Serious Eats: Recipes
Drink the Book: Louanalao
We have five (5) copies of Food & Wine Cocktails 2011 to give away this month.
The rum chapter of Food & Wine Cocktails 2011 is curated by a big name from New York, bartender Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills and Painkiller. He spends a lot of time in the Caribbean—which is where his love of rum was fostered—and the selection of drinks in the book shows off the breadth of rum's versatility.
Boccato's list of cocktails ranges from fruity-spicy, tiki-inspired concoctions like the Wildflower and Cradle of Life to more elegant, Prohibition-style drinks like the Hotel Nacional or Air Mail, and into the modern with cocktails like Don Gorgon and Stay Up Later, sporting mezcal and caçhaca bases. Rum and its cousin caçhaca are an increasingly popular spirits category, largely because of versatility and a reasonably low price point. The same base material—sugar—can be used to produce light, aromatic and easy-to-mix light rums; funky, robust, grassy agricoles; or rich, dark rums inflected with flavors of vanilla, molasses and toffee.
The Louanalao uses a tiki-style formula, incorporating white rum, bitter Campari, and allspice dram with the flavors of sweet strawberry and tart lime. The result is a bright pink, sweet-tart harbinger of spring that is far from the usual flavor profile of a fruit-infused rum cocktail. It's a pleasant surprise, brightening up the expected sweetness with Campari in a cocktail that is crisp and refreshing.
You'll want to use a fairly neutral light rum, such as Old New Orleans Crystal, and you can mix things up a bit by subbing Aperol for Campari. Allspice dram, also known as pimento dram, is a spicy liqueur from Jamaica that is commonly used in vintage tiki cocktails as a spice element. Commercially, you can pick up a bottle of the excellent St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram; if you have some free time, you can also make your own allspice dram quite easily. Any way you go about it, the resulting cocktail mixes spicy, sour and sweet for a refreshing springtime sipper.
About the author: Marleigh Riggins Miller writes and photographs for SLOSHED!, a website about cocktails, spirits, home bartending, and entertaining.