Garnish? Or a swizzle stick?

Garnish? Or a swizzle stick?

It’s both — local Caribe Beans are meant for cocktails

 Mick Kilgos wears many hats: impressive drummer, tapas chef at Louie’s Backyard, spicy magic bean maker…

While hanging out at the old Full Moon Saloon on Simonton Street, which closed around 1992, Mick and his bartender friend Dennis Walley used to chat beans; magic green beans that could instantly make delicious martini more impressive. When the bar closed, Dennis told Mick to keep the beans around, and Caribe Beans were born. “The beans have a life of their own now,” said Kilgos.

The beans make the perfect companion to drinks, specifically a Bloody Mary, and are sometimes even eaten as appetizers around town. A green bean, blanched and ice bathed and soaked in a secret recipe (or dilled), creates the perfect garnish.

“The recipe has stayed the same throughout the years,” said Kilgos. “Consistency is key.” In the 2000s, Kilgos owned Caribbean Deli where he started producing the ultimate drink garnish. When his drumming took him traveling, he sold the deli, but kept making the beans.

The beans are found throughout the island at more than 30 restaurants and shops, like Green Parrot, Hogs Breath, and the Conch Flyer. Peppers of Key West ships them worldwide.

“The beans have a lot of crunch and are never soggy,” he said. “They can also be used as little swizzle sticks in the drinks.” He added that bartenders tell him that people always ask for more, they’re that good.

In between touring with the Sauce Boss and other bands, Kilgos has called Key West home for the past 28 years. At home, he can be seen behind the drums about four nights a week with Bill Blue, Ericson Holt, and Barry Cuda.

While listening to Bill Blue and the Nervous Guys at The Pier House, Scott Barry pointed out the drummer as the special bean maker. Barry like multifunctional cocktail stirrers. “They are unique in the sense that they have a purpose and taste good, and work in multitude of different drinks,” he said.

To buy Caribe Beans, visit any of the shops that sell them in town, the list is at caribebeans.com.

Hogfish Bar and Grill on Stock Island even serves the bean as a specialty appetizer — deep fried with a panko batter and served with buffalo sauce.

Hogfish Bar and Grill on Stock Island even serves the bean as a specialty appetizer — deep fried with a panko batter and served with buffalo sauce.

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