Black Magic

Black Magic, a tiki cocktail
Halloween is a time when I like to have even more fun than usual with my garnishes. Sometimes, that means lighting up a jack o’ lantern in my drink. Other times, that means adding some menacing blood (or grenadine) to create a man-eating Banana Dolphin. Here, I’m getting a little dark with some Black Magic.

This funky, fruity cocktail gets its color from activated charcoal, which has been making an appearance in a wide variety of foods lately. It doesn’t add any flavor to the food and tends to be more effective in creating a black color than food coloring, hence the interest that many chefs have taken in playing around with it.

The cocktail is made with a combination of Wray and Nephew Overproof rum and Stolen rum. The Wray and Nephew has a wonderfully funky flavor that, combined with the smokiness of the Stolen, gives this drink a very flavorful – and potent – base. It is sweetened up with Licor 43 and includes allspice, lemon and pineapple to round out the flavors. I went a little heavier than usual here with the sweet Licor 43 because the extra sweetness helps the pineapple juice to really shine through. The flavors work beautifully together and the is unexpectedly bright for something that looks so dark in the glass.

Food grade activated charcoal is available online and at many health food stores. It comes in a fine powder that is very easy to dissolve into liquids. I usually whisk it into my shaker to ensure it is incorporated before adding ice to the mix. Activated charcoal can have a negative interaction with some medications (reducing their efficacy, depending on the medication and quantity of charcoal), so keep that in mind when you’re giving this one a try. If you have any doubts, just know that the drink tastes just as delicious even if it’s not black – and you can always use food coloring if you don’t mind getting a little messy.

Black Magic
1 oz Wray and Nephew Overproof
1 oz Stolen Rum
1 oz Licor 43
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz allspice dram
1/4 tsp activated charcoal

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and whisk to incorporate the charcoal completely. Add ice and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into a poco grande or pearl diver glass (or other tall glass) filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.

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