Spring has officially sprung. That means fields full of leaping lambs, delicate flowers fleeing the shadowy earth and mushrooming underfoot, and an air so fresh and invigorating that one is compelled to fling open bulging cupboards, rifle through overstuffed drawers, and cast off the shackles of winter with a hearty spring clean.
Not if you live in the UK, of course. Then the dawning of spring means discounted Easter eggs, one joyous day of thawing sun, then months of not knowing whether to wear a coat, until summer finally loafs into view. So what better way to weather this weekend’s tempestuous elements than to sip a beverage named for said climate, but hailing from somewhere rather sunnier?
The Dark and Stormy, traditionally fusing rich, dark rum with spiced ginger beer and zingy lime, seems to have originated in Bermuda in the mid-1800s, when naval officers blended their rum ration with the army’s own locally brewed ginger beer. The addition of lime came later, possibly to make the fiery brew a little more palatable to the hoi polloi.
Mr Lyan, aka Ryan Chetiyawardana, has a different take on the classic cocktail, however, infusing the rum itself with tropical pineapple and warming ginger and using the lime only to serve.
“My version is a tropical but balanced drink,” explains Chetiyawardana. “I love creating simple infusions that can be lengthened and many rums have a lovely pineapple note that is great to pick out.” But while this particular variation is an ode to all things tropicalia, Chetiyawardana is keen to encourage experimentation.
“You can infuse the rum with any kind of fruit,” he says. “Play with your favourite flavours or whatever you have to hand. Infusions are handy to have around so you can build a complex cocktail quickly.”
Depending on what you intend to infuse, however, will affect the type of rum you choose. “A golden rum sits somewhere between the light grassy notes of a white rum, and the tobacco and spice of a dark rum. Of course it varies according to style, country and brand, but the light honeyed sweetness of a golden rum marries perfectly with the tropical notes of pineapple here.”
So instead of wasting the weekend taking your jacket off and on, why not crank up the central heating, slip into those Speedos, and whip up a batch of Mr. Lyan’s sun-filled elixir?
Pineapple Rum With Ginger Beer (Serves 2)
1 bottle golden rum
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
1 very ripe pineapple
Small highball glass to serve
Chilled, good-quality ginger beer
Lime, to garnish
“It needs a little dryness in the rum to balance this drink out, so Bacardi 8 would be grand, as would Havana 7. But there’s some great blended rums, from independent bottlers such as Cadenhead’s, that work well.
“You can, of course, use your favourite rum. White rum will lead to a lighter drink, perhaps more spring-like, while a darker rum would be much more wintery and rich. Also, Fever Tree’s ginger beer is nicely spicy, but you can always try to make (or brew) your own. You need the right balance of fire and sweetness.”
- Mix the rum and sugar in a jar until the sugar is well-dissolved.
- Peel and chop the ginger and pineapple and add to the sweetened rum. Allow to infuse for a few hours (or up to a day).
- Strain through a sieve and store in the fridge until needed.
- Fill your highball glass with cubed ice and add two shots (50ml) of the infused rum.
- Top with chilled ginger beer, stir, and add a couple of squeezed wedges of lime.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“A very ripe fruit is vital here – if you try to pick up the pineapple by a leaf and it pulls out, you’re on the right track. It should smell of ripe fruit before it’s cut, too. If you know you’re going to drink this cocktail quickly (with friends round you will, it’s damn delicious), simply blitz the ripe pineapple into the rum.
“Cardamom is also a great companion to pineapple – the seeds of one pod is plenty to add.”
This cocktail recipe is taken from Ryan Chetiyawardana’s book ‘Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends’, published by Frances Lincoln, £20
Photography: Kim Lightbody