Created by Brad Farran in 2012, the recipe for the Arrack Strap comes with a note: “At some point, every Death & Co. bartender takes on Arrack.” This might be false mathematically, but the words ring true in spirit, as the book published by these bartenders comes packed with an unprecedented assortment of excellent recipes that don the resurgent spirit—none better than the wintery wonder described here. The drink—which is notably similar to the classic palmetto cocktail—works by matching the intensity of it’s Javanese base with a second base of equally whopping flavor: dark rum. These two ingredients combine for a dashing whirlwind of flavors perfect for the darker months. Loaded with notes of orange, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel, this drink is lightyears from the assorted beachfront kinfolk often associated with cane sugar spirits, and perfect for stiff drinkers who might be skeptical of them. The Campari doesn’t come through fully until the end, though it contributes a subtle bitterness throughout the drink.
The original recipe calls for black strap rum. This is an excellent choice, though we have found this drink to be great with any dark, flavorful variety. The recipe also specifies Van Oosten Batavia Arrack, though we don’t necessarily feel like that bottle adds a ton. If you are searching for arrack to make this recipe, that label is often the easiest to find regardless. The recipe continues to be very specific, calling for Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino and demerara syrup. For the sake of approachability, we have removed the specific request for Cocchi, but demerara syrup is easy to make and is a detail that adds to the recipe. One ingredient worth hunting down is mole bitters; they are excellent in this drink, complementing the vanilla and caramel flavors with subtle notes of chocolate. Don’t let the bitters stop you from making this drink (Angostura bitters will work fine) but seeking out a bottle is not a bad idea. Ours has gotten a lot of usage, from dressed up classics to homespun inventions.