Category Archives: rum

about figgin’ thyme | a rum cocktail with fig + thyme and how to make allspice dram

I’m a firm believer that when something is meant to happen, it will happen in its own sweet time, at just the right time. There is a reason the saying, “It is what it is,” is so simple, yet so pertinent. We do what we can, with the tools we’ve been given, with the understanding we presently have. The rest works itself out.

I’d like to force certain things to happen, though. Like when you’ve worked really hard on a project, and you want that recognition or that promotion. Sometimes, however, the timing just isn’t where you’d like it to be. {Insert wasted energy, emotions, and countless hours here.}

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora

I have a handful of letters I need to respond to, but they sit on my desk, haphazardly tossed in a pile, waiting for the “perfect” time to craft. Maybe I haven’t spoken with one of the letter-writers, and I feel the need to formally write an intense, full-on disclosure and catch-up of my life’s happenings. Perhaps I’ve been in a funk and feel the need to “be in a better place” in order to write back a cheerful friend. A few moments this evening reminded me that there is no time better than the present to start something.

Work at the restaurant has, thankfully, been a little slow this past week, and I was gifted the past two days off. I had a self-imposed, detailed to-do list beckoning me, but I really felt the need to slow down. I baked a peach crumble. I came up with a few cocktails. I did my nails. I drew a bath and picked out a magazine from a stack of periodicals I’d been meaning to read for quite a while.

I randomly grabbed the very first issue of Kinfolk I’d purchased. It was also the first almost-$20 independent magazine I’d purchased. This particular issue, volume seven, published in 2013, was all about ice cream and entertaining. Sometimes, I buy magazines, and they sit on my desk or tabletop for years without my opening them. I figure that what goes around comes around and that the timing will be right, when I decide to crack the spine and flip through the pages. This time proved my assumptions correct. The timing was perfect.

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora

I opened to page 102 and read Killeen Hanson‘s words on being neighborly, checking in, and writing to friends and family. She recounts the many times her mother and father have written her over the years: notes on postcards, letters sneaked in junk mail envelopes, folders filled with local newspaper clippings. I’m also a beloved fan of the handwritten letter. Somehow, it supersedes the digital type in a text or email. It takes more time, art, effort. Maybe we, as a culture, have casually and conveniently forgotten this art, since it demands much more of us in our fast-paced, instantly gratified, real-time lifestyles.


“We’ve all received that out-of-the-blue note from a friend; the joy and comfort that these little check-ins bring us is incredible considering the simplicity and scale of the act. It doesn’t take much time or effort to jot down a thinking-of-you note to a friend that will change their day.”

Killeen Hanson, Kinfolk, Volume Seven, “How to be Neighborly: Checking In”


I’m vowing this Labor Day weekend to write letters to those friends, pen pals, colleagues, and family members I’ve been thinking about for weeks, months, even years. That article was so timely and relevant. There is no better time than now to say how you feel and brighten someone’s day with your own handwriting and words and doodles.

  • To my mom, I’m finally sending you the edited CDs of your past singing performances.
  • To Derrick, whom I’ve never met in real life but feel so intricately connected with, look for a recap from the past two years.
  • To Sandy, I’ve finally got a few treats for you. I must confess that I ate the first two batches of cookies I baked for you.
  • And to Gina, look out for a little “hello” in your mailbox this week! Your pen pal is finally following through.

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora

Another item I happened upon today was a batch of homemade allspice dram I made back in the spring. I can’t believe I hadn’t even tasted the finished product! I pursed my lips, squinted my eyes, and shook my head. I needed to do something about this situation.

So, what exactly IS allspice dram?

Allspice dram is a liqueur made from allspice berries with a little cinnamon. It marries perfectly with many Tiki cocktails and is a superb match with pears. I am in the midst of making a fig shrub, so I had an extra handfuls of figs. I correctly assumed that the flavors of figs, cinnamon, and allspice would go along quite nicely. This little cocktail brings the flavors of summer and the notes of fall together. It almost feels like Indian summer in a glass.

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora


about figgin’ thyme | a rum cocktail with fig + thyme


  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the figs with the thyme simple syrup.
  2. Fill the tin with ice.
  3. Add the light rum, apricot liqueur, allspice dram, and lemon juice.
  4. Shake well and double strain into coupe glasses. Optionally, double strain into cocktail glasses filled with ice and top with a splash of seltzer.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of freshly cut thyme.

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora


thyme simple syrup


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-4 sprigs freshly cut thyme
  1. Using a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar, measure out your desired portion. The recipe above yielded enough for about eight cocktails.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the sprigs of thyme and let the mixture steep for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Strain off the solids and let the syrup mixture cool.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora

For the allspice dram, I took Marcia Simmons’ lead over at Serious Eats. She proved that making your own allspice dram is just as delicious as the real deal. I have actually had a difficult time finding my favorite rendition, St. Elizabeth’s, so an adaptation on her simple recipe was a lifesaver.

An excerpt from the Death & Co. cocktail book, elaborating on both St. Elizabeth's allspice dram and Rothman & Winter's delicious apricot liqueur. This book is a must-have in any home bar. Definitely one of my favorite purchases of the year.

An excerpt from the Death & Co. cocktail book, elaborating on both St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram and Rothman & Winter’s delicious apricot liqueur. This book is a must-have in any home bar. Definitely one of my favorite purchases of the year.


 allspice dram


  • 1 cup light rum {I went with Downslope, again}
  • 1/4 cup whole allspice
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. In a mortar and pestle, crush the whole allspice berries.
  2. Place the crushed allspice in a mason jar and top with the rum.
  3. Shake the jar daily, over the course of four days. On the fourth day, break the cinnamon stick into a few pieces, and add them to the mixture.
  4. Continue steeping for 12 days total. On the twelfth day, strain the mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer. Take the time to make a second pass through a coffee filter for better clarity.
  5. In a saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring, until the granules have dissolved. Add the sugar-water to the allspice mixture, shake, and let the flavors integrate for a few days.

The flavor of homemade allspice dram is best, when it’s used within 3-4 months. Even though I forgot about the batch I made back in March, the flavors are still hanging on pretty well. Lots of cozy, baking spice-like notes with a strong liquor backbone.

fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora fig + thyme cocktail | how to make allspice dram | holly & flora

Cheers to a wonderfully relaxing Labor Day weekend!

Do you write letters at all? Do you think it is an art worth saving, and, if so, how do you plan on promoting and cultivating its future?

Enjoy those last days of summer, and seriously, disregard anyone who’s telling you it’s over. It’s not. Not until the 23rd. So, why rush it? It will happen, when it happens. Despite a few friends, who are already ordering their PSLs {ahem, Aimee and Nicole!}, I am resisting the urge and am still making popsicles and iced tea. The timing’s just right.

Big hugs,

Jayme

rhubarb + strawberry shrub mojito | the reset button

It’s amazing what a new job situation will do to your life. There is always a transition. To navigate that transitional time well, we are encouraged to slow down, settle into the newer routine, make room for exercise, focus on our breath, and keep calm and eat, drink, or do something to balance it all out.

It is so much easier said than actually done.

The first four months of this year were a financially stressful time for me. I was only working one evening each week at the restaurant, and my paid freelance jobs had stalled. In late April, I decided to take on another job, buying wine and spirits for a small wine shop here in town. The pay wasn’t great, but I kept my eyes on the promised opportunities: conducting wine-based trips, maintaining a website, and curating their social media.

It’s quite amusing how untimely life can be {or timely, perhaps}. As soon as I made that commitment to become a wine buyer, within just a couple of weeks, I was offered a raise and more shifts at the restaurant. It was an offer I couldn’t decline. Within a week, I was slammed with some writing and photography assignments. Looking back at this crazy time, I am actually shaking my head and laughing. I had to make one of the toughest decisions this year. I had to make a choice, and that choice required me to go back on my word.

I turned in my notice to the shop. I felt like absolute crap. Had I known what was coming my way only two weeks in advance, I would never have accepted that new job.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

I truly wanted to just stop working at the wine shop and pretend this all hadn’t happened. Instead, I gave them proper notice, while simultaneously jumping into my new role at the restaurant. I don’t even remember much of late April, and May was a complete blur. There were a few 60-hour work weeks, copious amounts of tears, second helpings of wine, and nights where I fell asleep on my desk.

My sleep schedule was so wrecked that I was able to call my mom on two occasions, while she was getting ready for work at 5:30 in the morning. She lives in Florida, so she is two hours ahead of me. I hadn’t gone to bed yet. It was 3:30 my time, and I had to be at work at 8:00. I was breaking down. Forget about those deep breaths or proper exercise or healthy eating or, while we’re at it, a healthy relationship with your significant other.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

There is a silver lining to this story. I promise.

Although I’m still recovering from the exhaustion from the last two months’ events, I am proud of myself that I persevered. I didn’t call in sick, I gave myself grace for not keeping the house clean, and I reinforced bridges that I could have potentially burned. I even capped off that whirlwind of craziness by successfully {more like miraculously!} finishing my first half-marathon. It was a rite of passage and really let me know that I’m more powerful than I give myself credit. We are all more powerful than we give ourselves credit.

I know all of us have piled on too much at once, whether or not we foresaw the outcome. How have you recovered? What tips to you have for getting the balance just right? I’m sure we can all benefit from further discussion.

rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito

I am happy to create more time to relax, get back to enjoying this blog, and run a little more. I am especially giving more attention to simply relaxing. My favorite moment last week was lying down in the back yard and staring up at the clouds. No phone. No active thinking. Just drifting.

And more time for cocktails.

Back in early March, I wrote a detailed post on how to make shrubs or drinking vinegars. They are a refreshing additive to cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, or just a little soda water. As I mentioned previously, a shrub is basically fruit, or even vegetables, combined with two other components: sugar and vinegar. After the correct ratio of those ingredients integrate over a little time, the result is a perfect balance of tartness, sugar, acidity, and texture. Shrubs are mouth-watering and concentrated, and they taste amazing when combined with soda water or integrated into a cocktail.

I made this rhubarb and strawberry shrub and have loved adding a little to homemade lemonade recently. I think I loved it best in a mojito. My mint is going crazy, so I have had to be super creative with using it in as many was as possible.


rhubarb + strawberry shrub


  • 10 ounces rhubarb, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 6 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  1. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar.
  2. Vigorously muddle the fruit. You really want to get out as much juice from the fruits, as you can.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for three days, stirring the mixture occasionally.
  4. Add the white wine vinegar, muddle the fruit a little, and stir to integrate any undissolved sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer into a clean jar.
  6. Return the shrub to the refrigerator and let it hang out there for one week, in order for the flavors to integrate.
  7. Shake well before using and either make a cocktail or add a little shrub to your soda water.

rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora

Mojitos were always so time-consuming to make, when I was behind the {muddling} stick. I know other bartenders, who would make theirs halfheartedly, so that no one would order them again. I actually found the process quite therapeutic, and I loved the taste of a well-incorporated mojito. I still do. For a little more history on the mojito, read this post on PUNCH.

Many recipes call for muddling raw sugar with mint leaves. I chose to make a mint simple syrup, instead. I’m using it for some orange-mint coconut cream pops, and I figured it would work perfectly in a mojito.


mint simple syrup


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • a handful of freshly cut mint leaves
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar on the stove, just until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and toss in the mint leaves.
  3. Let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the mint leaves and cool.
  5. Store it in a clean, glass jar and use it up within a couple of weeks.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora


rhubarb + strawberry shrub mojito


  • 2 quarters of a lime
  • 1/2 ounce mint simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 2 ounces white rum, like Downslope
  • 1 1/2 ounces rhubarb + strawberry shrub
  • soda water
  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the lime, simple syrup, and one sprig of mint. Save the other sprig for a garnish. Don’t slack. Muddle it well!
  2. Add ice, rum, and the shrub. Cover and give it a shake or two.
  3. Pour into a tall glass and top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with another sprig of mint, find a sunny spot, and sip slowly.
  • This recipe yields one drink. It is also a little tart because of the shrub. I like it that way, but you can always tone down the amount for a more subtle mojito. And adding more soda water also dilutes it!
  • If you don’t want to make the mint simple syrup, simply substitute regular simple syrup and add a little extra mint when muddling.
  • This multiplies easily for a pitcher drink. Just combine all of the ingredients, reserving the soda water for when you are ready to serve.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & floraCheers to an amazing week ahead!

Has your spring been consumed with herbaceous cocktails and fruity shrubs? If so, let me know what you’re doing. If not, get out and make yourself some!

XO,

Jayme

peach + mint mojitos

I am realizing that if I wait for the “perfect” time to sit down and compose a post {or do anything, for that matter}, that moment may never happen.  Well, here I am – another cocktail post, and another day closer to a finished kitchen!  The kitchen is still unusable, so that means donating surplus vegetables to friends, still washing dishes in the bathroom sink, and striving to make the fastest and easiest-to-clean-up summer treats.  We have done a lot of eating out lately, and I am actually ready for a full-on cleanse of some sort very soon.  I have found that simply selecting a glass, grabbing my muddler, and making a trip to the garden or the store have made some of the most delicious summer cocktail moments of the summer…nice respites in the midst of some serious chaos.

Ingredients for the It’s All Just Peachy Mojito

  • 1 peach, pitted, and sliced (into, maybe, ten pieces)
  • juice from one lime
  • handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • 1.5 ounces rum (spiced or white – I used 10 Cane, one of my favorites)
  • club soda

Steps for making the It’s All Just Peachy Mojito

  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the peach slices, lime juice, raw sugar, and mint leaves.
  2. Pour in rum and a few ice cubes.
  3. Shake the tin to incorporate.
  4. Pour into a tall or “collins” glass.
  5. Top with more ice.
  6. Finish with soda water.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
  8. Sit back, deeply sigh, think of something you’re grateful for, and take a long, slow sip.

The spearmint and peppermint were sourced from the backyard garden today, and the peaches were picked a day ago in Palisade, Colorado, where the peaches are in season.  I love the fruit from Ela Family Farms; I have been enjoying their produce for several years, here in Colorado.  If you need to find a farmers’ market or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your state, check out Local Harvest.  I found the very first CSA I subscribed to, back in 2008, on this very website.  My life was never the same.

So many bartenders and mixologists deride mojitos and other muddled drinks because of their cumbersome nature, when, in fact, these drinks have so much flavor and character!  Bring on the muddling and get rid of some pent-up stress!  Speaking of ridding oneself of stresses, we finished laying the floor tile in the kitchen this afternoon.  The process took over six hours.  Tomorrow, we grout and clean up the excess mortar.  I am beyond excited!!!  I just realized that I have never taken a photo from or of my kitchen for this blog; I would always shoot outside or seriously crop.  A detailed before-and-after post in the near future is necessary for some perspective.  Closing with some shots from this week’s garden and tonight’s kitchen…

Continue reading

garden mint juleps

I know that I am about a month late to celebrate the deliciousness of mint juleps; the Kentucky Derby, the event that prompts one to don fabulous hats and sip on this refreshing cocktail, happens every second week in May.  Although my timeliness is a little off, the mint in my backyard is, at last, ragingly fragrant, ripe, and ready for the picking.  Fresh mint simply screams for homemade iced tea, mojitos, and, of course, mint juleps.

If you’ve ever planted mint, you know that it takes over your yard, and soon, you have more mint than you know what to do with.  All summer long, you can unabashedly toss it into freshly brewed iced tea, or you can take a small amount of time to make some mint simple syrup that can transform your cocktails, teas, and other concoctions.

Baby mint sprigs ready for harvest. Mint thrives in partial shade environments and will take over your yard or garden, if you let it. It makes a great ground cover and always makes you smile, when you “accidentally” step on it.

How do you harvest mint?  Simply take some garden shears and cut just above what I call a “t” line.  Don’t cut the entire stalk off from the ground.  Select a stalk and count up at least two or three leaves up.  Cut just above the leaves, as shown below.  Easy!

Clipping the mint leaves.

Ingredients for Mint Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar {I use raw sugar}
  • 2 cups freshly cut, coarsely chopped mint {stalks are fine}

Steps for preparing the Syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar by stirring.
  2. Remove from heat, upon being dissolved.
  3. Place chopped mint into a bowl or Mason jar and pour simple syrup on top.
  4. Set aside for two hours, so that the mint steeps.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve or chinois and place in an airtight container.  The syrup keeps refrigerated for about a week.

Be sure to set aside a few sprigs of mint to use to garnish your mint juleps.  Snip a few sprigs and place them in a vase of water.  They will survive on your table or counter-top for several days, storing them in this manner.

Making the mint julep cocktail is the easiest part of the process, once your mint simple syrup is made.  Simply pack a cocktail glass full of shaved or crushed ice, pour bourbon on top, add the mint simple syrup, stir the cocktail, and top with a mint sprig!  I found the most adorable glass stirrers from a vintage-modern shop here in town, Lee Alex Decor, one of my favorite places to find cocktail accessories.  I couldn’t resist the garden theme!

Ingredients for the Garden Julep

  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of mint simple syrup {to taste}
  • crushed ice
  • mint sprig, for garnish

I picked up this Colorado-made bourbon from Divino Wine and Spirits, off Broadway, in Denver this afternoon.  Peach Street Distillers makes some of the most innovative spirits.  They are a small-batch operation, based in Pallisade, Colorado, and only make about a barrel a day {talk about small-batch!}.  The corn is sourced from the western slope of Colorado, and the final result is an aromatic, hand-numbered, balanced bourbon.  If you can get your hands on it, do so!

One other side note:  mint juleps are traditionally made with crushed or shaved ice.  If you are unable to find some {one friend of mine says that Good Times sells it by the bag!}, simply place ice cubes in a clean t-shirt or cheesecloth, cover, and smash several time with a mallet or hammer.  That’s what I had to do today!