Monday, February 7, 2011


1 1/2 oz Jamaica Rum (Coruba)
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The ingredients and name make an interesting and cohesive historical reference.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.
For a rum, Andrea wanted to experiment with our recent acquisition of Coruba. My gut instinct was to grab the Smith & Cross and use its overproof roughness to cut into the sweet sherry; however, I was game for experimenting with the Coruba for we had not used it for much other than as an accent in certain drinks. Of our two sweet sherries, the Pedro Ximénez won out over Lustau's East India Solera.

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."


Unknown said...

Can you get Coruba around Boston? I haven't seen it anywhere yet.

frederic said...

Yes and no.

The yes part is that Ryan Lotz at Lineage was able to stock his bar with it, and the no part is that I have never seen it in a liquor store here. Andrea got our bottle out in Indiana when she was visiting her family.

Even though the rum is made by the J. Wray & Nephew distillery and we can get their other products here, Coruba is marketed and sold mainly in New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I've only messed with the version of the Arawak made with whiskey, pineapple and tamarind juices, and vermouth. This one sounds nice; add some Aperol and you've got a Sargasso!

frederic said...

That one's Gary Reagan's creation which is his tropical take on the Algonquin.

Unknown said...

In case anyone was wondering, I was able to track down the Coruba dark rum, which is available at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

frederic said...

This is good news, but must be a recent change for we didn't see Coruba when we scoured the shelves back in November! Thanks for the 4-1-1.