Following Wednesday's post on the appeal of higher-proof spirits in cocktails, here's a drink that may appear formidable at first glance, but if treated with due respect is as gentle as can be: the 151 Swizzle.
Developed at legendary tiki bar Don the Beachcomber's in the 1960s, the 151 Swizzle has as its base an ounce-and-a-half of dark, heavy, 151-proof demerara rum. Served on its own, such a high-proof rum is a threat not only to sobriety, but to safety. But when mixed with an abundance of crushed ice in a classic swizzle, the rum's strength is softened by the water from the slow-melting ice, but the spirit maintains its richness of flavor.
The result is a drink that's vibrant yet manageable, and drinkable without being watery. (And should you consider the alcohol level still fearsome, consider that a drink made with one-and-a-half ounces of 151-proof rum has less alcohol by volume than a martini made with a three-ounce-pour of 80-proof spirit—more than I usually use in a martini, but a quantity that's served in many bars and restaurants).
Respect the strength of the rum, and the 151 Swizzle will treat you right.
Adapted from Beachbum Berry Remixed, by Jeff Berry
- 1 1/2 ounces 151-proof Demerara rum (Lemon Hart and El Dorado are the standard brands)
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, mixed until dissolved)
- 6 drops Pernod (may substitute Ricard or another pastis, or Herbsaint)
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 cup crushed ice
- Nutmeg and cinnamon stick, for garnish
Combine ingredients (except nutmeg) in a blender, and blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a pilsner glass (or other tall glass) and add crushed ice to fill. Dust with nutmeg; garnish with a cinnamon stick.