DEAD END PARADISE owners Jad Ballout, Lynn Lin, and Andre Gerges describe their airy, neon-lit establishment as an Asian Middle Eastern tiki bar that might not exist tomorrow. They’re not kidding. The August 4, 2020, explosion of a port warehouse in Beirut, Lebanon, destroyed their previous bar, Electric Bing Sutt. The blast knocked everyone in the bar and the balcony above to the ground. The windows and doors were blown out. The disaster closed a bar that had already survived a currency crash, a people-powered revolution, and lockdowns that halted the food and drink industry.
The goal here is to achieve the creamier texture and the right balance of sweet, sour, and spice.
Dead End Paradise opened this spring, and it’s located even closer to the explosion site than their last spot. “That's why it's Dead End Paradise, and what we need in Lebanon is also the same,” says Ballout. “This is the area where we hang out always, where we live. So if we are not a part of reviving the area, who is going to do it?”
That spirit underpins Daiquiri of Paradise. For example, Ballout doesn’t pay much attention to the brand names on the Calvados in the cocktail. Like Champagne, only apple brandies produced in a specific region of France have the right to the name Calvados. But imports are hard to come by because of the collapse of Lebanon’s currency, so Dead End Paradise improvises, substituting local ingredients and house-made spirits when necessary.
Wherever the ingredients come from, the goal here is to achieve the creamier texture and the right balance of sweet, sour, and spice. “It’s like a more complex daiquiri, but also easy to make for consumers because we usually prefer a different layer of flavors,” says Ballout. It was initially intended for late-night parties, but it works wonderfully as an after-dinner drink as well. Cook up a batch of the spiced coconut syrup, bottle it, and keep it close by — or take it to go when the party moves on.
Daiquiri of Paradise
- 1 oz of spiced coconut syrup
- ⅔ oz of lemon juice
- 1 oz of Calvados
- 1 oz of white rum
- ¼ cup of sweet pineapple chunks
- Small pinch of salt
- 6 ½ oz of coconut milk
- 6 ½ oz of rich simple syrup (2-to-1 simple syrup)
- Small pinch of allspice berries
- ⅓ tsp of cinnamon stick
- Preparation: spiced coconut syrup Crush spices. Combine spices and simple syrup. Add coconut milk. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove syrup from heat and let it cool at room temperature overnight to infuse the spices. Strain and bottle. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
- Muddle pineapple, shake with all ingredients. Strain into a coupette glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf.
Jessica Suarez Writer
Jessica Suarez is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Grant Cornett Photographer
Grant Cornett is a photographer and director based in Upstate New York. He likes to take pictures of pristine detritus and austere moments.