The season is upon us and since we are not stuck at home for the holidays this year I have been out enjoying one of my favorite pastimes, buying local. Seriously, I love getting stuff directly from the people who make it. We do the same thing with our business, buying as many supplies from local producers as we can. There are a ton of great reasons, like keeping money in your community, supporting the folks who support you and all that, but one of my favorite parts is making connections with other makers. So, with a nod toward being a better neighbor, won’t you join me now as we stand and make, the Dominicana.

This is a super simple one to make, but it is a Sasha Petraske original, so, I have high hopes. He was the original creator of New York’s famed Milk & Honey, where he set a new standard for service in our modern cocktail revival. I have made a ton of drinks from his classic Regarding Cocktails, and they have always been incredible. His attention to detail is legendary and I love the simple presentation in this book and in his drinks. I was inspired to make this one after picking up an unusual bottle of rum in Virginia last week, that seems perfectly suited for this riff on the classic White Russian that presents more like a Brandy Alexander.

First step is to whip some cream. You can use your usual method, but for drinks I like to pop the spring off my hawthorne strainer and pop it in a squeeze bottle with half a cup of heavy whipping cream before giving it a good shake. You don’t want it to stand up too much, but it does need to be thick enough to make a bead on the back of your hand, You’ll see what I mean when we garnish. That done, grab your mixing pitcher and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of coffee liqueur, I opted for Indiana’s finest Songbird Coffee Liqueur from Cardinal Spirits and 1 1/2 ounces of aged rum. Usually, I would go for Appleton here, but I went off script to experiment with my new bottle of Belmont Farm Dark Chai Spice Rum. Add some artisanal ice and give it a good stir to the beat of Sondheim’s “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” until it is well chilled and you get some dilution going on, about 30 seconds or so. Strain into a coupe and top with your gently whipped cream, just slowly squeeze it over the top to get a nice solid coat. Then express an orange coin over the top and serve.

Oh, I do like this, indeed. It is always nice to drink anything through a blanket of whipped cream. I thought it would be fun to play with a couple of smaller local producers here and it works. The Songbird is a little on the sweet side, so it helps balance the heat coming off that higher proof rum. In addition to being handcrafted that copper kettle distilled rum and made in the traditional “colonial Style” so it comes in at 96 proof. Still, the chai spice is really nice, here, would probably have been even better if I had proofed it down a bit. Sounds like a great opportunity for more experimentation to me. If you just want to go with more mainstream alcohols, you will not be disappointed, this is a solid, if simple, construction.

It’s fun to try new things and even better when you discover something wonderful and get to support your community at the same time. I try to make a point to stop at little shops in out of the way places to see what they may have to share with the world and I am often rewarded with some really wonderful experiences. I’ve got nothing against the big shippers and the box stores, I just prefer that connection you make when you buy straight from the makers, from the artists, from the folks who took a chance and chose to share their talents with the world, Whether it’s a sculpture, a painting, some homegrown produce or a locally distilled treat, I just love keeping it local and supporting those who make things. So, even if you don’t think you need that homemade stuff your neighbors are working on, give them a chance and try something new, you may be surprised by what you discover. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane my friends.