As a home cook, planting an herb garden at home is a must. The most imperative outdoor chore while summer gradually wanes is to harvest the remaining warrior herbs that survived the growing season.
Before the frost settles in Brooklyn and plant life goes into hibernation, I like to preserve my herb garden in various ways. Some can be used for lovely cocktail applications.
I chose to create an end of summer seasonal cocktail featuring Boukman Rhum. It falls under the category of agricole rhum, a term used to describe spirits produced in French-colonized Caribbean islands. Rhum is a spirit distilled from the juice of sugarcane. This differs from rum as we know it, defined as liquor distilled from molasses or Demerara syrup. Boukman is also botanical; its complex flavor profile is developed from Haitian foliage, including native woods and barks (lian bandé, zou’devant, campèche, bois cochon, oak), bitter orange peel and an assortment of spices.
As a bonus to enjoying this artisanal delight, rhum lovers can be assured by Boukman’s philanthropic history. The company donates a portion of its profits to Haiti Futur, a nonprofit focused on improving education in Haiti using technology and teacher training. In addition, Boukman has partnered with international NGO Solidaridad, a network organization dedicated to ecofriendly production and consumption of goods. With efficient organic farming techniques, sugarcane farmers’ income may double.
Here is the Last Call, inspired by two herb preservation methods necessitated by the eventual cooling temperatures.
The Last Call
1 1/2 oz Boukman Rhum
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz mint syrup*
2 dashes of homemade rosemary tincture**
Combine above ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add a pinch of salt (Some bartenders swear by this. Adding a sprinkle of salt or a couple dashes of saline solution can do wonders to awaken the flavors of a cocktail).
Shake aggressively. Strain mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.
*Mint Syrup: 20–25 mint leaves, shredded. Add 2 ounces of raw cane sugar and muddle with mint leaves in the bottom of a sturdy, heat-proof vessel. After about 10 minutes, the sugar will have macerated the mint leaves. After the sugar has extracted a thick minty paste, add 2 ounces of boiling water to dissolve. Allow syrup to cool before mixing in cocktail.
**Rosemary tincture: Harvest rosemary leaves and place in a jar. Bruise leaves with a muddler or spoon. (Bruising will extract a stronger rosemary essence.) Fill jar with 80-proof alcohol, such as vodka. Allow jar to sit away from sunlight for at least four weeks, shaking periodically. Thoroughly strain mixture and store in a dark glass tincture bottle.