Thursday, October 25, 2018

rum river mystic

1 oz Aged Rum (Barbancourt 8 Year)
1 oz Rye Whiskey (Michter's)
3/4 oz Byrrh Quinquina
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with orange oil from a twist (I included it).

Two Thursday ago, I turned to a Manhattan variation of sorts that I had spotted a while ago called the Rum River Mystic, but I could not make it back then for I lacked Byrrh Quinquina in my collection. The recipe was crafted by Paul McGee at Chicago's Lost Lake Tiki around 2015, and I was able to find a few variations of the drink. The one I went with was from The Takeout in 2016 that called for rum and rye whereas others called for a split of Haitian and Trinidadian rums or the rum-rye mix with additional Tiki Bitters as a garnish. I was drawn in for it reminded me of a 1919 Cocktail with the biggest difference being the quinquina here instead of the 1919's Punt e Mes. When I commented on Instagram that, "I find it interesting that the Mystic River here in (Somerville & Medford) Massachusetts was a rum hub, but alas, this probably isn't a tribute to that," the Lost Lake Tiki bar replied that, "It's a tribute to a dear friend's beloved greyhound -- Rum River Mystic was his racing name!"
Once prepared, the Rum River Mystic gave forth a bright orange oil aroma that led into a grape and barrel-aged caramel sip. Next, rye, rum, and smooth herbal notes on the swallow finished with the bitters' clove and allspice. Overall, it was softer, more herbal, and less bitter than a 1919, but just as delightful to quaff. The following day, I was motivated to venture down to the old "Distill House Lane" where rum was produced along the Mystic River in Medford from 1715 until 1905 when the industry finally succumbed to temperance forces. All that remains is the plaque below. Around the corner is distiller Isaac Hall's old house (now a funeral home) where Paul Rever used the excuse of "avoiding the Redcoats" to make a detour for a dram of rum on his way to Lexington. That decision is tied to my Winter Hill, Somerville, neighborhood for up the street from my house is a tiny park with a stone that commemorates Revere's turn off of Broadway for the trek across town to take Main Street into Medford. Previously, I had done some research on Somerville's Chase Distillery, but apparently it made less of a historical impact; that distillery was located near the football field and ice skating rink between Union and Porter Squares in Somerville with no trace of its copper stills or product remaining.

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