Leaned hard in to sherry and rum this holiday season. These are a few cocktails I enjoyed the most.
Three are sherry-and-rum based: the Flor de Jerez, Shaken Egg Nog, and the Kingston Sheroni. I use the same Amontillado sherry and dark rum for all of them. Our “bar” area is not large, so economy is the name of the game.
I also included one other cocktail: the Unequal Negroni. Not rum or sherry-based, but we made it a bunch over the holidays so I wanted to write it down here for posterity.
The Flor de Jerez and Shaken Egg Nog are particularly useful holiday cocktails because they aren’t as strong as many others. Nice towards the end of a perhaps heavy-on-the-drink day when you’d like to still partake but not get in over your head.
Both of the above cocktails call for “rich sugar syrup”. To make this, combine 2 parts sugar with 1 part water. Heat until dissolved, then store in the fridge.
For the alcohols, don’t go for the cheapest you can find… it just isn’t as nice, I promise. You’ll try it and think, “This is ok but not great, what’s the point?” You don’t need to get top-shelf stuff, just maybe go for something other than Bacardi Black, you know?
If you aren’t sure which rum to go for, feel free to use your favorite search engine. OR, much better yet, peruse therumhowlerblog.com. Talk about dedication, you love to see it. FWIW, I’m currently using Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva since that was called for in the original Egg Nog recipe I tried. It’s perhaps a bit sweeter than many other rums, so maybe keep that in mind.
In terms of glassware, I’d love to have a bunch of fancy coupes and stuff, but don’t have the space. We use the the 20cl (6¾ oz) Duralex Picardie glasses for pretty much all cocktails. And water, and wine, and so on. So although I mention a coupe glass for the Flor de Jerez since that’s what is called for, know that I actually sling it in a more standard little cup and it still tastes great.
Flor de Jerez
Makes one 3½ oz drink.
- 1½ oz Amontillado sherry
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz dark rum
- ½ oz rich sugar syrup
- ¼ oz apricot liquor*
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Lemon twist garnish
Combine all in a shaker with ice, and shake until very cold (about 15 seconds). Strain in to a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.
* I use Cointreau instead… I just always have it in for margaritas and have never got round to buying the apricot stuff! Though I’m sure it’s nice.
Shaken Egg Nog
This isn’t the real deal! But I prefer it, it isn’t as gloopy and it’s not a faff. Note: Do not make this unless you have whole nutmeg. It really isn’t the same with the pre-powdered stuff.
This is *heavily* inspired by Anders Erickson’s Egg Nog, just slightly different ratios. His recipe makes one 7 oz drink, which is just slightly more than I personally want for an Egg Nog serving and is a bit too big for our glasses. It’s also a bit eggier, which is not necessarily a bad thing but is not always what I want. I highly recommend trying his Egg Nog, and you should watch his YouTube channel if you’re interested in cocktails in general.
You don’t have to, but I *highly* recommend the extra step of double-straining this thing. You don’t want an errant snotty egg streak sneaking its way in to the glass…
Makes two 6 oz drinks.
- 3 oz cream or non-dairy creamer*
- 2½ oz dark rum
- 1½ oz rich sugar syrup
- ¾ oz Amontillado sherry
- 1 large egg **
- Whole nutmeg, grated garnish
Combine all of the wet ingredients in a shaker, and shake for about 20 seconds until very frothy. Add ice, then shake until cold for about 10 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled glass, then grate a whole nutmeg over the top.
* I quite like Oatly Barista for this.
** You could probably use aquafaba (chickpea water) instead. I haven’t tried it! But I imagine it would work alright. Just make sure it’s not salted. One large egg = roughly 2 fluid oz. Maybe try 1½ oz aquafaba and see if that works.
So the Kingston Negroni is a thing (equal parts overproof Jamaican rum, Campari, and sweet vermouth). And the Sheroni seems to be a thing (equal parts gin, Aperol, Amontillado sherry, and sweet vermouth). This is kind of a combination of the two? IDK, I tried it and like it.
Amontillado sherry is a bit less sweet than sweet vermouth generally. And likewise, dark rum is more sweet than overproof rum. Combining the two and omitting the sweet vermouth seems to balance things out a bit IMO.
Used a lemon twist instead of orange because this drink is slightly sweeter than a normal Negroni, and I like the more piercing scent of the lemon peel against that sweetness.
Makes one 3 oz drink.
- 1 oz dark Jamaican rum
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Amontillado sherry
- Lemon twist garnish
Combine all in a tumbler with ice and stir until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
I *know* that Negronis are supposed to be equal parts. But it always seems too syrupy to me. Hey, to each their own.
Makes one 3¼ oz drink.
- 1½ oz gin
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- ¾ oz Campari
- Orange twist garnish
Combine all in a tumbler with ice and stir until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice, and garnish with an orange twist.