Need something to tuck under the tree? From vodka to bitters, we’ve got you covered with these holiday bottles
Need something special for your dinner party host, your boss or your impossible-to-buy-for brother-in-law. Here are the spirits we’d like to find under our own Christmas trees. (For whiskies, see Last minute gift guide part 1: Warming whiskeys.)
In Barbados, rum defines a well-balanced thirst quencher
It won’t take long, once you’ve landed in Barbados, before someone presses a glass, sparkling with condensation and filled with an amber elixir, into your hand. Welcome to the famous Barbados rum punch and the taste of island life.
In Barbados, rum punch is enjoyed by everyone from farm workers to property tycoons to pallid newcomers from wintry climes. And it’s enjoyed everywhere from the verandas of grand plantation houses to the tailgate of a jeep in the jungle.
How rum punch came to be the national drink is unknown, but not exactly surprising.
• 0.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice • 1 oz simple syrup (see note) • 1.5 oz dark rum (such as Barbados’ own Mount Gay Eclipse, or older) • 2 oz water • 1 dash Angostura bitters • Freshly grated nutmeg
• 2 oz Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum
• 0.75 oz Martini Bianco vermouth
• 0.25 oz rich apple demerara syrup (see note)
• 2 dashes Scrappy’s Seville Orange Bitters
• 2 to 3 spritzes of salted caraway solution (see note)
This tiki-style cocktail is Earls restaurants’ version of the classic originally created by Pusser’s Rum. It uses two different styles of ice—regular cubes and crushed.
• 0.75 oz coconut milk
• 0.75 oz passion fruit syrup
• 1 oz Bacardi Superior white rum
• 1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
• 1 oz pineapple juice
• 1 oz orange juice
• 0.25 oz lime juice
• Dash Bittered Sling Kensington bitters
The Alchemist tasting panel gathers for a round of Caribbean aged rums
Nothing says “tropical getaway” like the sweetly spiced flavour of rum. Although it is made all over the world, the sugar-cane spirit originated in the Caribbean islands, where we’re seeing a surge of richly complex aged rums. So when The Alchemist decided to dive into tiki culture, it made sense for our tasting panel to sample as many aged rums as possible.
Just how sweet can rum be? To find out, we gathered at Tableau Bar Bistro with some of the city’s top barkeeps: Alex Black, bar manager of Wildebeest; Max Borrowman, bar manager at Juniper Kitchen; Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar; Sabrine Dhaliwal, cocktail consultant and Pourhouse bartender; Adam Domet, bar manager of Pourhouse; J-S Dupuis, beverage director of Wentworth Hospitality; Robyn Gray of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia; Ryan Johnson, bar manager of Tuc Craft Kitchen; and Olivia Povarchook, bar manager of Juke Fried Chicken.
The panel tasted 10 different rums; here’s what they had to say about them.
Originally a blender drink from Beachbum Berry, and traditionally served as a bowl for six with a gardenia garnish at Trader Vic’s, the Scorpion makes a terrific single-serving shaken drink, too. Just beware of its lethal sting.
• 2 oz light rum
• 1 oz brandy
• 1.5 oz orange juice
• 0.5 oz lemon juice
• 0.75 oz orgeat