Frontier Psychiatrist

Frontier Mixology: Lion’s Tail

Posted on: January 22, 2011

As Dean Martin put it, “Baby, it’s cold outside.”  Indeed.  As Dino well knew, it’s the time of year where the holiday glow has receded, and a good cocktail is needed to lift the winter gloom.

Mr. Martino ponders his New Year's resolution

To such end, an ingredient that always seems to make sense around now is Pimento Dram.  Banish all connotations of olives and cheese spreads, the pimento here refers to Jamaican allspice.  As a word, “allspice” sounds both overly ambitious and insufficiently descriptive.  As a flavor, however, it adds a warm and wintery note to drinks, despite its tropical origins.  For a number of years Pimento Dram was unavailable here, and ambitious cocktailians would make their own.  Like so many formerly unavailable ingredients, however, Eric Seed has made it commercially-available again, but under a different name. Apparently, his wife urged him that pimento wouldn’t make a good seller given its cheese spread connotations.

Who wouldn't want to drink that?

So you’ll find it as the more respectable-sounding St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram. It opens up a classic cocktail perfect for a winter’s night, this one from 1937’s Cafe Royal Cocktail Book.

Lion’s Tail

2 oz. rye whiskey or Bourbon (sugg. Wild Turkey 101)

½ oz. pimento dram

½ oz. lime juice

teaspoon simple syrup

dash of Angostura bitters

Shake briskly with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Once you’ve got pimento dram in your arsenal, you can also make a contemporary cocktail created by Chuck Taggart.

The Réveillon

2 oz. Calvados or Applejack

½ oz. pear eau-de-vie

½ oz. pimento dram

¼ oz. sweet vermouth (sugg. Punt y Mes)

dash aromatic bitters

Stir with ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass.

A quick word on relatively obscure ingredients that are typically used in small quantities, e.g. allspice dram or crème de violette.  If you have a friend or two who are also into trying to make cocktails at home, consider splitting a bottle amongst yourselves, using a couple of bottles from the Container Store or so.

Drink up,


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