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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Hamilton Pimento Dram
Hamilton Pimento Dram
CosmoReverb
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 19, 2016
Posts: 19
From: Southern California
Posted: 2016-12-01 11:13 am   Permalink

I was driving home from a trip to Phoenix last weekend and hit some major traffic 'round about Indio. It was around lunchtime so me and my gal decided to pit stop in Palm Springs and so we popped in to the Tonga Hut. It was early so the place was pretty quiet and we struck up a bit of a convo with the bartender. He was a total sweetheart and indulged me in discussing all sorts of cocktail geekery. Turns out that we both make our own falernum and so we swapped ideas and stories about that and I asked if the Tonga Hut makes their own and he said that indeed they did, I went on to ask if they also make their own pimento dram and he said "No, we use the Hamilton."

"The what-now?" I asked.


I had of course heard that Hamilton was going to be coming out with a pimento dram in the near future, but I was completely oblivious to the fact that it had already came out.

So, if you, like me, were not hip to the news that the Hamilton Pimento Dram had come out, consider yourself informed! As soon as I could, I stopped in at Hi-Time I bought a bottle. At $26.99 for a 750ml bottle, it was priced a bit lower than the Bitter Truth ($31.99 per 750ml) and much less than the St. Elizabeth ($23.99 per 375ml.) It's made with pot still rum and it is around 30% abv.

I thought that it was really good. It's much less syrupy than the St. Elizabeth and very full-flavored. The flavor has a roundness and robustness that I haven't been able to get with any of my home-brewed recipes, but without a lot of the zesty heat that, while I personally like, tends to be too pervasive and overpowers many cocktails.

I really like it and will most likely be using it as my "go to." I recommend you at least give it a try. Availability-wise I would imagine that any local retailer that carries Hamilton rums should have it or at least be able to order it for you. Here's the Hi-Time link if you can't find it locally:
https://www.hitimewine.net/hamilton-pimento-dram-750ml-189750 (Not shilling for them, it's just where I bought mine and I know that they ship to most places.)

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LeftarmofBuddha
Member

Joined: May 31, 2016
Posts: 10
From: Murfreesboro Tenn
Posted: 2016-12-01 11:42 am   Permalink

Thanks for posting this! I have been wanting to pick up a bottle since I heard about it and have been putting off remaking some homemade stuff. Just about to run out, as well. I just special ordered some from my local store than get most of the Hamilton line, just not the 151!

 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1973
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2016-12-01 12:02 pm   Permalink

Pimento drams - this brings up a question that I wrestle with frequently. If I'm going to make a classic cocktail, I want to achieve closeness to the original as much as reasonably possible if the original ingredients are available. So, the big question:

>>>> With so many different pimento drams out now, how do others here decide which to buy and use in a classic recipe?

I don't mind innovating, especially when a drink recipe sucks to me personally. In that case I may tweak it, or I may move on. Choice of pimento drams seems to be in that vein of "to each his own, it's really no big deal." Same with the many different choices we have for falernum.

So I thought I would toss this question out to the folks here in this new thread for pimento dram. (There are a couple other threads about pimento dram already here on TC.)


 
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lunavideogames
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1776
From: San Diego
Posted: 2016-12-01 12:34 pm   Permalink

I got a bottle recently as well. I had heard that many people do not like it, so I went into it with very mixed reviews. It is a much better deal than St Elizabeths so I was hopeful that it would make a good sub. I am a huge fan of the dram, one of my all time favorite ingredients in tiki recipes.

We tried it against my friends home made recipe. First, the smell is a lot funkier than the St E. This put me off a bit at first but the nose doesn't always know best in flavoring of booze. At first sip I noticed a much bolder flavor than the St E. It was obvious to me that Ed had mixed a funky Jamaican rum with his formula. As we sat and pondered the flavors, we tried the home made against the Hamilton's. We both thought that the Hamilton's was favored by both of us. We also both thought it was superior to St E.

Knowing Ed's knowledge and background with rums, I would say that the funky rum is more likely the more authentic flavor that would have been used in classic drams. I feel like his is much spicier than the classic would have been, but I enjoy the spice. I have never tried any mid century drams, so I am just taking a guess that Ed did his research and tried his best to replicate the recipes he has tried in the past.

I have not had time to make too many cocktails with the new dram, but if my first taste holds up in drinks, I am switching up to Hamilton's Pimento Dram for good. Far better value and flavor than other drams I have tried on the market.


 
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lll888
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 15, 2015
Posts: 33
Posted: 2016-12-01 12:52 pm   Permalink

My new go to.

 
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CosmoReverb
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 19, 2016
Posts: 19
From: Southern California
Posted: 2016-12-01 12:53 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-12-01 12:34, lunavideogames wrote:
We tried it against my friends home made recipe. First, the smell is a lot funkier than the St E. This put me off a bit at first but the nose doesn't always know best in flavoring of booze. At first sip I noticed a much bolder flavor than the St E. It was obvious to me that Ed had mixed a funky Jamaican rum with his formula. As we sat and pondered the flavors, we tried the home made against the Hamilton's. We both thought that the Hamilton's was favored by both of us. We also both thought it was superior to St E.



This was very similar (and more eloquently stated) to my impressions as well, and with similar test/control samples to boot. (Although obviously my home brew is most likely way different than your friend's.) I freely admit that my palate isn't as refined as that of many members' here, but I have also found that "funk in the nose" of an ingredient doesn't always translate into the taste of a cocktail.


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1973
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2016-12-01 1:00 pm   Permalink

Great info, thanks all! I'm looking for a bottle near me so I can play with it soon.

 
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CosmoReverb
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 19, 2016
Posts: 19
From: Southern California
Posted: 2016-12-01 1:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-12-01 12:02, AceExplorer wrote:
Pimento drams - this brings up a question that I wrestle with frequently. If I'm going to make a classic cocktail, I want to achieve closeness to the original as much as reasonably possible if the original ingredients are available. So, the big question:

>>>> With so many different pimento drams out now, how do others here decide which to buy and use in a classic recipe?

I don't mind innovating, especially when a drink recipe sucks to me personally. In that case I may tweak it, or I may move on. Choice of pimento drams seems to be in that vein of "to each his own, it's really no big deal." Same with the many different choices we have for falernum.

So I thought I would toss this question out to the folks here in this new thread for pimento dram. (There are a couple other threads about pimento dram already here on TC.)



It's a good question, and possibly one deserving of its own thread. "The (Potentially Futile) Quest for Authenticity in Traditional Cocktails."

I, for one, am most likely in the "enthusiastic, but pessimistic" camp. Unfortunately it just seems to me that with subtle variations from batch-to-batch over a long length of time, and occasional revamping of formulations, even the brands and labels of still-existing ingredients don't have any concrete reliability that their taste profiles are the same as what they were 50-70 years ago. I mean even the changes that can occur in the bottle over time could mean that old-stock examples aren't any "true" indicator of how something tasted "back in the day."

So that, plus all of the "best guess" re-creations of the more extinct ingredients, like falernum and fassionola, lead me to believe that attempts to make the truest, most authentic version of what something was originally intended to taste like, might be a vain pursuit.

That being said, I am also in the "I may not know art, but I know what I like" camp and if I enjoy something that might not be exactly 100% faithful to the original intention, well at least someone tried and that's good enough for me.


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1973
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2016-12-01 1:27 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-12-01 13:14, CosmoReverb wrote:
...with subtle variations from batch-to-batch over a long length of time, and occasional revamping of formulations, even the brands and labels of still-existing ingredients don't have any concrete reliability that their taste profiles are the same as what they were 50-70 years ago.



Well said! One of the better examples in my collection -- Lillet Blanc was reformulated ("modernized, they called it, blah...) 10-15 years ago, and now to get a close approximation of the true "old" Lillet you have to buy and use Cocchi Americano instead.


 
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Bumboo
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 16, 2015
Posts: 15
From: Pasadena, CA
Posted: 2016-12-01 6:25 pm   Permalink

It's my go-to now as well. First got to sample it at this year's Hukilau during the Ed Hamilton rum tasting. Jeff Berry was also present helping Ed run his PowerPoint slides, and what sealed it for me (beyond the taste) is that Jeff had input in the formula and they tested a few variations.

If you are used to using St. Elizabeth in cocktails, with the Hamilton you may want to double the amount called for in recipes. (For example, the Ancient Mariner recipe printed on the back of the bottle calls for double the amount of allspice as the original recipe in "Remixed.")


 
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JeffCleveland
Member

Joined: Jun 14, 2016
Posts: 7
Posted: 2016-12-02 12:20 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-12-01 11:13, CosmoReverb wrote:
I was driving home from a trip to Phoenix last weekend and hit some major traffic 'round about Indio. It was around lunchtime so me and my gal decided to pit stop in Palm Springs and so we popped in to the Tonga Hut. It was early so the place was pretty quiet and we struck up a bit of a convo with the bartender. He was a total sweetheart and indulged me in discussing all sorts of cocktail geekery. Turns out that we both make our own falernum and so we swapped ideas and stories about that and I asked if the Tonga Hut makes their own and he said that indeed they did, I went on to ask if they also make their own pimento dram and he said "No, we use the Hamilton."

"The what-now?" I asked.



I'm so glad you found it and were able to grab a bottle. It was a pleasure to have you stop in! I always enjoy chatting about cocktails. Next time you're in Palm Springs, I hope you'll be in to visit again!!


 
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heylownine
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 877
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2016-12-02 9:10 pm   Permalink

For me, the biggest difference between Hamilton Pimento Dram and St. Elizabeth/home brew from BBR is that the Hamilton cuts down on the sweetness of the liqueur. If you're used to the recipe from BBR or St. Elizabeth and prefer that profile, you may want to add 1/4 oz of simple or Demerara to your recipe when using Hamilton.

No matter what you think you prefer, you owe it to yourself to try a Jasper's Jamaican with Hamilton Jamaican Gold and Pimento Dram.



Kevin

_________________
--
if it's not a little complicated, it's probably not worth it.
5 Minutes of Rum
http://twitter.com/heylownine


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CosmoReverb
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 19, 2016
Posts: 19
From: Southern California
Posted: 2016-12-07 1:59 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-12-02 12:20, JeffCleveland wrote:

I'm so glad you found it and were able to grab a bottle. It was a pleasure to have you stop in! I always enjoy chatting about cocktails. Next time you're in Palm Springs, I hope you'll be in to visit again!!



Aw bless your heart man!

Thank you so much for indulging me and for all your help.

You can bet on it that I'll drop in next time in town!


 
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