Wednesday, January 25, 2012

red rackham

2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Batavia Arrack
2 dash Balinese Bitters (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) An equal parts Balinese peppercorn tincture and Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters mixture.

Tuesday last week, Andrea and I had dinner at Rendezvous in Central Square. For my first drink, I asked bartender Scott Holliday for the Red Rackham. The drink was named after the pirate captain in Tintin story who in turn was named after an early 18th century pirate, "Calico" Jack Rackham. I was quite curious about the bitters Scott crafted for this drink, and he explained that they were aromatic bitters combined with a tincture of Balinese Long Pepper. Compared to normal peppercorns, the Balinese ones are more floral, earthy, and complex with heat, fruit notes, and spice notes reminiscent of cardamom and nutmeg. Sticking to the theme, the recipe was based after the classic Pirate's Cocktail (rum, sweet vermouth, Angostura) with the addition of complexity from Batavia Arrack and the peppercorn tincture.
The addition of Batavia Arrack paid dividends in the aroma where its funkiness joined the sweet vermouth's richness and the aged rum's barrel notes. The vermouth's grape and rum's caramel notes filled the sip; next, the swallow began with rum and Batavia Arrack and concluded with spice on the finish including cinnamon and peppercorn. Like in the traditional Pirate's Cocktail, the aged rum worked well to complement the sweet vermouth.

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