We had a housewarming party a few weeks ago and I finally had the opportunity to mix drinks for my friends using my relatively lush home inventory. (If you weren't invited, I'm sorry. We had a guest list that already challenged the capacity of the apartment. We wanted to invite even more.) Incidentally, this experience confirmed that I don't have what it takes to be a good bartender, and I'm ok with that.
We had a small suggested drink list for the occasion which included the Saratoga(this version), the Cuba Libre(this version), the Monkey Gland(this version), and two originals which I've posted below.
The Madras is one of those easy training-wheel drinks both in terms of taste and ease of construction. Seemingly everyone knows how to make one and yet no one knows where it comes from. I can't find any historical information on the damn thing, so if anyone knows of it, please enlighten me.
The drink is simply orange juice, cranberry juice, and vodka. Admittedly, it's a strange combination, but the drink really works, managing to invoke an overall "tropical" crowd-pleasing flavor. I urge you to stay away from the versions that call for several times more cranberry than orange.
It was a matter of time before I figured that replacing the vodka with rum would be a capital idea. I suggest an aged rum that's in the funky Jamaican style. I'd go with a Smith & Cross or Appleton Estate, and I sometimes get away with Cockspur 5-Star. I've been making this one for years. No fancy names here: just the facts.
.75 oz aged rum
1.5 oz orange juice
1.5 oz cranberry cocktail
1 dash simple syrup
Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice, and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with lime wheel.
This is one that we created specifically for the housewarming. It uses the aforementioned Cockspur aged rum along with Godiva Chocolate Vodka. The vodka is a curious ingredient... not really a replacement for creme de cacao, though it is slightly sweetened. The end result of our tinkering with it is a really classy drink that we call the Hwalisa.
1 oz aged rum(Cockspur 5-Star or Appleton V/X)
.75 oz triple sec
.5 oz Godiva chocolate vodka
1 dash orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.