Fresh Apple Cocktail: High & Dry

High & Dry(credit Emmanuel Cayere)Let me say it again: Hurray for fall! If you’re looking for a refreshing drink that has a touch of fresh apple and spice, this is the recipe. The bubbles from the club soda made this a good choice for day drinking.

This recipe was developed with Brugal Especial Extra Dry rum, and I’ve found that, as the name says, this really is an extra dry rum without as much sweetness as most silver rums. That worked really well with Demerara (or raw sugar) syrup. With a little tasting and adjusting, you can use a silver rum and/or a rich simple syrup (which is a syrup made with regular white syrup in a 2 parts sugar, 1 part water ratio). Falernum is a liqueur made with lime, cloves, almonds, and rum. Velvet is THE one you’ll see around commercially, but it’s easy (and delicious) to make your own.

High & Dry

2 ounces rum
1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum (or make your own falernum)
1/2 ounce cane syrup or simple syrup made with Demerara sugar
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce club soda
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Apple wedge

Muddle apple wedge in the bottom of a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add all other ingredients (except club soda) and shake with ice. Strain into a highball glass over new ice and top with club soda. Garnish with an apple slice.

Recipe by Trevor Schneider, Goldbar
Photo by Emmanuel Cayere

Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum

pumpkinhotbutteredrumNow that it’s finally starting to feel like fall, it’s time to get cozy with some hot drinks. I got together with Savvy Housekeeping to mix up this delightfully autumnal pumpkin variation on Hot Buttered Rum. It has a pleasant spice mix and satisfying consistency, in addition to helping to keep you nice and warm. Use a dark or gold rum for the right flavor.

Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum

2 tablespoons Pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
1 teaspoon Brown sugar
1 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 tablespoon Butter
2 ounces rum
Hot water (enough to fill the mug)
Cinnamon stick for garnish

Combine the pumpkin and spices in a mug and mix thoroughly so that they are completely integrated. Add the rum. Put the butter on top so it is floating in the rum. Carefully pour hot water over the drink. Stir with a cinnamon stick or spoon.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Hibiscus Flash

hibiscusflashI love the hibiscus flowers that come in syrup. Dropping them into a glass of sparkling wine makes for a beautiful and simple Champagne cocktail. However, I knew there had to be something more I could do with those delightful edible flowers and the delicious syrup they came in. Enter the Hibiscus Flash.

It uses rhum agricole, which is like rum only made with cane sugar instead of molasses. It has a stronger flavor and fuller mouthfeel than rum, so it’s a good match for the floral sweetness of the hibiscus syrup.

Hibiscus Flash

1 ounce white rhum agricole
1 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce hibiscus syrup
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. If you got the syrup with the hibiscus flower in it, drop it into your glass as an edible garnish.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Brugal 1888 Rum Review (plus a Rum Hot Toddy!)

Brugal 1888 is one of my favorite spirits hands down. When I first tried it, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do because, when it comes to sipping spirits, rum isn’t usually my choice. But Brugal 1888 is a rum that drinks like a whiskey. (Rum lovers, don’t be scared! It’s still very much a rum.) Continue reading

Watermelon and Thai Chili Labor Day Cocktail

It’s almost Labor Day, which means it’s almost time for a watermelon cocktail! I’m a sucker for cocktails that mix watermelon with something spicy. So when Brugal shared this recipe with me, I was more than eager to give it a try. The balance between refreshing and spicy hits the spot. It’s a patio drink for a three-day weekend.

I’m picky about sharing recipes that liquor companies send me, but this one is solid. I got a bottle of Brugal Extra Dry from the company at Tales of the Cocktail, but you can use another light rum if you prefer. (You may want to start with a little less simple syrup and then add more to taste, since Brugal Extra Dry has a little less sweetness to it.)

Lingering Labor Day
Created by Scott Fitzgerald, Mulberry Project NYC

2 ounce light rum (I used Brugal Extra Dry)
1 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
6 Watermelon chunks
1 Thai chili

Muddle watermelon and chili, then add remaining ingredients. Shake and fine strain over fresh ice, garnish with watermelon.

Photo courtesy of Brugal

Mai Tai

One could argue that tiki time isn’t limited to just the summer, and one would be right. However, there’s something about summer sunshine that makes a tropical drink with a pineapple spear or tiny umbrella the logical choice. Let’s get tiki!

The Mai Tai is one of the most well-known of the tiki drinks. It’s a bit complicated, with several types of rum and an almond syrup known as orgeat, but once you’re sipping one life becomes quite simple.

You can make your own orgeat, or buy it. It’s easy to make. But if you do buy it, make sure you get one made with real almonds. (Small Hand Foods and Okole Maluna are two good ones.)

Mai Tai
3/4 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce gold rum
1/2 ounce dark rum
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce orgeat
1/2 ounce lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about 15 seconds. Strain into ice-filled old fashioned glass. (Some people prefer to float the dark rum on top rather than shaking it in.) Garnish with pineapple chunk and sprig of mint.

*If you just don’t have those three different types of rum on hand, you could do one ounce each of light and dark rum instead.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Tales of the Cocktail Recipe: Old Fashioned by Employees Only

I just came back from a 5-day cocktail extravaganza known as Tales of the Cocktail. While I will share all sorts of details so you can live (and learn) vicariously … here’s a recipe I picked up that relates to the Old Fashioned kick I’ve been on lately.

One of the most popular events was the Employees Only takeover of a New Orleans bar called One Eyed Jack’s. Employees Only is a fancy New York bar voted best bar by all sorts of fancy institutions. So, everyone wanted to go and it was more than a wee bit crowded.

It was actually too crowded for me, even though I was all hip on the list and whatnot. But you don’t have to wait in any lines or be on any lists to try one of the evening’s recipes. Look at what I’ve done for you. You’re welcome!


I shared my basic Old Fashioned recipe earlier, so here’s the Employees Only version that’s a bit fancified. They used Zacapa Rum 23 in their take on and Old Fashioned. I usually don’t specify a brand if I can help it, but who am I to improve on their recipe? (If you don’t have that you could use any aged rum you like. You want a deep character for your spirit, so if you don’t have a well-aged rum, try a whiskey as you would in a traditional Old Fashioned.)

Employees Only Old Fashioned
1 1/4 ounces Zacapa Rum 23
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 dash orange bitters (Reagans’, Angostura, or homemade)
1/4 ounce water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cube brown sugar
Lemon zest for garnish
Orange zest for garnish

Place sugar and brown sugar cube into a rocks glass. Add Angostura Bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters, orange bitters and water. Muddle sugar cube. Add rum into rocks glass. Stir well. Garnish with lemon and orange zest.

Photos courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail

DIY vs. Buy: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Spiced Rum

If you like spiced rum, there is no reason on Earth that you shouldn’t infuse your own. It’s so easy a drunk pirate could do it!

All the spices are common grocery-store finds you probably have in the cupboard already. Since you just need a pinch of this and a couple of that, the only significant cost is the rum. You’ll end up with a more elaborate and rich mix of spices than you’ll find in the store-bought kinds.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Spiced Rum? on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan