While sometimes a night calls for a drink with plenty of flourishes, some of the most satisfying drinks in the mixological pantheon are also the simplest. The Cap Haitien Rum & Honey is about as easy to prepare as it sounds, but when made with care, the drink is even more complex than its moniker implies.
First printed in Charles H. Baker's The Gentleman's Companion, published in 1939, the Cap Haitien Rum & Honey was originally formulated with a raw, white Haitian rum in mind. Barbancourt is the primary producer and importer of Haitian rum, which is made from fresh sugarcane juice rather than molasses, as is used in most rums on the market. Available styles include a grassy white rum, along with 8-year-old and 15-year-old varieties.
Baker suggests lending richness and mellowness to the drink by mixing white Haitian rum with the smoothness of aged Bacardi. At Heaven's Dog in San Francisco, bartenders reach for another stage of flavor by mixing the elaborate character of 15-year-old Barbancourt with a locally sourced honey, and by adding a dash or two of Angostura bitters.
Rich and flavorful, the Cap Haitien Rum & Honey proves that simplicity is sometimes the best approach when deciding on a drink to start the weekend.
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.
- 2 1/2 ounces Barbancourt 15-year-old rum (or mix Barbancourt white with an aged rum such as Bacardi 8)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons honey, to taste (the drink will mix easier if the honey is diluted with an equal amount of hot water)
- 1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
Pour diluted honey to an old fashioned glass and add rum and bitters, if desired; stir to combine. Fill glass with ice and stir until chilled.