Ok, so after a slight intermission, we wanted to get back on track with our infusions. Anyone making cocktails at home probably already has at least a few infusions sitting around without even really realizing it. I’m talking about liqueurs! Liqueurs are typically made by infusing a spirit and then blending in sugar, giving you a sweet, flavorful mixer with a lower proof than a typical spirit. Well, just as the infusions we’ve already talked about are pretty easy to make – as long as you can stand to wait before you taste test – liqueurs are pretty easy to make at home too. We just made our very first Allspice Dram, a wonderfully spicy liqueur that’s perfect for Tiki drinks and a bunch more. – Andrew
The Last Dance
3/4 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Allspice Dram
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters
To make the Allspice Dram: combine 2 tablespoons of freshly crushed allspice berries with 2 cups of overproof rum and 1 ounce orange liqueur in a jar, then seal it up and let it steep for at least ten days, shaking every day. Then strain the mix through a cheesecloth to remove all the solids. Add a simple syrup, made from 3/4 cup raw sugar and 1 1/2 cups water, to the resulting infusion and then bottle the liqueur. This should give you about 750 ml, a standard liquor bottle’s worth, of Allspice Dram.
To make the Last Dance: combine everything in a shaker filled two-thirds with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and enjoy!
This drink is a play on the Prohibition era Last Word cocktail, which combined gin with Maraschino liqueur, lime, and green Chartreuse, an herbaceous and vegetal liqueur made in France. The Last Dance swaps out all these ingredients but sticks with its balanced proportions and pairing of sweet, sour, and pungent ingredients. The bourbon is rich with caramel and oak and vanilla, while the Benedictine – another liqueur made in France – adds lots of herbaceous notes and a honeyed sweetness. The Allspice Dram gives it a spicy kick and the tart lemon cuts through all those big bold flavors, giving the drink a familiar foundation. This is a fun, snappy drink, the sort of cocktail you might want as a palate cleanser between courses of a meal.
Allspice got its name when English settlers and explorers in the Caribbean decided that it tasted of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves all in one. Allspice Dram – also called Pimento Dram, after the pimenta plant that produces the fruit that becomes allspice – has a big, complex, spicy flavor that shows up in quite a few classic Tiki recipes. It also tends to be pretty expensive, which is a bit surprising once we discovered how easy it was to make it for ourselves. So, before you go out and buy a bottle, consider making a bottle of this versatile liqueur for yourself.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper