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Category Archives: Rum

Blue Steel


The 1st time I was at Alembic, I went over its drink menu with the same enthusiasm as Hermione Granger going over her potion book.

Of the 4 drinks we had, Blue Steel made more than an impression.

The constraint use of absinthe (which I substitute with Herbsaint) contributes flavors but not sweetness. The unique aroma of cilantro keeps me aware of the layers in the drink.

Below is what I came up with using what‘s in my liquor cabinet. Makes 2

  • 3oz Pyrat Reserve XO Rum
  • 3/4 oz crème de cassis
  • 1/8 oz Herbsaint
  • 6 drops of Angostura bitter
  • Splash of Old Overholt rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Lemon juice

Bruise the cilantro a little bit before dropping it into the drink.


Kumquat Mojito


The winter version of a classic.

Based on Kumquat Mojito in MixShakeStir (Makes 1):

  • 2 oz 10 Cane rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 0.6z simple syrup
  • 3 kumquats, halved
  • 8 mint leaves


  1. Muddle kumquats and mint in a shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice and shake.
  2. Pour all parts into a Collins glass and serve.

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

September 24, 2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

Been dying to try my Fee Brothers Falerlum, a syrup of lime, maybe cloves (and almond?) and other flavorings.

This drink reminds me of Mai Tai from the same book: principle ingredients of dark rum and lime juice. The falerlum seems to have hints of almond, just like the orgeat syrup in Mai Tai. Both are sweet and tart with the alluring aroma of Gosling’s Black Seal.

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club from in the Land of Cocktails (Makes 1):

  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) Goslings Black Seal or other Bermuda rum
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • 2 tsp Fee Brothers West Indie style Falerlum
  • ½ tsp Grand Marnier
  • A lime wedge for garnish (optional)

Mai Tai

September 16, 2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

Of all the places I have been, I am least impressed by Kauai.

Yes, the view from the helicopter was indeed stunning. But it is no more expansive than Piano Grande in Umbria, or more dramatic than Cinque Terre in Liguria, or more poetic than the Lijiang river at Guilin.

And none of those cost $500 for 2 and lasted only half an hour.

The most disappointing part was the food. We kept asking what’s local? At sushi restaurants, we were told only octopus was from local water. Then there is taro, the only vegetable supposedly grown natively but restaurants don’t serve it. At our Sheraton, they had this free Mai Tai that’s weak even for juice. Then at the high end Princeville Hotel, it tasted like a fruit bomb.

Everyday at every hike, at every meal, at every drink, the constant theme was: I could totally do better.

This Mai Tai, with Pyrat Reserve XO and Gosling’s Black Seal is totally better, and no pineapple juice.

Based on Mai Tai from in the Land of Cocktails (Makes 1):

  • 1 oz (2 tbsp) Pyrat Reserve XO, or other golden rum
  • 1 oz (2 tbsp) Gosling’s Black Seal, or other dark rum
  • ½ oz (1 tbsp) lime juice
  • ½ oz (1 tbsp) Bols orange curacao
  • 0.1 oz simple syrup
  • 0.1 oz orgeat syrup


September 8,  2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

Lesson learned: Dark rum and gin don’t go. The addition of lime juice, worse.

This is the first drink that I actually put in simple syrup while the recipe doesn’t call for it.

Cured of my dark rum craving.

Between the Sheet

September 7,  2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

With cognac and dark rum, this drink is decidedly autumn. Fitting for a cool September day like today.

Based on Between the Sheets from in the Land of Cocktails (Makes 2)

  • Granulated sugar (for the rim treatment)
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz cognac
  • 1.5 oz lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz triple sec


  1. Place the sugar on a small shallow dish. Wet the rims of the glasses with the lemon wedge, then dip and rotate the rim into the sugar to get a nice and even coating. Chill the glasses until serving time.
  2. At serving time, place ice and the rest of the ingredients in a shaker and shake rigorously. Strain the mixture into the chilled 2 glasses. Add more ice and serve.

St-Germain 1370

August 31, September 1, 2, 3  2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

I was asked if I knew any St-Germain, Basil, ‘Mojito’ type of drinks. Not really, but it sounded doable.

So I have been experimenting.

The combination can be endless but what comes down to is ‘likeability’. Personally, I prefer it strong with a undercurrent of bitterness. But that’s not the version I would serve when my friends come over. It’s not as … likable. After reading The Female Brain (Louann Brizendine, 2006), there is no shame to admit that I want to serve something that’s easy to like. Female brains are wired to want to make connections with other people.

I am predisposed to please. So I said it.

St-Germain 1370 (Makes 2):

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 0.4 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 0.3 oz simple syrup
  • 2 strips of lemon peel
  • Say … oh, 8- 10 leaves of fresh basils (personal taste)
  • 4 oz sparking wine


  1. Chill 2 Champaign flutes.
  2. Muddle basils and lemon peels in a shaker with the simple syrup and lemon juice. Add rum and St-Germain.
  3. Before serving, strain the shaker through a fine sieve. Drop 1 -2 pieces of ice in each flute and divide the mixture equally.
  4. Top each flute with 2 oz sparking wine.

Shot in the Dark

August 27/28, 2010 ((part of Cocktail Chronicle)

I normally don’t bother with recipes that call for soda or seltzer.  I prefer feeling as well as tasting the liqueurs. I tried to stay open-minded and made a couple of drinks with teas. None changed my mind.

Untill now.

The picture in MIXSHAKESTIR for Shot in the Dark is gorgeous: Two layers of light and dark rum with a crown of jewel-like raw sugar. The Girl in me sighs with ooo’s and ahhh’s while the Mom in me frowns: “à la minute?!”

Then there is that “4 oz ginger beer”, in 1 drink?

So it needs a little tinkering.

I use turbinado at hand instead of raw sugar. I do away with the lemon juice and muddle lemon peels instead. Without the lemon juice, I happily toss out the syrup. I half the amount of ginger beer and chill the light rum mixture for several hours so I don’t shake it with ice. Yes. I am THAT paranoid with diluted drinks.

What I end up with is basically lemon-infused light rum with ginger beer and dark rum.

What I first notice is the nose. The aroma of caramel from both the turbinado sugar and Goslings dark rum is heady. Right behind it, the lemon and the ginger slowly surface. After a sip, yes, they are all there. Even with the soda, I taste it all.

Dilution, within reason, can be a beautiful thing.

Inspired by Shot in the Dark in MIXSHAKESTIR (Makes 2):

  • 3 oz light rum
  • 5 ~ 6 strips of lemon peels
  • Turbinado sugar for the rim
  • 1 small lemon wedge
  • 4 oz Reed’s ginger beer, well chilled
  • ½ ~ 1 oz dark rum (I prefer Goslings Black Seal vs. Meyers)


  1. Muddle lemon peels with the light rum in a shaker. Set aside in the frig for a couple of hours.
  2. Wet rims of 2 narrow glasses with the lemon wedge. Dip in sugar. Chill.
  3. Before serving, drop 2 pieces of ice in each glass. Divide the infused rum evenly. For each glass, pour 2 oz of ginger beer, and use the back of a spoon, pour ¼ ~ ½ oz of the dark rum to have it float on top.

Coming up Roses

August 10/11/12/13/21, 2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

Uniquely flowery and gorgeous to look at.

The original recipe has too many unusual (to me) items such as rose syrup, rose water and raspberry-infused rum.  I replace them with what I do have: Rose geranium in my garden and crème de framboise.  Call it Apéritif de Opportunité.

Inspired by Coming up Roses in MIXSHAKESTIR (Makes 2)

  • Wedges of ½ lime
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 16 rose geranium leaves, plus 1 more
  • 0.3 oz crème de framboise (raspberry liquor)
  • 3.3 oz white rum
  • 4 oz sparkling wine, well chilled.


  1. Chill 2 Champaign flutes.
  2. Muddle lime wedges, lime juice and simple syrup in a shaker.
  3. Strain.
  4. Add rose geranium leaves, crème de framboise and white rum.  Put the shaker aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
  5. Before serving, rub the rim of the glasses with the reserved geranium leaf.
  6. Strain what’s in the shaker, divide equally among the flutes.
  7. Top each flute with 2 oz sparkling wine and serve.


Tarragon & Basil Mojito

August 5th, 2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

Mojito is traditionally with mint. I’ve got lots of mint in my garden but also lots of tarragon and basil. So why not? Tarragon gives you a fresh and balanced licorice taste while basil is just the essence of summer.

Basil can be sharp, so I use more tarragon and less basil. Say 3:1 ratio.

Inspired by the Mojito recipe in MIXSHAKESTIR: (Makes 2)

  • Mixture of fresh tarragon and basil leaves, say a packed cup. Tender stems are OK to leave on.
  • 4 oz (1/2 c) white rum
  • 2 oz (1/4 c) lime juice
  • 0.7 oz (1 tbsp & 1  tsp) simple syrup


  1. Fill the shaker with tarragon, basil and the lime juice. It’s hard to muddle when there’s too much liquid. Muddle with a big long wooden spoon if you have one.
  2. Add syrup, rum and ice. Shake and pour.