Vampire’s Fang

Vampire's Fang, a Halloween Tiki Drink
Tiki drinks are always dressed up because, with a few exceptions, they take their garnishes to a level where other cocktails simply don’t go. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays and it gives us an excuse to think outside of the box of “ordinary” garnishes and come up with something a little bit more creative. One of the new creations we’re rolling out for this Halloween is the Vampire’s Fang. This drink features a blend of citrus and passion fruit juices, a touch of absinthe and a generous dose of rum, along with some spicy cinnamon syrup and aromatic bitters. While similar combinations can be found in other cocktails, part of the fun of this drink is in the presentation. It is garnished with a set of white vampire fangs that are carefully carved out of an orange rind – and have their tips dipped in bitters to give them a touch of “blood.”

The drink is a riff on a Cobra’s Fang, a classic tiki drink that itself has been riffed on many times. It has a sweet-tart tropical note from the various juices in it, but the licorice flavor of the absinthe comes through surprisingly well. It blends nicely with the spice from the cinnamon syrup and the bitters. We used both Angostura and Peychauds to get the look we were going for – a pool of blood swirling on top of the drink – but both stand up well on their own here.  It’s delicious, in addition to being surprisingly complex for a cocktail that also captures the colors of a sunset.

We recommend using Smith & Cross Rum in this cocktail. It is deliciously complex, with fruity notes to compliment the fruit juices, spicy notes to highlight the cinnamon and an overall funkiness that brings the absinthe forward. If you don’t have Smith & Cross, go buy some – or (because we’re mostly kidding about that) choose another funky, full-bodied Jamaican rum. Hamilton Jamaican is a good example of another rum that will work well here. All that said, a milder rum will yield a drink that is a bit sweeter, but no less satisfying, so feel free to experiment with the other options you have in your home bar.

Vampire’s Fang
2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz passion fruit juice
1/2 oz orange juice
3/4 oz cinnamon syrup
1 tsp absinthe
4-5 dashes aromatic bitters

Combine all ingredients, except for the bitters, in a shaker or mixing glass. Fill with ice and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Top with bitters and garnish with vampire’s teeth.

Vampire's Fang garnish

To make the garnish: Cut a thick 1-inch x 2-inch strip of orange peel. Cut the outline of the teeth using a paring knife, leaving the ends of the rind on both side (kind of an extra tooth) to act as hooks to hold the teeth onto the rim of your glass.

Serves 1

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