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Vanilla is always one of our favorite flavors, whether it is in a bowl of classic vanilla ice cream or mingling with oak in a barrel-aged rum or bourbon. Vanilla orchids grown in many tropical climates around the world, but they originated in parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Central America. With that in mind – and a new bottle of Guatemalan Ron Zacapa on hand – we decided to put together a vanilla-inspired cocktail, The Vanilla Trade. The drink is made with a blend of white rum and Ron Zacapa 23. If you can find it, use Botran Blanca, a Guatemalan white rum, in this cocktail. If not, choose your favorite white rum. The rums are combined with lime juice, Licor 43, banana liqueur and vanilla extract. The banana adds a soft tropical note that compliments the vanilla without making the cocktail too fruity.
We finished off the cocktail with a spritz of mezcal from our atomizer. The smokey flavor of mezcal contrasts very well with the soft flavor of the vanilla in the cocktail and brings some nice complexity to the drink. The spirit can overpower other ingredients with its intense flavor, so using a little bit from the atomizer gives us a nice finish and aroma without drowning out the lighter elements in the glass. Since both vanilla and mezcal have Mexican origins, it’s nice to tie them together in this drink, as well.
The Vanilla Trade
1 oz white rum
1 oz aged Guatemalan rum (Ron Zacapa 23)
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Licor 43
1/4 oz creme de banana/banana liqueur
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (pref. Mexican vanilla)
spritz of mezcal, using an atomizer
Combine all ingredients, except the mezcal, in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until cold, then strain into a large rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Finish with mist of mezcal from an atomizer and garnish with a lime wedge and a vanilla bean (if you have one).