In the summer of 1989, Tyler's family moved to St. Thomas, where her parents live. Not long afterward, Hurricane Hugo hit the islands. “Our roof peeled away from our home, and we took shelter in a closet and held a mattress over our heads,” Tyler, who was in kindergarten at the time, said in an email. “We didn’t have power for months. Our roof was a blue FEMA tarp. We used Coleman camping stoves to cook and Coleman camping lanterns for light after the sun set.” She caught dengue fever. A few years later, Hurricane Marilyn caused $2 billion in damage and left 11,000 people homeless, and Tyler's parents sent her back to the U.S. to live with an aunt while the island recovered.
Irma, however, was worse than Hugo and Marilyn. Tyler spoke to her mother five days after Irma swept over the islands, and “she said the devastation is unlike anything she has ever seen. People lost everything they own. Homes are completely gone. It will be months before power is restored to those that are lucky to still have homes. It will take years for people to recover.”
To help raise money for recovery efforts, Tyler is turning to one of her favorite cocktails: the Painkiller, a classic rum drink, invented in the British Virgin Islands, that is popular throughout the Caribbean.
Tail Up Goat put a Painkiller on the menu, and the Adams Morgan restaurant will donate $1 from each drink sold “until there is power back home,” Tyler says.
A number of leading Washington restaurants, including Rose's Luxury, Himitsu, Room 11 and Red Hen, are also putting tropical cocktails on their menus for the next four weeks and donating the proceeds to organizations including St. John Rescue, Kenny Chesney's Love for Love City Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and Tim Duncan's 21 U.S. Virgin Island Relief Fund. (Drinks are different at each restaurant, so you may have to ask which cocktail is for charity.)
Participating restaurants include:
Chez Billy Sud
Sally's Middle Name