Spirits Close-Up: Allspice Dram

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A whiskey sour spiked with allspice dram (in the bottle at left) // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

This month’s Craft Cocktail, The Everything Nice at Lyn 65, uses allspice dram to give the drink that unmistakable autumnal spice. Bottles of St. Elizabeth’s can be hard to find, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’ve got an easy-to-make recipe for whipping up a batch at home.

Why should I have allspice dram in my bar?
Do you want to bottle the feeling of cozy sweaters and crunchy leaves? Do you want to make impressive cocktails quickly? Do you want everything you drink this month to be “autumn-spiced”? Then making a dram is the way to go.

I’ve heard of “pimento dram”—is that the same thing?
Yes, allspice berries are from a pimento (no relation to the mild chili pepper).

Hold on, did you say MAKE allspice dram?
Why, yes I did. You can feel free to pay $30 for a bottle of St. Elizabeth’s (if you can even find it). Or you could pay half that for a bottle of white rum, use one cup to steep some spices, and have lots of rum left over. There are plenty of recipes online (mine is a riff on one from Serious Eats) and it only requires a week of waiting.

I like leftover rum! How do I make a dram?

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rum
  • 3 tablespoons whole allspice berries, coarsely ground
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

Method

Add the crushed berries to a jar with the rum and seal. Let it sit for a few days at room temperature, shaking it every now and again. Add the cinnamon stick to the jar and wait a few more days.

After one total week of steeping, strain the infused rum through a fine mesh strainer (or coffee filter, if necessary) to remove the allspice particles. Simmer the water and brown sugar together until combined. Let cool and add the syrup to the infused rum.

What cocktails can I make with it?
Glogg: Simmer a few splashes of OJ and apple cider with sliced oranges and apples (and raisins, almonds, cacao nibs, whatever else you like) and a drizzle of dram. Remove from heat, add a bottle of red wine, and adjust to taste (a spot of honey or maple syrup might be nice.)

“Mulled” Cider: Warm some apple cider with a splash of dram (and bourbon, if you’re me.)

Dark Storm: See this cocktail recipe from Norseman Distillery. Rum, lime juice, dram, and ginger beer.

Autumn-Spiced Everything: Add a slug of dram to your favorite Negroni, daiquiri, old fashioned, whiskey sour, Manhattan, Moscow mule… you get the idea.

 
John Garland About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

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