What’s shaking in St Croix?
IN JUST A FEW MINUTES and with one drink, award winning Cruzan bartender Frank Robinson had accomplished his mission.
“My mission simply is to produce quality and also produce the products of my home,” he asserted.
It was the final hours of my first night in St Croix and as I was winding down, my tour guides and I paid a visit to Zion Modern Kitchen, a bar and restaurant nestled in the capital of Christiansted.
A well known figure in those parts, Robinson guided us to the restaurant’s perfectly lit courtyard and asked what we’d like to drink.
“I don’t know, but something strong would do,” was my reply.
A nod and an impromptu unnamed gooseberry and rum laden beverage was Robinson’s response.
Best drink I’ve ever had.
My tour guides laughed at me as they’d been insisting he was one of the best, but I didn’t imagine they meant that good.
“I don’t even want to call myself a mixologist. I don’t particularly use that phrase to say what I do. I’m a bartender. If it’s bestowed upon me then I take it as a compliment,” Frank told EASY magazine.
“I guess it lends to my creativity because people respect and see what I do,” the St Croix native added.
Not only was he Cruzan born, but Robinson had also spent time on the other US Virgin Islands St Thomas and St John as well as visited the British Virgin Islands.
“I’m a Virgin Islander… I consider myself a true Virgin Islander and I’m always trying to promote my home and what I do,” he said.
This aim to promote his home had led the bartender to create his own fruit infused rums and housemade flavoured syrups, some of which he had earlier used to create my drink.
“The infusions, the house made syrups; my mission simply is to produce quality and also produce the products of my home,” Frank proudly stated.
“In all the competitions that I’ve gone to I’ve always tried to use something locally. From Moringa to Hibiscus to Bayleaf, Sour Orange, Soursop, whatever I can get my hands on I’ll utilise,” he added.
He wasn’t kidding.
With several bottles of his infused rums sitting on the bar shelves, the Zion bartender noted that he’d created around 50 flavours of these infused rums in the last year.
To add to this, Robinson had only been seriously bartending for the last five years and in that time, he had racked up an impressive award list.
The bartender already has the 2014 Virgin Islands Stoli Cocktail Master, 2015 Stoli Cocktail Masters as well as 2016 Diageo Rotary Iron Bartender wins under his belt.
And with his bartending resume already noteworthy, Frank revealed he was in the process of preparing for this year’s Taste Of the Caribbean competition in Miami.
“To be honest, the journey in terms of competitions has been something amazing. Since 2015 until up until now I would say I haven’t gone into a competition losing,” Robinson said.
“I never thought it was something that I would be able to take seriously as a career. It’s not something that’s promoted in that light. But thank God I saw the light, stuck with it and I’m doing my thing,” he said with a sense of humility.
Perhaps I should thank God that he saw the light as well as I have a new favourite drink after my experience at the Zion Modern Kitchen.
As for award winning bartender Frank Robinson’s favourite drink? Surprisingly, he doesn’t have one.
“People always ask me that and to be one hundred per cent honest, I don’t have favourite yet,” he laughed.
“My normal go-to answer is that my favourite drink is the one I have yet to create. Like the one I made for you tonight. That is something I’ve never done before, that is off the top,” he explained.
Well in that case, if and when you go to Zion Modern Kitchen in St Croix, tell Frank you’d like his favourite drink that I’ve named the BCF; Bajan Cruzan Fusion. (AD)