This one isn’t a classic. In fact, it’s an invention of my own, but I used several educated guesses based on what I’ve learned while making all of these drinks (and writing about them) in order to put it together.
The first thing was: I knew I wanted to try a split base. Base liquors are typically unsweetened spirits that usually have the largest proportion in a given cocktail, unless it’s a highball. Whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila/mescal, rum, and brandy are the most common base liquors, and of those brandy and mescal play in supporting roles most easily (and vodka, since it’s effectively flavorless). I use mescal a lot to add smokiness to drinks, but that’s not what I was looking for here, so I settled on brandy.
I wanted to use rum because, well, I like rum, but also because I’d just gotten a new bottle and wanted to try it out. So that gave me my split base, an ounce each of the rum and brandy. I then added some sweet vermouth, because I wanted a cocktail that was in the same realm as a Manhattan. To this I added fino sherry to bring nuttiness and depth of flavor, but fino sherry is pretty dry so I felt the drink could use a bit more sweetness. A little maraschino did the trick. Some Peychaud’s bitters add a final dash of flavor to the cocktail.
I made this several times, using different proportions, before calling the recipe final. I’m pleased with it. Considering there’s only an ounce of rum in this thing, you can really taste it. It doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors, but there’s no question this is a rum cocktail. It’s really quite good. Strong but not too boozy, easily drinkable but complex. Give it a shot!
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.
The Oscar's Isle Cocktail Recipe
- Cocktail Strainer
- Bar spoon
- 1 oz. Aged rum Denizen Merchant’s Reserve
- 1 oz. Brandy E&J XO
- .75 oz. Sweet vermouth Carpano Antica Formula
- .5 oz. Fino cherry Tio Pepe Palomino
- .25 oz. Maraschino Luxardo
- Dash Creole bitters Peychaud’s
- Orange peel
- Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Twist an orange peel over the drink, and discard the peel.