Today’s Drink of the Week is not named the Take 9 because mixologist Jesse Card tried eight variations before settling on his final project. In fact, it is named for the rather tasty spiced rum that his employers at Cruzan Rum, yet another Jim Beam brand, were kind enough to send me to play with. To be specific, Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum brings the following to the flavor party: allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, juniper berry, mace, nutmeg, pepper and, my favorite, vanilla. For the record, the spice mace has no relationship to the teargas but is actually a more delicate variation on nutmeg. And, yes, I had to look that up.
I’m happy to say that these spices do socialize well together in Cruzan 9, which tastes pretty good all on its own and would perhaps work nicely with Coke or your favorite ginger ale, though I haven’t had the chance to experiment in that way yet. Still, thanks to Cruzan and Card I do have a pretty decent little cocktail — not maybe a classic in the making, I think, but not bad — to bring you this week.
The Take 9
1 1/2 ounces Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
1/4 ounce Curacao
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
orange twist (garnish, and optional in my opinion)
Combine your rum, vermouth, and Curacao. The original recipe calls for you to stir the mixture for thirty seconds but, as usual, you have my full permission to shake.
Whichever method of mixing you select, strain into our old buddy, the chilled cocktail glass. Sip and contemplate the special blend of nine herbs and spices and why Cruzan Rum is so much more transparent about their blend than either KFC or the late Colonel Harlan Sanders.
I don’t have any other spiced rums on hand, so it’s not so easy for me to try this drink with other brands. However, as usual, I promise no one will bring legal action against you if experiment with other rums, even non-spiced ones. Also, you have my permission to leave out the orange rind twist garnish. I’m actually not convinced it presents a major improvement. It’s possible that the Take 9 is just one of those mixed drinks that does better sans garnish.