Around the World in 60 Cocktails: Circles in the Sand

The Vanuatu archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean has preserved a unique and complex tradition of sand drawing. The drawings are not merely “pictures,” but refer to a combination of knowledge, songs, and stories with sacred or profane meanings. What might appear to be intricate works of art at first glance are in fact complex geometrical patterns used to tell a story or transmit a message.

In the same way that the 80 or so local dialects of the islands are incomprehensible to non-natives (or at the very least, scholars who have studied the language profusely), the meaning of Vanuatu’s sand drawings is extremely difficult to read. The incredibly creative process begins by someone “drawing” a message in the sand. Using one finger, the drawer traces a continuous meandering line on an imagined grid to produce a graceful, often symmetrical, composition of geometric patterns. Thus, islanders would transmit important messages to their people.

So unique is the tradition of sand drawing on this Pacific island nation that it has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2008. If Vanuatu is too far for you to get to just now, we hope you can “draw” a few parallels with our gorgeous twist on the classic Air Mail.


  • 1/2 oz. Honey syrup   
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice           
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 1 oz. Brugal Extra Viejo          
  • 2 oz. Heidsieck Monopole Champagne     

How to Prepare:

  1. Prepare a banana leaf garnish
  2. Chill a coupe & put to one side
  3. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker – except the Champagne
  4. Fill with cubed ice & shake for 10 seconds
  5. Open & dip taste Fine strain
  6. Top with Champagne
  7. Affix banana leaf onto the rim of the glass