7366 El Cajon Boulevard, La Mesa
According to the bartenders at the Chico, no one knows who developed the Buccaneer. Perhaps it was previous owners or the original owners, who opened the bar in 1940 and named it after the oldest of Marx brothers.
One of the newest bartenders at the Chico, Daphne Tyler admits she’s never had a Buccaneer. Her best guess is that the bar’s genius loci inspired the drink — but of course there’s no chance of parley with him.
“I do know one thing about the Buccaneer, though,” she says. “The size of the glass it’s served in has changed over the years. And it’s definitely the signature drink of the bar.”
She says the drink has been on the menu for longer than her eight months behind the bar at Chico’s and defers to her fellow bartender Tommie Kindle. But Kindle can only elaborate on Tyler’s history of the glassware. The drink, she says, was originally served in skull-shaped glasses before they were replaced by smaller, plastic, skull-shaped cups.
“The glass ones all broke and so then we went to plastic ones, but they cracked, too,” she says. “So, then we bought these big mugs for beer and used them.”
After the daytime beer-drinking crowd gives way to the younger evening crowd, Kindle says she sells a lot of them. Like Tyler, though, Kindle has never tried the Buccaneer.
“I don’t do rum, and it’s very sweet, too,” she said.
Kitchen proof: A nice — and highly potent — blend of rums, the Buccaneer is a treasure chest of flavors: coconut, Coke, spices, and a mellow hint of banana. You have to try real hard to ruin it in the making, but a word of caution: be sparing with the 99 Bananas, or you’ll have your cocktail permeated with the flavor of circus peanuts candy.
The Chico Club’s Buccaneer
In a mega-mug filled with ice, pour:
- 2 oz. of Malibu coconut-flavored rum
- 2 oz. of Captain Morgan spiced rum
Fill with Coke, float 1 oz. of 99 Bananas banana schnapps on top, sit back, and enjoy aargh-uably the best grog larboard or starboard of anywhere.
Chico Club, 7366 El Cajon Blvd., La Mesa • chicoclub1940.com