Dive into the the world of spiced spirits with three recipes


As the weather changes into the cooler times of the year, what we want from a drink changes, too. There’s less need for the long, refreshing cooler drinks of summer, and the flavours get warmer, bigger, and bolder during cold times.

And there’s a quick route to packing in a flavourful punch: spiced spirits.

Here, we take a quick look at the history of spices in drinks, and at a few cocktails to get you set for the months ahead.
Spiced spirits are nothing new, of course, despite the current vogue for them in recent years. Vermouth, though not a spirit per se, has been spiced with different roots and herbs for centuries — heck, there’s evidence of flavoured hooch going back thousands of years in China. And let’s not forget gin. The first recorded recipe for gin is the basis for Gin 1495, a super limited gin made by the same folks who make G’Vine and developed with spirits communicator Philip Duff.
Duff has pointed out before that the recipe, which used a grape distillate and a load of spices, would have been ridiculously expensive back in 1495. That’s down to just how prized the spices were and how hard they were to come by — there certainly was no spice rack full of little bottles of pulverised spices of the kind you find in homes today.

Indeed, the nutmeg that was used in this first recipe would have been worth more than its weight in gold — that’s down to the fact that the spice trade hadn’t really caught on yet (it would be some time until the English and the Dutch would fight bloody, costly wars to control the export of spices from the East — and always to the detriment of the local peoples they exploited).


And in the saloons of the United States back in Harry Johnson’s time in the 1800’s, a common recipe was for Rock and Rye — when bottled, it often contained horehound and lemon, and was made ostensibly as a medicine.Fast forward to the modern day, and spiced spirits are more ubiquitous than ever.

Spiced rum is one category seeing tremendous growth not just here at home in Australia, but around the world, as the common punter is attracted to the vanilla — who doesn’t like vanilla? — and other spices which can round out some of the rougher edges of a spirit. Whiskey brands are on board with the trend, too — so don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon.


Silver Root Beer Fizz

30ml The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
30ml Angostura White Rum
15ml lemon juice
15ml pineapple juice
1 egg white
60ml sarsaparilla

Dry shake, shake with ice, strain into a chilled Collins. Top with sarsaparilla.

Adapted from a recipe by Jim Meehan in The PDT Cocktail Book


Hot Buttered (Spiced) Rum

60ml Bacardi Carta Fuego
allspice, cloves
teaspoon sugar
50 cent-sized piece of butter
90ml hot water

Add all ingredients then hot water. Grate nutmeg on top.

Milk Punch

Spiced Milk Punch

30ml Beach House Spiced Rum
30ml VSOP cognac
15ml Pimento dram
10ml sugar syrup
120ml full cream milk

Combine all ingredients in an ice shaker and shake briskly for 15 seconds to achieve a creamy foam. Pour over crushed ice into a large goblet. Garnish with a little fresh grated nutmeg. NB. This recipe can also be served warm – and it’s delicious.


Tasting Notes

Beach House Spiced Rum
Pours a golden straw colour in the glass, it has a subtle nose dominated by blood orange and hey characters, with notes of gingerbread and lime. You’ll pick up exotic spices and bitter orange blossom notes on the palate, leading to a smooth finish.

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Dark squid ink black in the glass, The Kraken has a nutty nose with vanilla, coffee, and gunpowder. Slightly sweet on the palate with cola-like vanilla and a spicy, espresso coffee character and caramel, cinnamon cloves and gingerbread before a long, peppery, spiced finish.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Intense vanilla, dry buttery toffee and cinnamon notes on the nose. Cinnnamon and nutmeg on the palate along with vanilla, and a long dry finish.
William Grant & Sons

Bacardi Carta Fuego
Bacardi Carta Fuego is a spiced rum with big upfront notes of cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and other spices. Hearty oak character thanks to torched oak barrels for its short ageing period, and is full and rich on the palate with a smooth, lingering finish.

Wild Turkey Spiced
A nose of vanilla, cloves and ginger leads to a subtly sweet palate of spices and vanilla, cloves and cinnamon, and a highly sippable finish. 
Campari Australia

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