Archives for category: Rum

It’s sunny in Seattle!  Mostly.  All that’s missing now is white sand, azure seas, and fruity rum drinks.  Well, crap.  One for three.  Better than the Mariners, at least.

This one comes to us from the most excellent Dinner Party Download podcast.  Every week, they help you look witty at your weekend dinner party by talking about off-beat news items, interesting people, stuff that’s happened this week in history, and most importantly, the cocktail of the week.  This one’s from Meaghan Dorman at Raines Law Room in NYC.

Cherry Caipirissima

2 oz white rum (Cruzan works great)
Half a lime, cut in quarters
Three pitted cherries
.75 oz simple syrup

Muddle the cherries, limes, and simple syrup.  Add the rum.  Shake, then pour the whole darned thing into a rocks glass.  Close your eyes and dream of white sand beaches.  Chase the knowledge that there are no cherry trees on Caribbean islands out of your head.

I’ve used both Bing and Rainier cherries on this one.  Both are acceptable, although I like the color and stronger flavor of the Bings better.

The drink is perfect for alcohol-squeamish friends who favor vodka / rum and coke.  It’s simple, a bit sweet, fruity, and not too spirit-forward.  And cheap to make, too.  Do your civic duty, people.  Friends don’t let friends drink Cosmos.

We headed out to Liberty Bar a few days ago.  Their cocktail menu looked pretty adventurous, and their Charlie Don’t Surf was listed in the Seattle Times recently as one of ten must-try cocktails in the city.  (Mango, ginger, Pommeau de Normandie… nice balance of flavors.)  I then saw the Catfish Blues, which features bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol,  and fresh blueberries.  Yeah, let’s do that.

No seats at the bar, so I had to crane my head a bit to watch the bartender put it together.  I’m waiting for the fresh blueberries.  There’s two for garnish.  But what’s this?  A frickin’ jar of Bonne Maman blueberry preserves?  Honestly?  You’re putting that in a drink?

After I got over my WTF moment, I started thinking…  why not?  You could totally use jam in a drink.  You’d just have to make sure you cut other sweet ingredients accordingly.  And strain the hell out of it.  That means you’d have viable fruit drinks of all sorts even in winter.

So I picked up a jar and started mucking around.  The first experiment actually turned out pretty damned good.

Violet Beauregarde

2 oz Appleton Estate Jamaican rum
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
two barspoons Bonne Maman blueberry preserves

Shake everything with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.  I used a mint garnish for the color, but I really think this would do better with a lemon or orange twist.


A mysterious glowing orange ball has been appearing in the sky lately.  It must be our yearly week of sun in Seattle.  Makes you want to break out the fruity rum drinks, yes?  Hell, watching the laundry go round makes me want to break out the fruity rum drinks.  Let’s get right on that.

Shiso Mojito

2 oz white rum (I like Cruzan)
1 oz lime
.75 oz simple syrup
one sprig shiso leaf / three big leaves
splash of club soda

Throw everything but the soda into a shaker. Add lots of ice. Shake the hell out of it and scare your poor jumpy dog. Pour it all into a Collins glass. Top it with the soda. Offer it to poor jumpy dog with a straw. Say no when he asks for a bully stick garnish.

This is an easy one to do if you have a limited bar.  Yes, you can use the traditional mint.  But where’s the fun in that?  This has a much more subtle and unique flavor.

Shiso is indeed a type of mint.  You usually find it used as a garnish in Japanese cuisine.  Some types of sushi use it.  Hamachi is delicious with shiso and a bit of lime.  It can be a bit hard to find, but a lot of Asian grocery stores have it, like Uwajimaya out here in the Seattle area.  Me?  I’m growing it in the greenhouse this year.  Why?  Hint:  I have no clue how to make sushi properly.


I’ve been posting a lot of drinks that involve ingredients most people don’t have, or are a bi-atch to make.  So here’s the first in a series of cocktails with ingredients that are easy to find and fairly simple to make.  It’s a classic Prohibition-era cocktail, named for the distance you had to go from shore to consume hooch legally.  Hooray for boats!

12 Mile Limit

(It’s prettier than I managed to capture in this crappy picture.)

1 oz white rum (I like Cruzan, and it’s cheap!)
.5 oz brandy
.5 oz rye (I like Bulleit rye, if you can find it, and it’s also cheap!)
.5 oz lemon
Pomegranate grenadine

Combine everything except the grenadine in a mixing glass.  Ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass.  Drizzle a dash or two of grenadine and garnish with a lemon twist.  Toast to Will Rogers, who once said “Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.”

Now about that grenadine.  Most of that stuff you’re going to find in the store is a hot sticky mess of high-fructose corn syrup and red dye.  Leave it on the shelf with the plastic maraschino cherries.

Real grenadine is made from pomegranates.  You can make your own from scratch, but that’s a total pain in the ass.  If you want an easier alternative, get yourself some POM juice and make a syrup with half juice and half water.  Even easier, but not nearly as good, buy a semi-decent brand.

If none of this works for you, no worries.  The drink’s still good without the grenadine, although you might want to add a little simple syrup to it to make up for the sweetness.  That’s just one part sugar to one part water, dissolved.

This one is a fine way to get your home bar started, if you don’t already have all the stuff to make it on hand.  You’ll get a lot of mile-age out of the components.  (Booo.)

Today’s subject: the cocktail fail.

Amateur mixology is a lot like being a teenager. You experiment. You do some uninformed, ballsy, and otherwise stupid things. If you’re lucky, your friends shut the hell up about your mistakes and reminisce fondly about your triumphs. I have the luxury of just throwing out crap that doesn’t work. But bar owners generally discourage their bartenders from doing this too often.

Today’s topic: diving catches (a.k.a., fix yo’ shit).

I’m no expert, but here’s what I’ve learned so far about cocktail improv.

  • Better to riff on some recipe you already like than try to reinvent the wheel.
  • If you have to invent your own stuff, keep a list of go-to flavor pairings.  I’ll share the ones that I’ve figured out so far soon.
  • St Germain fixes a lot of mistakes.
  • If all is truly lost, put it on the rocks.
  • If the rocks don’t fix it, put it on crushed ice.
  • If the crushed ice doesn’t fix it, add something carbonated.
  • If the sparkling wine / ginger ale / club soda / tonic doesn’t fix it, you’re fucked.

To that end, here’s something I screwed around with tonight that started out unpalatable, but ended up kind of nice.

Four kumquats
2 oz Cruzan white rum
2 oz sparkling wine
1 oz orange juice
.25 oz cinnamon syrup

Muddle the kumquats and the cinnamon syrup. Add the Cruzan and orange juice. Shake with crushed ice. Add a little additional crushed ice to a Collins glass, then pour the whole thing unstrained into the Collins glass. Add the sparkling wine and give it a gentle stir.  Stand behind the bar and look like you know what you’re doing.

If you’re keeping score, that’s crushed ice AND something carbonated. Shhhh.

Here’s my variation on one of the oldest tiki drinks on the books, and my current favorite.  By most accounts, it dates back to the 1950s.  It’s largely forgotten.  Don’t even think of ordering it unless you know you’re dealing with a hero bartender.  It’s a pain in the ass to make (like most tiki drinks).  If you come over and I offer to make one for you, consider yourself on my good side.

The Jet Pilot

1.75 oz amber rum (I like Angostura 1919)
.75 overproof rum (think Smith and Cross or Lemon Hart 151)
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz grapefruit juice
.5 oz cinnamon syrup (see earlier post for recipe)
.5 oz falernum (I like John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum)
Dash Angostura bitters
Dash absinthe

Go easy on that absinthe.

What you do next is a matter of taste.  Tradition dictates that you shake it gently and pour it over crushed ice, more often than not in a rocks glass.  However, I prefer it shaken gently and up in a cocktail glass.  Jet Pilots taste so damned good, I don’t want crushed ice diluting the flavor over time.  No garnish.  There’s enough going on in there already.

If you’re subbing out the primary rum, you’ll want something that’s got a bit of a molasses edge to it, but not too sweet.  Zaya and El Dorado are too sugary.  I’ve used Ron Matusalem, Rhum Barbancourt, and even Appleton Estate 12.  I swear I’m going to try Ron de Jeremy at some point.  I don’t know how it will taste, but I’m betting the drink will be bigger and the bottle will last longer.

This one is simple to make and seems to please many.  Behold, the Mambo Italiano!

Mambo Italiano
2 oz amber rum (I like Angostura 1919, or something on the sweeter side)
1 oz Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes peach bitters

Stir it, strain it, give it an orange peel or twist, and put on some Dean Martin.  I used to call it the Rumanegro for lack of a better name, but that didn’t take.

I made this up after work one day when I just couldn’t be bothered to get more complicated.  Simple is often better.  Now I’m splitting one with my sweetie as an apertif after a lovely dinner with lovely friends.