Can I take a moment to say I'm secretly a little glad that holiday madness has wound to a close? It's fun to go to gatherings with friends and family, and to host gatherings of my own. But now, it's nice to kick back and not do much of anything for a change.
The change of pace has me in the mood for a cocktail with some firepower. A little something to say to the holidays "It was nice to see you, now don't let the door hit your ass on the way out", if you will.
And boy, does this week's cocktail deliver on that end.
See also: How to Muddle Drinks With Your Blender
One of the cocktails I keep on the back burner (well, I suppose in this case, on the back bar) for when I want something with a kick but is still delicious is the Carbonated Piston Slinger. With a name like that, how could I resist telling you about it?
The name is, of course, a reference to cars, specifically their internal combustion engines. When something goes really wrong with a car, it's possible for the rod that connects the piston to the rest of the engine to break free. When it does, it packs a mighty wallop to both the engine and to the car owner's wallet.
The Carbonated Piston Slinger itself isn't too far off from a basic Collins, just with sweet sloe gin in the place of regular old simple syrup. The other thing that makes it different is the choice of base spirit, a full shot of 151-proof rum.
Most modern Carbonated Piston Slinger recipes specify to shake the non-carbonated ingredients, then strain the mixture over fresh ice and add soda to fill the glass. Friends, you don't need to go to all that trouble.
The reason one shakes a drink is to dilute the drink slightly with water from the melting ice. Since you're already going to dilute the drink with soda water, there's no reason to shake it. All that shaking will accomplish is giving you less room for soda, and therefore less sparkle in the final product.
Since this is a stripped-down drink, ingredient selection is key. If the only 151-proof rum you've ever had is Bacardi, you're missing out on some delicious overproof spirits. The best by far is Lemon Hart from Guyana (known back in the day as Demerara), but no Arizona distributors carry it. Cruzan makes a good one that's a compromise between lush, full-flavored Lemon Hart and thin, acrid Bacardi.
Artisan bartenders likely have a bottle of a fine sloe gin such as Plymouth on their back bar. I think that using the good stuff here is pretty much pointless. If anything, I think the cheap stuff that's redolent of Robitussin works a little better here; the extra sweetness in cheap sloe gin stands up better to the extreme firepower of 151-proof rum. If I'm going to use Plymouth or one of the other good sloe gins on the market these days, I'll add a little splash of simple syrup just to keep everything even.
I think this goes without saying, but do proceed with caution when drinking these. Each one is about twice as strong as your average cocktail.
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Carbonated Piston Slinger 1-1/2 ounces 151-proof Demerara rum 3/4 ounce sloe gin 3/4 ounce lime juice Soda water
Build in a tall glass over ice cubes. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge and maraschino cherry.