“Up until recently, I’ve been a bit apprehensive to add any kind of heat to a cocktail,” says Alexa Delgado, lead bartender at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami. “I often find it difficult to create balance between the heat in a spicy drink and the presumed cold, refreshing nature of a cocktail. But I think for the Rum-DMC, you get a well-rounded cocktail featuring a myriad flavor profiles: sweet, spicy, and refreshing. The flavors work to complement and balance each other out.” Like Jones and McCarthy, Delgado decided to use Tabasco’s original red here because she likes the vinegar and red pepper combo’s instant, sugar-cutting sting, but if you’re in a bind, another light-bodied, vinegar-based brand packing a similar heat intensity could do the trick.
Delgado thankfully faced her fears when she whipped up this hot pink thirst-quencher for Rum & Robusto, a rum- and-cigar-themed pool party at celebrity chef Eric Ripert’s long-running Cayman Cookout food festival down in the Cayman Islands. And in a stroke of genius, she served her creation in resealable Capri Sun-style pouches complete with a built-in straw for easy access.
- 1 1/2 ounces cucumber-infused white rum (Delgado likes Diplomatico Planas)
- 1/2 ounce strawberry liqueur like Bols
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce hibiscus syrup (Hella Cocktail Co. makes a mean one)
- 1/2 ounce triple sec
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- 3 dashes Tabasco, give or take depending on your preference
- Orange wheel
Pour all ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake approximately 20-30 times until frosty and well-blended. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice -- or if you’re Delgado, into a festive plastic pouch -- garnish with an orange wheel and serve, preferably poolside.
To make the cucumber-infused rum, slice a large cucumber into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. In a large glass bottle or mason jar, combine rum and cucumber strips. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Strain back into clean bottle or jar and discard cucumbers.