Hello friends! Are you ready for a cocktail recipe, and a tale of heartbreak and redemption? (or maybe nothing quite that dramatic.) I recently purchased a bottle of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, and have had a fun week trying to come up with a cocktail that incorporates its pungent, spicy flavor.
Allspice Dram is a rum-based liqueur, rather sweet and extremely redolent of the allspice from which it takes its name. Or rather, I should say its new name – the liqueur is a cleverly marketed update of a once-forgotten classic cocktail ingredient called Pimento Dram. Haus Alpenz, the importer of St. Elizabeth, wisely realized when they brought it back that most denizens of the United States associate pimento with the cherry pepper used to fill olives, rather than Pimenta dioica, the plant from which we gather the berries to make allspice. I’m not sure that I’d be as enthusiastic about an infusion of the olive-filling pimentos, although such a thing might be delicious in some variant of a Martini. But I digress!
The typical use of this liqueur seems to have been in tropical drinks, which makes sense given both its provenance and the rum base. However, despite my love of a good tiki party, I am not usually a tropical cocktails at home sort of gal. Generally, whenever I can I’m looking for a way to get my beloved whiskey into a drink! My original thought was bourbon. I have a very strong, vanilla-heavy bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year right now, so I thought I’d balance it out with some Gosling’s Dark. I added the Allspice Dram, and for good measure a barspoon of falernum as a nod to the tropics. A dash of chocolate bitters and…
It was awful. Ok, that’s not entirely true. The first sip was a bit awful – the falernum was too limey and was not playing nicely with the bourbon. As the drink warmed up that faded but the Rip Van Winkle’s was far too assertive and the whole drink just tasted of it.
And yet…there was something to this idea that I’d had. I had a feeling that with a few tweaks I could still make this work. I changed two ingredients and lo and behold, it did work! Lord, did it! So well that Mr. Menace, who is overly fond of cocktails and particularly loses no love for whiskey, declared that he would actually request this cocktail of me! So what were the magical changes?
Well, I solved the falernum problem by switching it to orgeat. This kept the sweetness and almond flavor while ridding me of the citrus that was overpowering the first part of the drink. Since the other big bully was the Rip Van Winkle, that clearly also needed to go. However, Old Overholt Rye turned out to be the perfect substitute, keeping the whiskey notes I craved while keeping harmony with the other ingredients. Success!
In a nod to the rum and the allspice dram, I decided that this drink needed a piratical name. Since rye is the main ingredient, however, I hope you’ll all forgive me the pun. You should know well enough by now that I can’t resist!
The Wry Buccaneer
2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
.5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2-3 dashes Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.
Garnish with 3 allspice berries, if you are so inclined!