For a drink that’s simple in both concept and construction, the Rum & Coke carries with it a surprisingly lengthy history, with facets ranging from the Spanish-American War (hence the drink’s Cuba Libre alias) to World War II, and a heavy dose of corporate propaganda. (For those who want to learn more, we suggest the book And a Bottle of Rum by contributing editor Wayne Curtis.) Obfuscation aside, the combo has stood the test of time. And while it’s unlikely you’ll see a standard Rum & Coke on the menu at a craft cocktail bar, you just might encounter a variation riffing on the classic flavor profile.
2 oz. white rum (Bandits uses Ten to One)
3/4 oz. cola syrup
1/4 oz. fernet
Tools: mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer, 8-oz. Coca-Cola bottle
Garnish: Lemonhead candy
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill. Strain the mixture into an 8-oz. Coca-Cola bottle. (At Bandits, they smoke the bottle with dried lemon peel, but if you don’t have a cocktail smoking gun, feel free to skip this step.) Top the bottle with a Lemonhead candy and serve the drink with a rocks glass and a large ice cube.
Cola SyrupAdd 12 oz. Coca-Cola to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and simmer on low heat until reduced by half. Weigh the reduction, then mix it with half its weight in sugar and stir until dissolved, bottling for use within 2 weeks.
Dan Stern, Bandits, New York City
“Rum & Coke”
1 oz. dark rum (Stockbridge uses Flor de Caña 12-year)
1 oz. Amaro Montenegro
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
5 dashes Angostura bitters
Chilled soda water
Tools: shaker, strainer
Garnish: lemon or lime wedge
To mix the cocktail, add all the ingredients, except the soda water, to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice, top with chilled soda water, and give a gentle stir to incorporate. Garnish.
Roberto Cibrian Stockbridge, Drink, Boston
Rum & Cola Daiquiri
2 oz. white rum (Chi uses Plantation 3-Star)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. cola syrup
1/4 oz. Amaro CioCiaro
Tools: shaker, strainer, fine strainer
Glass: chilled coupe
Garnish: lime wedge
To mix the drink, add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish.
Cola SyrupTo make the syrup, add 12 oz. of Mexican Coca-Cola to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat on medium, stirring frequently, until reduced by half. Stir in 180 grams of sugar until dissolved, let cool, and bottle for use within 1 month.
Sid Chi, Holy Ghost Bar, Portland, Oregon