Stir It Up

I’ve been an avid follower of the Mixology Monday series, where a type of cocktail is proposed and then folks get to come up with drinks to meet the requirements, but never had time to work on one myself. This month, however, I was inspired by the theme “Call Me Old Fashioned!” created by Laura of Sass and Gin.

I love a good Old Fashioned. Sass and Gin’s guidance for this challenge:  stick to the traditional Old Fashioned ratios of spirit, bitters, and sugar (here’s a good, basic recipe), but feel free to step outside the box with the ingredients.

So, here, I am, long-time reader, first-time poster…. with my drink, “Stir It Up,” a rum-based Old Fashioned with strong floral and ginger notes and and named after the Bob Marley reggae classic.

I used a white Appleton 100-proof Jamaican rum that I infused with dried hibiscus flowers, giving it a lovely pink glow and floral scent, and a ginger syrup, instead of sugar cubes, bringing a spicy sweetness that may tempt to you drink it faster than you normally might drink an Old Fashioned. To round out the flavors, I added two dashes of Jamaican #2 bitters, by Bittercube.

Stir It Up

Hibiscus-infused Jamaican rum, 2.5 oz.

Ginger syrup, 1/2 to 3/4 oz.

Jamaican #2 Bitters, by Bittercube, 2 dashes

To make the drink, combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and “stir it up” till well chilled. Pour into an old-fashioned glass, over a couple of ice cubes. Garnish with a ribbon of grapefruit twist.

For tips on infusing the rum, making the ginger syrup, and swapping the bitters, see my recipe notes at the end of this post.


This drink is flashy and gorgeous. It’s lighter and less serious than a traditional Old Fashioned, stirring it up but remaining true to the original ratios. It’s a lovely drink for a warm spring day, the kind of day that reminds you that while spring is here, summer is coming soon.

Perhaps still stirred up by the drink, I painted a few hibiscus flower etegami, with the words from an anonymous Chippewa poem, “I feel the summer in the spring.”


Recipe notes:

  • For the ginger syrup, I follow David Lebovitz’s recipe almost to a T, but add just a bit more ginger.
  • For the hibiscus-infused rum, I picked up a 1 ounce packet of hibiscus tea from Bazaar Spices (it says that drinking hibiscus tea can stave off hair loss and graying!) at Union Market in DC, mixed the tea with a 750 ml bottle of white Jamaican 100 proof rum (I chose Appleton’s) in a sealable glass container, and let it sit, shaking it up twice a day, for about 5 days. Then I poured the rum through a sieve to remove the leaves, and rebottled the now pleasantly pink and flowery rum in the original bottle.
  • For the bitters, if you don’t have access to Bittercube, or are trying to make due with what you have in your liquor cabinet, use Regan’s Orange Bitters, or, if push comes to shove, Angostura.mxmologo

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