Though we’ve spent the year proving otherwise, I don’t think there’s any doubt that RumChata’s real season to shine is the winter. With it’s creamy cinnamon and rum notes, there are a lot of opportunities to make some killer cold-weather cocktails with it.
I’ve been working hard to break RumChata out of it’s shell this year, though. It obviously plays well with coffee, chocolate and rum, but I’ve been working to pair with with spirits you wouldn’t necessarily think of using (like gin in the Red Summer).
So for our final RumChata foray, I’ve gone all warm and wintry with Calvados (a Spanish apple brandy) and a spiced liqueur. I call it the Apple Snap:
Apple Snap (by Greg Mays)
in a shaker, add:
1 oz RumChata
1 1/2 oz of Calvados or apple brandy
1/2 oz of spiced liqueur, like Besamim or Snap (I used Besamim)
add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with an orange peel and a sprinkle of nutmeg
Sugarlands Distilling has done a pretty great job of carving a space in the moonshine category with dozens of moonshine flavors, but expanding into rum and liqueurs as well. One of their big multi-year projects, however, has been Roaming man Straight rye Tennessee Whiskey, an aged rye that they release specially for the past 3 years.
Here’s the fun part, though: it’s available in cask-strength, 375 ml bottles and is VERY limited edition: one release per year and then it’s gone. I’d joked with Sugarlands’ distiller Greg Eidam on a recent podcast that I didn’t know whether to drink mine immediately or save it forever.
It was too tempting. I cracked my bottle of their second-year release, from 2016, and it’s an extremely tasty rye with a great amount of spice and a nice amount of age. Often, if a rye is too young, it’s a bit sour and not as balanced as the older ones, but Roaming Man is balanced and drinkable.
And now, there’s a chance to get your own bottle of 2017 Roaming Man. Preorders are open October 20, 2017 – get your bottle here.
Special thanks to our sponsor Sugarlands Distilling.
RumChata has proven to be a more diverse liqueur than I initially guessed it would be when I first tried it. Sure, it does great with the flavors of coffee, cinnamon, chocolate and rum, but every time I’ve tried to push it into unfamiliar territory, it has held up extremely well.
I approached this cocktail from a Italian perspective, using Italian brandy and an amaro together with RumChata, and as fall approaches, I created another great seasonal RumChata drink: the Italiana RumChata. This can be served up in a cocktail coupe or on the rocks (pictured). Here’s how to make it:
Italiana RumChata (by Greg Mays)
In a shaker, add:
1 oz RumChata
1 oz amaro (I used Amaro Montenegro)
1 1/2 oz brandy (I used Vecchia Romagna)
2 dashes bitters
shake with ice and strain into a old fashioned glass filled with ice
One of the more exciting jars I found when I opened my Sugarlands sponsorship shipment was their Piña Colada Moonshine. I’ve been thinking for a few weeks about a great cocktail to make with it, and one day I discovered a new Trader Joe’s product that I figured would really make it shine (pun intended): “Island Colada” Mineral Water, a fizzy, sugarless water that I knew would work well with this moonshine.
So I developed a recipe for what I call a Piña Colada Fizz using Sugarlands’ Piña Colada Moonshine, Island Colada Mineral Water, and a splash of banana liqueur. It’s an AMAZING warm-weather cocktail:
“I notice the bottles.” A brief history of gin. Genever, and more. Greg mentions KGB Spirits gin. “Mobsters slinging it around.” We taste Dry Gin, New Western Gin and Old Tom Gin. Greg mentions Ransom and Left Turn‘s Old Toms. “The tequila shooters of their time.”
Humboldt Distillery is based out of northern California where they distill vodka and rum. I used their spiced rum to make a cocktail that I’ve been really enjoying lately: the Double Rum Old Fashioned.
Humboldt’s spiced rum I found to be sweet and syrupy, with a mild spiced palate; it goes well in cocktails for sure. I also had the chance to try their vodka, a sugarcane distillate that’s a touch sweet and quite smooth, as well as”Humboldt’s Finest”: a vodka infused with locally-grown sativa cannabis.
I know, that raises some questions, so here’s what I do know: Humboldt’s Finest is legal in all 50 states. Does it make you high? Not that I noticed. Really, the biggest question we need to ask is: how does it taste? Well, Humboldt’s Finest is like a marriage between a tasty vodka and a mild, minty, herbal gin. In tonic, for instance, you might just find it a little more herbal than a Vodka Tonic and bit milder than a Gin and Tonic. It makes for a slightly more interesting Dirty Martini, too. When I substituted it for their regular vodka in cocktails, people always noted it was “more herbal.”
All Humboldt’s spirits are organic, and I think the distillery had a unique enough approach together with a unique portfolio of spirits to add some fun cocktail twists to your home bar. Both vodkas retail for about $25.