Spiced Rum and Sweet Vermouth: A Match Made in Heaven

I have come a long way in the past few years. Heck, when I started this blog, I didn't like sweet vermouth. Now it's one of my favorite cocktail ingredients. I even like the stuff by itself. I used to know nothing about rum, too. Now it's one of my favorite ingredients, as well.

I have no idea what to do with spiced rum, however. You see, about a year ago, a friend of mine moved to Moscow, yes, that Moscow, and he gave me his 1/4 bottle of Captain Morgan and 1/2 bottle of Crown Royal. The Crown Royal, well, I serve that my unassuming cocktail friends. The Captain Morgan spiced rum? I had nothing. Didn't know what to do with it, and I didn't like it. So I began experimenting.

Well, the Captain Morgan ran out, so I picked up a bottle of Cruzan spiced rum, and that stuff is good. I have since settled on my drink, learning once again that sweet vermouth is amazingly versatile stuff.

There are lots of other drinks that are pretty similar, but none of them are exactly like my new drink, at least not that I can find. Others out there know more about this stuff than I do, though, so who knows. Someone can school me there. Me, I call it the Bootlicker Cocktail because it sounds tough and spicy, but really it's just a kiss-ass drink that doesn't even pack a punch. I guess if you down several of them, you may get a little toasty, but really, truly, this drink is more of a Bootlicker.

To make one, combine with ice:
and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. It needs to be a big one, though. Don't use that 4 ounce martini glass. Then, to give it a little extra spice, I shake just a bit of both cinnamon and black pepper on top.

It works. It tastes like a cold toddy. The flavors meld well: the sweet vermouth with the spiced rum and the cinnamon on top. The lemon and honey taste like a toddy. That's really what it's like, but the sweet vermouth adds body and more flavor so that the taste is nearly overwhelming.