After a week in Cuba, I have warm breezes and cocktails on my mind, although I realize that my fantasies are highly unlikely to melt the huge snowdrifts around my home. I always bring a bottle of rum back from Caribbean trips as I find it to be a very versatile spirit; it’s great in baking, for seafood dishes and even for perking up sweet or savoury sauces. I decided I would try a new experiment this year – spicing up a portion of the bottle and using it for a new cocktail to chase away the cold. I am often reluctant to buy specialty spirits as I am never sure if I will use the whole bottle so this recipe is a great way to make a small batch of spiced rum. Another snowstorm tonight has me thinking that a warm rum drink could be a great antidote to the weather. If you are looking for a bit of a shortcut, you can buy great caramel syrup at many specialty coffee shops. You can, of course, also buy spiced rum, but making it from scratch is pretty easy and fun!
Ingredients – Spiced Rum
- 1 cup dark rum *
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) green cardamom pods, cracked
- 2 slices fresh ginger root
- 2 tips star anise
- 1 strip orange peel (1 inch x 2 inch / 2.5 cm x 5 cm)
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) black peppercorns, bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) whole cloves
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
* If you’re in a rush and want to use the spiced rum within a couple of hours, warm it slightly in a small pot or the microwave before adding the spices. This will speed up the infusion process.
Method – Spiced Rum
- Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight lid.
- Cover and shake well to combine. Let rest for at least 24 or up to 48 hours to infuse.
- Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and store in a clean jar or bottle.
Ingredients – Caramel Syrup
- 2/3 cup (180 mL) water, divided
- 2/3 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar
Method – Caramel Syrup
- Put 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce temperature slightly and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is turning a golden brown colour (7 – 10 minutes).
- Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the remaining water (1/2 cup or 120 mL) to the pan, stirring to distribute evenly. Be careful as you add the water as the mixture will steam and bubble.
- Immediately transfer to a heatproof glass jar and set aside to cool. Store at room temperature for up to a week.
Ingredients – Cocktail
- 2 ounces (60 mL) cold pressed apple cider (non alcoholic)
- 2 ounces (60 mL) spiced rum
- 1/2 ounce (15 mL) caramel syrup
Method – Cocktail
- Put apple cider in a heatproof jug and warm it in the microwave until it is very warm but not boiling.
- Add rum and caramel syrup; stir well.
- Pour into a heatproof glass and garnish with an apple slice or cinnamon stick.
Makes 1 cocktail.