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Cocktails just taste better in the sunlight. While last week’s cocktail ushered in the dawn of spring, this week’s cocktail celebrates one thing: blue skies and sunshine. As we leave winter behind us, it’s the perfect time to bask in the warmth of the sun and enjoy a cocktail or two in the fresh air. I can think of no better spirit to enjoy while catching some rays, than a good rum. For many people, rum has a reputation as an overly sweet, syrupy spirit that might remind them of their old college days. That’s not the case with the new wave of all-natural, small-batch, handcrafted rums that are being produced by small distilleries across the country. 

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These spirits celebrate raw sugar cane without creating an overly sweet final product. Whether it’s the clean, bright flavors of white rum or the rich, oaky flavors of dark rum, modern rums are nothing to scoff at. Their nuanced flavors can lead to some pretty stellar cocktails, so if you’ve turned up your nose at rum in the past, I’d recommend reconsidering with this cocktail that’s perfect for almost any occasion.

Smooth, light rum married perfectly with the tartness of fresh lemon juice, while warm, floral honey and spicy ginger beer are a match made in heaven. Combine these ingredients, and you get a tall highball of liquid sunshine. Garnish with a few blackberries to capture the season in a glass. Whether it’s pouring with April showers, suddenly freezing for some reason, or clear and sunny, you’ll be perfectly prepared for the weather.

Clear & Sunny Cocktail by Clayton Crawford. Photo by Holden Rhodes.

Clear & Sunny

Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients

  • 2 OZ. WHITE RUM (LIKE COTTON & REED)
  • 1 OZ. FRESH LEMON JUICE
  • 0.5 OZ RAW HONEY (OR SIMILAR SWEETENER. SEE PRO TIPS)
  • 1 BOTTLE OF GINGERBEER (LIKE REED’S EXTRA GINGERBEER)

Garnish

  • BLACKBERRIES (OPTIONAL)
  • LEMON WHEEL (SEE PRO TIPS)

Directions

Pro Tips

  • There are several sweeteners that will do the trick for this drink, an easy 1:1 ratio of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated and stirred until dissolved) or a 1:1 demerara (equal parts brown sugar and water heated and stirred until dissolved) will work great. However, the best sweetener for this drink would be a 1:1 ratio syrup of honey to water (made the same way) –– this will help the honey mix into the cocktail easier, but it completely optional.
  • To craft a lemon wheel garnish, simply find cut a ¼ inch slice from the center of an uncut lemon. Then make a small cut from the center of the lemon out to the edge, and perch the wheel on the rim of the glass using that slit. You can juice the remaining lemon halves in your next drink.
Cocktail by Clayton Crawford. Photo by Holden Rhodes.

Sustainable Spirits

Cotton and Reed is a small Distillery tucked into the heart of Washington D.C. The co-founders left careers in the aerospace industry to pursue their passion for natural craft spirits. Their tasting room and distillery feature a salvaged wood bartop, recycled shelving, and upcycled, vintage machinery showcasing their desire that nothing should go to waste. Their naturally-flavored, low sugar rums are made with Louisiana molasses and sugar cane, and wild yeast. The unique, natural rums celebrate the complexity of sugar cane, boasting a depth of flavor and bright botanical characteristics

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