Photo: Compliments of The Setai Hotel

On yet another work trip, this time in Miami, my husband, Scott, and I were able to slip away one afternoon to enjoy a luxurious lunch at the Setai Hotel. Occupying a magnificently restored landmark building within the Art Deco District of Miami, the hotel stretches out to the coveted South Beach shoreline.

Primely situated, this award-winning hotel offers guests two remarkable dining experiences. Upon entering the candlelit lobby of Setai, the first restaurant you will encounter is Jaya. Serving artfully plated Southeast and Northern Asain cuisine, guests have the opportunity to dine indoors or al fresco, in the serene courtyard.

Located beachside is their second restaurant, The Ocean Grill. After passing by the three spa-inspired infinity pools, adorned by luxury cabanas and meticulously maintained foliage, you will arrive at the oceanfront restaurant. Enveloped in palm trees and white sand, the restaurant is elevated, capturing sweeping views of the sparkling ocean waters.

Photo: Compliments of The Setai Hotel

Eager to escape the fluorescence of conference center lighting, Scott and I requested a table at The Ocean Grill. Enjoying a prolonged inhale of ocean air as we followed our hostess to the table; I flashed a smile of delight in my husband’s direction.

Upon recommendation, Scott promptly ordered coconut water, flavored with a splash of whiskey. Too busy people-watching to make up my mind, I predictably ordered a bottle of sparkling water. When Scott’s drink arrived, we were both a bit taken aback.  Slightly expecting to receive a beautiful cocktail, perhaps garnished with a slice of coconut, we were far from the mark.

Instead, we received a carved coconut, shipped same-day from Thailand, imprinted with the hotel’s logo, and filled with an exquisite blend of coconut water and whiskey. As an amateur whiskey aficionado, and highly accustomed to the ever-popular rum and coconut blend, Scott was not sure what to expect. Rather than confronting a dominating taste from either the whiskey or coconut, he sipped contently on a smooth, refreshing fusion of flavors. Enjoying the refreshment to a notable extent, he suggested I replicated the experience when we returned home.

Beachside at Setai hotel in Miami 
Beachside at Setai hotel in Miami

Fresh out of same-day, embossed Thailand coconuts, I had to improvise. Instead of a beverage, I opted for a dessert. Specifically, I was determined to recreate the experience via coconut ice cream.

Remembering a recipe I had come across, which utilized vodka as a way to keep the vegan ice cream scoopable, I assumed whiskey could play the same role.  With minimal knowledge of liquor, I began to experiment. Finally landing on an arrangement that both pleased me from a stand-point of taste and simplicity, I presented my creation to Scott.

Based on his expression, I knew I was only half-way there. Returning to the lab, aka kitchen, I needed to find a way to elevate the experience.  Deciding to make purple plums the star of the show, I opted to flambe the beloved Italian fruit. Adding a little salt, fat, sugar, and liquor to the skillet, I began the flambe magic. Swiftly placing the sticky, hot plum on the liquor-infused coconut cream, drizzling the remaining sauce over the dish, I felt a winner was born.

Luckily, my husband was thrilled with the result! However, I was still left wanting more. Heading back into the kitchen, I remade the recipe using rum instead of whiskey or bourbon. At last, balance in the universe was restored. My brain, Pavlovian pre-conditioned to expect the marriage of rum and coconut, was firing on all cylinders.

I have formulated this recipe with the use of rum, but if you are more adventurous… I encourage you to try out your favorite dark liquor, perhaps Basil Hayden.


Rummy Plummy Flambe with Coconut Cream

Perfectly flambeed plum, nestled atop a chilled, rich coconut cream infused with rum and pureed plum.

Coconut Cream

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp rum (or to desired taste)
  • 2 tsp plum (puree)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar (or sugar of choice)

Plum Flambe

  • 3 plums
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (or sugar of choice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup rum
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (toasted)


Place the coconut cream in a medium-sized bowl (only use the cream from the top of the can – discard the remaining water or use it for something else that is yummy). In a small bowl mix the rum, plum puree, and sugar together. Add the rum mixture to the coconut cream. Carefully fold the mixture into the cream. Don’t over stir – coconut cream can lose its creaminess and become gritty and chunky if combined with liquids and over mixed.

Pour the coconut cream mixture in your container of choice and place in the freezer. For example, I placed muffin liners in a square ramekin and added the cream mixture to get the pattern on the sides. I think using a muffin tin with liners would be pretty.

Peel your plums and cut them in half. Then in a sauté pan add the coconut oil and brown– stir to combine. Bring to a nice bubble, just watch that you don’t burn the sugar. Add peeled plums to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes until browned and soft – you can spoon the sugar mixture over the plums as they cook. Now it is time for the flames, add the rum and carefully ignite the rum in the pan. It will ignite easily, and the flames will rise quickly and die down in 30 seconds or so.

To serve, place hot plum on cold coconut, drizzle with the sauce remaining in the pan and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes.


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