It's getting chilly, so raid your spice cabinet and make these brilliant rum cocktails. 

By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
October 22, 2020
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Credit: Carey Jones

Now that summer is behind us, and with it, the G&Ts and Pimm’s Cups, you might be reaching for the bourbon or rye more often. But whiskey isn’t the only dark spirit suited to fall. One of the best bottles this time of year? A good dark rum. (Two of our favorites: Flor de Caña 7 and Mount Gay Black Barrel.)

Like whiskey, dark rum spends time aging in a barrel, giving it a warm, toasty character and notes of caramel and vanilla. And that’s a flavor profile that goes beautifully with what we’ll call the baking spices: clove, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Here, rum and spice form the basis for three original drinks. Raid the spice cabinet and start mixing.

Clove Daiquiri

Credit: Carey Jones

The classic daiquiri—not the slushy kind, but a crisp, clean drink of rum, lime, and sugar—makes use of light rum. But we love transforming that same cocktail into something richer, with more body and character, thanks to a good dark rum. Instead of simple syrup, we’re using a clove syrup to add an intriguing spiced edge.

Instructions: Make a quick clove syrup: Heat four ounces of water until nearly boiling. Pour over twelve cloves. Let steep for 20 minutes, then stir in ½ cup sugar. Let steep at least another hour, and up to overnight. Strain out cloves before using.

To make the daiquiri: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine two ounces of dark rum, an ounce of fresh lime juice, an ounce of clove syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake until very well-chilled and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a long lime peel, twisted over the top to express its citrus oils.

Fall Highball

Credit: Carey Jones

Mulled cider is a holiday staple, but in October, we love cider in fresh, chilled drinks. Here, we’re combining it with lemon, Angostura bitters, and club soda, with an allspice-infused rum. Sound complicated? It couldn’t be easier; just add allspice berries to dark rum, let it steep overnight, and remove the next day.

Instructions: Make an allspice-infused rum: In a sealable container, combine 8 ounces of dark rum with eight allspice berries. Cover and let sit overnight, then remove allspice. Makes enough for five cocktails.

For the drink: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of allspice-infused dark rum, two and a half ounces of apple cider, half an ounce of simple syrup, and a quarter-ounce of fresh lemon juice. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Add two ounces of club soda and give a quick stir. Garnish with a long apple peel, an apple slice, a cinnamon stick, and a drizzle of Angostura bitters, if you like.

Spiced Flip

Credit: Carey Jones

We’re still quite a ways out from eggnog season. So think of this rum flip as a fall cousin to eggnog—lighter, boozier, and far less sweet. Here, we’re using both an allspice syrup and a dusting of grated nutmeg to amp up the autumn spice.

Instructions: Make an allspice syrup: Heat four ounces of water until nearly boiling. Pour over twelve allspice berries. Let steep for 20 minutes, then stir in ½ cup sugar. Let steep at least another hour, and up to overnight. Strain out cloves before using.

For the drink: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine two ounces of dark rum, an ounce of half-and-half, an ounce of allspice syrup, a medium whole egg, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake without ice to incorporate ingredients (that’s called a “dry shake”), then add ice and shake again (“wet shake”). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.