3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151
3/4 oz Plantation Jamaican Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/8 oz Angostura Bitters (~3 dash)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
On Thursday afternoon, Andrea and I attended "At Full Sail: The History and Application of Spirits at Proof, Navy Strength, and Overproof" moderated by Eric Seed and presented by Wayne Curtis, Audrey Saunders, and Britt Chavanne. The talk focused on the history of these strong spirits and their applications in cocktails. The historical aspects included the naval tradition of proofing the spirits using gun powder (too weak a drink (under 57% alcohol), and the gunpowder would fizzle instead of ignite) to the 1930s-1950s where the spirits' higher proof was used in marketing as a competitive edge. Over time, proofs were successively lowered until they generally bottomed out at 80 proof to stretch the supply and/or please the accountants by paying less tax. The result was that when the alcohol was diluted down, unfortunately so was the flavor.
One drink that Wayne Curtis used as an example featured the overproof Lemon Hart 151 (which, by the way, passed Wayne's gunpowder test (watch here) in stunning form). The overproof rum gussied up the standard Million cocktail (normally made with a jigger of Jamaican rum as the only booze component) to create the Royal Million. This Planter's Punch-like drink had a strong, rich rum flavor that was smoothed out by the sugar syrup. Moreover, the swallow contained the Angostura Bitters spice as well as lingering rum notes. Even without a side by side comparison with the Million, the Royal Million did pack a lot of extra flavor compared to most rum drinks. Perhaps a similar experience could be generated with using the at proof Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum (Navy Strength, 114 proof) as the only rum component of the drink.