3/4 oz Ligth Rum [Boston Harbor Distilling Lawley’s Light]
3/4 oz Dark Rum [Plantation Original Dark]
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 Grenadine [Powell & Mahoney]
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Pernod [I used Absinthe]
Combine all ingredients, shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime heart.
Adapted from Playboy’s Host & Bar Book by Thomas Mario
I knew I wanted to do a drink for Valentine’s Day, but I wasn’t sure what angle to take. Last year I did the whole chocolate (read: creme de cacao) thing, so that was out. Then a friend lent me his copy of Playboy’s Host & Bar Book. As I flipped through the pages, I realized this was the perfect thing for a holiday tangentially related to love, with a healthy dose of sex thrown in.
In addition to 800 some odd drink recipes, this book claims to be the “urban host’s authoritative guide to party-giving…”, and they deliver on the promise. There is a whole section of themed party ideas, with gems like the Urban Luau, Galley Party (for those with access to a boat) and the indoor picnic. It also provides a fairly comprehensive glossary of various liquors.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that many of the recipes in this book were quite respectable, despite last being published in 1971. More than a few pages got earmarked for later use as I searched for a Valentine’s Day appropriate drink.
Knowing I wanted to avoid chocolate, I began to think about other components that would make for a good cocktail for this holiday. If there is one color undoubtedly associated with valentine’s day, it’s the color red. You can find it in a few places in the cocktail world (Campari, Aperol, even Sweet Vermouth). As I scanned through my inventory, I spotted a bottle of grenadine hiding in the back of the fridge. Perfect, not only was the color right on, but its sweetness also aligned nicely with the theme.
I didn’t really have a base spirit in mind, I was more just looking for something interesting. Eventually I landed on the Unisphere. There is a lot going on here, with rum, Benedictine and even a little Pernod (Absinthe, in my case) filling the spirits role. Lime juice and grenadine balanced it all out.
The original recipe calls for golden rum, which I don’t have. Instead I did half dark and half light (that totatlly equals gold, right?). Once everything else was shaken up and in the glass, I knew I made the right decision. The Unisphere had a lovely pale pink-orange color that was very inviting.
The nose was very rum heavy, with the trademark molasses notes coming through. Some anise from the absinthe crept through as well. On the sip, the anise lingered, and picked up spices in the Benedictine. A round sweetness prevailed, which was definitely the grenadine talking. Finally a pinch of tartness from the lime, which carried over on the finish when the rum made one last appearance.
Overall I was very impressed by this drink. Some good complexity in the flavors. I really enjoyed the Benedictine with both the grenadine and absinthe, combos I don’t think I’ve had before. It was also very drinkable, while still having enough oomph to get anyone’s pants off. Just what you want out of a Valentine’s Day cocktail.