There’s snow on the ground, the temperature sits below zero — most days, it’s still Calgary after all — and you’ve probably already had a close call with slipping on ice. It’s officially time to put the mojitos, daiquiris and piña coladas away. These drinks are delicious, but the sweet fruitiness has nothing on the cold bite of the season. Ricardo’s teamed up with Clément Rhum out of Martinique to show us how we could still enjoy rum, the typical summer spirit, while getting the comfort we need for the next few chilly months.
Play With Syrups
Some people might shy away from syrups in their cocktails because they feel that it can make them a little bit too sweet, but there’s a trick to avoid this problem: make your own. While it is definitely a bit easier to buy a store bought version, DIY syrups are extremely simple and give you endless freedom to mess around with flavour and sweetness.
You can easily find cocktail syrup recipes online, or go totally rogue with your own concoctions by reducing fruits and spices with water and sugar. Think cinnamon syrup, rosemary syrup, Thai chilli syrup or chamomile lemon syrup to give your drinks a wintery twist.
Ricardo’s way: Clément VSOP, jerk cider vinegar, strawberry tobacco syrup paired with House-Made Chorizo and Grilled Prawn Pineapple Skewers
Get Creative With Your Fruit
Not all fruits have to feel like they’re exclusively summer food. Some inherently take on a more fall and winter role because of when they’re in season, like pears. You can take it to the next level by playing around with different ways of preparing the fruit. Try grilling some strawberries or smoking some peaches. This way you get your favourite summer fruits with flavours that give your drink a new dimension. You can either shake the cocktails with the fruit and strain out for a subtle addition, or keep them in for extra taste and a tasty snack.
Ricardo’s way: Clément VSOP, Benedictine, cynar, charred pear paired with Jerk Chicken
Mix With a Cream Base
Don’t shy away from a creamy base for your next cocktail. A milky consistency automatically gives you a bit of a cozy feel akin to the hot chocolate and the Bailey’s many of us like drinking this time of year. Don’t know where to start? Think about the flavour you’re wanting to get. Kefir will give you a tart and fresh feel, but coconut milk will give you a bit more of a sweet and tropical feel. Play around with plain milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream to see what floats your boat.
Ricardo’s way: Clément creole shrubb, crème de cacao, kefir paired with Cassava Cake
Pair with comfort food
If you’re stubborn and there is just no way that you’re putting down your beloved mojito for any reason, you can still make your rum feel more fitting for the winter. Pair your fresh, summer drinks with foods that make you feel cozy when the snow rolls around. We’re talking mac ‘n’ cheese, empañadas, roast chicken, sweet desserts. Throw the rules away, you don’t need a seasonal drink to make rum feel right!
Ricardo’s Way: chrysanthemum honey, Clément premiere, lemon, mint paired with Cheese Empañadas
If all else fails, leave it to the pros at Ricardo’s to set you up with the perfect rum cocktail to keep the season merry!
By Michelle Pijanowski