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allspice cocktails

March 6, 2014

Forbidden Island in Alameda is a great tiki bar. It’s an amazing bar. It’s an award-winning bar.

And they took my favorite drink off the menu.

We took some friends there in January, and their menus had been re-printed. I browsed through to find my favorite and found that it was gone, gone, gone!

It was the In Vino Veritas, and it was the best.

Not to worry, I’d already figured out how to make it at home! The menu had described it as a mix of rum, red wine syrup, citrus, and allspice. I could do that.

(But the cocktail is still on the website? I couldn’t have missed it, I scoured that menu. But it was also dimly-lit, and we’d also just split a Virgin Sacrifice, sooo…)


Step 1: Acquire allspice.

Not as easy as you’d think! I couldn’t find it at any local stores (didn’t know what it was, would have to special order it, sold out and didn’t plan to re-stock), so I had to order it online and cough up the extra cash for shipping. I threw in a bottle of Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka, just to make the purchase worth my time.

Step 2: Make red wine syrup.

Red wine syrup is extremely easy to make. It’s simple syrup, with wine instead of water. Simple!

Step 3: Guess at the rest of the ingredients.

There was some trial and error. What did they mean by “citrus”? A splash of lime? Lemon? It took a few tries, but eventually we figured it out:

In Vino Veritas Maxime (“In Wine, There is Truth, Mostly”) — from Forbidden Island, Alameda

  • 1 shot dark rum
  • 1 shot red wine syrup
  • 1/2 shot allspice
  • top off with orange juice

And there it is! Mostly. It’s not an exact replica, but it’s close enough that my memory of the original can’t tell much of a difference.

I’ve been enjoying allspice so much, I tried recreating a few other cocktails from local restaurants:

Santo Spirito Magis et Minus (“Holy Spirit, More or Less”) — from Boot and Shoe Service, Oakland

  • 1 shot rum
  • 1/2 shot allspice
  • splash of simple syrup
  • splash of lime
  • top with tonic

The original is also served with a sprig of mint. When I asked the server if he could leave off the mint, he started in with the whole “That really changes the flavor of the cocktail…” spiel. Dude, it’s a garnish. I hate mint and love everything else in this cocktail. I just didn’t want to pick it off and waste food.

Angry Russian Mule, Probably — from Build, Berkeley

  • 1 shot vodka
  • 1/2 shot allspice
  • dash of bitters
  • splash of lime
  • top with tonic
  • sprinkle with ground clove

Yum! Sadly, the allspice didn’t make it through winter. The last was used in a rum/apple cider/ginger beer punch over the holidays.

Worth it.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashfae permalink
    March 7, 2014 5:28 am

    I’m very perplexed by how much trouble you had finding allspice. It’s a common thing; I use it all the time in baking, and wouldn’t dream of making pumpkin pie or gingerbread without it. I’m sure I used to just buy it from Safeway/King Soopers/etc! Odd odd odd.

    Also, totally delicious and I want to try these. Yum.

    • March 7, 2014 9:43 am

      Are you referring to the powdered spice, or the liqueur? I only found one store that supposedly carried it, but they were sold out and not re-ordering any time soon.

  2. Ashfae permalink
    March 11, 2014 1:00 pm

    Nevermind, I’m an idiot who speed-read the entry! I didn’t even know allspice liqueur existed. But DEAR GOD I want some.

    • March 12, 2014 8:58 am

      I made the same mistake when I first started working out the recipes. I bet you can find some in your neck of the woods; if not just order online. So worth it!

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