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Where to find tropical mixed drinks in Boston/Cambridge?

I just got back from St. Thomas and unfortunately didn't get a chance to try a painkiller or bushwacker there. Are there places in Boston/Cambridge to get good tropical drinks? I searched for painkiller and bushwacker on this board but the search came up empty. Thanks!


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  1. any bar should be able to make a Bushwhacker or Painkiller, they're made with pretty standard stuff.

    but i doubt your going to find anything like that on a standing drink menu around here.

    better than that i would suggest is to head to one of the local establishments that use freshly squeezed fruit juices (ESK, No. 9, etc) and tell them what kind of drink your after and let them tailor a cocktail to your palate.

    you could also try to find a resto with a Caribbean flavor and see what they can do to help. maybe Cuci Cuci in the PRC?

    6 Replies
    1. re: ScubaSteve

      Thanks, Steve. Sorry, what does PRC stand for?

      1. re: ScubaSteve

        Second what Scuba Steve says about fresh juices in a mixed drink. It makes ALL the difference in the world to me. The proliferation of "sour mix" in bars and its acceptance as a standard in a $10-$15 drink is beyond ridiculous.

        In fact I'd love to see a list of local bars who take mixology seriously enough to use real fruit juice instead of those horrid mixes.

        1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

          We've got a decent number of them actually. A very incomplete list, off the top of my head:

          Green Street, B Side (has it closed yet? its replacement will surely be on the list as well...), Highland Kitchen, Eastern Standard, Deep Ellum, The Independent, No.9 (and surely Drink as well, though I have not yet been), Delux, Beehive, Blue Room, Chez Henri, West Side Lounge, Ole Mexican Grille

          My list tilts heavily toward Cambridge & Somerville, as I live in the latter, but I'm sure there are more in Boston too. We are a pretty good cocktail bar town these days!

          1. re: jajjguy

            Thanks for that list! I was actually at the independent recently, and had I known they use fresh juice I wouldn't have ordered beer!

            1. re: jajjguy

              I've had some really good fruity cocktails at Highland Kitchen; they weren't quite "tropical," but they definitely know how to handle fruit.

        2. Hey Steve! We were in St John last hear and had our share of Painkillers! I am pretty sure to make one, it is a Planter Punch with coconut and fresh ground nutmeg on the top. You could alway ask a bartender, you might have to bring your own fresh nutmeg.

          1 Reply
          1. Go see Vince over at Pho Republic--he makes wicked Tiki drinks

            1. An understandable urge, joyosity, but be careful. After returning from the BVI we attempted to find/recreate the Painkiller, and while we got very close, we were missing two key ingredients, namely the Caribbean views and the sand sticking to the condensation on the bottom of the cup. As wonderful as the drink itself is, the location is key. A clammy and cold pub in Boston just ain't the same...

              1. This isn't strictly "tropical," but the Diva Lounge in Davis Square has surprisingly good mixed drinks with muddled (or smooshed) berries in them. I like the Shiva (it has cayenne pepper in it!) and the Zen (mashed-up blackberries). A good option for cocktails that will make you feel warm as the weather cools off!

                1 Reply
                1. re: AnyaEssen

                  Quite so! Genuinely exotic in a non-cartoon way.

                2. Hi Joy, if you want to recreate tropical drinks from the Islands, I would eschew the modern bars in Boston and Cambridge and head for the old school Tiki spots just North of the city. There is a raft of them all throughout the North Shore, but my favorites are a few of the closer ones. My favorite is the Ho Win Palace in Chelsea/Everett on Route 16. The owner, Lina, tends bar and has done so for over 35 years at that location. The Zombie will literally knock you over, and it only costs 6.25. Other places would be Tiki Island near Wellington Station in Everett and Bali Hai up Route 1 past Saugus near 128.
                  These places are great, divey kind of chinese/polynesian places that will satisfy your tropical drink desires...

                  1. I believe Clink at the Liberty Hotel has a Painkiller. If not, the bartenders at Vox, CItybar, and Top of the Hub are AWESOME and can probably make you what you want, whether it's on the drink menu or not (all places have great menus).

                    1. Maybe a stretch but Lemon Grass in Lexington, MA has some tasty Thai Ice Tea.