Hello, weary travelers, and welcome(!) to the first post of Six Drinks Too Many, the blog where I, in the name of science and justifying the making of oh-so-many drinks, will be exploring at least six drinks every week for the overall advancement of humanity. And, of course, for your amusement.
Every week I’ll be looking at a single drink, ingredient, or theme, and exploring different ways to spice them up. (Sober Edit: This week I mean that literally, and quite unfortunately as it turns out.) I’ll look at variations of classic cocktails and exciting ways to make your liquor unique. I’ll make the drinks, drink them, write about them, share the recipes, and hopefully amuse you with my increasingly inebriated words.
So, let’s get started! What incredible drink could I have possibly chosen for the maiden post of this fledgling blog? If you read the title, you already know, but let’s keep up the illusion for now. In any case, how could I have picked anything other than the well-loved, ever-popular, sometimes sneered-upon Rum and Coke? Few things are as classic and well-ordered today as this sugary and unhealthy spectacle. Really, there was no better choice for the first post than this old bar stand-by — I mean, you weren’t going to order something different, were you?
By the way, you can obviously make any of these drinks with the diet version of the soda. However, that’s a terrible idea, and if you do that, you’re a terrible person, and you deserve the awful drink you make. Diet soda is gross, and should never be used in cocktails. Ever. Your rum deserves better, you calorie counting cock.
In all seriousness, though, the flavor of diet soda — all diet soda — is weak compare to regular soda. It just can’t hold its own against even the lightest of rums. Even if you drink diet soda instead of regular soda on a day-to-day basis, I encourage you to use real soda for these recipes. The flavor will be much better and far more balanced. If you insist on using diet, that’s fine, but you might make something that only a high schooler tasting hard liquor for the first time would enjoy. I urge you to indulge this one time, and use the less healthy choice.
And so, without further ado, I give you the first recipe.
-1 1/2 oz Light Rum
The Cuba Libre causes confusion among some people, because it’s just a Rum and Coke with lime, usually as a garnish. However, that small difference changes the drink completely — and not just the name. The drink itself benefits from the lime, as it works with the rum to undercut the cola’s sweet characteristics, resulting in a more complex drink (yes, I did just use the word complex to describe a Rum and Coke). Anyway, let’s talk about how to make it.
Start with a glass and squeeze the lime half to release the juice. Finish by dropping the hull in. Most recipes will tell you to just add a lime wedge onto the side of the glass as a garnish when you’re done making the drink, but that method is for people with no ambition and no means of attracting a mate.
With the lime in the glass, fill the glass the rest of the way with ice.
Now, of course, pour in your rum, and fill with cola. You can use whatever brand you like, but Mexican Coca-Cola is an ideal choice, because it’s still made with real cane sugar. If you can find it (any international food market should have it, and some hippy grocery stores have it, too), it’s definitely worth it for your mixed drinks. If you can’t find it, use whatever cola you prefer.
Also, if you’re a purist, you ought to use Cuban Rum. I, being lazy, used Bacardi. May the rum gods have mercy on my soul. (Of course, Bacardi, ever the grandaddy of the rum market, claims that its gold rum was used in the first incarnation of the libation. This is most likely a blatant lie, but it’s still the rum I buy. Capitalist pigs.)
Anyway, stir and enjoy. The Cuba Libre is a great way to make the Rum and Coke a little bit more complex without changing the general awesomeness and flavor of the drink. It was (supposedly) invented by a an American soldier who was taking a break while “liberating” Cuba during the Spanish-American War. This is most likely not true, as Coca-Cola wasn’t introduced to Cuba until 1900, 2 years after the war ended. This doesn’t make the story impossible, but it does mean that the soldier would have a had a hard time getting ingredients.
True or false, this story leads me to think about Teddy Roosevelt destroying the countryside with his Rough Riders, and then getting drunk off of top shelf rum. In other words, this cocktail, much like TR himself, is certified badass. Also, maybe terrifying, as I’m sure a drunken Teddy Roosevelt could kill almost anything with just his middle toe.
On to the next drink!
-1 1/2 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
-Maraschino Cherry (optional)
This drink is named for its smell, which is remarkably similar to the smell of sunblock. Luckily, it doesn’t taste like sunblock, and probably isn’t as poisonous. It’s very sweet, and a little nutty, in my opinion. Additionally, the cherry and coconut flavors work surprisingly well together. My fiancee, who was a very willing test subject for this drink, says that the coconut actually brings out the cherry, as weird as that may sound. The cherry dominates the coconut flavor, but the coconut hits you first, and it’s still in the background, making the drink even sweeter.
This is a good choice for someone who might just be in a mood for something sweet and different (and I guarantee you this drink is different from a lot of things you’ll taste). Of course, don’t let your bros catch you drinking it, or you might be ostracized for indulging in the frou-frou side of life.
Fill your glass with ice, pour in the rum (you can use another brand of coconut rum, but Malibu is the “official” ingredient), and fill with the Coke. Stir and enjoy. If you want to garnish with a maraschino cherry, go for it. You might even want to add a splash of the syrup from the maraschino jar to the mixture, but what comes out might be unbearably sweet, so you may want to save that for those nights when you’re comforting yourself because everyone got invited to that big party but you. Yeah, it’s that kind of drink.
And with that I must go drink another drink! If you’re as adventurous as I am, look below to see what it was.
-1 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
Here’s a version of the Rum and Coke that’s lighter and fluffier than the clouds that naked cherubs rest on. It’s sweet, as you might expect, but the spice plays off of it well, and neither the sweet nor spice is overpowering. You’ll taste the cream soda at first, but then the spiced rum kicks in, and it dances on your tongue like kittens getting entangled in a ball of yarn for a while after you’ve swallowed. It’s really just a nice, simple drink.
So, fill a glass with ice, pour in your rum, and fill with cream soda. Stir it, drink it, and dream of babies and puppies playing together in perfect harmony. That whole deal.
One note: do not use a dark spiced rum for this recipe. Use a gold spiced rum like Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry. Not only will a dark rum ruin the golden color of the drink for which it is named, but the robust flavor of the rum will completely overpower the lighter cream soda, making a concoction that will send you straight to Tartarus. (Subtle joke there. Hope you got it.)
If you want to use dark rum for something, then keep reading.
-1 1/2 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
The name of this cocktail is one of my favorites. If you’re a superhero geek, make this for a drinking game during a Spiderman marathon. Most party guests will probably think you’re one clever motherfucker (which, let’s face it, you are).
This is the dark and heavy version of the Midas. Where the Midas is bubblegum pop, the Doc Oc is pure metal. Where the Midas is love, the Doc Oc is the type of resentment taht builds up for years until you finally snap. Where the Midas is freedom, the Doc Oc is an iron fisted tyranny. But don’t be put off — it’s your fist, goddamnit. This cocktail tastes like the deep seas with a strong and robust flavor that will convince even the snobbiest of cocktail aficionados that there might be room for the Rum and Coke in the pantheon of great drinks.
Prepare it just as you would the Midas, but with these ingredients instead. You can also use regular dark rum if you don’t want to spend the money on Kraken, but the flavor will be a little less complex (but still good). However, don’t use light rum in a mix with Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper has a much stronger flavor than regular cola, and light rum just doesn’t stand up to that (the resulting drink won’t be awful, but it could be so much better). Always use dark rum, and the flavors will fight each other like Olympian gods vying for power over a war-torn and trembling world below them.
A mix of Dr. Pepper and regular dark rum, by the way, is known as a Witch Doctor.
Let’s see what I’m gonna drink next…
-1 oz Light Rum
-1 oz Amaretto
This tastes like hazelnut coffee if it was made out of soda. And alcohol. So that’s cool.
This mixture isn’t as exciting as some other variations, but it is nice. It certainly isn’t as strong as the Doc Oc, nor as enjoyable as the Midas, but it is a fine little drink, and a pretty good use of amaretto. It’s kind of like videos of people getting hit in the balls: simple and nice, but not very exciting anymore. Much like Green Day’s new music, it’s just kind of boring.
Anyway, fill a glass with ice, pour in the alcohol and fill with the cola. Stir it, drink it, and fantasize about what else you could be doing.
Speaking of what else you could be doing…
Hot Cuba Libre
-1 1/2 oz Light Rum
-Splash Hot Sauce
This drink is apparently popular in the West Indies. In related news, the West Indies is the worst place in the world. If you ever wondered what white trash or poverty tastes like, try this drink. Seriously, this drink is like fermented Taco Bell, if Taco Bell was owned by a trailer park frathouse.
For the record, this drink officially uses Caribbean hot sauce, but if that matters to you, you’re totally missing the point that this drink is awful no matter what, and should only be given to Nazis who have avoided punishment for the past seventy years. Now that I think about it, this might explain why it comes to us from South America, which is where many Nazis supposedly fled. However, that means that this place now has Nazis and this drink. Doesn’t sound like the best vacation.
Anyway, make it like you would make a regular Cuba Libre, but add in the hot sauce before stirring. And don’t skimp on the hot sauce, either (a splash is generally regarded as less than a quarter ounce, but still a significant amount). Too little, and you won’t taste it. Make sure there’s enough in there for you to notice it, in all its ungodly glory. No, I’m not going to let you pussy out on this one; I drank it, and therefore you should have to drink it too. I want you to know what rock bottom tastes like.
Also, if you’re one of those douche bags that prides themselves on drinking awful drinks, go ahead and skip the lime. The citrus distracts some from the hot sauce, and makes the drink bearable. Leave it out if your purpose is to impress your friends. Though, also realize that doing so makes you a dick.
On to my final drink.
Cuba Libre Preparado (Prepared Cuba Libre)
-1 1/2 oz Light Rum
-1 to 2 dashes Gin
-1 to 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
This is a Venezuelan variation, and it’s a little weird. The gin is almost unnoticeable, being more of a feeling and an aftertaste than a contributor to flavor. Still, this is the only drink in this post that mixes two liquors (amaretto is a liqueur, and is therefore, by definition, a girly drink), so that makes it interesting and tempting.
The bitters, however, add a bit of spice and blending that isn’t present in other versions, and that kicks more ass than Batman with chainsaw hands. The bitters make it taste a lot more purposeful, as though you weren’t simply putting rum and coke together like some college freshmen with no better ideas. If you’re a cocktail lover, this might be the version of the drink for you.
Anyway, squeeze the juice out of the lime into your glass, and drop the hull in. Then fill the glass with some motherfucking ice, because you’re a classy motherfucker who does not like his or her drinks to be room temperature (Room temperature? Fuck that noise.).
Pour in the rum, and add the gin and bitters. A dash, by the way, is about six drops. It’s open to interpretation and experimentation, though, so don’t let me hold you down — I’m not the boss of you. Do what you want, and let your dreams be your guide.
Briefly consider just drinking your limey alcoholic concoction to seem sophisticated and cultured (this is an important part of the process), but then ultimately decide that you have a love for sugar and carbonation, and fill it up with soda. Stir it, because you know what you make good decisions, and take a long, satisfied sip. You just made the Rum and Coke your bitch.
So, what have we learned? I learned that fuck the West Indies and hot sauce. But also, I learned that the simple, sometimes insipid Rum and Coke — a favorite among those who don’t know what else to order — can become a titan, a beautiful and naked god in which the rest of the world may revel.
The Rum and Coke might seem sophomoric (I’m surprised I can even think of that word with this much alcohol in me, by the way), but that not need be the case. There are some great ways to make this simple drink as complex as people think Christopher Nolan movies are. Give some variations a try, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.