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Pimento Dram


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#1 limewine

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 12:37 PM

Inspired by Dr. Cocktail's declaration last year that pimento dram is "the most important liqueur in the world" (in his NYTimes profile), I've been determined ever since to get my hands on some. Since a trip to Jamaica just isn't in the cards, and the stuff doesn't seem to be imported on any reliable basis, I finally broke down and made my own batch, using the recipe Chuck Taggart posted on his Gumbo Pages.

It's finally ready, and it tastes divine. Lots of allspice flavor in a gentle rum & brown sugar base. (How close is it to the original? I have no idea--I've never tasted the original, but that's not for lack of trying.) But now I'm trying to figure out good ways to use it.

Cocktail DB lists around a dozen recipes; a few of them sound promising. But has anybody here played around with pimento dram in cocktails? What's a good way to mix it, so that I can fully agree with Doc's declaration?

Thanks--
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#2 mumkin

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 10:04 PM

Hey, swell! I hadn't seen Chuck's recipe for the mysterious Pimento Dram, but it's now duly noted. I've never mixed anything with it -- Pimento Dram in Oregon? unpossible! -- but looking at the DB, I think my first choice for experimentation would be the None But The Brave, which seem to rely on it the most. Hell of a name -- a cursory glance doesn't show it in any books I have -- but from the ingredients it sounds a grand autumnal drink.

#3 gethin

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:06 AM

Are there any UK based e-gulleteers who might be interested in a bottle or two of Pimento Dram. Its not normally imported here but I've been chatting to some really helpful people at Wray and Nephew who are looking at bringing over a case or two.

Not sure I'll want a whole case myself, so if there is anyone else interested I can let them know if W & N can come up with the goods.

Gethin

#4 Morgan_Weber

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 03:53 PM

I've done some searching through old threads in order to find this topic, to no avail. If I'm being redundant, admins I apologize.

I just received a bottle of Wray & Nephew's Pimento Liqueur and was wondering if anyone has some favorite recipes that show it off?

Thanks.

#5 bostonapothecary

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 09:01 PM

its kind of like the benedictine of the country side... rustic, simple, delicious... i'd use it where you would use benedictine...

variously spirited sours make bottles of it disapear very quickly around here...
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#6 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 01:18 AM

I've done some searching through old threads in order to find this topic, to no avail.  If I'm being redundant, admins I apologize. 

I just received a bottle of Wray & Nephew's Pimento Liqueur and was wondering if anyone has some favorite recipes that show it off?

Thanks.

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Good one to have around this time of year, try it in Mr. Taggart's Reveillon:

2 oz Applejack or Calvados (Bonded Applejack works best here)
1/2 oz pear eau-de-vie*
1/2 oz pimento dram
1/4 oz favorite red vermouth or Punt e Mes (or slightly more to taste)
2 generous dashes favorite aromatic bitters

stir/strain/up

Beautiful drink for the Christmas season, and a lovely showcase for the allspice liqueur that one has made or been so lucky to acquire. It's a wee on the sweet side, but not unbearably so, and certainly not so much as to be inappropriate to have before dinner.

-Andy


*I have used Brizard Poire William, which is sweetened, in lieu of dry eau-de-vie, and it worked fine since the liqueur is not terribly sweet as those things go.
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#7 Chris Amirault

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 07:53 PM

Two questions. Has anyone tried Chad Solomon and Christy Pope's recipe here in Imbibe? And has anyone whipped up a batch based on this, Taggart's or another's recipe and compared the homemade to the Wray & Nephew?
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#8 limewine

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:28 AM

Two questions. Has anyone tried Chad Solomon and Christy Pope's recipe here in Imbibe? And has anyone whipped up a batch based on this, Taggart's or another's recipe and compared the homemade to the Wray & Nephew?

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I haven't tried Chad & Christy's recipe, but I have done side-by-side comparisons between Chuck Taggart's recipe and the Wray & Nephew. The commercial version is a little smoother in flavor, with more edge taken off the spice, and it has a thicker mouthfeel (glycerin?). Mixing, though, I like the homemade -- the more ragged allspice flavor carries through in the cocktail better, IMHO.

Also, I recently dug out a bottle of the Taggart formula that had been aging for two years (read: I found a bottle I'd forgotten about at the back of the liquor cabinet). It does mellow more over time, and thicker mouthfeel aside, I think flavorwise it's almost indistinguishable from the W&N.

Of course, I'm now waiting anxiously to see how the Alpenz allspice dram works out. Tasted a prototype in July, and it was pretty good, much spicier and more "alive" than the W&N.
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#9 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:53 PM

I'm having a devil of a time finding any demerara 151 rum. I can get the Lemon Hart 80 or the Bacardi 151, though. Thoughts on going halvesies?
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#10 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 01:45 AM

As delicious as Demerara rum is, I actually don't like it in this. I find I have much better results using ~13 oz each of Wray & Nephew White Overproof and the same amount of some inexpensive dark Jamaican rum like Meyers'. My ultimate recipe is to infuse the crushed allspice in the W&N then strain and add to the Meyers and add the same amount of sugar (1.5 lbs) to perhaps 1-1.5 cups of water, then mix everything together and add water to make 51 oz. This should result in 2 bottles of 50 proof liqueur, with a much more mixing-friendly rum as the base, which really does carry over into the different applications. In my own extraordinarily humble opinion, this final product is every bit as good as the Wray & Nephew Berry Hill stuff I have (particularly after being rested), though very, very slightly different, as a different brand might be. For about $30-40 one can produce four 750 ml bottles, can't beat that.

-Andy
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#11 limewine

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 10:41 AM

'Course, this whole "making your own" point may be moot come February, when Haus Alpenz rolls out their St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in New York & Massachusetts.
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#12 bostonapothecary

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 04:04 PM

'Course, this whole "making your own" point may be moot come February, when Haus Alpenz rolls out their St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in New York & Massachusetts.

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i make mine with wray and nephews overproof that i dilute to 100 proof or so with another rum then i infuse with allspice powder from crushing the whole berries for 10 days. i sugar to 36 brix with brown sugar. the idea was to get something with cointreau style sugar and alcohol...

i'd like to find some sort of boutique source of the spice so i know i have quality and intensity... right now i only use the product from christina's spice shop in cambridge... anyone have a cool source?
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#13 eas

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 07:10 PM

I would guess that when 'making your own' moves away from necessity, we may see even greater variety and personalization in home production. Even with 3 or 4 Nocini on the market, many of us still make our own, and it's no less a joy to make and share!

#14 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 07:49 PM

All right, I'm taking one for the team here. I just put up the following to steep for a couple of weeks:

1 c Lemon Hart 80 proof demerara rum
1 c Wray & Nephew overproof (126 proof) rum
1/2 c allspice berries, crushed
5 black pepper berries, crushed
5 cloves, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 nutmeg, crushed

Down the line, I'll add 1 lb of demerara sugar, another 1/2 lb of brown sugar, 2-3 c water, and Angostura bitters to taste (an ounce or less, I think). Then, in Feb, I'll drive up to Massachusetts and do a comparison.
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#15 gethin

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 08:09 AM

Does anyone know how the Sangsters Old Jamaica Pimebno Dram compares with the W & N one ? I've just found a few bottles of it tucked away on a shelf in a local Afro Caribbean supermarket.

I understand Sangsters was taken over by W & N (or that both W & N were taken over by another company (lLascelles ??). Not sure when that happened though. Does anyone know how old these Sangsters bottles are likely to be ?


Gethin

PS is W& N Jamaica Brandy really, really vile or have i just got a duff bottle ?

#16 Chris Amirault

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 12:52 PM

Strained the stuff into two bottles and I'm now trying to figure out some interesting drinks to make with it. Andy's point about the W&N overproof seems to make sense at this early stage, btw, though it's still hard to tell (and I have no comparison to make).
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#17 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 07:44 PM

Mixed up a tasty, simple rum sour on a tiki theme:

2 oz white rum (Flor de Cana)
1/4 oz overproof demerara rum (Lemon Hart 151)
1/2 oz pimento dram
3/4 oz lime
dash Angostura

It's very good, but the molasses is a bit too prominent still, instead of fading back as a sweet base. It'll be interesting to try later on when the pimento dram has aged a bit.
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#18 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 07:10 PM

Tried a version of a Lion's Tail tonight, omitting simple bc this pimento is still pretty sweet:

2 oz bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)
1/2 oz pimento liqueur
1/2 oz lime
dash bitters (Erik's Hess house)

Very nice. I'd go more scant on the lime next time, but the bourbon/pimento combination is excellent.
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#19 bostonapothecary

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 07:26 PM

Tried a version of a Lion's Tail tonight, omitting simple bc this pimento is still pretty sweet:

2 oz bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)
1/2 oz pimento liqueur
1/2 oz lime
dash bitters (Erik's Hess house)

Very nice. I'd go more scant on the lime next time, but the bourbon/pimento combination is excellent.

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has anyone tried kummel with pimento dram?? they seem to be paired together quite a few times in the cocktial database... some people must know something i don't about a cool flavor combo...
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#20 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 07:34 PM

It makes sense in a kind of garam masala sort of way....
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#21 bostonapothecary

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:10 PM

It makes sense in a kind of garam masala sort of way....

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hmm. i've never really been exposed to caraway and didn't realize it was an anise...

benedictine (which i often compare to pimento dram) often gets paired with the anises... so it doesn't seem like that crazy a flavor combo... but now i wonder why it was chosen over any other anise option... a regional or thematic significance?
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#22 slkinsey

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:54 AM

hmm. i've never really been exposed to caraway and didn't realize it was an anise...

I wouldn't necessarily say that caroway is "an anise" -- which carries the implication that it is a type of anise, which it isn't.

Caroway and aniseed are in the same family (Apiaceae -- hollow stemmed plants including parsley, fennel, carrot, etc.) but not in the same genus. Caraway is in the genus Carum (species: C. carvi) and aniseed is in the genus Pimpinella (species: P. anisum[/i]).

Personally, I can't say that I think caraway has a particularly liquorice-like flavor and aroma. I think it's pretty uniquely "caraway-like" in flavor (think of the seeds in traditional caraway rye bread).

Anyway... if you want to expose yourself to caraway, pick up a bottle of akvavit. If you can still find any Aalborg brand in the US (they have apparently stopped importing it), it has a particularly notable caraway flavor.

Edited by slkinsey, 04 January 2008 - 07:54 AM.

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#23 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:56 PM

More experimentation, this one just ok: a pisco sour variation.

2 oz pisco (Barsol)
1 oz lemon
1/2 oz pimento dram
1/4 oz simple syrup
egg white
dash Angostura
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#24 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:34 PM

I've never mixed anything with it -- Pimento Dram in Oregon? unpossible! -- but looking at the DB, I think my first choice for experimentation would be the None But The Brave, which seem to rely on it the most.  Hell of a name -- a cursory glance doesn't show it in any books I have -- but from the ingredients it sounds a grand autumnal drink.

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It's a grand winter drink as well. I floated a few drops of Angostura, which was a nice addition.
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#25 Alchemist

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:02 PM

hmm. i've never really been exposed to caraway and didn't realize it was an anise...

I wouldn't necessarily say that caroway is "an anise" -- which carries the implication that it is a type of anise, which it isn't.

Caroway and aniseed are in the same family (Apiaceae -- hollow stemmed plants including parsley, fennel, carrot, etc.) but not in the same genus. Caraway is in the genus Carum (species: C. carvi) and aniseed is in the genus Pimpinella (species: P. anisum[/i]).

Personally, I can't say that I think caraway has a particularly liquorice-like flavor and aroma. I think it's pretty uniquely "caraway-like" in flavor (think of the seeds in traditional caraway rye bread).

Anyway... if you want to expose yourself to caraway, pick up a bottle of akvavit. If you can still find any Aalborg brand in the US (they have apparently stopped importing it), it has a particularly notable caraway flavor.

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If you can't find the Aalborg try Gilka Kaiser-Kummel Liqueur, esoteric as it is it is still being imported. It's unique caraway flavor is stronger than the Aalborg. Try a rinse of the Kummel on your next Manhattan, with rye of course. Maybe with ham rolls with spicy mustard to nibble on.

1.5 Rittenhouse rye
1.5 Michters rye
1.0 Carpano Antica
.50 Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1 dash Angostura
3 dash Peychaud's

Rinse glass with Kummel.

S,S,SU. garnish with a cherry.

Hopefully tastes a bit like pumpernickle bread.

Toby

Edited by Alchemist, 21 January 2008 - 09:04 PM.




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#26 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:14 PM

Going to a party tonight and needed two bottled cocktails as contributions. Made a bottle of Jack Roses but wanted also to use some of the pimento dram. Since I had found some good juice oranges (a rarity here), I fiddled and came up with this cocktail, which I've named (with some trepidation) the Kingston Winter Cocktail:

2 oz rye (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz pimento dram
3/4 oz orange juice
dash clementine bitters
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#27 slkinsey

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 11:38 AM

Recently sampled some of Haus Alpenz's St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram at Death & Company, and picked up a bottle at Astor Wines & Spirits to use at home. Like everything in the Haus Alpenz portfolio, it is outstanding.

One of my first thoughts was that it reminded me of the "bay rum" aftershave my father used to wear sometimes when I was growing up. Bay rum is made with rum (originally) and the leaves/fruit of the West Indian Bay Tree (Pimenta racemosa) whereas pimento dram is made with rum and the fruit of the closely related Allspice Tree in the same genus (Pimenta dioica). I always wanted to know what that stuff would taste like. :smile:

As it turns out, Ted Haig's column in the most recent issue of [ur;=http://www.imbibemagazine.com/]Imbibe Magazine[/url] featured pimento dram, no doubt to coincide with the American rollout of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram. It featured the Lion's Tail, which seems to be everyone's introductory pimento dram cocktail of choice, and a tiki drink by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. Lion's Tail was nice, although I'm likely to dial back the pimento dram nex time around. At 2 ounces Wild Turkey 101 to 1/2 ounce pimento dram, the dram was still pretty overpowering.
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#28 Mayur

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:33 PM

The St. Elizabeth's (as with homemade pimento dram) makes a nice benedictine substitute in a vieux carre. It also works nicely if you sub it in for half the usual mezcal in a jovencourt daiquiri or oaxaca old-fashioned.
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#29 Mayur

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:34 PM

One of my first thoughts was that it reminded me of the "bay rum" aftershave my father used to wear sometimes when I was growing up.  Bay rum is made with rum (originally) and the leaves/fruit of the West Indian Bay Tree (Pimenta racemosa) whereas pimento dram is made with rum and the fruit of the closely related Allspice Tree in the same genus (Pimenta dioica).  I always wanted to know what that stuff would taste like. :smile:

(Confession: When the Old Bay Rum was available from the J Peterman catalog, I ordered some and ended up droppering it, bitters-style, into cocktails.)
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#30 Mayur

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 01:47 AM

So lately with the St Elizabeth's (and I'm actually thinking that we need a new topic for it):

Rum Old-Fashioned (kinda)

2 oz. dark rum (used Zacapa 23 yr and Santa Teresa 1976 to equal success)
1/2 oz St Elizabeth's
1/4 oz simple
1/4 oz mezcal
1 dash Regan's
2 dashes chocolate bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with cracked ice, and strain into old-fashioned glass with ice (I use the huge-ass nearly-the-size-of-the-glass cube popular at numerous bars around here). Flame orange peel.
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