The second drink of Christmas: Rum

There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.

Lord Byron

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is characterised by the long balmy days of summer, and the recent dump of snow of the aptly named Snowy Mountains (really hills) notwithstanding; long, cooling, tasty drinks really are the order of the day.

Rum comes in many different guises, from the clear blancas to the pitch dark blackstraps, the fermented and distilled product of the sugar cane provides plenty of outlets past the rum and coke. If you are going to go down the spirit and splits route, add plenty of ice, a healthy measure of whatever rum you have on hand and squeeze in at least 3 or 4 segments of lime in there.


Rums work with fruits and juices. As such it’s not a difficult one to start the day with. Try Gaugin’s Breakfast 30 ml white rum, 30 ml dark rum, 15 ml passion fruit syrup, 15 ml apricot liqueur, 60 ml pineapple juice, 60 ml cranberry juice, Shake all ingredients with ice, strain in to hurricane glass and garnish with fresh fruit. The Pirate’s Breakfast too, 60mls spiced rum, 20mls honey, 80mls freshly squeezed orange juice, Shake all over ice, strain over ice and garnish with a fruit salad.


Get into the tiki drinks. The Kaiser penguin has a great article comparing Zombie recipes. Start the afternoon working your way through them. Team up Rum with some Olorosso Sherryand make a Jumbo Mumbo. Those of you with a more substantial liquor cabinet might want to try your hands at the three finalists from this years Tales of the Cocktail.


Try your hand at the Bumble Bee cocktail. Add bitters and sugar to a healthy slug of rum over ice and stir up an old fashioned, garnish with citrus peels. The Daiquiri is also a must for summer nights, or days for that matter. Combine two teaspoons of sugar, the juice of half a lime and 60mls of white rum, 100 year old Bacardi, if you are a purist. Add ice and shake hard enough to dissolve the sugar. strain and serve up. Make them small and drink them before they become warm.

Outside of that, Rum is fantastic in Punch. Remember this poem and you can’t go too far wrong whatever you throw in.


This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.


Oh, and if you’re buying rum in New Zealand this Christmas, make sure it’s Stolen.

Cocktail, Legends of Bartending

So you’d like to make a Mint Julep?

I managed to get each step of David Wondrich’s Jim Beam Black Julep on Monday. I think it makes a good story, and shows each part of the compounding process in turning out a pretty epic drink.

Mint Julep

You’ll need: Some fresh mint, more is always better than less. Sugar, water, bourbon, rum, ice, mallet and a bag. You’ll also need a straw, and a silver julep cup wouldn’t go amiss either. I never said it was a simple process.

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Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #13: The Sherry Cobbler

A Cobbler is basically any drink ‘cobbled’ together from spirit, fresh fruit and sugar. Some of the earliest recipes are from Jerry Thomas’s “How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion”

First published in 1862, when Thomas would have been only 22, it remains one of the true tomes of classical bartending, from a time when the world of straight spirits, beers and wines were facing a real attack from the forces cocktail.

The cobbler rose on the back of one of the most significant inventions in an age of significant inventions, the commercial manufacture of frozen water, or ice. Perfected in 1854 and widespread by the time Thomas wrote his book, Ice would become the backbone of cocktails everywhere, and the Cobbler would receive another fine piece of scientific enablement before the turn of the century with the invention of the paper drinking straw.

The drink itself is delightfully refreshing, and thanks to the addition of a summer’s bounty of forest berries, looks the part too.

Sherry Cobbler

  • 120 ml dry Sherry
  • 3 slices orange
  • 2 bar-spoons sugar
  • Shake all ingredients hard with ice and pour, unstrained, in to a tall glass. Garnish with fresh berries then add a straw.

While this recipe belongs Jerry Thomas, the photo and my attention owes a deep debt to Oh Gosh!


The Old Fashioned

Picture 4

On May 13, 1806, The Balance and Colombia Repository printed the first known definition of the word “cocktail”

`Cocktail, then, is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling`

This somewhat unsavoury sounding mix is what we today call the Old Fashioned. 

Like almost all things alcohol related, there are disputes as to who coined the name instead of it just remaining ‘Cocktail,’ the members of the Pendennis Club claimed for some time in their blustery Colonel Sanders way that the name belonged to a Bourbon Cocktail made in the club. David Wondrich, who looks not dissimilar to a member of the Pendennis Club, discounted this theory by uncovering a wealth of examples of the use of the word prior to the Club’s foundation in 1880.

But I digress.

The Old Fashioned Cocktail

Take a sugar cube* and douse it in three or four belts from a bottle of Angostura Bitters, slide this into the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. I use at least 60 of good quality Bourbon in my version, Maker’s Mark would be a fine choice. Add a little of the Bourbon, with a couple of pieces of ice and start stirring. Keep adding a little more Bourbon, a little more ice and perhaps around 15 mls water. 

The result is an amazingly balanced, rich and seductive elixir. 

*I prefer to use a cube of sugar as the time it takes to get it to dissolve is around the same time it take to mellow this drink to a superior level.


This cocktail is amazingly adaptable, you can change out the spirit for a Rye Whiskey, Brandy, Cognac or Rum.

At Toko on Crown St they do a Old Fashioned with Junipero Gin and there is a fashionable trend for Tequila Old Fashioneds around the world right now.

Once you’ve tried a variety of spirits, perhaps making a move on to changing out the bitters. Peychaud’s, Fee Brothers Peach or Orange Bitters, even Aperol or Campari. I’ll post an article later in the week about the process of homemaking bitters as well, to really change things up.

This really is a drink for the ages, we’ll be putting this up against the Trans-Galactic GargleBlaster when we make it to the restaurant at the end of time.

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