Drinks of the week on Martha’s Vineyard

The Bahama Mama sits on the bar in all its finished glory. — Photo by Naomi Pallas

What better way to stay refreshed this summer than with a unique Vineyard beverage? For this new feature we will scour establishments each week for classic and exciting drinks. Stay tuned to hear about the most delicious ones for every occasion from dessert for all ages to a 21+ night on the town.

Matcha Latte at Little House Cafe

After returning from a trip to Japan, I searched far and wide to once again experience the smooth, earthy concoction that is the Matcha Green Tea Latte before happily stumbling upon it at the Little House Café, located on State Road in Vineyard Haven, near Cronig’s.

Made just like a regular latte, the drink looks like a leaf green version of its coffee cousin. But with matcha, the fine powdered green tea that is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremony, the tea is present with each creamy sip and leaves a fresh and healthy aftertaste. Steer toward the traditional by drinking it hot and sugarless, or order it sweetened or iced for a dessert-y flavor. The small amount of caffeine is a great pick-me-up any time of day.

While I think a sweet, iced Matcha Latte (made at Little House with Harney & Sons matcha powder) is a perfect drink for the summer, the staff will warn any first timers: Some people love it, and some just don’t. So head to Little House and try the latte yourself to see what you think. All sizes and temperatures are $2.85/3.35 with soy milk.

Bahama Mama at Donovan’s Reef at Nancy’s Restaurant, Oak Bluffs

Donovan has been serving drinks at Nancy’s Restaurant and Snack Bar since 2001. His personal bar, Donovan’s Reef, sits connected to Nancy’s on the east side of Oak Bluffs harbor. Working seven days a week, Donovan took a moment to share with us how he makes the Bahama Mama.

The Bahama Mama is a fruit medley created by blending fresh pieces of mangos, strawberries, pineapples, bananas, and peaches with three kinds of rum: coconut, mango, and pineapple. Donovan adds ice, peach schnapps, and finishes with a splash of grenadine before mixing the drink in the blender.

The drink is as soothing as a fruit smoothie, the rum a subtle reminder that you should enjoy yourself. It’s clear that the mixture has been taken to the level of a science as no single aspect overpowers in this feast of complimentary parts.

The $8 Bahama Mama is one of Donovan’s most popular summer drinks, and one of the few for which he is willing to divulge the ingredients. The recipe for his signature drink, the Dirty Banana, is a closely guarded secret.