Updated: Jan 11
I hate to admit it, but this Mardi Gras was a pouty one for me. The cold, windy Mardi Gras day didn't get any better for my family who were quarantined in the house playing pass-the-snotty-sniffles. Though I didn't get to physically participate this year, I still dug into my inner New Orleanean by spiking my coffee with dark rum that knocked out both my sniffles and my bad attitude.
I'm not nearly the first in this area to reach for rum when the going gets tough, either. Originally called 'tafia', the spirit made from Caribbean sugar production waste was rough to say the least. Harsh in flavor and proofed in poisonous lead-lined pot stills, bartenders in a very young New Orleans added fruit and spices to make an inexpensive 'punch' that would sooth the homesickness of French men and women who missed the fine, pricier wines of Europe. In fact, New Orleans may well not be here today if those first criminal lot didn't drink away their woes. Most of the money made in the fragile infant colony came from the sale of liquor and by auctioning off tavern licenses. Throw in the legal right of coffee houses to also serve liquor and the roots of our modern drinking culture* took hold.
My favorite rum for this is Old New Orleans Amber Rum, which is smooth and spicy, but Myers Dark Rum will do just fine. As with all cocktails, the better your ingredients, the better the drink, so make this with good coffee and real maple syrup.
Cheers, Y'all :)
Amber Rum Coffee
makes one drink
6 oz. hot, strong coffee
1 shot amber, dark, or spiced rum
2 T heavy cream or coconut cream
1 t maple syrup (or more to taste)
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
In a large mug, whisk together rum, cream, and maple syrup until frothy. Top with hot coffee. If using, grate nutmeg over the mug.
*When I refer to 'our' drinking culture, I mean just that- the drinking habits of locals, not the excessive silliness you see on Bourbon Street (a.k.a. tourists who just don't understand). Locals know that it's a marathon, not a sprint. We might start will a lil' nip in a morning drink, but we don't drink 'til we're sick, we throw away our garbage, and we know that a glass of water won't bring down your good time. And yes, it takes some of us longer than others to learn this lesson :)