Head of Drinks Development at East London Liquor Company, Mikey Pendergast, grew up with archaeologist parents. Needless to say he had an adventurous childhood, a lifestyle that today he demonstrates in his cocktails which may not actually cure cancer, but some of their ingredients might.
Mikey’s archaeological travels brought him to a remote research station at Glover’s Reef, located about 45km off the coast of Belize in the Glover’s Reef Atoll, part of the Belize Barrier Reef. The station’s mission is to study coral reef ecosystems and it runs a number of projects from tracking turtles to investigating disease in lobster larvae. One of its projects is shark conservation which it accomplishes by tracking the big fish’s movements and mating habits.
Legend has it that sharks don’t get cancer, a tale that has persisted for centuries and one perpetuated by those selling shark cartilage as a cancer treatment. In reality, people have known very well for 150 years that these scary sea monsters are not immune to cancer and just last year, visual proof was found on a great white in Southern Australia. Although the tumor was the first found on a great white, scientists have found evidence of cancer in over 20 additional species of sharks firmly dispelling the cancer-free legend, not to mention the fact that scientists have found no cancer curing qualities in the cartilage.
To study sharks at Glover’s Reef Research Station, one can depart from the Belizean town of Dangriga which Mikey describes as “not a classy city, but definitely wild and fun.” On a raucous post-dig night when his party was running out of mixers, it’s in Dangriga that he, or more precisely his mother, discovered that gin goes very well with the “white, viscous juice of the guanabana fruit.”
Guanabana, Spanish for what we English speakers know as Soursop, grows in the humid climates of Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It has a spiny green outer layer with a white, juicy flesh, a different type of flesh than a shark would sink its teeth into perhaps, but like shark cartilage, humans believe guanabana an effective cancer treatment.
Despite this popular belief, a host of official bodies such as Cancer Research UK and the US’ Federal Trade Commission have concluded that no scientific evidence linking Guanabana and cancer curing.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink Mikey’s Dangriga Fizz cocktail, inspired by his mother’s mixture. The ingredients, like gin, still have plenty of redeeming qualities. They may not cure cancer but they will soothe your soul.
40ml East London Liquor Company Batch 1 gin
- 15ml Cardamom infused sugar syrup
- 30ml Guanabana Juice
- 15ml Lime Juice
Stir over ice and pour into a champagne flute and top with dry bubbles. A white grapefruit zest makes for a good garnish.
Pairs well with pork belly or dark chocolate