Mixology Monday: Gimme Some Flavouh

Today is Mixology Monday, and this week we have a pretty difficult topic. Unfortunately, I had to do a wine cocktail, which made it even more difficult. If this were two hundred years ago, this would be easy peasy. Medford rum was the best in the world, and I live in the town next door. And, beyond rum, there was ahm, well, the water was almost decent, and they produced, well, they didn’t produce bitters.

Wait? What the hell? The whole point of cocktails, at least according to Dr. Wondrich, was to import the best ingredients in the world, from the most exotic places in the world. So, I refuse to do a single Boston cocktail…But in the spirit of cooperation, I will pull a local cocktail from my home town of Chicago in the New York Sour, and one in my home away from home, Bermuda, where I spent my childhood in both the rum swizzle and the twilight fog cocktail.

First up is my drink from the Second City: The New York sour. Wait…What? Chicago drink…New York sour? This does not follow, but according to Dave Wondrich, it became quite the sporting thing in the City of Big Shoulders to top up your rye sour with just a bit of claret.

A margarita glass allows the layering to shine.

A margarita glass allows the layering to shine.

New York Sour from Imbibe by David Wondrich

  • 1.5 oz – Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
  • .75 oz – Simple Syrup
  • .75 oz – Lemon Juice
  • .75 oz – Claret (Castillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon)

Shake whiskey, syrup, and juice together, and float claret on top. Serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flag.

I would use just a tad less lemon juice, and I also topped it up with a dash each of Peychaud’s and Regan’s orange bitters. This would also make a pleasant punch if topped up with a few ounces of ginger ale or lemon-lime soda for every serving. And now onto my childhood in Bermuda.

The rum swizzle is a classic of the Swizzle Inn in Bermuda, and quite possibly my mother’s favorite drink.

Rum Swizzle by the Swizzle Inn

  • 1 oz – Dark Rum (Gosling’s Black Seal)
  • 1 oz – Gold Rum, preferably Bajan (Mount Gay Eclipse)
  • .5 oz – Orange Cordial (Jaquin’s Triple Sec)
  • .5 oz – Lemon Juice
  • 1.25 oz – Orange Juice
  • 1.25 oz – Pineapple Juice
  • .5 oz – Falernum (Paul Clarke’s #10)
  • 1 dash – Angostura Bitters

Shake all the ingredients together and serve over ice in a tall glass, or use twice the above recipe for every two guests and serve as puncheon. Garnish with a flag, straw, and swizzle stick.

But it wouldn’t be MxMo without a Scrivenal Original, and this is no exception. On the other hand, if I didn’t use ingredients local to somewhere it wouldn’t be “local flavour.” So, in that spirit, I update the good ol’ dark and stormy (which I covered last month, here), into a modern cocktail, adding this bittering ingredient:

Or, you know, if you don't have a cocktail glass, you can just make excuses.

Or, you know, if you don't have a cocktail glass, you can just make a lot of excuses...

The Twilight Squall Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz – Dark rum (Of course use Gosling’s Black Seal)
  • .5 oz – Falernum (Paul Clarke’s #10)
  • .5 oz – Ginger Syrup
  • .5 oz – Lime Juice
  • 1 dash – Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
  • 2 dash – Pepper infused wine or spirits (Scrivenal Sherry Peppers #1)
  • 1-2 oz. – Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer (Barret’s or Regatta)

Shake all ingredients together, serve in a cocktail glass, top up with Barret’s and garnish with a lime wedge, a cherry, and/or a cube of candied ginger.

Feel free to substitute Scrivenal Sherry Peppers #1 with Outerbridges sherry peppers or rum peppers, or of course, your own family’s traditional recipe. However, my peppers are spiced with other spices so sub the falernum and ginger syrup with a third ounce each pimento (“allspice”) dram, ginger syrup, and falernum to get the spice notes. You could also replace the ginger syrup with Canton or Giffard’s ginger cordial.

This cocktail tastes quite similar to the dark and stormy which spawned it, and this is with fair intention. However, the falernum, bitters, and spiced sherry all combine to take this from a simple refreshing highball to a complex, gingery, rummy cocktail. While the dark and stormy is a great drink for the plantation porch or the sailboat cockpit, the twilight squall is cocktail for the dinner club in town or the yacht club bar.

Stay local,

The Scribe

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A Willing Foe and Sea Room

Today at 8:00 this morning over one hundred boats set sail from Newport to battle wind, waves, and most importantly, each other to be the first to Bermuda. The biennial Newport Bermuda Race is one of the highlights of the racing schedule and at the send off party last night one drink was being consumed far in excess of any other. I speak, of course, of the dark and stormy. The dark and stormy is one of my favorite drinks, and, for me at least, a unique drink because it is the only drink I mix by colour.

The story goes that shortly after the Great War, the Royal Navy started offering ginger beer instead rum in an attempt at temperance. Upon being asked whether they wanted ginger beer or rum, limeys answered that they would take both. They poured both rations together, drank it, and thus was born the dark and stormy.

It’s a nice story but some variation of the rum and ginger has been around for ages. In fact, it hardly starts with rum. Ginger is a flavour that tends to go well with most amber spirits. Some experts believe that the first spirit and mixer style drink was likely ginger beer and brandy.

Now all that history is nice, Mr. Scribe, but how does one go about making a dark and stormy?

The Dark and Stormy

  • Gosling’s Black Seal or Bundaberg rum
  • Bermuda stone ginger beer (Barritts or Regatta work well with Gosling’s, or use Bundaburg with Bundaberg)
  • Lime wedge

In a long glass pour a healthy measure or rum and add ginger beer to taste. When I make it, I pour ginger beer until it has roughly the color displayed to the right. Squeeze the lime wedge if you like, stir gently to mix, and add ice to fill.

Now we just came to one of the huge debates in making the dark and stormy: to lime or not to lime? In Bermuda the lime is verbotten. In the States, and most of the Caribbean, ubiquitous. Were I a bartender, or entertaining, I would simply provide the lime wedge as garnish and allow my guest to use the lime as he or she saw fit. As for me, I like it both ways. If I am in a bar, I drink it as provided. In Bermuda, I drink it without the lime. When my father makes it, he adds lime. When I make it, it depends on my mood. The one I was drinking this evening can be seen to the left, and, as you can see, has a lime.

Now I had hoped to make a cocktail out of the dark and stormy. I was thinking rum, ginger liqueur, and perhaps lime bitters. Unfortunately, while I did see ginger brandy, I had heard bad things about it. As for something decent like Giffard’s Ginger of the Indies or Canton, well, the cheap liquor (Hillside Liquors) I go to for staple products would never carry something like that, and the more upscale place I go to for my sippers and specialty liqueurs (Downtown Wine & Spirits) was in the process of remodeling and didn’t have it in stock. Meanwhile, my housemates with cars were working ten hour days and didn’t feel like driving me to Kappy’s. So we needs must languish without the cocktail and leave it for another day.

And so, in the spirit of Friday and the Race, I wish you,

A willing foe, and sea room to race her,
The Scribe