Pimento dram is one of those cocktail ingredients that you’ve likely enjoyed before, can’t completely define, and almost certainly don’t have sitting on your shelf. But thanks to a recent release from the Germanic cocktail nerds behind The Bitter Truth, you now have a good reason to study up on the mysterious liqueur.
Pimento dram is made with Jamaican rum and pimento, a berry that grows prominently in Jamaica. Pimento was nicknamed “allspice” by the English, who marveled at its ability to mimic the flavors of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg (for this reason, pimento dram is sometimes referred to as “allspice.”
The Bitter Truth’s pimento dram may be a 22% ABV liqueur, but the intensity of the spice means that it’s not intended for solo sipping. That being said, sipping the spirit neat reveals its remarkable depth of flavor (and lack of syrupy sweetness). It starts with big clove notes up front, followed by nutmeg, smoky maple syrup, and cinnamon before a dry, chalky note of nutmeg plays it out to the finish.
Sipping this alone may highlight the quality of the ingredient, but I wouldn’t recommend it recreationally. Instead, use it to make cocktails like the classic Lion’s Tail, which I made with two ounces of Four Roses Small Batch, a half ounce of simple syrup, three quarters of an ounce of lime juice, and a half teaspoon of pimento dram. The liqueur made its presence known even in this scant measurement, turning what would otherwise be a conventional sour into a complex winter sipper packed with warming spices.
Yes, that’s the power of pimento dram, even in tiny portions. So, you can expect any investment made in this liqueur to have long-lasting rewards.
— 22% ABV