Captain Blackbeard's Last Stand

Captain Blackbeard's Last Stand

In early October I got wind of a cocktail contest that sounded fun. The contest required that the competitors use at least two of four specified ingredients ( Hella Bitter Citrus Bitters, Kappa Pisco, Amaro Montenegro, and Ron Zacapa 23 Rum). I'm a huge fan of Amaro Montenegro for its complexity and elegance. I'm also just crazy about the entire category of rum. There are so few rules and regulations set on rum from the grassy, funky agricoles of Martinique to the warm, rich, well matured Demerara's of Guyana, the variety of products is seemingly inexhaustable. Needless to say, I decided to work with the Ron Zacapa 23 and Amaro Montenegro. Competitors we're to base their cocktail on their Halloween costume. I hadn't chosen a costume yet this year but the idea of working with rum set my mind on piracy and I decided that Captain Blackbeard was as good a costume as any. Now I just had to build a cocktail fit for a pirate.

Here's what you'll need to make Captain Blackbeard's Last Stand:

  • 1.5 oz. Ron Zacapa 23
  • 1 oz. Amaro Montenegro
  • .75 oz. Smith & Cross Navy Strength Rum (.5oz. for the drink, .25oz. for garnish)
  • 1 Barspoon Green Chartreuse
  • 1 Dash Fee Brother's Black Walnut Bitters
  • One Lime


These are the tools you'll be using:

  • Jiggers (1oz./2oz. and .5oz./.75oz.)
  • Mixing Glass
  • Barspooon
  • Julep Strainer
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Wooden Matches
  • Cocktail Glass

Photo: Tim Miner

Now that you've got your supplies let's get started. We'll prepare the garnish first so your cocktail isn't over-diluting or getting warm while you prep. Slice a cheek off the side of your lime. Squeeze the juice out of the cheek (you can save the juice for a daiquiri later). Using your barspoon, scrape the remaining pulp out of the lime cheek being careful not to tear through the rind. Set the hollowed out lime cheek aside.

A hollowed-out lime cheek.

A hollowed-out lime cheek.

Now lets build the cocktail. Grab your mixing glass and add the Ron Zacapa 23, the Amaro Montenegro, .5oz. of the Smith & Cross, the Green Chartreuse, and the Black Walnut Bitters. Top the mixing glass with ice and stir to chill and dilute (remember water is an important part of any good cocktail) for about 30 seconds. Use your Julep Strainer to strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass. You do keep your cocktail glasses in the freezer, don't you? Grab that hollowed-out lime cheek that you set aside earlier. Float it, skin side down, on the surface of the cocktail and fill it with the remaining .25oz. of Smith & Cross Navy Strength Rum. Strike a wooden match, wait till the sulfur burns off then light the rum in the lime on fire. Make sure to sink the flaming lime cheek before you enjoy the cocktail. You wouldn't want to light your pirate beard on fire.

A note on the garnish: The flaming garnish calls for Navy Strength Rum. Any spirit will work as long as it is over 114 proof or 57% ABV (alcohol by volume). Navy Strength is a term that refers to the British Navy spirits ration. All British Naval officers received a spirits ration. While at sea those spirits were stored in wooden barrels. If one of those barrels leaked or spilled on the gunpowder during a battle, the ship could be lost so the spirits had to be high enough ABV that should it spill on the gunpowder, that gunpowder would still ignite.

Navy Strength Rum.  57% ABV

Navy Strength Rum. 57% ABV