It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that we all have our prejudices. Now that you mention it, I suppose we have our prides as well. I am as guilty as anyone of having “preconceived judgments or opinions” especially when it comes to a gimmick. I am a sucker for a good hook, always have been. Whether it’s a cool process or an unusual ingredient, when I read about a drink I always fall for the oddballs. If it has a tincture or a cordial in it, I am all in. So, with a nod toward the complicated characters, won’t you join me as we stand and make the Rum Rabbit Rum.
This drink was inspired by Kevin Gray’s Philippine Rabbit featuring Don Papa Rum. I was drawn to one of the ingredients, a carrot and rosemary cordial, so I adapted this one to fit my bar options and gave it a new name, inspired by John Updike’s titular Rabbit and a sorta creepy old folk song. So, before we get started mixing, let’s make that cordial. Chop 3 carrots and boil with about 8 ounces of water till they are soft. Mash the carrots together in the water and strain it all through a sieve capturing the liquid. Heat the carrot water with a sprig of rosemary, 3 1/2 ounces of sugar and a pinch of salt, stirring regularly. Once the sugar has completely incorporated and you have reached a boil, remove from heat and bottle your cordial. It should last 2 weeks in the refrigerator. I added a little salt to the leftover carrot mash and ate it, but you do you.
Now that you have your tricky ingredient, grab your tins and pop in some rum. I went with a split base using 3/4 of an ounce of Smith + Cross and 3/4 of an ounce of Ron Zacapa 23. To that add 3/4 of an ounce of your carrot rosemary cordial, 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, 2-3 stabs of Dram Palo Santo Bitters and 1 egg white. Put your tins together and give that a good hard dry shake to the beat of that innocuous sounding “Run Rabbit Run” by Flanagan and Allen. After 30 seconds or so break your tins apart, be careful since some pressure may have built up and add some artisanal ice before giving it another proper shake. When well chilled, strain into a waiting coupe and garnish with something pretty like a dogwood flower.
That is lovely, seriously lovely. I originally conceived this as an Easter cocktail, but it works just as well here in the dog days of Summer. It is light and refreshing. The rums combine with the lime for a tropical feel that is grounded by that unique “can’t quite place it” carrot and rosemary flavor, while the egg white brings a decadent consistency that just makes me want more. This is a surprisingly complex drink for all of its simplicity and that carrot rosemary cordial is a taste to be reckoned with, sublime really. This is probably the perfect drink for this Palo Santo Bitters, with their woody, vanilla with just a touch of smoke flavor profile. They hide in the spaces between the cordial and give this one real depth.
I fell for the gimmicky ingredient and this time it paid off. It does not always, so I am happy when it does. I am forever ordering some exotic dish or drink based on one weird ingredient, instead of going with something I know I will enjoy. It’s a blessing and a curse. Today it worked out, yesterday I made a Hard Sell, intrigued by its use of St. Germain and Malort, that did not end so well. I guess that is how it goes, you can either take a chance on the oddballs or stick with what you know. When it comes to life I think I’ll keep doing the weird stuff, sailing a little father from shore hoping to discover something new and incredible. I have always said I prefer the roller coaster to the carousel and this is just another way of enjoying the ride. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.