I don’t know the precise moment when it happened, but it definitely happened:
I became a rum guy.
These days rum gets a lot of love in cocktail circles, but I feel like for the average person (or at least the ones I’m around), rum as yet to get the attention it deserves.
So many people I come across still think a daiquiri is blended with sickly-sweet, sugary, “strawberry” mix, and that the only time you actually drink rum is poolside in Cabo.
The reality is (or at least my reality) is that rum is one of the most versatile spirits out there, in part because rums can be so different from one another.
Check out: My Rum Negroni Recipe for a great example of how versatile rum can be.
Let’s be real, for the most part? Vodka is vodka.
For the average person, gin is gin and tequila is divided into two categories: tequila you can take a shot of (Don Julio) and tequila that is only good for blending margaritas with (Jose Cuervo).
Whiskey obviously has a ton of variety, but I’d argue that the differences between each is less pronounced than the difference between different types of rums.
I mean put a light rum like Bacardi Superior, or an even better one like Plantation white rum, up against a Smith and Cross? It’s absolute night and day different.
Or what about a Martinique rhum?
Or dark blackstrap rum?
And it’s these differences that have me head over heels for rum these days.
Not only are they unique, but they’re versatile as well – and that’s what leads us to today’s cocktail: a rum old fashioned variation I’m in love with right now that I call the Dockside.
Why is This Rum Old Fashioned Called a Dockside?
So this particular drink is something I’ve been working on for awhile, and it’s a marriage of a few different favorites from my quest to visit the top 100 bars in the world.
The first inspiration is from the Dead Rabbit.
You see, one of my favorite drinks of all time is called the Bankers Punch.
It’s one of those combinations that sounds super weird and you’d think “there’s no way this would ever work.”
As an example, the three main components of the drink are a blend of 3 rums, Red Breast Irish Whiskey, and port wine.
Yes, port wine.
And it’s unreal.
But the inspiration here comes from those rums.
You see back in the late 19th century there was a type of rum that is extinct today called London dockside rum.
Well, the geniuses at the Dead Rabbit decided to try and revive this long dead spirt, by combining three rums that are available: Cruzan Blackstrap, Smith and Cross, and Banks 7.
They combine equal parts of of each to create their nod to the London Dockside style of rum.
I used that as my starting point for this cocktail (hence the name, The Dockside).
I’ve had a lot of luck when combining equal parts of ingredients (like with this fantastic mezcal old fashioned) and I figured I’d give that a shot here, add a little bit of simple syrup, and see if it worked.
It didn’t taste horrible, but it was oddly bitter and too spirit forward. I was going 3oz spirit to .5oz sweetener, and it needed to be closer to 2oz to .5oz.
So I made some notes and tabled it for awhile.
The NoMad Cocktail Book hits that perfect balance of wildly unique drinks, that are still accessible for home bartenders to make at home. There are some simple classics, and some that are more involved, and it's this balance that makes it one of my favorite cocktail books out there.
I was super intrigued by a spirit forward, tiki-ish drink called the Mynah Bird.
I had all the ingredients except some Creme de Cacao and Bittermans Xocolatl Mole Bitters.
So I popped down to the liquor store, picked them up, and was treated to a delicious drink that really did have tiki flavors to it, despite not looking like it would based on the ingredients.
In the drink they used just a little bit of creme de cacao that worked well with the rums and added a bit of earthy sweetness that tasted awesome.
And so that inspired me to try and work it into the Dockside.
How to Make a Rum Old Fashioned
And now the combination that finally worked?
Well, rather than going for the Dead Rabbit’s true Dockside rum I changed up the ratios and used 1oz Banks 7, and half an ounce each of the Smith and Cross and Blackstrap. Smith and Cross can overpower anything you put it in, so you have to be really careful with how you use it.
I still used .5 oz of demerara simple syrup, but to bump up the sweetness and bring out some of the rum flavors I added .25oz of the creme de cacao.
To finish it off we used the Bitterman’s Xocolatl Mole bitters that worked so well in the Mynah bird, but I also added two dashes of Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters. The latter might be my favorite bitters in the world, and you can also find them in the Bankers Punch.
The result is a rum old fashioned that’s super unique, and allows you to really taste each of the ingredients within the drink.
Tell me what you think. I absolutely love this drink and have made it 4 times in the last two days. It’s a little bit of an investment in the rums to do it, but once you have these rums there is so much you can create with them.
The Dockside: A Rum Old Fashioned Recipe
- Mixing Glass
- Hawthorne Strainer
- Rocks Glass
- Large Ice Cube Tray
- 1 oz Banks 7 Rum
- .5 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- .5 oz Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum
- .25 oz Creme de Cacao
- .5 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
- 2 Dashes Orinoco Bitters
- 1 Dash Bittermans Mole Bitters
- Combine all ingredients into mixing glass
- Add ice and stir until well chilled
- Strain into rocks glass over large cube