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151 Swizzle is a drink that first appeared on the menu at Don the Beachcomber’s in the 1960s. You can guess from the name what the base spirit is: 151 proof rum. The drink combines rum, lime juice and simple syrup with a dash of pernod and bitters, then swizzles the mixture with crushed ice until well-blended and icy cold. This high proof rum is not necessarily known as being the most accessible spirit out there. At such a high proof, you’re going to get a lot of “burn” that you won’t find in other rums. But there are some fantastically flavorful 151 proof rums out there and when you make your swizzle with one of them, you can see just how delicious it can be.
This is a simple cocktail and the rum is the most important part of the drink. Lemon Hart 151 is our favorite overproof rum, but it is currently not available in the US and is very difficult to find. Lost Spirits makes a 151 that is excellent, and Goslings produces a very reasonably priced 151 that works well here, too. Do not use something extremely cheap because you won’t get the best results.
We like to add a little more simple syrup than the Beachbum Barry version of this recipe does and we typically use grapefruit bitters instead of aromatic bitters. We find that a little extra sweetness tames the rum and smooths out the cocktail, while the extra citrus punch from the bitters compliments the lime while making the cocktail little more refreshing. We’ve also been known to use half lemon and half lime juice, on occasion. This is an easy drink to customize to your own tastes because it uses so few ingredients and it’s fun to play with. After all, what better excuse to set a drink on fire than a drink recipe that already uses 151? The garnish actually adds flavor to this drink, since a sprinkle of cinnamon not only creates a cool fireworks effect, but adds a spicy aromatic note to the drink before serving.
1 1/2 oz overproof rum (the best you can find)
1/2 oz lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1/4 tsp Pernod
1-2 dashes grapefruit bitters
Fill a tall glass with crushed ice. Add all ingredients and swizzle (or stir with a long spoon) until ice forms on the outside of the glass. Top with additional crushed ice.
Garnish with a spent lime shell. Fill lime with a splash of 151 rum and light on fire. To finish, carefully sprinkle cinnamon over light flame (from 12 inches away) and watch the sparks fly!