I love the image of a Rum-Muddled Diplomat. I imagine him an an older gentleman, dressed to the hilt in some muggy, tropical locale. He’s little daft and a little too self-important, sure. Most days he escapes the sun by sitting under the slow hypnotic whirl of ceiling fan in the far corner of a dark bar. Of course he prefers the local rum, and of course he’s beloved by everyone.
HABANERO AGAVE SYRUP
1 habanero, thinly sliced
½ cup warm water
½ cup amber agave nectar, plus more to taste
Place the habanero and all its seeds in a small non-reactive container. Add the warm water and agave nectar; stir to combine then set aside about 1 hour for the flavors to come together. Strain the syrup, discarding the solids, then taste; adding more agave nectar if you feel it’s too hot, but remember– this is just one layered ingredient.
- ½ lime (quartered)
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 (1‑inch) piece unpeeled English cucumber (quartered)
- 2 ounce anejo rum
- 3 barspoons habanero agave syrup (about ½ ounce, see notes)
- 2 dash Bittercube Jamaican #1 Bitters (optional)
- 1 splash club soda
- 1 very thin cucumber slice (as garnish)
In a sturdy, thick-bottomed pint glass from a Boston shaker, use a bar muddler to crush the lime and salt until most of the juice is extracted. Add the quartered cucumber and continue to muddle until you have a fragrant, pulpy mush; it’s okay if the lime and cucumber skins are still partly intact. Pour in the rum and spoon in the habanero agave syrup to the mixture; stir lightly to combine and to remove all the syrup from the spoon. Add the bitters (if using).
Fill the metal part of the Boston shaker 2/3 full with ice. Pour the muddled rum mixture (including pulp) over the ice and then cap the shaker with the pint glass. Shake vigorously until well chilled. Uncap the pint glass and add the club soda. Using a Hawthorn strainer, double-strain the cocktail through a wire-mesh sieve into a chilled cocktail glass. Float the cucumber slice on top.