The Global Warmer
2 -3 Cups Whole Organic Grass Milk
4 Bars Mayordomo Oaxacan Chocolate
3-4 oz Flora de Caña Grand Reserve 7 year Rum
Yes, it’s true. I’m THAT woman.
The one who comes to school picnics with a Tropicana orange juice pitcher full of vodka cocktails.
The one who walks around the community pool with a wine spritzer in my coffee thermos.
The one who, after a bracing walk around the neighborhood in the pouring rain on a Sunday afternoon in November during a Tornado Watch, invites my friend in for a chat and ends up making a hot rum drink. Yes. That just happened yesterday.
It’s not like I’m a hopeless drunk who can’t attend a group event without an alcoholic beverage. Not by Wisconsin standards, at any rate. But as anybody who has ever enjoyed one of my probably-prohibited-on-school-grounds cocktails knows, I often say that I missed my calling as an artisanal bartender. Not because I'm so awesome at it. But I like experimenting with mixed drinks. I like using fresh ingredients. I like sharing my laboratory work with the rest of the neighborhood. And I’ve found that more people talk to you when you give them liquor. It’s a tasty way to make friends or at least, hang out with people until your cocktail pitcher is empty.
After our hot rum drink yesterday, my friend Karen urged me to start writing a little bit about the drinks I make. So here, in my first random installment of the occasional blog column, The Mischievous Mixologist, I am posting the recipe (with pictures, and happy birthday Karen!) of what I made. I named the drink in honor of yesterday’s warm-cold-rainy-windy-bizarro global-warming weather.
First, go on a walk outside in Wisconsin in November. Pick an hour of the day when there is a steady downpour, and a tornado watch, even though that kind of weather used to characterize St. Louis in early June.
When you get home, tired and soaking wet, and ready to talk about postpartum depression, forget the cold glass of water that you normally drink after you exercise. You need a hot rum drink!
So, pour 2 ½ cups of milk into a saucepan (any kind will do but local organic cow milk is the best). Heat milk on low. This will take a few minutes but you don’t want it to burn and anyway, you have the time, because your friend has gone off to change into dry clothes.
When the milk is steaming hot, drop in 4 bars of Oaxacan chocolate and stir while continuing to heat. If you don’t have Oaxacan chocolate, because your mother-in-law didn’t bring any to you from Mexico like mine did (thanks Jacquie!), then you can get it on line or at a speciality grocery. Or use any high quality variety. I really prefer the chocolate bars that melt, though. Much richer. Many of the Mexican chocolate varieties are spicy and taste even better with rum.
NB: If you have any tree nut allergies, find a melting chocolate without nuts too, because this one has almonds.
Also, if you have a few minutes and you’re curious, you can watch this pretty cool video about how they make the chocolate in Mexico:
At the beginning, I was worried about how close Victor’s hand got to that chocolate grinder. But don’t worry, it all turns out fine.
ANYWAY. Sprinkle in cinnamon to taste. There is already cinnamon in the Mayordomo blend, but I like it stronger. Then begin to whisk the milk vigorously, so the granules of chocolate blend in. I didn’t do it yesterday. But I was cold and wet and frankly, my standards were lower than normal. It's better when whisked.
When the chocolate is completely dissolved and the blend is smooth enough for your taste, pour the milk into two mugs, and add a jigger of rum to each glass. I used Flora de Caña, an award-winning rum from Nicaragua. You can buy the more expensive varieties that are aged longer, or cheaper varieties that are aged for less time, but the one I have is the 7 year Grand Reserve. I got it at Steve’s Liquor for about 23 dollars. Bong recommended it (thanks Bong!). I have to agree with him, that it’s wonderful for mixed drinks. If you’re not local, you can find it most anywhere. Like, here.
If you read the Wikipedia entry about the rum, you will learn that in the 80’s, funds from a Honduran distillery were used by the Contras to fund death squads. I’m sure the Flora De Caña folks are pretty psyched that some middle-aged hippie inserted that fact nugget into their wiki page. I get it, though. I spent a lot of time in college dressed up as a counterrevolutionary soldier, because I was protesting death squads . This factoid did give me pause.
But ultimately, I don’t think we should hold the rum responsible. Blame Oliver North! And drink up!