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Ask A Boston Bartender: Your Best Tropical Drink Recipe

Originally from South Boston, Ryan McGrale's career in the hospitality industry started when he got a job as a barback at age 17. After spending some time in the bar scene, he soon began to realize that mixology was his true calling. McGrale, beverage director at one of the city's coolest cocktail bars, Tavern Road, shares his recipe for one of his favorite tropical drinks. Try making it at home, or head to Tavern Road and sip on the real thing!

Ryan McGrale, Beverage Director
Tavern Road
343 Congress St.
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 790-0808

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Engineering, McGrale moved back to his native Boston and got a job working for his cousin at No. 9 Park as a bartender. There, McGrale honed his mixology skills, specializing in elegant twists on classic cocktails. In his eight years at No. 9, McGrale helped develop a nationally-recognized cocktail program. He also received some personal kudos along the way, being selected as one of Food & Wine magazine's top five talents in the cocktail industry in 2006.

In 2008, with the support of his mentors at No. 9, McGrale moved to New York for the opportunity to work as head bartender at Flatiron Lounge. During four formative years in Manhattan, McGrale delved deeper into the nuances of the cocktail world and helped to take the bar program at Flatiron to a new level. After his time in New York, McGrale started his own cocktail consulting business and took things international. He traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he helped craft the cocktail program at MyNy Bar, which has received numerous local awards for its contributions to the city's cocktail culture. His exposure to the interesting fruits and bright flavors of South America, in turn, influenced the flavor profiles he brought back to use behind the bar in the U.S., which is why he is the perfect person to ask about tropical drink recipes.

Back in Boston, McGrale continued to consult on a number of leading bar programs. In 2012, he worked to craft the opening bar program at nightspot Storyville, reuniting with friend and acting chef Louis DiBiccari, whom he'd known since 2003. The two had talked for years about working together on a restaurant concept, and when Louis finally set out to open his own restaurant, Tavern Road, he knew that McGrale was the right man to manage the bar.

At Tavern Road, McGrale places a heavy emphasis on elevated and artfully-crafted cocktails that utilize small batch, locally sourced spirits and pay homage to the classics. He's made it his mission to staff the bar with young and upcoming talent, giving them the opportunities he was given, and ensuring a fresh and creative bar program.

Related: Boston's Best Places To Buy Swimsuits

Try one of Ryan McGrale's globally inspired cocktail recipes at home with the following recipe!

  • 1.5 oz. Pierre Ferrand cognac
  • .75 oz. coconut liquor
  • .5 oz. Coco Lopez
  • .25 oz. white cacao


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake, Then pour in a glass of your choice over ice and serve immediately. For extra tropical flare, sprinkle a bit of granulated nutmeg on the top of the drink and serve with a colorful straw.

Related: Boston's Best Beer Gardens

Cameron Bruns is the founder of and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston's North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on
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