Category Archives: rum

Spiced Chata

spice-chata downsized

Every time Fall and Winter arrive, my RumChata bottles go quick. From adding a shot to coffee or hot cocoa to making some great rum or whiskey based cocktails with it, the cinnamon and horchata flavors make it easy to create a great cold-weather drink.

With that in mind, I decided to make a drink that’s got an easy mixing ratio (2:1:1) and is perfect for sipping by the fire! Here’s the Spiced Chata cocktail:

Spiced Chata (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 2 oz amber rum
  • 1 oz RumChata
  • 1 oz spiced liqueur (I used Jägermeister Spice)
  • shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with ice cubes
  • garnish with an apple slice

Alternatively, you can serve “up” in a chilled cocktail glass with no ice. Enjoy this Fall cocktail from our sponsor RumChata!

Stiggins’ Fancy Plantation Pineapple Rum

stiggens fancy plantation pineapple rum

If we are to believe rumors, then Stiggins’ Fancy Plantation Pineapple Rum should not exist. Or, it should exist but you shouldn’t be able to buy it. Here’s the story:

In 2014, cocktail historian David Wondrich, along with Plantation Rum‘s cellar master Alexandre Gabriel created a “flavored” rum based on the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, in which Reverend Stiggins often enjoyed “pineapple rum.”

This rum, dubbed Stiggins’ Fancy Plantation Pineapple Rum, was only given by Wondrich to friends at Tales of the Cocktail 2014. As the legend of this special rum grew, Plantation realized there was enough demand to actually bring it to market, and the retail version of Stiggens’ was born, and it won Best New Spirit at the most recent Tales of the Cocktail Awards (2016).

Let me clarify that this is no “flavored rum” as we’ve come to know it under, say, the Malibu moniker. This is quality, artisinally-produced fruit infused aged rum, and the end product shows. Outside of actual pineapple, no flavor is added, and no sugar either. It’s an amazing sipping rum, just on the rocks and makes some beautiful cocktails. For $30, it may be one of the most unique products you can buy at you local liquor store.

Below, I’ve collected the “how it’s made” cards from Plantation that explains the process they use to make Stiggens’ Fancy. Just click to enlarge:

 Plantation Pineapple How its Made

Cuba Libre

cuba libre with q drinks kola

When I started Simple Cocktails, I noticed that usually, the classic cocktails are the simplest. A balanced drink is often an issue of a bit of trial and error, too, to get the ratio of liquor and mixer just right.

I’m excited to have Q Drinks on board for this drink in particular, because I feel like soda’s become more and more sweet these days from it’s original makeup, which was a bit spicy balanced with sweet, with notes of clove, cinnamon and vanilla. Q Drink’s Kola is just that, though, a less-sweet traditional cola that makes a killer cocktail mixer because it allows you to make a balanced cocktail, and mixing Kola with rum, which also has some great caramel and cinnamon notes, is a match made in heaven.

This is a cocktail that’s pretty well-known, a slightly jazzed up Rum and Coke really. Just add a touch of lime juice and lots of limes for garnish, and you have the Cuba Libre cocktail:

Cube Libre

  • in a double old fashioned glass filled with ice, add:
  • 2 ounces aged rum (I used Havana Club)
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • top with Q Kola or your cola of choice (about 4-5 oz)
  • stir briefly and garnish with several thin lime wedges

Special thanks to our sponsor Q Drinks.

Novo Fogo Cachaça Caipirinha Kit

novo fogo cachaça

I’m a little embarrassed to say that until recently, I had not tried cachaça (kuh-CHA-suh), the Brazilian sugar cane juice liquor. Similar to rum, cachaça is Brazil’s most popular distilled spirit, and the base for the caipirinha (KAI-pir-een-yuh) cocktail.

Well, Novo Fogo Cachaça helped us to correct that when they sent us their caipirinha kit to try out on our podcast (which we did here). The kit includes a bottle of Novo Fogo Silver, 2 small branded mason jars, and a wood muddler, all of which we use in the recipe below.

novo fogo caipirinha kit

A caipirinha is like a South American take on a Daiquiri: lime, sugar and rum, though in this case the rum is swapped for cachaça. I find Novo Fogo’s cachaça to be a earthier, grassier and much more flavorful variety of rum, which is technically is, because it’s distilled from sugar cane juice. Their caipirinha kit makes for some tasty cocktails, too, and all you need to add is lime and sugar. Here’s how you make it:


  • in a small mason jar, add:
  • 1/2 of a lime, but into wedges and with the enter pith removed
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz cachaça
  • muddle together well, then fill the jar with ice
  • shake well, then serve directly in the jar

Twenty Boat Spiced Rum

twenty boat spiced rum

We recently had a little fun on the podcast at the expense of Twenty Boat Spiced Rum. A rum from Cape Cod? If you heard the episode, however, you noted how quickly the jokes ended when we tasted Twenty Boat.

Distilled by South Hollow Spirits in Massachusetts, who distills both Twenty Boat Spiced and Twenty Boat Amber Rum, this is a spiced rum to try if you see it (it’ll run you about $45 a bottle). With spices like vanilla, cinnamon and chai in the mix, Twenty Boat ends up lead by a strong butterscotch note most of all.

love to use spiced rums in my rum-and-cokes (made in a 1:3 ratio) because the spices in the rum usually closely pair and complement the flavor or Coke, and Twenty Boat fits the bill. I’ve found that if a spiced rum isn’t strong enough and spiced enough (duh), that it tastes too watery and bland. Twenty Boat doesn’t suffer from wither of these and it comes in at a impressive 95 proof. Because of the high proof, Twenty Boat is a decent sipping rum too, and a good pairing on the rocks with a cigar.


10th Avenue Tea Cocktails

10th ave tea cocktails

Tea cocktails are most definitely a thing, from teas designed specifically for cocktails (like the Owl’s Brew) to many ways of infusing tea into booze, even smoking tea into it. Tea can add two great dimensions to a cocktail: lightening the alcohol content or adding a plethora of flavors into a drink that you don’t usually get through alcohol and mixers alone.

10th Avenue Tea is a new tea company with a specific passion for the environment. Available in 4 flavors: Green, Chai, English and Tropical, 10th Avenue gives you a unique option for how to work your tea into cocktails, though: because their tea is concentrated and dry, you can adjust tea strength on the fly and mix drinks quicker than if you were using pre-made teas or teas you have to brew before you use.

I experimented a little bit with 10th Avenue and I think I’ve found the perfect ratio for using their tea in a near-unlimited variety of cocktails: 2 parts spirit, 1/2 part citrus, 1/2 part simple syrup, and then the tea, which I’ve been making with 1 oz of water. Here are the drinks in the photo above:

Midsummer Dream (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 2 oz spiced rum
  • 2-3 shakes of 10th Avenue Tropical Tea
  • 1 oz water
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lime twist

Bourbon Bulldog (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 2-3 shakes of 10th Avenue English Tea
  • 1 oz water
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon twist

Note I made the exact same drinks above but substituted Green tea for Tropical and Chai for English on a recent podcast episode. They also turned out great, but the Green/Spiced Rum drink was a runaway favorite. 

Hardly Wallbanger

hardly wallbanger

November 8 is National Harvey Wallbanger Day. The signature cocktail of Galliano Liqueur,  and likely invented in the 1950’s in California, the Harvey Wallbanger grew in popularity throughout the 60’s (especially in California). The Sycamore Den bar in San Diego has given the original recipe a little twist in the Hardly Wallbanger. We also made this cocktail on our most recent podcast. Enjoy!

Hardly Wallbanger

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Galliano
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice
  • garnish with a lemon peel “rose” (pictured) or a lemon wedge

 Special thanks to our sponsor Galliano L’Autentico

Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum

brugal extra dry rum

It seems every liquor bottle comes with a legend of some sort, and Brugal Rum is no exception. A five-generations-old rum that’s both sourced and produced in the Dominican Republic, Brugal has a line of rums with vary age statements.

For your entry-level $25, you get Brugal Especial Extra Dry. Keenly wrapped in a net of string, Brugal is unique in a way that many silver rums are not: it’s barrel-aged. After distillation, Extra Dry is aged 2-5 years in oak casks, then the color imparted from the casks is filtered back out. Usually a silver rum is not aged, and because of that, it’s not particularly flavorful, maybe a step up from vodka. But in the case of Brugal, you get a huge nose of woodiness, and a spicy, bold, and very dry rum. Though a common rum complaint, you won’t catch anyone saying this particular rum is “too sweet” for them.

As I tend to prefer my Daiquiris to have a lot of character, meaning I prefer to mix them with aged rum, Brugal gives me a great alternative to the usually-murky brownness that you get with aged rum, then allows me to mix a flavorful-yet-light Daiquiri instead.

You may recall from our Tales of the Cocktail interview that Fabian preferred Brugal in his Daiquiris as well! Cheers Fabian!


Harvey’s Tiki Hut

Galliano’s vanilla-and-spice flavor profile makes is a pretty flexible liqueur in many different types of cocktails, from light and fruity to rich and savory. In the spring, we mixed Galliano with tequila in an Hola Harvey, and now it’s time to mix Galliano in a tiki drink.

Note that we’re using orange curacao in this cocktail (for the first time on this blog, actually). In the past, when an “orange liqueur” was called for, I’d just use Bols triple sec. The two “orange liqueurs” are different, though, and here’s a brief summary thanks to Camper English:

  • Triple sec is clear and based on neutral spirits. Cointreau is a triple sec.
  • Curacao is usually brownish, though can be orange or blue. It has color is because it’s brandy-based and sometimes aged, which also means curacao tastes richer. Grand Marnier is a curacao.

Without further delay, here’s Harvey’s Tiki Hut:

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 3/4 oz Galliano
  • 3/4 oz Bols orange curacao
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • shake with ice and strain into a glass (or tiki mug) filled with ice
  • garnish with a lime wedge

 Special thanks to our sponsor Galliano L’Autentico

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

sailor jerry rum

It’s interesting how, after blogging about booze and cocktails for 5 years, you miss things. I’ve had a few bottles of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum in the last several years, but I realized that I haven’t actually written about SJ yet!

I’m just going to tell you that Sailor Jerry is my favorite spiced rum (Breckenridge is my 2nd fave). There are several things that make it a stand-out from competitors (such as Bacardi Oakheart or Captain Morgan). First, Sailor Jerry is higher alcohol at 46% – Oakheart and the Captain are 35%. SJ is also commonly sold in 1L bottles (as opposed to 750ml) in many places.

The flavor of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is the biggest differentiator, though. It’s less sweet-tasting, yet remains smooth and palatable. It is great in a Rum and Coke as the spices of SJ, like clove, cinnamon, and vanilla, are almost a one-for-one companion to the flavoring in Coca-Cola. Compared with it’s competitors, who offer a fruitier, sweeter spiced rum, Sailor Jerry is spicier, a touch more bitter, and more complex than others on the market.

I make my Sailor Rum+Cokes like this (pictured above):

Sailor Jerry Rum and Coke

  • in an old fashioned glass filled with ice, add:
  • 2 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • some Coca-Cola, between a splash and 1 oz


Acrylic barware courtesy of JCPenny.