Rum and horchata make for an unlikely (but tasty) match in cocktails

Rum is the spirit of summer — the spirit of the outlandish, colorful tiki cocktails. But it’s been making its way into bold winter drinks as well.

One such example is Mount Gay’s Black Barrel Rum. Aged in charred oak barrels, the rum has flavors of smoke and spice, making it a solid base in classic cocktails like the Manhattan or Old Fashioned or in more contemporary cocktails thought up by bartenders today.

Austin bartender Justin Elliott, head of Qui’s bar program, has crafted the Shore Leave cocktail with the rum, combining its distinctive taste with Mexican and Central American flavors — namely the pumpkin seed horchata that will need some time to make, but is well worth the effort.

Shore Leave

1 ½ oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

½ oz. Lime Juice

1 oz. Pumpkin Seed Horchata (see below)

1 dash of orange bitters

2 dashes of Qui House Aromatic Bitters (see below)

In a Collins glass combine all ingredients. Fill halfway with crushed ice and swizzle. Top with more crushed ice, an orange peel and one more dash of Aromatic Bitters.

Pumpkin Seed Horchata

200 g. glutinous sweet rice

200 g. shelled pumpkin seeds

900 g. water

Toast the rice for 15 minutes (until smells nutty).

Toast the pumpkin seeds for 10 minutes. Combine the rice and the seeds with water.

Let stand for 4 to 5 hours. Then, using an immersion blender, pulse until coarsely ground.

Let stand for 24 hours. Squeeze mixture through cheesecloth. Measure out the yield and equal volume of extra-fine sugar. Combine and simmer low until sugar is dissolved, being careful not to cook or reduce the product.

Qui’s House Aromatic Bitters

400 ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters

200 ml Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters

100 ml Bar Keep Chinese Five Spice Bitters

100 g. charred fresh ginger, chopped

If you have a vacuum bag, combine all ingredients in that. Let steep for one week.

—Adapted from Justin Elliott, Qui bartender

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