Adventures in Alcohol

Voodoo Brew packs a punch - raise a glass to queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 2:58pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 3:10pm

Understandably, Macau is often compared to Las Vegas, but a comparison with New Orleans would perhaps in some ways be more apt.

Both are port cities that have brought together different peoples and cultures with resulting new hybrid cultures, cuisines and patois. In New Orleans, white teenage boys from rich families would be moved into a garconniere at the rear of the house. Here they would learn to sing, dance, duel, drink, play cards and make love to women.

So, not that different to life in contemporary Macau.

Of course, in Macau when bodies have needles stuck in them it’s called acupuncture. In New Orleans, its voodoo.

The queen of New Orleans voodoo was Marie Laveau, born in around 1794 and who reigned until 1897. How did she manage this long reign? It wasn’t magic – the daughter took over when the mother retired. Both women not only led what had become the banned and underground religion of voodoo (white slave owners feared that voodoo rites were a pretext for rebellion) but ran bars and brothels where white men met black women.

At the  Flame bar in Macau’s City of Dreams, Marie Laveau is honoured with a punch served in a scorpion skull bowl, called Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Brew (HK$220). The price is good value when you realise the drink is for four to six people to share. DC Bull, the resort’s food and beverage director, is a big fan of Hawaiian-inspired tiki – not just the rum-based cocktails but the many and varied containers they are served in. If you want authentic tiki ware, Bull suggests ordering online from Tiki Farm ( If that’s not an option he suggests buying a Woodi brand pineapple corer from Wing On or online and serving drinks in a hollowed out pineapple.

The Voodoo Brew is more about fun than flavour, though it’s light and fruity. The mix of light and dark rums and bourbon creates a sweetness balanced by the cider and citrus fruit. It certainly doesn’t taste as strong as it reads on the menu.

If you’re making this at home, Bull encourages experimentation around what is basically a highly alcoholic fruit punch. Here are his five basic steps:

Choose a base spirit – rum, aged rum, spiced rum, or some other kind of spirit. You could even use Brazilian cachaca.
Add citrus juice – orange, pineapple, lemon, lime. You can add all the juices you want – but include some lemon or lime juice for a sour balance to the sugar.

For sugar, feel free to use liqueurs such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier – raid that party bin of stuff you never use or hit grandad’s miniatures collection. Otherwise use honey, sugar, molasses or anything else sweet.
Add cider or something. Traditionally punches are made with tea or water, but exchange that for wine, cider, soda water, lemonade or whatever you like.
Sprinkle some spice – I like to add burnt cinnamon, but any mixture of spices will do.
It’s always good to add some chopped fruit, and of course you need plenty of ice.

Bull suggests squeezing most of the juice out of a lime or lemon half and then filling it with warm 151 proof rum. Float the fruit half on top of the punch and light the rum to make a floating candle.