Heart of Darkness (Shot)

I have been working on this drink design almost as long as the blog has been in existence (about 4 years?). While it has gone through several significant changes over the years, I’m finally ready to present it as another MoM original! It was my purchase of Heering Cherry Liqueur which allowed for the final breakthrough in making this drink possible. It’s sweet but strong taste of fresh cherries is what gives this layered shooter it’s distinct color and flavor.

So unlike many of the drinks on this site, this one is a bit more ingredient specific. While I’m sure you could substitute one ingredient for another, I feel it would be a disservice to yourself or your guest to cheapen out on anything here. Like most layered cocktails and shots the presentation on this drink is top notch. For a layered shot you’re only aroma will really be your top layer, so in this it’s the Kraken Rum (but since that’s my favorite you’ll see no objections for me). Shots go by quick, so tasting notes are a little tough. You’ll get a hit of rum, followed quickly by mild cherry, and a nice finish of sweet raspberry. I find that the key to a great shot is one that doesn’t burn all the way down and make you hate yourself. The Heart of Darkness starts pretty mild (as far as layered shots go) and remains pleasant the whole way down. If you’re looking for something for your next party to impress your friends with, give this a try. Especially if you’re wary of trying a layered drink (as the raspberry makes the daunting task a breeze).

Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 8.8/10

Heart of Darkness (Shot)

1/4 oz Sweet Lime Juice
1/4 oz Chambord (or other raspberry liqueur)
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
1 Fresh Raspberry

In a (modern style) shot glass place a single raspberry. Slowly pour over each ingredient starting with the sweet lime juice and finishing with the rum. Serve with a tooth pick to spear the raspberry and eat it then down the shot.

“Stake through the heart, pretend I’m a vampire!” -David Mitchell

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Blood and Sand

I’m both proud and ashamed to say that this is the first cocktail with scotch that I’ve featured. I was privileged last year to be able to try a friend’s single malt scotch and it was one of the best things I’ve ever had! However it’s sort of a crime to mix it with anything, so that’s why we have blended scotch. My bottle of Teacher’s Highland Cream is a unique scotch due to its strong use of “peated malt.” A flavor that can really only be described as tasting like “burnt grain,” which is no where near as bad as it sounds. The scotch (while far from the quality of a nice single malt) does make for a fantastic whiskey sour.

So, flipping through my book of cocktails I was surprised to find this well balanced drink among many of the overly sweet or strong recipes. This particular cocktail had two other variants, but I felt that the one I chose to make represented the best of all three in terms of balance and presentation.

The cocktail itself is visually saved by the orange twist as its opaque and deep sandy brown isn’t the most inviting of colors. The aroma is a strong blast of fresh orange, which opens the imagination for what’s to come. The drink opens on your palette with a mild orange and whisky flavor. It moves to a sweet cherry and vermouth in the middle (however most of the cherry seems lost in this cocktail), and it finishes with the malt of the scotch beneath the complexity of the vermouth.

This is a uniquely complex cocktail which (at least for me) is overpowered by the use of the Teacher’s Scotch. I think by exploring other blended scotchs (likely with a more balanced flavor) a better cocktail may emerge. It’s certainly worth trying and I think worth making again, especially if you’re into whiskies. A dash or two of some orange bitters may also make this drink more well rounded, and a bit less sweet.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating 7/10

Blood and Sand

1 1/4 oz Scotch
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy or Liqueur (Cherry Heering)

1 oz Orange Juice
Orange Twist

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

blood and sand

Toro Toro!

 

I should also mention that I tried an alternate version of this cocktail which uses 3/4 of an ounce of the four ingredients and calls for a stir and strain. Apparently with a quick google search this is the “classic” version of the drink. It sports a darker color and slightly more balanced flavor, but the tasting notes are very much the same. The use of more fruit though makes for a better finish to the drink (having a bit to munch on).

Variation: Stir and Strain 3/4 oz of all ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Dark and Stormy

Here’s another cocktail that I’m shocked I haven’t reviewed yet. The “Dark and Stormy” is one of only a few cocktail that is actually copyrighted. The specific copyright in this case requires you to use Gosling’s Black Seal Rum in order to actually call it a Dark and Stormy. Everything else is in violation of the copyright. So of course here at MoM we have to do it right.

Now because this drink specifies for Gosling’s Rum your options for “making it your own” are limited to your choice of ginger beer. For myself, I always go for the Fever Tree as it’s both smooth and potent with its gingers. If you’re looking for something comparable, I’d suggest Reed’s Stronger Ginger Brew.

As for the drink itself, it’s a rather inviting modern classic. The mix of fresh ginger and lime garnishes pair well with the dark amber of the rum. On the nose it leads with a the sweetness of rum and a familiar ginger (of what you might expect from a ginger ale). The taste begins mild and sweet, moves to a primarily ginger beer flavor, and finishes with a pleasantly aged rum with a subtle hint of the lime.

If you’re not super familiar or fond of ginger beer this drink might take some time to grow on you, but it is worth making for a bartender of any level as it will be requested at least once. This is a tough drink to judge as it’s so well known, but it does have it merits and faults. While you do get a nice simple cocktail that’s perfect for small party setting, it’s sharper taste can shy even experienced tasters away with the strong ginger flavor. While I wouldn’t keep it on my regular menu as a standard “go to” cocktail, I would certainly keep the ingredients on hand if I or any guest would be looking for something both mellow and adventurous at the same time.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 8/10

Dark and Stormy

2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
1/2 Tablespoon (about 1/4 oz) Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Ginger Beer
2 Lime Wedges
2 Slices Fresh Ginger (Optional)

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add fresh ginger, rum, and syrup. Top with Ginger Beer. Squeeze limes over drink and drop them in. Stir well.

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

“…’Twas a Dark and Stormy Night!”