Combine these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, give it a good, hard shake until it’s well chilled and properly diluted, then strain into a double rocks glass over ice and enjoy. And if you’re in the market for a garnish, we might recommend an expressed orange twist.
A couple things to note about this drink:
First, it’s a big boy. We’ve got 5 full ounces of liquid ingredients before ice and dilution, so when we say “a double rocks glass,” we mean it. But the nice thing is, it’s not a booze bomb. It doesn’t contain more alcohol than any other classic drink you’ll find on a cocktail menu, but it really gets its legs from the complex fruit profile it offers.
Next, we need to talk about the infused ingredient, the “Hibiscus & Magnolia rum.” When reading this, we were thinking it involved those weird almost “pine-cone-like” fruits you’ll find on a magnolia tree during the summer and early fall. But in fact, Magnolia refers to the magnolia berry, also known as “five flavor berry,” which is a Chinese variant of the Schisandra family. According to Wikipedia, it’s called this because it contains salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter flavors all in one berry, so you can see why it would be an intriguing ingredient for an infusion. If you’re looking to source these, we’d recommend locating some dried Schisandra berries online and using those for your infusion.
In terms of weights, measures, and timing, Kurt recommends you infuse about a quarter ounce each of dried hibiscus and the magnolia berry seeds in about 20 ounces of rum over the course of 2 weeks. The key advantage here is that you get to pick your rum, so we would recommend going with something in the “white” or “light” spectrum so that the infused flavors don’t have to compete with a bunch of desserty barrel notes.
Like most cocktails in The Infused Cocktail Handbook, the “Paint the Town Red” cocktail is an opportunity to learn about ingredients you might not have worked with in the past and to really delight your guests (or yourself) with a cocktail that’s a great deal more complex than the sum of its parts.