They say the devil is in the details. He is also, apparently, on my kitchen counter. If my upbringing is to be believed, which it most assuredly, is not; the devil is everywhere, all the time. It is not always clear what he is doing. Some say he is out running or just around the corner waiting to trip you up, others claim he wants to make a deal for your soul, although this most often happens at a crossroads, allegedly. Details on whether those crossroads are metaphorical, allegorical or physical are decidedly fuzzy, although the Jackson, Mississippi Chamber of Commerce claims to have the answer and a bumper sticker to go with it. I have often heard that he’s fond of wagers and fiddle contests, but I don’t have much musical talent or a hickory stump, so I can’t confirm this for myself. The point is folks have a lot to say about the devil, but little sympathy for him. So, have some courtesy and some taste as we stand and make the devil’s own Dark and Smoky.
This tiki-inspired riff on the classic Dark & Stormy was created by Matthias Soberon as the signature drink for this awesome Ol’ Scratch tiki mug by Mondo. It was included as a companion piece on a beautifully illustrated card handmade at The Press Room in Austin, Texas. I’d love to give you a great story of the provenance of this drink, maybe something along the lines of how on Devil’s Night in 1984, wracked with remorse after a child died in a fire he set, an arsonist traded what was left of his soul to the devil in exchange for this recipe, which he then made for his estranged daughter, to show that though he had a dark and smoky nature, papa did love her in his own misguided but well-meaning way. That sort of makes sense because that would be a good devil’s bargain sort of thing, trading a blemished soul for someone else’s recipe.
This is a big build suitable for a huge exquisitely designed mug, so you’ve got options. I have big tins, so I am going to shake this one, but you may want to flash blend it. Either way will work just fine. Alternately, you could cut these dimensions in half, but where is the fun in that? Grab your suitably chosen vessel and toss in 2.5 ounces of an aged column still rum, I chose Appleton Estate Signature; 1 ounce of Jamaican overproof rum, I went with Wray and Nephew; 1 ounce of mezcal, I opted for Del Maguey Vida; 3 ounces of pineapple juice, 1.5 ounces of lime juice, 1 ounce of simple syrup and 3 stabs of Angostura Bitters. Add a little crushed ice and give it a good whip shake to the beat of “Golgotha Tenement Blues” by Machines of Loving Grace mix things up and get some aeration going on. Pour over crushed ice in a suitable vessel and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime bowl. Since it is Devil’s Night, we might as well throw a lemon extract soaked crouton in that lime and set it on fire for good measure. Hell, sprinkle some cinnamon over that for a little aromatic magic and the ensuing fireworks. Toss in a reusable straw and serve, preferably with a devilish grin.
Of course that is wonderful. It’s tiki, it has a ton of ingredients and fire is involved. Honestly, how could it not be? Obviously it is rum forward, but well balanced by all the sweet and citrus elements. It’s definitely true to its Dark and Stormy lineage, but the addition of the mezcal transforms it by adding an amazing smoky top note. Don’t skip out on that cinnamon dusting either, the aroma really helps sell this one. I am not sure I’d sell my own soul for one of these, but I’d definitely make some sort of deal with the devil. Of course, I already have a drink and this recipe makes a huge one, so maybe I am not in the market right now. Speaking of that, you should probably split this into two glasses, this is more drink than one person needs. Not that I am going to do that, but you should consider it.
Here we are, October 30th, Devil’s Night. That does not mean a lot to me, here in the South we made our mischief on Halloween night, but to some of my friends from less temperate climes, it was a big deal. Starting in the 1940’s, this was the night when folks would go wild mostly committing petty acts of vandalism. Egging cars and houses, soaping windows, tossing toilet paper in all the trees, you know good clean fun. Of course, through the years some areas went a bit further with the mischief escalating to broken windows, graffiti and arson. 1980’s Detroit was the undisputed king of Devil’s Night with hundreds of fires set every October 30th. I know it mostly as a plot point from The Crow, and I was shocked to find out that it was a real thing. Like many of our customs it seemed too gruesome to be true when seen on the big screen and yes, I did go see The Crow in the theater.
We seem to be a bit more civilized these days; and by we I mostly just mean me and my family. What can I say, we are getting older. I’m not much for wilding these days, I am a much bigger fan of milding. I mean, we still committed acts of arson, but it was in our own backyard, in a fire pit, with cocktails, flannel shirts and a cardigan. I played the devil’s music too loud, but we live too far out in the country for any neighbors to complain. I was going to throw some eggs, but then we decided that breakfast for dinner sounded pretty good, so we took them back inside and fried up some bacon to go with them. The wife suggested we roll the yard, but I reminded her that in the uncertainty of this mid-pandemic world, I wasn’t sure that we were really wealthy enough to be throwing around toilet paper. So, yeah things have changed a bit here at Stately Monkey Manor, but at least we have a great drink to wash it all down. Of course, I did pour out a bit by the fire, after all it is important that “each and every one of us always give the devil his due.” It’s just courtesy. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.