Most consumers of alcohol across the country have fallen in love with the Indian specialty dark rum, Old Monk, after just one sip--and with good reason. Apart from it being unparalleled in its flavour (we might be a bit biased) it’s also one of the most affordable hard liquors in the country, which is always an added advantage when you’re a struggling writer. While some enjoy it neat on the rocks, others simply add juice or cola to form boring ol’ regular drinks, sadly treating Old Monk as a liquor that doesn’t deserve more panache. Well, that’s about to change.
From the warm, soothing and exotic flavour of the Hot Toddy, to the tropical, fruity kick of the Planter’s Punch, we gathered a few of our favourite people (not to mention the heaviest Old Monk drinkers we’ve seen around) and got them to share their personal cocktail recipes that will undoubtedly revolutionize your rum-drinking experience. The best part? You can make each of them at home. So put on your bartender swagger, indulge in these beautiful mixes, and don’t forget to invite us to the party!
I. Apple Jam by Hipcask
This sugary, fruity mix is made complete with the gorgeous scent of cinnamon that blends so well with the intoxicating dark rum flavour. For the perfect tropical experience, throw in a thin slice of freshly-cut apple. With each sip you can close your eyes, picture yourself on a beautiful beach surrounded by palm trees, and add an umbrella to your glass to add to your imagination.
What You Need: 180 ml apple juice, a pinch of cinnamon powder, a slice of apple, 60 ml of Old Monk and the mental image of white sandy beaches with crystal blue water.
How To Make It: The iced version of this drink is a simple concoction -- just pour the rum, apple juice and cinnamon powder in a glass filled with ice and stir. Then garnish with a thin slice of freshly cut apple. The warm version is perfect to soothe your throat -- boil cinnamon sticks in the apple juice, and pour it in a glass with the dark rum.
II. Bragandrum by Viraaj Braganza
Viraaj Braganza’s delicious concoction is an icy delight infused with the sweet, tangy flavour of Lemon Barley. As dark rum blends with this light-coloured lemony mix, the colours fuse to create a gorgeous-looking cocktail. If you’re in the mood for a special touch, enjoy it in a fridge-cooled, salt-rimmed glass.
What You Need: 60 ml Old Monk, 15 ml Mapro Lemon Barley, lots of ice, cold water, and a tip of your hat to the creator Viraaj Braganza.
How To Make It: Measure 60 ml of Old Monk in a tall glass, add the Lemon Barley, drop in tons of ice, top it off with water and sip the ingenious creation.
III. Hot Buttered Rum by Nikhil Merchant
Restaurateur Nikhil Merchant’s warm and soothing creation is irresistibly delicious in its smoky flavour and exotic nuances. Melting butter mingles with the dark rum, topped with the citric tinge of orange and the punch of authentic Indian spices.
What You Need: 60 ml Old Monk, 45 ml Cointreau (or orange juice), 1 cup of water, half a tea spoon of salted butter, one star anise, one cinnamon stick, two cloves, a quarter tea spoon of nutmeg powder, one orange peel strip and a sense of adventure.
How To Do It: Heat the water with all the spices and boil well until it’s reduced to about half a cup. Strain out the spices, but retain the cinnamon and star anise. Pour the rum and Cointreau in a cup and mix well, top it with the strained spice water, add the butter and let the delicious salty flavour soak. Garnish with the orange peel, and sip your gorgeous warm creation.
IV. Hot Toddy by Hipcask
This perfect cure for a scratchy throat will treat your taste buds to an exotic mixture of spices infused with dark rum. Warm and wild with flavour, this cocktail is so mouth-wateringly rich that just the aroma is intoxicating enough.
What You Need: 60 ml Old Monk, 5 ml lemon juice, 10 ml honey, a piece of peeled ginger, a peel of lemon, one cinnamon stick, two cloves, half star anise and a love for delicious spices.
How To Do It: Heat the spices, lemon peel and ginger in water, then pour the mixture into a glass with rum. Garnish with a dash of lemon and honey, as per your preference.
V. Planter’s Punch by Hipcask
This Caribbean-style classic has all the delicious makings of a fresh fruit salad, with the additional punch of dark rum. Sugary goodness is complemented perfectly with the tangy twist of orange and lime juice. Notice the upgrade in the amount of Old Monk for this one -- reserved for veteran consumers only!
What You Need: 90 ml Old Monk, 90 ml orange juice, 20 ml sugar syrup, 20 ml lime juice, a small dash of bitters and a well-tested, strong liver.
How To Make It: Pour all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker, and mix well. Strain into an ice-filled glass and taste the delicious tangy-yet-sugary flavour that blends perfectly with dark rum.
VI. Rum Cold Coffee by Hipcask
The delicious goodness of a chilled cold coffee topped off with a splash of dark rum is the perfect recipe for a gorgeous monsoon evening. Treat yourself to this bittersweet coffee-flavoured cocktail, and add a twisty straw for good measure!
What You Need: 60 ml espresso, 2 tea spoons of condensed milk, 30 ml of Old Monk and a scenic view of pouring rain.
How To Make It: Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice, and shake-shake-shake for about 30 seconds. Then, train the mixture into an ice-filled glass and enjoy your frothy Rum Cold Coffee.