Monday, November 22, 2010

surbiton road

1/2 Lime (cut into wedges)
1 small handful Basil Leaves (~12)
1 oz Vanilla Rock Candy Syrup
1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1/2 oz Punt e Mes

Muddle lime, basil, and syrup. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a basil sprig and a straw.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I went down to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. When bartender Naomi Levi came by to talk about cocktails, I asked if she had any basil to make me a drink that Devin Hahn of the Periodista Tales blog had told me about. When she heard the request for basil, she immediately knew what I wanted and ran off to see if she could find any in the kitchen. The drink was called the Surbiton Road after the street in Kingston, Jamaica, where the Italian Consulate is located. Her premise was to figure out what could be made in Jamaica given only two things that the Consulate could bring over from Italy. For those two items, she selected basil and the amaro-like sweet vermouth Punt e Mes.
The Surbiton Road greeted my nose with an aroma of basil and rum. The sip was a combination of the lime, funky pot stilled Smith & Cross, and molassesy Blackstrap rum flavors that were followed by vanilla from the syrup and both grape and bitter notes from the Punt e Mes on the swallow. The basil added greatly to the sip to make it more complex than the swallow. Overall, the Surbiton Road was a savory smash that was a good departure from the bar's more standard mint-based ones.