Winter temperatures call for warming your cockles, and this Old Fashioned variation from Mike Treffehn (head bartender at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philadelphia) really hits the spot when the mercury dips low. Blending three rums together to maximize the layered flavors, it's a tiki-inspired spin that brings out the best elements of each spirit.
Treffehn said that he "really digs" the combination of Appleton Estate Reserve rum and funky Jamaican Smith and Cross, "partially to tame the Smith and Cross and to bring out the body of the Appleton." Smooth, full-bodied Ron Zacapa 23, says Treffehn, "provides a really, nice rich base that contributes wonderfully to an Old Fashioned." He characterizes it as a drink that uses "a couple of things that harmonize but make great layers together, in a whole-greater-than-the-sum sort of way."
It's a model that can be applied to almost any drink: take your recipe's measure of any spirit, and split it between a few different bottles to add an assortment of complex flavors. "Typically, people feel restricted to using a single base spirit and building a drink around that, when in fact, beautiful things can happen with the splitting of those things," Treffehn explained. "Think about what you like about different bottles, and whether those flavors would play with each other well. If you have a particular spirit that you love, try and think about what you like about it best, and what could either complement or build around it."
In the Three-Rum Old Fashioned, the high-alcohol Smith & Cross (a winter go-to for Treffehn) is warming, while the Appleton mellows out the drink nicely, complemented with hints of chocolate from a dash of mole bitters. When it's blustery outside, this one goes down easy.