It has been a while since rum featured on my cocktail menu, but with warmer weather looking like a distinct possibility and sunshine streaming in through the studio windows, I felt the urge to mix up a drink to invoke languid, summer evenings in tropical climes.
As Bacardi has recently unveiled a new bottle design and a return to the traditional Spanish names, I thought I would remind myself of its smooth, nutty flavour. With hints of vanilla, it makes for easy drinking and has been a populist choice for decades, but the new bottle and name (Bacardi Carta Blanca) give it more of an authentic feel. A Cuba Libre might just be a rum and coke, but somehow, renamed, it just tastes better...
As well as using white rum, I decided to crack open the bottle of Vanilla Galliano that has been glowing like a great, yellow lighthouse in my cocktail cupboard. I must confess that I bought it erroneously, thinking it was standard Galliano, but as I am a fan of the original's earthy vanilla undertones, I figured that earthy, vanilla overtones might not be such a bad thing.
The vanilla aroma is quite intoxicating and could be overpowering if used in quantity, but used sparingly, will add depth and complexity. As well as vanilla, there are over 30 different herbs used in the distillation of this Italian liqueur, notably star anise which, as any absinthe drinker will know, likes to make it's presence known.
To compliment the complex flavours of Vanilla Galliano and white rum, I added Giffards Passion Fruit Syrup and the juice of half a ruby grapefruit. The result is a delicately floral, sweet and citrus cocktail that slips down, all too easily.
Roll on summer!
1 1/2oz Bacardi Carta Blanca
1/2oz Vanilla Galliano
3/4oz Giffards Passion Fruit Syrup
2oz freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit
strip of grapefruit zest to garnish
Using a paring knife, carefully take a strip of zest from your grapefruit and set aside for garnish.
Add all of the other ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.
Close lid firmly and shake hard until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted.
Remove lid and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist the strip of zest over the drink to release the citrus oils and drop in the glass.