Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Context: Over the summer, one of my favorites oleo sacrum/tea syrups ended up being this Spicy Lime recipe. It isn't overly spicy in its current iteration, but it does offer waves of layered lime alongside fresh herbal and vegetal notes. The syrup wasn't developed for a specific cocktail. (I just had some ingredients to use up before they went bad). Why not give it a test drive in some classics; see where it pairs best? First installment: the Daiquiri.
Daiquiri: I shouldn't fight the daiquiri so hard. I love a good daiquiri. It's my wife's favorite cocktail. But my Achilles heal has always been a strong urge to over complicate things (see above syrup and also my Rusty Nail build). When we get invited somewhere, I usually batch a couple cocktails. Something simple and something a little more involved - muddled fruit, amari blends, egg whites, mistos, maybe I'll roll something. (I'm getting a real good look at myself here, typing this out). No matter what else I bring, if the sun is out, the daiquiri batch bottles always empty first. It's almost like people enjoy a simple delicious cocktail more than me taking over their counter space and destroying their sink. If for no other reason, I need to keep the daiquiri in my rotation as a constant reminder to get out of the way of a solid drink.
The Rum: Privateer Distiller’s Drawer #67 - MAWLS “Yankee Flyer” - 2 yr. 4 mo. - 51.6%
As much as I enjoy sipping this rum, I was more excited by what the young oak, burnt sugars, and softer fruits would do when paired with this very green/bright syrup. On the nose, fresh lime pops with the herbal, peppery notes. The palate starts sweet and fat (the syrup is weighted like a heavy 2:1) with candied lime and burnt sugar before the lime notes work fresh, lifting with the rum's oak and coconut. A pleasant bitterness from the dried lime zest dips into the finish, deepening the notes and extending the length (the proof helps here too), making room for slight heat from the jalapenos. On the next batch, I'd probably up the amount of jalapeno seeds slightly.
I also tried the syrup with some higher proof Hampden, but the overripe tropical fruits competed with the three different lime notes. Clairins fared better - Sajous in particular - and beefed up the herbal vegetal notes in the syrup.
Verdict: I like the lime triple threat playing here. The rum amps the candied lime notes at the front of the palate. The fresh lime juice gets bright mid-palate with the wood and herbal notes. The finish offers plenty of room for the bitter, dried lime and deepens with the spicy vegetal notes.
The margarita is up next. So far, it hasn't paired as well. And I assure you I'm over complicating it.
2 oz Privateer "Yankee Flyer"
3/4 oz Spicy Lime Syrup
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Shake. Double Strain into your favorite Daiquiri glass.