Spiced rum is one of our favorite cocktail ingredients, and making a homemade version is as easy as six simple steps. With the help of Chicago bartender Paul McGee and Cleveland bartender David Hridel, we developed a quick-infusion formula that combines aged rum with fresh citrus and a bouquet of seasonal spices for a spirit that’ll wrap you and your friends in a boozy blanket of wintry warmth.
1 750-ml. bottle of aged rum
1 whole nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 whole cloves
1 cardamom pod
4 black peppercorns
1 star anise
3 allspice berries
1 large navel orange
Mallet or hammer
Lewis bag or clean kitchen towel
Heavy-bottomed sauté pan
Spice grinder (you can also use a blade coffee grinder; just remove coffee oils first by pulsing around a torn slice of bread and then carefully wiping clean)
Quart-sized canning jar, or other large glass jar with lid
4 200-ml. glass bottles with lids (specialtybottle.com is a great resource)
Place the whole nutmeg in a Lewis bag or wrap loosely in a clean kitchen towel and give one firm whack with a mallet or hammer.
In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, combine all spices and lightly toast them over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Transfer the spices to a blade grinder and pulse around three to four times.
Using a peeler, zest the orange, taking care to avoid any white pith. Set aside.
In a 1-quart glass jar combine the rum with the toasted spices and orange peel. Secure the lid, shake to combine and let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
Using a funnel lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, strain the spiced rum into clean glass jars.