Queen of the Waterfront: A Cocktail Recipe With Bumbu Rum


While fictional characters like Long John Silver, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook pop into our minds when we think of pirates, did you know that in real-life, there was actually a New York-based female pirate named Sadie Farrell?

Although we don’t condone piracy, or any acts of violence here at Girls on Food, the story of Sadie and her gangs of New York history is a fascinating read

When our friends at Bumbu Rum asked me to come up with a cocktail recipe for our readers, I decided to use the underworld of late-1800’s New York as inspiration (Pirates of the Caribbean has inspired too many cocktails). 

Bumbu Rum is small-batch, hand blended and uses all-natural native Caribbean spices called “Bumbu”. Bumbu Rum has complex flavor notes including a butterscotch and banana aroma with a subtly sweet but tobacco-leaf pop in the finish. 

Since these flavors work well with festive, citrus flavors, I decided to pair it with calamansi juice. Traditionally calamansi juice is sipped on in the Philippines but it’s growing a following in the states. The toasted sesame syrup used in this cocktail adds an unexpected toasty flavor to every sip. I make a bigger batch of syrup with this recipe, since it has versatility for other cocktails, coffee drinks and baking. When making this syrup, the toasted seed scent is heavenly, so make sure to take a moment to appreciate this aroma.

I’m dedicating this cocktail to the famous female swashbuckler, later known in history as the Queen of the Waterfront. If Sadie was still with us today, we could see her sipping on one of these before a stroll on the Hudson River. 

Queen of the Waterfront 

Queen of the Waterfront Cocktail

1.5 oz Bumbu Rum 
1 oz Calamansi Juice (no sugar added) 
.075 oz Toasted Sesame Seed Syrup (see below)

Straining sesame seeds to create syrup

In a sauce pan, add 7 tablespoons of sesame seeds to a dry skillet and toast until they’re a light golden brown. Make sure the seeds don’t turn black and remove from heat. 

Then, make the simple syrup. In a sauce pan, pour 1 cup of water, add 1 cup of white sugar and heat until sugar has dissolved into the water. 

Bring the simple syrup up to almost a boil and add toasted sesame seeds. Allow to the seeds and syrup to steep overnight. Strain the seeds. 

In a shaker, combine rum, toasted sesame seed syrup and calamansi juice. Shake with ice for 5 seconds. Strain into rocks glass. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. 

Be sure to raise a toast to Sadie, cheers!  


Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, 10 months ago I made the biggest move of my life to New York City. I am a bartender, and I have been in the restaurant industry for 11 years. I currently bartend at an upscale diner in lower Manhattan making handcrafted cocktails and boozy milkshakes… yummm. When I am not working, I am frequenting the local dive bars, brunching with my pals in lower Manhattan’s hot spots, having dinner dates with my boyfriend, and traveling the east coast soaking up the eating and drinking culture. I love a local beer with a whiskey and a pickle back, a sangria or a mojito on a hot day, or a lovely glass of crisp New Zealand Sauvingnon Blanc with dinner. Cooking has also become a passion of mine over the past few years. Good Mexican cuisine is tough to find on the east coast, so I always find myself making a huge bowl of homemade guacamole or roasted vegetable enchiladas. I am also a huge advocate for crockpot cooking, making healthy black bean or lentil soups during the frigid winter months here in NYC. I can’t wait to share with you all my adventures of discovering new food, restaurants, fun and exciting ways of wetting my whistle, and the sheer beauty and history that the east coast has to offer us.