The Cadushi Cocktail
► By Bartender Danovick (Dan) van der Linden of Divi Bar & Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
This locally inspired cocktail is the signature drink at the Divi Bar & Lounge, located in the opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel’s main lobby. According to award-winning bartender Danovick (Dan) van der Linden, “The best way to describe it is ‘you’re getting a detox and getting tipsy at the same time.’”
— Photography Kenneth Theysen
The cocktail features a tropical mix of white rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, soda and local fresh cadushi cactus, which is reputedly good for weight loss, digestion, lowering blood sugar and cleansing the body.
“A lot of people don’t use cadushi any more on the island, but my grandma and grandpa used to make a goat stew with a lot of the cactus,” he says. “I feel proud that we use it here and get to tell guests about it.”
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Makes 1 cocktail
1 oz. cactus purée
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 oz. white rum
½ oz. triple sec
2 oz. club soda, or 1 oz. soda and 1 oz. Sprite
Wedge of lime and a maraschino cherry, to garnish
Combine the cactus purée, lime juice, simple syrup, rum and triple sec in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into a glass of ice. Top with soda (and optional Sprite) and garnish with a wedge of lime and a cherry.
You can make a low sugar, refreshingly sour version by leaving out the simple syrup and Sprite. You can also make a virgin version without the alcohol, which turns it into a cadushi lemonade.
Cadushi Cactus Purée
Van der Linden usually picks the spine-free cactus himself – it grows all over the island, he says. He chops it up, adds just enough water to blend it and strains it to make a lime-green purée that keeps for several days in the fridge. If you can’t find cadushi, you can use nopal, a cactus available at many Mexican specialty stores. Fresh aloe, though more widely available, isn’t quite the same, and it won’t give the same green color. A better idea would be to come to The Ritz-Carlton where van der Linden can make you a proper cadushi cocktail himself.