When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, eh?
What about when life hands you a watery, low on flavor but not sure I’d want to taste it anyway liqueur? Well, in this case you make a cocktail. Much like the speakeasy bartenders making Alexanders out of Bathtub Brandy during Prohibition, a bit of creativity was called in to clean up the goop in this bottle.
Thanks a sponsored a little between-the-blogs contest, I received a few bottles of some Holiday themed spirits, namely Hiram Walker GingerBread Spice and Pumpkin Spice liqueurs. I appreciate the idea, but I have yet to see something on the shelf that gets these right (remember BOLS Pumpkin smash? uggh). Sadly, these are no exception.
Now mind you, I appreciate the bottle, and that attempt at this flavor, but nonetheless, I question how this ever got past quality control. This is a marketing sprung product that feels cheaply flavored and developed, a “mix Neutral Spirit A with Flavoring X and water down until underproof”. Thank goodness the contest called for the Gingerbread, which is salvageable. The Pumpkin Spice… well, I’ll wait ’til he’s done posting something, but Craig has got something homemade and to damn-well die for. Stick with the homemade.
So, like I say, time to make something out of this. The best thing to do in this case, for my creative palate, anyway, is to just go with it. The initial thought is to use this as a replacement for Pimento Dram in a Lion’s Tail or something similar, but the flavor is just not present, and gets washed away into the aftertaste rather quickly. So, I bring in Allspice and Molasses to really bring out the Gingerbread aspects of the liqueur. The Half and Half makes it a nice creamy rich dessert drink, and the Fee Bitters punch out that clove/cinnamon thing I expect from anything with a holiday flavor. The rum? Well, it’s just delicious. I recommend Cruzan Dark, but Coruba or Goslings could make a very interesting, if not even richer flavor (and probably darker than good tea).
- 1 oz Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
- 1 oz Dark Rum
- 1 oz Half & Half
- 1 oz Allspice Syrup
- 1 tsp Molasses
- 2 dashes Fee Bitters
Shake without Ice for thirty seconds. Add Ice to the shaker and shake until well-frosted. Strain into a Coupe, garnished with Spice Drops.
- 8 oz Water
- 16 oz Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Allspice Berries
- 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
Set water and Allspice in a pot over high heat until boiling. Add sugar and reduce heat to medium, stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool for 30 minutes covered, and strain into jar or bottle. Makes about 2 cups.
During any Tales of the cocktail seminar or event could expect a few drinks in 2 ounce sample cups to be passed around, and eventually make its way down your gullet. On Thursday evening, during The Cocktail Hour, just about every drink made for or inspired by the event was made available, all in one room… right before the 4-5 full size drink Spirited Dinner. I preferred to think of The Cocktail Hour as the “beginning of the end”, as it made for a wee-bit tipsy of an evening.
Now, do understand I’m biased both physiologically (I’m a non-taster, thanks Darcy) and socially (meet my friends) towards Tiki Drinks… that doesn’t mean I don’t love a damned well-done Brandy Crusta, Margarita, Corpse Reviver #2, or just about anything else out there. But given a choice, I’ll tend to lean towards the Rum ‘n spices.
After a few sippy cups filled with drinks, some memorable for the right reasons, others maybe not (Jaeger pop-rocks, really Kevin?), this little number by Martin Cate of Forbidden Island had me coming back for rounds 4, 5, and blitzed. I am announcing it here as my Trader Tiki Most Officially Excellent and Outstanding Original Drink for Tales of the Cocktail 2008, for whatever good that means.
I asked Martin about the origins of this drink, and in his typical fashion, you ask for a handshake and you get a walk in the park.
The origin of this drink comes from something Joy Spence, master blender at Appleton told me when I was touring the estate in Jamiaca with her. We were trying some of what they call “wet sugar” at the refinery- it’s the first boil of the cane juice before the initial seperation of sugar and molasses. So it’s like molasses with all the sugar still in it- thick, and chunky with big sugar crystals. She told me that in Jamaica they like to take the wet sugar and use it to make lemonade, with of course a big splash of rum in there. So I took that idea, lengthed it with soda instead of water, and added a little St. Elizabeth’s for some Jamaican allspice flavor, mon. Combining molasses and simple comes pretty close to the taste of wet sugar.
It was a Diageo sponsored event, so I had to use their rum, but Pampero was a nice choice for this drink. Originally, it would be Appleton Extra. The name is a riff on Pampero- the Pampanito is a fish in South America, and also the name of the WWII submarine docked in San Francisco.
Here is the recipe, corrected from the Tales recipe card… when creativity and branding clash, there are no clear winners.
1 1/2 oz Pampero Aniversario
1/2 oz Mild (aka first boil) Unsulfured Molasses
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (2:1)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Dash Angostura Bitters
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 1/2 Charged Water
Shake and strain into ice-filled Collins Glass
I wasn’t quite sure about the shaking and straining, as Rum and Allspice tend to need quite a bit more watering down, and with the molasses there to bind things up (plus, I saw Martin doing this at the event), I slapped that pappy in the ol’ DRINKMASTER and gave it a whirl. It is a fine drink, with the rich molasses providing one hell of a backnote to the rum, lemon and allspice. This one goes down smooth with almost no resistance whatsoever. With the use of molasses in early rum drinks (Bombo, Black Stripe) to make them more palatable, I can see that this stuff will be getting much better use in my home bar.
A note on the use of molasses. I tend to be keep my jiggers away from anything over a 2:1 simple, and will usually use a barspoon to measure items like molasses, coconut cream, orgeat, or any of the other super-sticky stuff out there. I have only a makeshift wet bar (bottled water and a bucket), so cleaning such stuff out tends to be more difficult on a jigger, with its rough angles. Yes, I do clean my jiggers between drinks, quickly and quietly. Got a better method for removing goo from bartools? Let me know!