Stroh 80% and Brancamenta- SURPRISE!!!

December 26, 2014

The day after Christmas is always the happiest day of the year for me.  Why?  Because the crescendo towards New Year's Eve is beginning and my thirst quickens. 

Sleep may be hard to come by because of all the revelry at hand. I recommend resorting to the old fashioned way of napping- through the generous application of a time honored art of "day drinking." 

When you have a thirst in the morning, the best way to sate that desire is to satisfy your hunger first. So eat a full breakfast before embarking on any seriously dark path toward sleep!

First I brew a hot pot of tea, with the correct tea. A robust English or Irish Breakfast tea is what is called for here.  Something strong to stand up against the power of herbal spirits is required.  It's quite possibly that the hardest decision of the day is to decide which tea, but please bear with me here, the reward is far better than the cost.

Do not however use a tea bag.  Loose tea shows class- a tea bag takes away from the art of tea which should be a learned technique.  When adding potent spirits to a well-tended pot of tea, you elevate the simple art of drinking to a higher art form.  Not getting drunk, but getting soused.  But quickly on the heels of drunk comes obliterated if you are not careful! So watch out with this little charmer.  There are seriously dangerous flavors at work here.  They all seem to work together to mess with your world if you overdo it.  Please listen to me on this.  I know what I'm talking about.  Make sure that you put something in your belly other than drink, it makes going back to sleep much easier. 

Stroh Rum from Austria is more rum than most.  First of all, the strength of this rum is like none other on the market.  It is most commonly used by pastry chefs in culinary applications, think rum cakes- or when mingled with freshly squeezed juices as an integral ingredients in a punch.  Whatever way that you choose to drink Stroh Rum, take care of your stomach by putting something into it first. 

I like to drink Stroh Rum in the morning in a pre-heated mug.  I use a thick walled, ceramic mug that hold heat inside like nobody's business.  Then after pouring out the boiling water I add an application of Brancamenta. 

What is Brancamenta?  It's Fernet Branca, the impossibly bitter digestive with a treatment of freshly crushed mint and aromatic (read: healing) herbs.  I've heard many stories of why Branca Menta was invented, all of them may (or may not) be true, but the one that I like best involves the mint flavor itself. 

Brancamenta is seriously refreshing. When Brancamenta is added to a mug full of boiling hot tea and topped with butter- plus a pinch or two of sea salt- then sweetened with a dose (or more) of Stroh Rum, now that is really living large.

In the world of correction, that is the addition of spirits to a cup of tea or coffee, one application stands out.  That is Stroh Rum along with Brancamenta.  The butterscotch aromatics of the Stroh Rum meld beautifully into each whisp of freshly picked mint from the Brancamenta.  Add to that a bit of raw honey for sweetness (I use the raw honey from Caledonia Spirits in Vermont) and most certainly a pat of sweet butter.  It's up to you if you you wish to let this cool down a bit before imbibing, but take it from me, when you wrap your hands around the steamy mug, you'll forget most everything very shortly. 

And that is not necessarily a bad thing!

I love Brancamenta and I adore Stroh Rum together in a mug with hot tea.  This is precisely what I used to drink when I lived up in Boston in the early 1980's.  Winter was pretty harsh up there while I was in college, lots of ice and the kind of cold that just stuck to your flesh, like putting your tongue on a frozen lamp post. 

A robust mug full of mint and butterscotch flavored rum, woven with hot tea and sweet butter and raw honey? 

More than you can imagine will happen after two of these compact firecrackers. 

Sleep usually comes pretty quickly after three of these. 

If you have four- get out the Fernet Branca.  You'll need it later or for the next morning!

Niche Imports from New Jersey imports Stroh Rum.  It's DARNED good stuff...

Brancamenta is widely available.  Seek it out.. Drink it with cola- but never that corn syrup sweetened swill.. That kind of soda pop is just gross and not worthy of your hard earned money. 


The Sir Walter Scott


1/2 oz. Stroh Rum 80%

1 oz. Brancamenta

6 oz. Hot Tea (always brew your tea with loose tea leaf, it just tastes better!)

1-2 oz. Raw Honey (essential)

1 Teaspoon Sweet Butter

Pinch of sea salt



Preheat  your mug with boiling water- then pour out when uniformly hot

Add the Brancamenta and the butter

Pour in the hot tea

Add the Stroh Rum 80%

Sweeten to taste with raw honey

Add a pinch of sea salt


My second book, Whiskey Cocktails is hot on the heels of my first "best selling" book Apothecary Cocktails.  Please buy a copy- and if you live in the New York Metro area, please let me sign it for you!