When you work as hard as I do, something as small as a 20-minute face mask can make all the difference between feeling good and feeling dull. Another simple pleasure that eases the day’s troubles: a well crafted cocktail. A face mask can be simple and straightforward as old faithful Queen Helene Mint Julep, just like a drink could be a Budweiser, but they can both be so much more.
One of my dearest friends and colleagues, Natalie Jacob, is the New York City Rum Queen. With her mixologist skills and my backup dancing skills, we have won trips overseas and trophies and had the best times all while kicking ass in the name of the female bartenders everywhere. Together, we closed down one of the finest drinking establishments in New York history, Painkiller, aka PKNY, and no bar will ever top it.
One of the main draws to PK was the insane amounts of fresh juices we kept on hand every day. You kind of need them when you have 117 recipes on the standard menu. These drinks were not your everyday gin and tonic--think grandiose frozen drinks served in a hollow pineapple, straight off the island. I feel like I understand the fans of Jimmy Buffet so much more, though we never played music like that.
Natalie is top tiki talent because she knows more than how to make these delights. The rich history behind tropical drinks is one that spans World Wars and generations, and it is a dying art.
A drawback to making fresh skincare concoctions AND fresh cocktails is the money and time spent working with produce. One way to make the effort worth it is to use the ingredients in both a drink and a mask!
So many fruits and veggies that taste amazing in drinks also happen to do wonders for your skin. Fruits like apple, pineapple, kiwi and berries have enzymes that will help chemically exfoliate the skin. Vegetables like cucumber and carrot are calming and cooling. Herbs contain essential oils that can treat conditions or just provide aromatherapy.
Natalie and I set aside a night where we could create these treats and hang out with her new foster kitties, who are freaking adorable.
Some of our old favorite tiki drinks also contain serious skincare-worthy ingredients, so we busted out the blender and got our faces ready to slather with fruits. I chose a pineapple-based mask, since my skin could use the sloughing just in time for fall, and a classic '70s drink from a Malaysian Tiki bar called the Jungle Bird. Nat chose a more calming application, with a frozen minty drink called the Missionary’s Downfall that dates to 1937, and a yogurt-based herbal mask recipe.
•1 ½ oz white rum
•½ oz peach liqueur
•¾ oz honey
•1 oz pineapple juice
•¾ oz lime juice
•10 mint leaves
Blend all ingredients with crushed ice, garnish with pineapple wedge and mint bouquet. To make a virgin version, substitute more pineapple juice or cucumber juice for the rum, the liqueur is more for flavor, but can be left out for a 100% alcohol-free smoothie.
Cucumber Mint Mask
•the juice of 1 cucumber
•¼ cup chopped mint leaves
•2 tbs fresh lemon or lime juice
•1 tbs honey
•1 tbs yogurt
Wash all produce, puree cucumber and citrus with mint, mix in yogurt and honey in a bowl and apply to face avoiding eyes. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
This is a great soothing mask for those with oily skin. Cucumber has a number of benefits, including silica content, which aids in strengthening connective tissue and retaining moisture. Mint is full of blackhead-clearing essential oils that also help fade scars from old blemishes.
The Jungle Bird
•1 ½ oz Blackstrap rum (very dark rum can be subbed, but Blackstrap is good AND cheap)
•¾ oz Campari
•1 ½ oz pineapple juice
•¾ oz lime juice
•¾ oz simple syrup
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain into a glass with an ice cube, garnish with pineapple wedge and lime wheel.
This drink is sweet and bitter, with complex flavors. To make a non-alcoholic version, add 1 oz more pineapple juice and use maple syrup in place of simple syrup. You can leave the Campari in for flavor by reducing the amount, or try using a few dashes of orange bitters to make it alcohol free.
•¼ cup pineapple pulp (leftover from juicing)
•¼ cup raw oats
•½ oz lime juice
•1 tsp turmeric
•1 tbs plain yogurt
•1 tsp flour of choice
Mix all ingredients in a non-metal bowl and allow a few minutes for the pineapple to soften the oats. Mix again and apply to face. Leave on for 20 minutes and gently rinse off with warm water.
Turmeric is well known for its anti-bacterial acne healing main ingredient, curcumin. Paired with bromelain, the enzyme found in pineapple and papaya, impurities are drawn out as dead skin is dissolved, and you are left with smooth, clean skin.