Sunshine's website says "no visit is complete without a stop in at Sunshine's where you can meet the legend himself, Sunshine." I think they're right.
The colorful little shack call Sunshine's is located on Pinney's beach just south of the Four Seasons resort on Nevis. In a compound which also includes Lime and Chevy's. No doubt you've heard this a million times if you've looked for info on Sunshine's. I suspect the rest of this report will sound familiar as well, but that won't stop me.
My expectation was that I'd be going to Sunshine's for their famous rum cocktail called "The Killer Bee." I did not realize that the food is outstanding as well. But first those Killer Bees...
We propped ourselves up on the small bar one afternoon after lunch at the Four Seasons (lunch, which every day included the pickled conch dish...highly recommended...click here for some thoughts on the food at the Four Seasons), and figured we'd give this famous drink a spin. The punch is served in a small, plastic cup, basically poured straight from a milk container, and finished with a sprinkling of fresh nutmeg, and more Angostura bitters than you'd think (5, 6, 7 dashes, right on top...no mixing, no shaking). It's quite a good cocktail. Not too sweet. Didn't taste of booze at all, really. Bottoms up. I'm a big boy and this stuff is made for ladies and tourists. Not a problem. Child's play.
By the time I finished the second Killer Bee, I noted to the missus that I felt like I had just gotten roofied. Carefree. Happy-go-lucky. Not my normal grumpy self. Was I about to be date raped? That's not funny. Nor was was this buzz. I was on cloud nine. That was hardcore buzz, not kiddie stuff. It was certainly shaping up to be a lazy island afternoon. And now my interest is really piqued. I inquired as to the ingredients of this stuff, as I order the third. The bartender was steadfast and wouldn't spill the beans. It seems that even he doesn't know what's in it.
As I tend to when traveling, I made sure that what I was drinking is what the locals really drink. I want to eat and drink like a local. The bartender responded to my booze-fueled bravado and made one more. This one actually smelled of alcohol. I think he just wanted to shut me up. And he succeeded: I barefly barely finished half and realized it was time to go sit by the pool and contemplate what is was that had just happened.
By this point of the vacation I had become friendly with the staff at the Four Seasons, and started quizzing one of the guys on the ingredients upon my return. Some high proof rum, I had to assume. After some going around and around, I came to learn that there's some moonshine made on Nevis, and it's called Hammond. Made in the bush, reportedly using left over molassas from those old sugar mills The stuff is supposedly about 180 proof. And while it's not legal to sell, there might, just might, be some in that rum punch. That's the only way to explain how I felt after those 3 drinks.
But I'm not here to share stories of my drunkenness. I really want to get to the food at Sunshine's.
They're known for their lobster. The Caribbean style lobster, with no claws and all tail. As with much of the seafood on Nevis, these guys are caught daily. In fact one of the days we went for lunch, Sunshine hadn't yet gotten back from the fish guy with the lobsters for the day.
The lobster is served in some garlic butter, and some surprisingly excellent rice and a salad. That runs 40 bucks these days, but the Killer Bees make the price tag easier to swallow. And frankly, lobster at this level is worth 40 bucks.
BBQ back ribs are not smoked (Nevis doesn't have a smoking culture), but grilled over local hardwood, rubbed and sauced. There's nothing wrong with these ribs, whatsoever.
The waitress, Pinky, was also nice enough to bring a dish of conch in butter to us during our first visit at the bar. I suppose we were discussing the conch that we had at the hotel, and she basically said "well you have to try ours." Pinky was right. It was fantastic. Somewhat of a curry flavor, butter, tender, damn. By the way, Pinky is just fantastic. At first I thought she didn't like me or couldn't be bothered with stupid Americans, but that wasn't the case at all. She's just very chill, like all of the island.
It's hard to not agree with the idea that Sunshine's is a must visit. No trip to Nevis would be complete without eating that lobster and getting as high as a kite on those Killer Bees. And if you get in good with a local and express an inordinate level of interest, you might just be able to score 2 liters of Hammond to smuggle home. Just sayin'.
Sunshine's Beach Bar and Grill : Pinney's Beach : Nevis