I hope you haven’t got Wednesday night plans yet. It’s Repeal Day.
To celebrate a little early, causabon and I dug into a little bit of pre-prohibition mixology, the Black Strap. This was supposed to be a part of Mixology Monday, over at Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s place, but he had to run and posted his list early. I took this as a sign that I should get some more sleep, instead of staying up late and posting. But now, rested and ready to go, I’m posting.
The Black Strap is a simple drink. This might have been part of the attraction. Wondrich calls it crude in Imbibe!, and that is a perfect word for it. The drink itself is simple to make, and the dark imposing color of a tar pit. The steam coming off it somehow manages to be comforting and intimidating at the same time. It looks like a potion from Harry Potter, gone horribly wrong.
It also tasted pretty good. When, drink finished, I wandered home through the single digit temperatures of another Minnesota winter, everything seemed pretty damn warm. I almost unbuttoned my coat.
The formulation, at its most basic, goes like this:
1 oz. Black Strap Molasses
2 oz. Rum
Put all in cup, pour in hot water, stir. Grate nutmeg over top.
Now, that leaves a lot of leeway with what you want to do. causabon and I actually lowered the molasses content to a half an ounce, and it still dominated impressively. For the rum, we used Wray and Nephew Overproofed for 1.5 ounces, and added some depth with a half an ounce of Appleton 12 year. I still mostly tasted the molasses, and some sulfur. causabon insisted that this was the Wray, and not our molasses, which assured us it was sulfur free.
After two pulls, I thought it wasn’t bad. By about halfway through, I was convinced that this was one of the greatest cold weather drinks of all time. Around that point, causabon added a small dash of Fee’s Aromatic Bitters to his, and the room filled with the smell of the holidays. He convinced me to add a little sour cherry syrup to mine. The molasses merely laughed at the cherry syrup, questioned its manliness, and told it to go home.
It should be noted that Wondrich says this drink can be served cold, but one gets the impression when reading the book that he doesn’t recommend it. The next time nature dumps six inches on my front walk, you’ll see me in the window, screwing up my will to shove with one of these in hand.