You may have seen it listed on cocktail menus as "Allspice Dram." You may have seen it listed as "Pimento Dram." Or, because it’s an under-the-radar sort of spirit, you may not have seen it at all. Regardless, this strongly spiced liqueur is ideal for holiday drinks. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram—the brand we're using here, and the one we recommend—is made from a base of Jamaican pot-still rum and infused with the allspice berry, which carries all those rich, winter-spice flavors.
A little bitter and powerfully spiced, the dram is way too pungent to drink on its own, but a small measure can add layered, intricate winter flavors to all sorts of cocktails. Here are three we think are perfect for the season.
Easy: Allspice Old-Fashioned
An old-fashioned, due to its simplicity, is one of the best ways to show off flavors we love. But using allspice dram itself as the base for the cocktail would blow your face off with spice. So we're pairing it with Jack Daniel's (you've got some of that in your cabinet, right?), whose light, somewhat banana-y flavors are a great match for the powerful liqueur.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, stir together 1 1/2 ounces Jack Daniel's, 1 ounce of allspice dram, 1/4 ounce raw sugar simple syrup (that's just equal parts raw sugar, like Sugar In The Raw, and hot water), a dash of Angostura and a dash of orange bitters. Stir that all up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange and a lemon peel.
Intermediate: Allspice and Tequila
Most of us think of tequila as best used in light, summery drinks. But good tequila has a strong vegetal, savory backbone that can stand up well to spice. It pairs well with allspice in this margarita variation. A dash of Angostura bitters helps amplify all those warm winter flavors.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 ounce silver tequila, 1 ounce of allspice dram, 1 ounce of lime juice, 1/2 ounce agave syrup (equal parts agave cut with hot water) and a dash of Angostura. Shake all that up, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Advanced: Allspice Sour
The classic pairing for allspice dram is rum—rum is the liqueur’s base, after all. Here, we're presenting that pairing in a classic sour—citrus, sugar and egg white. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Don't be afraid of the egg; it adds a light, silken texture, but you don't taste it at all.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker WITHOUT ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces allspice dram, 1/2 ounce aged rum, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce lime juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and hot water) and a dash of Angostura and orange bitters, if you have them. Crack in one fresh egg white. Shake that all up hard without ice—it's called a dry shake, and it helps to fluff up that egg white—then add ice and shake again. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange triangle and brandied cherries.