David Morrison, Senior Blender for Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums, along with his band of discerning foodies, have traversed the island in the past few weeks on a mission to unearth the heart of Jamaica, one meal at a time. From the depths of the Cockpit County to the cliffs of Negril, from the heart of Kingston City to sleepy beachside villages, David has vowed to leave no stone unturned in his quest for Jamaican Excellence.
Today’s journey takes us to Plantation Smokehouse, in Richmond, St. Ann, where food and music go together like sea and sand. Built as an addition to Sharkie’s Seafood Restaurant, Plantation Smokehouse was designed to reflect Jamaica’s rich landscape while serving a hot side of culture with every meal. Guests from all over come to enjoy live music, feast on elevated Jamaican dishes and sample divine cocktails.
David Morrison greets Chef David, the head chef for Plantation Smokehouse, with a question that’s been heavy on his mind. “One of the things I’ve been very curious about is jerk. Walk me through what real jerk means? Walk me through how you do it here?”
Chef David explains that to stay true to the Jamaican traditions of jerk, at Plantation Smokehouse they marinate the chicken at least 24 hours before cooking so that it becomes well-seasoned. Once ready, they jerk on sweet stick and pimento stick only, to capture the true flavour associated with this favourite style of Jamaican cooking.
The jerk chicken is paired with market-fresh vegetables like carrots, yellow squash and zucchini that were first blanched then sautéed to perfection. The aroma of the sweet wood and jerk spice plants a creative seed in Appleton Estate’s Senior Blender’s imagination. After speaking with Chef David, he knows the perfect cocktail to pair with the meal.
David draws for the Appleton Estate 8-year-old Reserve to create a cocktail he calls, Peach Estate. Appleton Estate Reserve, with its notes of hazelnut, vanilla, orange peel and molasses will be just the base to bring this cocktail full circle. In a shaker with ice, he adds lime juice, a little simple syrup, peach schnapps and apple juice. A slice of peach becomes the ideal garnish for this cocktail.
“The sweetness and citrus will cut the spiciness of the jerk, resulting in a balanced, enjoyable experience,” David explains to his friends as the cocktails are poured into their waiting glasses. “This cocktail will offer a sweet, citrus foil to the spicy jerk chicken, creating a balanced, pleasurable experience.”
As David and his friends dig into the feast of jerk chicken and sautéed market vegetables, sipping on Peach Estate cocktails with a gentle Caribbean breeze at their backs, there isn’t a doubt in their minds: they have not only unearthed Jamaican Excellence—they are living it!
“It’s fair to say, looking at how little food is left on everyone’s plates, and the empty glasses on the table, that everyone had a good time today,” laughs David as he leans back to admire the smiling faces of his guests. “Of course, that’s what it’s all about. Nothing says that more than a fantastic gastronomic experience!”
David invites his friends to raise a glass for a toast. “Thanks for turning out, sharing a good vibe and thanks for enjoying! That’s what this is all about: the enjoyment amongst friends”.
Another successful Jamaican dining adventure comes to a close. Stay tuned to see where the journey leads next time on Appleton Estate’s Cocktails and Cuisine.
Must be 18 years or older to drink. Please drink responsibly.