Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Spicy Wee Dram

The wee dram I'm talkin' 'bout is Pimento Dram. It's a little something I came across a fair while back on Paul Clarke's exceptional drinks blog The Cocktail Chronicles and it has since proven itself to be an handy little formula. Dash it into Milk Punch and Navy Grog or include it in your original cocktails - for ailments that Pimento Dram cannot remedy there is no cure.

For those discombobulated by exactly what  I'm meaning by 'pimento', let alone 'dram', let me render this into something more digestible. Pimento is another name for allspice - a Caribbean spice valued for its flavour that is akin to a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. The word pimento is a corruption of the Spanish pimiento meaning pepper. Indeed, allspice is also know as Jamaica pepper or myrtle pepper. It's not to be confused with what is stuffed into your olives.

Dram, on the other hand, is one eighth of an apothecaries' ounce or rather 3.89 grams (you'll be tested on this later). Of course this isn't the meaning of dram I'm looking for. Rather a dram, in the sense it is used in this post, refers to a small measure of liquor. Over time the usage of this word has changed to mean a valued bottle of liquor - something that you might dispense in small doses. 
A known panacea for all ailments
Over the years I've tinkered slightly with the recipe that Mr Clarke has provided in the link above. Whilst the simple mix of allspice, sugar and rum ain't to be knocked, the variation below bumps up the spice a little to create a memorable little tipple. I call it McGoram's Fine Old Pimento Dram:

  • 1 Vanilla pod split and scrapped 
  • 1/2 Cup whole dried allspice berries
  • 6 cloves
  • 25.7 (100 grams) drams of fresh ginger (sliced)
  • 1 cup Inner Circle Green Dot (or another rich 57.2% pot still rum) 
  • 1 cup Lambs Navy Rum (or Coruba works a treat too)
  • 1 cup rich raw sugar syrup 2:1 ratio - The Simple Syrup Company Raw Sugar Syrup is perfect for this.

Infuse the spices and rum in a sealed vessel for 72 hours shaking every 12. Fine strain out the spices and add sugar syrup. Drink to your health. 

If you really can't be bothered making this recipe yourself the German based The Bitter Truth produce a pungent Pimento Dram that, with a little bit of effort, you should be able to acquire in Australia. Chapel Street Cellars in Melbourne have started to bring the Bitter Truth range I hear.

You could always head along to Sydney's Low 302 where they stock McGoram's Fine Old Pimento Dram for my cocktail entitled 'The Stylist' (it's an in joke). Here's the recipe if you want to give this a whirl:

The Stylist 

45ml Havana Club Añejo 7 Años
15ml Fresh lime juice
10ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2.5 drams of McGoram's Fine Old Pimento Dram
Dash real pomegranate grenadine

Shake briskly and strain into a chilled vintage coupette. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

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