Summer Bar Call


Summer Bar Call

Bar None

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

Now that the summer's most sought-after events are behind us, what does one do for an encore? Well, we know what we will do! Simply enjoy the rest of the season by spending time at our favourite watering holes across the island.

There are so many to choose from, and no matter where you are located in Jamaica you best believe you will find a great hang-out spot nearby.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Bar None team will visit some of The Rock's style bars and great wine spots to interact with the 'taste makers' responsible for making and serving great cocktails!

Why Style Bars?

So, you must be wondering why I keep referring to bars as style bars? In the adult beverage business, we use this classification to denote the hierarchy of the bar. A style bar usually provides a great platform for brand-building in terms of imagery and association. Our friends in the alcohol brand-building world refer to this as an 'on-trade' account — that is, a place where you can purchase drinks by the bottle or glass and consume same on the spot. However, not all on-trade accounts carry the same weight. So that brings us to our corner bars, bar-bars, two-or three-stool bars — these are the smaller accounts that will operate in the communities. While not necessarily used for building a brand's image and association, they are often great places to stimulate consumption and achieve overall market penetration.

Let's Go To The Bar …

This week I visited Ribbiz Barbican Centre, one of the best style bars, from my perspective, in Kingston. I was warmly welcomed and introduced to the bartender on duty — Robin Blake. To break the ice, I asked Blake a few questions about being a bartender and his signature cocktails. This short interaction allowed me to share with him some tips to enhance the structure, balance, and presentation of his cocktails.

About Robin Blake…

Blake has been a trained bartender for the past 2 years and worked at establishments like Saffron, White Bones and The Terrace, sometimes in roles outside of bartending. However, bartending, for him, has been a passion, and three weeks ago opportunity knocked at Ribbiz Barbican. Blake said yes, and the rest is history, as he is enjoying each moment of each day. He shares that his teammates are ecouraging and the environment at Ribbiz makes for an overall great working experience.

Blake's Three Signature Cocktails:

Caribbean Vibes — fashioned off the classic Long Island Iced Tea, Blake uses J Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, Smirnoff Vodka, Cocomania rum liqueur, Gordon's gin, melon liqueur, and pineapple juice. The cocktail is shaken and poured in a cocktail/martini glass. A slice of pineapple, two pineapple leaves and a cherry complete the presentation.

Midday Cooler — Blake creates this drink in two parts, first Smirnoff Vodka and cranberry juice are shaken and poured. Second, peach schnapps, lemonade, and pineapple juice are shaken. This second mix is layered into the glass with a bar spoon. Tropical fruits like oranges, limes and cherries are added.

Hot Fire on the Rocks — Smirnoff Vodka, Jose Cuervo tequila, cranberry juice, and simple syrup are the main ingredients of this cocktail. The garnish includes a squeezed half of lime topped with J Wray & Nephew White Overproof rum, which is then flamed to release the essence of the fruit.

Thanks to Brian “Ribbie” Chung and his team for accommodating us. We look forward to greater achievements from Blake and the rest of the bartending team. Clearly, innovation, creativity, and team spirit are part of their winning formula! Where will we head to next week? Keep your eyes on this space as we share with you our bar call journey to close out the summer shenanigans. Cheers!

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

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon