For the longest time I skipped over the unobtainable substance known as Pimento Dram when crafting the Bum’s recipes. It was in the same category of ingredients like longan from Morimoto’s new cookbook or black truffles from nearly every French cookbook I own. We have a Wegman’s, but they sure don’t sell high quality cocktail syrups. I thought that I’d find it one day, but I wasn’t in a rush. That is, until Tales of the Cocktail.
My first taste of pimento dram, as I said, was in New Orleans this year. Served in a small plastic cup, it looked like an unexciting dark brown syrup, except that I knew what it was. I picked it up and before it even got near my nose, I could smell the alluring aroma of allspice. My first sip was nothing short of breathtaking. The essence of tiki washed over me in a current of rum, rich sugar, and spices. Some of my favorite memories come from new tastes, and this one was locked into memory forever.
I returned home from my adventure and immediately began brewing my own batch of Pimento Dram. Not having gallons of demerara rum like my CA counterparts, I went with Jeff Berry’s recipe from Sippin’ Safari:
- 1/4c whole allspice
- 1c light Puerto Rican rum
- 1/2 bottle light Puerto Rican rum
- 1c water
- 1lb demerara sugar
Grind allspice berries and mix with 1c rum in a pot. Bring to a boil and stir. Immediately pour into a bottle and fill it 3/4 full with more rum. Seal and store for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain 4000 times with cheesecloth. Make the syrup with the water and demerara sugar. Mix equal parts syrup with allspice rum. Bottle, seal, and let sit for 1 – 8 months. The flavor gets more pronounced and mellower the longer you wait. Obviously sample it throughout the process.
Sippin’ Safari, Jeff Berry
While I was waiting for my batch to age, I found a reliable source for Wray and Nephew pimento dram online. Marcia, from Raggae Treats, was a delight to deal with and my product arrived safe not more than a week after I ordered it.
I also see they have Old Tom gin. Anyone know how authentic this stuff is?
- Have you made it? What recipe did you use?
- What are your favorite exotic (or non-exotic) cocktails that contain pimento dram?
- Does everyone enjoy making their own syrups or do you prefer purchasing them (at least the more time-intensive ones)?