I am not usually a fan of spiced rum. Let's get that out of the way. It took me almost three years to get rid of a bottle of Captain Morgan's that I bought because it was an ingredient in the Pearanha from The Art of the Bar(a great cocktail, btw). Surprise, I didn't replace it. I also have a bottle of Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum, which is actually quite brilliant, but very underappreciated, both in general and in my own house. The problem I have with spiced rum is that there aren't a lot of cocktail recipes that call for it. Wait, let me rephrase—there aren't a lot of recipes that call for it that I would actually want to drink. And because of this, it sits in my liquor cabinet gathering dust.
Last week a friend of mine presented me with half a bottle of Kraken Black Spiced Rum. I'll admit to being dubious given my hit or miss history with spiced rums. Of course, I accepted the bottle. But the more pressing issue became, well, what do I do with it? I figured I could put it in a highball with ginger beer and a bit of lime. And it might be okay in a Corn 'n' Oil, which doesn't really call for spiced rum. But then I remembered the Cable Car. The Cable Car was created in 1996 by Tony Abou-Ganim when he was at the Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Now that is one wonderful drink that specifically calls for spiced rum. It is a Sidecar variation with the addition of a cinnamon-sugar rim.
1 1/2 ounces spiced rum (Kraken)
3/4 ounce cointreau
1 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a cinnamon-sugar rim. Garnish with an orange twist.
The aroma is full of the orange and cinnamon. The initial taste is dominated by the cinnamon-sugar rim, followed closely by the lemon flavors. On a second taste, it is apparent that the citrus is adding a nice brightness against the sweetness of the orange liqueur. The warm vanilla and cinnamon spices of the rum fill out the rest of the drink with the bold molasses notes of the dark rum acting as the foundation. I also detected hints of cinnamon that lingered pleasantly between sips.
I think that the Kraken is successful here because its deep molasses flavor really stands out against the citrus. When I made this drink with Captain Morgan's, although I could detect the spices, I could barely taste the rum. Tracy and I decided that even though the Kraken makes a very yummy Cable Car, the Hazelnut Spiced Rum from Rogue Spirits is still our favorite. But, because of its good showing here, a Corn 'n' Oil with Kraken seems imminent—especially once my homemade falernum is finished.