I’m a fickle drinker.
No single spirit holds my attention. No brand has earned my unwavering loyalty. No single cocktail has become my lifelong “regular.” So none of my friends are surprised when I announce the discovery of the “best cocktail ever,” despite my having discovered several others in very recent memory. And so it was last night, when Sean Kenyon at the Squeaky Bean/Denver served me one of his latest creations and my newest favorite cocktail:
The Night Shift.
Brown. Bitter. Stirred. Classic. And it starts with (dramatic pause) RUM. There are few brown/bitter/stirred cocktails that I have loved that are NOT whiskey-based. But when they’re not, they’re based in rum. (i.e. try substituting an aged rum for rye in your next Old Fashioned.)
But choose your rum well. The Captain had nothing to do with Sean’s choice for the Night Shift. In fact, he picked Nicaragua’s only rum — the buttery, caramel-y, slow-aged Flor de Caña 7-year rum — as perfect for a pork glaze as an afternoon of sipping, and exactly the right richness for the Night Shift.
To the rum he added the 10-year Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac, an aperitif wine called Bonal Gentiane-Quina, and St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram with its complex blend of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper (otherwise known in classic cocktails as Pimento Dram).
Hey, I know. You probably don’t have these bottles. And if you buy them, how will you EVER use them?
Easy answer. You might just drink it all yourself, because you can’t stop making them. Or more likely, you might make one for your special someone, or a friend. Then they’ll never let you stop making them. Or even more likely, if you serve it up at your next get-together, you’ll go through your whole stock in one night.
Because (wait for it) it’s the best cocktail ever.
The Night Shift—by Sean Kenyon at The Squeaky Bean/Denver
1 ounce Flor de Caña 7-year rum
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
1 ounce Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1 bar spoon of St. Elizabeths Allspice Dram
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir to chill. Pour over fresh ice. Garnish with an expressed orange peel. Then get ready to say, “Damn!”