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It’s against the rules to reveal the secret recipe of “The Dirty Pirate,” a drink that is described only as “sweet and fruity” on the menu of Cugino’s Italian Restaurant. Everyone knows what happens when you break a pirate oath, but I was determined to crack the recipe without walking the plank. After a little trickery—and an obliging waitress—I identified some of the delicious ingredients.
I mentioned my fruit allergies — a trick no pirate ever caught on to — and cranberry juice was confirmed as a main ingredient.
When I insisted that vodka had to be in a “Dirty Pirate,” my server confessed it was “not a regular vodka,” stopping short of naming the flavor. My allergies to peaches and pineapple ruled those out.
The “Dirty Pirate” tastes like a Long Island Ice Tea, but more fruity and savory. Since gin is in those, I asked if the specialty had “a clear booze that rhymed with ‘sin’,” winking with the eye that wasn’t covered with a patch. I got an affirmative on that. After two rounds of the “don’t nod if it’s true game,” I think it’s safe to say rum and whiskey are also in a “Dirty Pirate.”
The libation was served in a hurricane glass with lemon and lime slices.
Squeezing those into the drink added sourness to offset the drink’s maraschino cherry. The “Dirty Pirate” was noticeably flavorful and intoxicating. Cugino’s had a “two per customer” limit. That’s a rule I didn’t break.
Cugino’s Italian Restaurant
11 am – 10 pm M-Th 11 am – 10:30 pm Fri 11 am – 10 pm Sat Closed Sunday 306 S. Bridge St. Grand Ledge (517) 627-4048 cuginosmenu.com