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Culinary Cocktails

Counting Down To The 21st Staging of The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards

with Debbiann Spence Minott

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Our Cocktail City Culinary edition today spotlights Gossette Brown. Brown, currently a bar supervisor, has been employed for the last eight years at the multi-award-winning Rock House Hotel in Negril, Westmoreland. Brown is, too, the reigning Taste of Jamaica Bartender of the Year, Jamaica's culinary ambassador to the gastronomy product overseen by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the lead bartender on the National Culinary Team, and a council member of the Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists Limited. Impressive credentials aside his cocktails are truly memorable.


Thursday Food (TF): Who is Gossette Brown?

Gossette Brown (GB): I am a husband, father and a mixologist. As a mixologist, I put thought into the process of planning a cocktail from scratch. Fresh ingredients are sourced from the market or my community. Food cost is important to ensure business profitability.


TF: Why did you choose this profession?

GB: I'd like to think that the profession chose me! My dad was a bartender and, as a child, I would watch him getting ready for work. Plus, he would also prepare cocktails at home and would sneak me a little just to taste. I saw how disciplined he was in his approach to bartending as it was the result of his mixes that his family was provided for. I knew from then I also wanted to be a bartender. I wanted to take the learnings from my father to the next level.


TF: With all the accolades already received, how do you remain motivated?

GB: I am immensely grateful for all that I have achieved and the support I have received as a bartending professional. However, there is so much more to do. I plan to pursue the title of Bartender of the Year at the Taste of the Caribbean event to be held in Miami later this year.


TF: Share with us some of your future plans.

GB: I would love to someday own and operate my own bar or franchise. I love experimentation — I want to develop more cocktails using local herbs and spices. I would love to get into bar consultancy, as well as educate young bartenders on how to develop crafted cocktails. I am a bit bored with all the usual frozen cocktails, as creativity is stifled in this way. Once bartenders get to appreciate local fruits, herbs and spices as well as flavour they will be able to create their own ingredients such as syrups and bitters which will add complexity to the cocktail experience. Additionally, I would love to advance my studies in bartending.


The Culinary Cocktail Experience

Brown was assigned Smirnoff vodka as his main spirit, but he also included a non-alcoholic option.


Jamaica Coffee Delight — This non-alcoholic cocktail is made with Blue Mountain coffee, infused Scotch bonnet caramel and heavy cream. The glass was garnished with chocolate syrup and Scotch bonnet caramel. Once the liquid was poured into the glass, the home-made whipped cream made using a similar process for making pie toppings by pastry chefs was added and lightly torched.


TF: Why did you use this type of cream versus the commercial whipped cream?

GB: I like the pastry aspect of the kitchen. A lot of what pastry chefs do can be replicated into cocktail creations.


Jah Mek Ya — In showcasing his versatility with the use of other spirits, Brown created a sweet vermouth made with grapefruit bitters and added Campari, Appleton Genesis and tamarind juice.


Run Dung Cocktail

The classic Bloody Mary was the inspiration behind this beverage. Instead of a highball or Collins glass, Margarita stemware is used.


GB: I was also inspired by the run dung meal that we prepare in Westmoreland. We use a lot of coconut milk and curry. The curry is dehydrated turmeric, parched with a little salt. I also prepared salt mackerel with red onions — the red onion aromas are not as off-putting and also provide a sweeter flavour. In addition, julienne carrots are sautéed with coconut fat-washed Smirnoff vodka. The liquid from the skillet is used as the base of the cocktail. Then home-made spicy curried syrup is poured together with fresh coconut milk and Smirnoff vodka. All ingredients are shaken, then poured.


Sweet Jamaica Daiquiri

This cocktail is a twist on the original daiquiri. Infused curried syrup with blue Curaçao and lime juice were added to Smirnoff vodka and a splash of white overproof rum. Jackfruit is caramelised in a skillet with Smirnoff vodka. For garnish, the caramelised jackfruit and a lime wheel are added to the glass.


The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards 2019 committee is pleased to announce the nomination of Gossette Brown as a finalist of the inaugural Bartender of the Year Award. Continue to follow @jamaicaobserver and @bartendingacademyja for more information about the other nominees and this very prestigious and exciting designation.


Readers' Feedback:

Imagine if we embraced life's moments big and small, without reservation. Together, we might fill the world with contagious joy. Please share with me your wines, spirits and cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.


Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President – Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited