Make It Right: The Jamaican Ten-Speed
Thought the Jamaican Ten Speed was a saccharine shot? Think again.
If you've lived around here for more than a few years, you're probably familiar with a little drink called the Jamaican Ten-Speed. Odds are good that your favorite bartender will whip up one for you in the blink of an eye. Then you go on vacation in the Caribbean. A Jamaican Ten-Speed sounds like a perfect idea. You order one . . . and the bartender has no idea what you're talking about.
If this has happened to you, you found out the hard way that the Jamaican Ten-Speed isn't a Caribbean drink at all. In fact, it's an Arizona original. It was created by bartender Roger Gobler in the early 1990s, at the Scottsdale location of the now-defunct Café Terra Cotta.
At first glance, the Jamaican Ten-Speed looks like a shot thrown together on a whim. The truth is, Gobler spent quite a bit of time making careful adjustments to the recipe until everything was in perfect balance. If you taste one thrown together alongside one made by the original recipe, it's a revelation. The drink usually comes out hyper-sweet, reeking of artificial flavoring. The genuine article shows a master's touch.
Midori takes the lead with its melon flavor. Coconut rum and crème de banane are present in the barest quantities, only enough to enhance Midori's fruitiness. If there's too much of either, you might as well just drink suntan lotion. Vodka tames the cloying sweetness of the liqueurs. Finally, half-and-half provides a little extra body to the drink. Not milk (it doesn't bring much to the party), not cream (it smothers everything else); only half-and-half will do.
Make sure you take the time to measure out everything; this is one finely tuned cocktail, and a little too much of any one ingredient throws the whole thing out of wack. Oh, one more thing: While the drink is frequently served on the rocks, it's properly served straight up. According to Gobler, if it's on the rocks, it's a Jamaican Mountain Bike.
Jamaican Ten-Speed 1 oz vodka 3/4 oz Midori 1/4 oz Malibu rum (or other coconut rum) 1/4 oz crème de banane 1/2 oz half-and-half
Shake everything like the dickens with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. For a Jamaican Mountain Bike, strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.