Megan Deschaine is a veteran of some of the East Coast’s finest bars: She worked at Rye Craft Cocktails and Mr. Rain’s Fun House in Baltimore before relocating in Charleston’s iconic restaurant scene. She served as the bar manager at Doar Bros., The MacIntosh (now closed), and Four Ninety Two before launching her own brand, Megan Makes Drinks. Now leading private cocktail consulting and bartending services throughout the Charleston area, she’s both an expert and artist when it comes to crafting original cocktail recipes.
When the Local Palate food-loving crew challenged her with creating Italian-inspired sippers for the 2022 Toast to Spoleto event, Deschaine went above and beyond the traditional spritzes and aperitifs. Intentional or not, Deschaine’s approach paralleled many elements found in Mediterranean cooking philosophy: Each cocktail featured a carefully selected handful of ingredients prepared simply to let the natural flavors shine. She topped each with complimenting flavors of sparkling Mountain Valley Spring Water. The premium water, sourced from the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas since 1871, has long been loved for its close-to-the-source bottling and high minerality—fans include Elvis and John Lennon, and it’s the official water served on the Senate floor.
The finishing splash of water lightened the fresh flavors in the drinks for a refreshing (and, ahem, hydrating!) beverage that cut through the Lowcountry humidity at Toast to Spoleto. The event is behind us, but we’re still lingering over that evening garden party where pizza, pasta, and Umbrian wines transported us to Italian piazzas. Thanks to Deschaine, we have the cocktail recipes so we can shake up Spoleto’s signature cocktails and transport us back to the event.
Italiano Al Caribe
1½ ounces Caribbean rum
1 ounce pineapple juice
½ ounce passionfruit
½ ounce orgeat
Mountain Valley Sparkling Water Key Lime Twist Essences
Garnish: Lime wheel, mint springs
- In a cocktail tin filled with ice, add all ingredients through orgeat and shake. Strain into a pilsner glass filled with crushed ice. Top with Mountain Valley Sparkling Water, and garnish.