Meet Larry Carroll of Chiringo
If you are looking for a low-key beach bar but still want the luxury of a fresh craft cocktail, look no further than Chiringo in Grayton Beach. In fact, it was the fresh ingredients and the beach feel that first lured veteran bartender Larry Carroll to the establishment.
“We are all about fresh, locally sourced ingredients if possible,” said Carroll. “We use all fresh-squeezed juice, such as cucumbers, strawberries, pineapples and carrots, and all our citrus we do by hand as well.”
Carroll, who has been bartending for the better part of two decades, said it’s been a long journey into the world of craft cocktails.
“I started out working in kitchens dishwashing and food prep when I was 18 years old,” he said. “I went on to be a line-cook and then I had a manager that thought I had the skills to be behind the bar and would be better suited out there. I started bartending in high-end clubs in Atlanta, then around ’98, I moved to the Virgin Islands; that’s where I was more inspired and found more of a love for bartending.”
In St. Thomas, Carroll said he became entranced by the fresh ingredients he was able to get his hands on. And now, almost two decades later, he said he finds himself in another beach town doing what he loves, right beside the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
“In St. Thomas, I was able to work with fresh fruits and was able to create my own cocktails,” he said. “When I moved here to take care of my elderly aunt, I loved the restaurant scene of 30A. When I was recruited by the owners (of Chiringo), I loved the motto here — ‘Fresh, fun and flavorful.’”
When it comes to his favorite drink on the menu, Carroll said it’s a toss-up between the Cloud Nine and the Bourbon Smash.
“I rotate between the two,” he said. “The Bourbon Smash is that brown liquor drink that you can drink year-round, and the Cloud Nine is a nice refreshing summery drink that is perfect for the beach.”
The Cloud Nine is also one of the most popular drinks at Chiringo, Carroll said, as it’s made with Hendrick’s Gin — a smooth cucumber-based gin.
“It takes the kick out of gin,” said Carroll. “Most gin is made with juniper berries, which is what gives it that stringent flavor, but cucumber doesn’t have that.”
As for the Bourbon Smash, Carroll lovingly chose to feature it as his signature sip.
“I like all liquor, but bourbon is probably my favorite,” he said. “It’s what I was raised on; what I started out drinking.”
The Bourbon Smash includes Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, honey water and fresh mint.
When asked why he loves creating craft cocktails, Carroll said he just loves creating something people can enjoy.
“I just like it to be complex — with a multitude of flavors — but simple enough to be enjoyed by everyone,” he said.
Chiringo is at 63 Hotz Avenue in Grayton Beach. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Visit them online at www.chiringograyton.com or call 850-534-4449.
2 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
1 oz. Honey Water
1/2 of a lemon
5-6 fresh mint leaves
1 spring of mint for garnish
Cut lemon into four wedges.
Slap mint to wake it up and place into mixing tin.
Add bourbon, honey water and 3-4 cubes of ice.
Shake but don't bruise.
Pour into glass and top with more ice.
Add remaining lemon wedge and sprig of mint for garnish and enjoy!