Allspice Dram is an underrated powerhouse liqueur.

By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
Updated February 26, 2020

This time of year, we might be yearning for Pimm’s Cups on a spring day, or a crisp G&T on a sweaty summer evening. But winter flavors have their appeal, too—so why not embrace them to their fullest?

Winter is a great time for brawny spirits like a high-proof bourbon, and powerful flavors like coffee and Angostura bitters. And one bottle that pairs well with all of that? Allspice dram. (The brand you’ll see most often is called St. Elizabeth, and it’s available in most large liquor stores.)

Carey Jones

Originally from Jamaica, and used in a number of tiki classics, it’s a liqueur that carries with it the bold flavor of its fragrant namesake spice. Even half an ounce can give a drink new layers of warm spice—intriguing and comforting all at once. Here are three ways to use this powerhouse liqueur.

Easy: Allspice & Rum 

Carey Jones

Rum has a natural affinity for anything in the warm-spice family. Here, we’re using a great dark rum together with allspice dram and Angostura bitters, which dial up those spice notes even higher. Think of this as an Old Fashioned, but with a little more going on.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine two ounces of dark rum (we’re fans of Mount Gay Black Barrel), half an ounce of allspice dram, and a quarter-ounce raw sugar syrup (that’s Sugar in the Raw, or similar, dissolved 1:1 in hot water). Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Stir until very well-chilled then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with two orange peels, twisted over the drink to spray their citrus oils across the surface.

Intermediate: Lion’s Tail

Carey Jones

There are the cocktail classics everyone’s heard of—the Manhattan, the Martini—and then there are the lesser-known classics beloved to bartenders and cocktail geeks, but largely unknown to the rest of the drinking world. That’s the case with the Lion’s Tail. An unusual union of bourbon, lime juice, and allspice dram, it manages to be refreshing, vibrant, and boozy all at once—a spiced-up sour perfect for the season.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of bourbon, 3/4 ounce of allspice dram, half an ounce of fresh lime juice, a quarter-ounce of simple syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a long lime peel, twisted over the drink to spray its citrus oils across the surface.

Advanced: Spiced Cold Brew Martini 

Carey Jones

It’s easy to love a well-made espresso martini, but in this day and age, we often reach for cold brew in cocktails instead. Here, the coffee joins vodka and allspice dram and, to make it really memorable, a whipped-up cream that gets a dose of allspice dram, too. Layers of spice on every sip.

To make allspice whipped cream: Whip 4 ounces of heavy whipping cream with 1½ teaspoons of allspice dram until thickened, but not fluffy. (You can do this with a whisk and some elbow grease; or with an electric beater; or the bartender way—take the spring off of a cocktail strainer and drop it into a cocktail shaker. Add cream and allspice dram, close the shaker, and shake hard for a minute or two; the spring will help the cream whip up.)

To make the cocktail: In a mixing glass with ice, combine an ounce of vodka, an ounce of cold brew, 3/4 ounce of allspice dram, and a quarter-ounce of simple syrup. Stir until well-chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass. Top with allspice whipped cream and garnish with a sprinkle of ground allspice.

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