Whiskey, port, and allspice dram with a dash or two of orange bitters, my Winter Old Fashioned evokes the warmth of a fireside chat… A perfect holiday cocktail but you’ll enjoy it all winter long… we sure do!
Warm spices like allspice and cinnamon remind us of “the holidays,” right? I think of the pfeffernüsse my husband has made with love nearly every Christmas for the last 40 years…
I first had a winter old fashioned at our youngest son Gerritt’s restaurant (he’s a professional chef) Valentine’s Day 2019. We had a beautiful 5 course meal paired with cocktails. The bar tender/mixologist was gracious enough to share the ingredients – rye whiskey, allspice dram, and port. A few dashes of orange bitters and an orange twist make this a very festive, seasonal, and unique cocktail!
What is Allspice Dram?
Allspice dram is a liqueur that goes by 2 names – allspice and pimento dram. Allspice is the berry of the pimento tree. Fun fact: Both allspice berries and pimentos come from the pimento tree!
The liqueur originated in the pimento tree’s native Jamaica. It finds its way into many rum-based cocktails and was made popular by the original tiki bar pioneers like Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber.
Homemade allspice dram is easy to make at home. Allspice berries soaked in rum are the base for allspice dram. The berries are crushed, and added to the rum. After 4 days, the broken cinnamon stick is added. A total of 12 days steeping time is required before a brown sugar simple syrup is added.
The completed allspice dram does not require refrigeration (like other liqueurs) and will keep 1 to 2 months. Keep in mind that even though it will not spoil, the flavor will change.
How to Make a Winter Old Fashioned Cocktail
Ingredients for Winter Old Fashioned
Gather your ingredients. You will also need a cocktail shaker or spoon, and rocks glasses. Add the whiskey, port, and allspice dram to your shaker or glass. Shake or stir well to combine. Either pour over an ice cube or add an ice cube.
Add a few drops of bitters and garnish with an orange twist as desired. Cheers!
Tips and FAQ
What is the difference between bourbon and rye? Both are whiskeys, but they have very different flavor profiles. Bourbon must be made from a mash of at least 51% corn, it must be made in the US, and while there is no minimum aging requirement, it must be aged at least two years to be called “straight bourbon.” Rye, on the other hand, needs to be at least 51% rye mash, but many are 95-100%.
One main difference between the two whiskeys is in their flavor profiles. Bourbon – because it’s mostly corn – has a sweet, full-bodied taste. Rye has a somewhat spicy and very dry taste.
Which is better for the cocktail, bourbon or rye? We have enjoyed both immensely, but they do taste different. If you keep one or the other in your bar stock, I’d go with that one. If you’re going to buy the whiskey, see the flavor differences above, and go with your preference.
Do I have to make the allspice dram? No. You can probably find it in liquor stores with a wide selection of liqueurs.
Why make allspice dram? I made the equivalent of 4 bottles for the price of a somewhat inexpensive rum, some spices, and brown sugar… about $20.
‘Tis the season for family, friends, and celebration… in just days we’ll ring in 2020. Enjoy and be safe!
- 1.5 ounces whiskey (rye or bourbon)
- 2 ounces port (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon allspice dram
- several shakes orange or cardamom bitters (see notes)
- orange peel twist
- Add whiskey, port, and allspice dram to a glass or cocktail shaker.
- Stir or shake to combine.
- Add ice and a few shakes of bitters.
- Garnish with orange peel twist.
As mentioned in the post, you can use your favorite whiskey. We have tried both rye and bourbon.
We have used both orange and cardamom bitters, and like both! Cinnamon bitters would be another option.