How to Make Pimento Dram or Allspice Dram, a step by step guide.
Pimento Dram is a spiced liqueur that has been flavoured with pimento berries. It’s also known as Allspice Dram, as the berries have combined flavours of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg hence the name “allspice”.
The flavour profile of Pimento Dram is sweet with bold spice. Notes of clove lead to pronounced flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of ginger and a warm pepper finish – in other words, Christmas in a glass. Pimento Dram is a modifier that adds depth, spice and flavour to a drink and is used in Tiki cocktails such as Three Dots and a Dash, and Navy Grog.
Pimento Dram can be purchased or you can make your own. The method is fairly simple and involves a period of maceration followed by straining the liquid and adding sugar syrup. You can try different variations, altering the type of rum, the spice mix and type of sugar used in the simple syrup.
In this recipe, we used a Jamaican gold rum but you can also use white or dark rum. If you choose an overproof rum, extraction will be faster and you may need to rest the final liquid for a longer period. You can also use additional spices such as nutmeg, cloves, star anise, ginger, cacao nibs and vanilla as we did in this recipe. To make the syrup, we used Demerara sugar but you can also use brown or raw sugar.
For the home bartender, making Pimento Dram is a simple process that needs time. Unlike other DIY liqueurs, infusions and tinctures, tasting as you go has little to do with the final product. The maceration yields a very strong liquid in aroma and flavour that is dry, bitter and unpalatable. Once the syrup is added and the liquid is left to rest, the flavours mellow into a balanced spicy flavour.
How to Make Pimento Dram
- 1 cup white rum (we used gold Jamaican rum)
- 1/4 cup whole pimento (allspice) berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 vanilla pod, split and scraped
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup raw or brown or Demerara sugar (we used Demerara)
Equipment You Need
- mortar and pestle, or resealable plastic bag and rolling pin
- glass jar with lid
- fine strainer
- cheesecloth or coffee filter
- resealable glass bottle
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush the allspice/pimento berries until you have coarse pieces. Or, put the berries in a resealable plastic bag and run a rolling pin on top to break them into coarse pieces.
- In a glass jar with a lid, add the crushed berries and pour the rum on top. Close the jar tightly and shake well. Place jar in a dark, cool spot away from daylight.
- Steep for 4 days, shaking daily. The rum will darken and change colour.
- On the 5th day, break the cinnamon stick into small pieces and add it to the liquid along with the cloves and scraped vanilla pod.
- After 12 days of steeping, use a fine mesh strainer to strain the solids then strain again through a cheese cloth or coffee filter. It yields approximately 3/4 cup of liquid.
- Make the simple syrup by gently heating the sugar with water in a pan until completely dissolved and leave to cool.
- Pour the strained liquid into a clean resealable bottle and add the syrup . Give it a shake and leave to rest for 2-3 days for the flavours to marry. The final yield is approximately 500 ml.
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