Monday, December 28, 2009

smith & cross punch

2 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2-3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a straw.

On Christmas Eve, after our traditional Indian dinner at India Quality, we went up street to Eastern Standard to celebrate the holiday at the bar for a second year in a row. Bartender Hugh Fiore started me off with a digestif drink of equal parts East India Solera sherry and housemade amber vermouth with a dash of Angostura to settle my stomach from the Indian spices. From there, the sherry made me hanker for rum, and with that desire spoken, Hugh had an idea for my next drink.

The one he made me was essentially a Daiquiri with the extra spice and complexity of nutmeg and Angostura Bitters. However, the rum he chose was no ordinary one. Smith & Cross was the base spirit -- an intriguing rum I had the chance to try at Haus Alpenz' tasting room at Tales of the Cocktail this past July. At 114 proof (the minimum proof at which gunpowder will still ignite when wetted with the spirit), it was quite strong and was one of the few spirits that had me scurrying off for some water to dilute down my tasting sample. Smith & Cross is most definitely not a sipping rum and not due alone to the proof, but meant for mixing; moreover, the recipe reflects the rums of the 19th century. Smith & Cross is a blend of two styles of aged pot stilled rums distilled from sugar cane and molasses fermented by wild Jamaican yeasts. Tastewise, it is filled with a lot of spice, caramel, and tropical fruit notes.
In the punch, the spice of the nutmeg on the nose led into a rather hot and piquant rum flavor. Over successive sips, the rum became more prominent; however, as the ice diluted the drink over time, its flavor shifted and reminded me more of the rough notes found in rhum agricoles and cachaças. The lime was less as a fruity citrus flavor per se, but present more as a crispness perhaps due to the neutralizing effects of the Angostura. Even with twice the simple syrup to balance the lime juice in a normal Daiquiri recipe, the drink was still rather dry which speaks volumes about the intensity of this rum.


Craig said...

This is how they served me S&C when I asked about it at ES a few weeks ago; it was served straight up though. Great rum!

marty said...

Robert Hess calls this a "Captain's Blood."

It's a great way to show off a nice rum.