Do you think you should throw your beloved Mojito, Daiquiri, and winter flip-flops in the back of the closet? But not so fast. You can make your patio pounders into fireside sippers by making a few changes.
You can make a Mai Tai seasonally appropriate. Mike Jones, Chicago’s head bartender at Sable Kitchen & Bar, recommends a funky aged rum like an Agricole or Jamaican bottling. He also suggests adding a few drops of bitters (such as Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters) and some Ramazzotti amaro.
Randy Hayden, the bar manager at Nine Mile Station in Atlanta, has several ways to transform a drink from summer to winter.
Teddy Nixon, the bar manager at Bar Mash, Charleston, South Carolina, says, “Try making your own Hemingway Daiquiri using aged rum and allspice. This will complement the grapefruit.” He also makes a spiced-rum Mojito with muddled cranberries.
What is the key to making winter rum? The best thing about winter rum is spice. These five recipes will get you started and inspire more seasonal creations.
Winter DaiquiriEden Laurin is the head of spirits programs at Dove’s Luncheonette in Chicago. She swaps white rum for a pair of more complex bottles. Banks 5 Island Rum, a blend from 21 distillates from six producers across five islands, and Cruzan black strap, which has molasses and coffee, makes her Winter Daiquiri. She says that mixing the traditional Daiquiri base and aged rum gives it a warm and depth perfect for the cold Midwestern months. “So I like adding a little Cruzan black strap Rum and giving the drink a rich, molassesy twist.” This was after she had fled the Windy City in the previous year to go on holiday to an island.
Hayden substitutes white rum for richer, more full-bodied Plantation dark Rum to create a winter drink that’s somewhere between a Mai Tai or a Jungle Bird. The seasonal spice is then amplified with Angostura bitters and Combier apricot liquor. Mix it all with Fernet Branca, simple syrup, lime, orange, and pineapple juices. Finally, it’s served in a Tiki mug garnished with cherry and orange.
Changes in the Seasons
The Bar Mash’s “Change in Seasons” cocktail is a reference to the transition from warm to cool months. It starts out as a light, refreshing Daiquiri, but evolves into something more earthy and spicy. Nixon mixes baby peas in Plantation 3 Stars Rum, lime juice, simple sugar and tarragon leaves. The mixture is then double-strained over ice cubes with pomegranate juices, St. Elizabeth allspice liquor, bitters and The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ bitters. The color changes from bright chlorophyll-green to dark red as the cubes melt. It’s just like falling leaves.
Storm the Beach
Also, warming spice is incorporated into the Storm the Beach cocktail at The Cocktail Club, Charleston, South Carolina. Bar manager Ryan Welliver mixes Hamilton 86 demerara rum, Plantation O.F.T.D. rum, velvet falernum and grapefruit juices, as well as Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters.
Laurin says that a bar staple such as the minty, fizzy Mojito should not be over-augmented. The winterized version is very similar to the Cuban classic. However, she creates a spiced spirit with white rum and clove, cinnamon, and star anise. She adds, “Add a drop Licor 43 liqueur and then mint, lime juice, and soda, you have a tropical fight to Chicago’s blustery wind.”