Larry Bird · Craigie on Main

By Eric Twardzik · 08/09/2019

It may be called the Larry Bird, but the Celtics great isn’t the only inspiration behind this rum-and-mezcal drink from Craigie on Main. It owes a special debt to one of lead bartender Eric Books’ favorite cocktails, the Jungle Bird.

In that tiki classic, Jamaican rum is combined with lime juice, pineapple juice, and Campari to make a potent tropical drink with a signature red hue. To create his riff, Books retained both juices but dropped the Campari in favor of brighter bianco vermouth.

“[I did that] for the same reason that you would do it in a White Negroni,” Books says. “Just to change the color and get it to the same place while taking a different route.”

Rather than relying on rum alone, Books created a split spirits base with an ounce of mezcal and a quarter-once each of two overproof rums. A half-dash of saline solution tempers the vermouth’s bitterness and adds a subtle savory touch.

The outcome has the smoke and funk you’d expect from mezcal and overproof rum, but it stays balanced thanks to its fruity components. And lest you forget the namesake, a disk of sliced orange—reminiscent of a basketball—sits atop its single ice cube.

Larry Bird
1 ounce Del Maguey Vida Mezcal

7/8 ounce Luxardo Bitter Bianco
¾ ounce pineapple syrup*
½ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce El Dorado 151 Proof Rum
¼ ounce Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
¼ ounce orange juice
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
½ dash saline solution (1 part salt, 4 parts water)
Orange disc, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker with one ice cube and shake until cube is completely dissolved. Fill shaker with fresh ice, shake for several seconds, and double strain into a rocks glass over a single large ice cube. Express orange disc over surface of the drink and garnish. 

Pineapple Syrup* (yields about 16 ounces)
1/3 of a pineapple, sliced into 10 pieces

8 ounces rich simple syrup (made with 2 parts sugar, 1 part water)

Combine pineapple pieces with rich simple syrup in a blender and blend until liquefied. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a container, seal, and refrigerate. Keeps about 1 month.

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