This has to be my cocktail of the summer and one that I discovered in a bar in Belfast which has quickly become my bar of choice, the Spaniard on Skipper Street. This is my kind of place, dark, cramped, bohemian chic, tables lit by candles stuck in wine bottles, walls plastered in music memorabilia and good tunes. Its full of characters and specialises in all manner of rum cocktails.
They do a rum cocktail called an ‘Extraordinary’, which is made quite simply with ginger beer, a shot of light gold rum and finished off with a squeeze of lime. This is good, but it’s really the novices first step into rum cocktails. The other night I spotted something on their chalkboard called a ‘Dark and Stormy.’ I enquired with the bar man and he said if we liked the ‘Extraordinary’, then we’d love one of these. He expertly dispatched two ‘Dark and Stormy’ cocktails and we were not disappointed. These are made with a dark rum and finished off with a few drops of Angostura bitters, which for me is the key ingredient in this cocktail as it adds a level of spice and pepperiness to the cocktail. This is such a great combination of flavours as the dark rich rum has hints of sweet molasses teamed with fiery ginger beer and the lime gives it that tang across the palate.
I had to try this at home and I think I cracked it, maybe had one too many ‘Dark and Stormys’ last night but they are soooooo moreish.
So I filled a chunky cocktail glass with about three large cubes of ice, then I filled the glass about two thirds with ginger beer, be sure to get the Jamaica ginger beer, as it has a real gingery kick to it. Then I added a measure of rum, I used a golden Havana Club rum as it was all I could get, but a dark rum is best. I squeezed in the juice of half a lime and added a few drops of the Angostura bitters. Finish off with a wedge of lime on the rim.
Sit back, sip slowly, listen to the subtle chink of ice cubes in your glass and dream of Cuba. At this point a hammock would also be ideal.