger puree
  • 2 parts lime juice
  • 4 parts rum
  • 1 part sugar syrup
  • Cucumber ribbons and mint sprigs, to garnish


Uganda Colada

  • 1 part passion fruit & ginger puree
  • 4 parts coconut milk
  • 2 parts rum
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1 part sugar syrup
  • Pineapple wedges and leaves, to garnish

Words: Tim Sparrow
Photographs: André Ainsworth

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