On July 26th, our friends at Master of Malt announced a a new contest on their blog called “Guess That Booze!” (all of the contest details are listed in the screen capture above). Since five people came pretty damn close to listing all of the ingredients and guessing what they were making, Master of Malt decided to call it a five way tie, and sent each winner a bottle of what is now called Christmas Bitters. In case you haven’t figured it out, I was one of the winners.
As soon as I received my bottle of Christmas Bitters and cracked it open to see how it smelled, I started thinking about how I should use this delightfully aromatic concoction. When I emailed Master of Malt for some advice, they suggested using their Christmas Bitters in a Hot Buttered Rum or perhaps a Rum based Old Fashioned. My original thoughts revolved around the Manhattan cocktail, but after hearing the Rum suggestion, I started combing the interwebz for some Rum based cocktail recipes.
After a bit of searching, I stumbled upon a recipe that was published in the Washington Post for a cocktail called the Rum Manhattan (click here for their recipe). This recipe called for Rhum Agricole and Carpano Antica, but since I didn’t have either of those ingredients on hand, I made due with what I had in my liquor cabinet. Here are the ingredients that I used…
And here is the modified Washington Post recipe based upon what I had available at home…
- 2 ounces of Brugal Anejo Dominican Rum
- 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
- 1/2 teaspoon of Maraschino Liqueur
- 8 drops of Master of Malt Christmas Bitters
- Twist of orange peel
Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice and add the rum, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Stir vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist of orange peel.
Here’s what the finished product looks like…
Overall, I was quite pleased with this cocktail and found it to be very smooth and easy drinking. There was a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness, coupled with some moderate sweetness from beginning to end. I’d be curious to try this cocktail with a different style of rum, or maybe even a cachaca to see how it affects the finished product. I would also consider cutting back on the sweet vermouth, or possibly trying some dry vermouth. Once you start tinkering with a cocktail recipe, you immediately realize that the possibilities are truly endless.
Although I enjoyed this cocktail, I am somewhat lukewarm about calling it a Rum Manhattan. I am not a cocktail historian, and I am by no means a cocktail expert, but when I hear the word Manhattan, I think Bourbon or Rye Whiskey, not Rum.
So here’s the question: What should I call this drink? Since it has Christmas Bitters, the name should be Christmas themed, and since it’s made with Rum, it should make some reference to the Caribbean. I came up with the following names:
- Christmas in Puerta Plata – Brugal is distilled in the Dominican Republic town of Puerto Plata
- El Espíritu Navideño – Spanish for the Christmas spirit
- Papá Noel – Spanish for Father Christmas
- We Three Kings – Christmas Bitters is made with gold, frankincense, and myrrh
What would you name this cocktail? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.