1 1/2 oz Sweet Sherry (Lustau Pedro Ximénez San Emilio)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
A few weeks ago, I was reminded of the Arawak Cocktail in a tweet by RumDood. So for the second drink last Monday night, I reached for our 1947 edition of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide and opened it up to the rum section. The drink is a riff on the Pirate's Cocktail calling for Jamaican rum and swapping the vermouth for a sweet sherry. It seemed like the perfect after dinner drink to follow the Jamaica Jerk Seitan dish that Andrea had prepared.
The ingredients and name make an interesting and cohesive historical reference. The Arawak people were one of the indigenous peoples of the West Indies, and they were the natives that Christopher Columbus discovered in his 1492 voyage. With a bit of Caribbean rum and bitters mingling with a Spanish fortified wine, the parts are all there. Especially since Columbus' ship was well stocked with sherry on that voyage as Camper English's recent article in the L.A. Times describes.
The Arawak's nose was the dark aged rum aroma softened by the sherry. While the sip was sweet, smooth, and grapey, the swallow was full of dark and funky rum flavors, the raisininess of the sherry, and the spice of the Angostura. Moreover, I was impressed at how well the Coruba's caramel note matched the sherry's richness. Indeed, Andrea commented that the drink "taste[d] like a really delicious Coke or Dr. Pepper syrup."