Jeff Berry’s Noa Noa is designed in the classic tradition of Caribbean cocktails—at its heart, it’s an easy mix of rum, lime, sugar and ice. In fact, you could consider it a minted version of the basic Daiquiri.

Or perhaps, a minimalist swizzle.

In fact, Berry says that the Noa Noa was his take on the Queen’s Park Swizzle. The only significant difference is that the Noa Noa omits the Queen Park’s dash of Angostura bitters.

The Noa Noa Cocktail
Jeff Berry’s Noa Noa Cocktail

Berry’s formula goes like this:

Noa Noa
Jeff Berry

  • 3 oz Demerara rum (El Dorado 12)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ½ oz demerara sugar syrup
  • 4–6 mint leaves

“Swizzle everything in a double old-fashioned glass partly filled with crushed ice. Add more crushed ice to fill. Swizzle again until glass frosts. Garnish with a mint sprig and your spent lime shell.”

The Noa Noa starts with a nose full of mint and lime shell, and the sweetness of the Demerara rum. It’s a bit like a mint julep that way—the mint garnish stays under your nose for the life of the drink.

Noa Noa Cocktail ingredients (detail). Photo © 2015 Douglas M. Ford. All rights reserved.The first sip is all about the rum, then lime, and finally mint in the swallow. The trick, as always with Caribbean drinks, is balancing the rum and the lime. That’s always a moving target for me, dependent on things like weather and food. Sometimes a little more sugar seems a good idea—and sometimes even a little bump of salt.

So what’s a swizzle, anyway? Why not just call it a minted Daiquiri?

Swizzle isn’t really about ingredients. It’s mostly about presentation—the crushed ice and the frost. A sort of Caribbean julep. In that respect, it’s fair to say that this is a minted Demerara Daiquiri, served swizzle-style. Crushing or shaving the ice is an extra step, but I enjoy the swizzling, and I really like the frost. It just makes me feel good on a hot summer day.