This Manhattan variation is an ode to subtropical flora; perfect for those times when you want something rummy yet simple. It’s moody, nocturnal, proto-tiki vibes deliver the stripped down essence of a tiki drink in a condensed, glowing amber package. Similar to a Hemingway daiquiri, it packs amazing sugar cane flavor without an ice crusher or a blender, ideal for the rum lover seeking a quick fix. While this recipe originally appeared in 1930's Savoy Cocktail Book, we took our inspiration from the recipe printed in Three Ingredient Cocktails.
The Palmetto is all about rum. What one gets out of this drink depends upon what rum goes in. Our version delivered vanilla, caramel, sugar cane, and delicious warm baking/island spice flavors. Sweet vermouth adds an appetizing sweetness that backs the flavors, while orange bitters add balance and depth. Equal parts vermouth and rum result in a simple, unpretentious, and heavenly sip, followed by a lingering taste of bitters on the finish.
A complex aged rum or a blend of complex rums will shine here. We used a blend of Smith and Cross and Plantation light rum, which yielded a transfixing combination of heat from the high proof, and rich depth from the funky, caramelly flavors. The final key was an additional dash of spiced bitters (in this case Bittercube Jamaican no. 1) which closed out the finish and gave an otherwise potentially underwhelming finish a smart, snappy feel.