The Flavorful Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Winter Cocktails

The changing of seasons is the perfect excuse to roll up your sleeves and get creative. Whether it's giving your morning cup of java an icy spin, tweaking everyday recipes to include produce that's in season, or using seasonal flavors to experiment with classic tipples, taking advantage of seasonal changes can add a fresh dose of fun, flavor, and flair to everyday foods and drinks.

Spring, for example, is an excellent time to add fresh herbs to alcoholic beverages, summers are all about colorful drinks with tropical flavors, and fall calls for boozy drinks with a kick of pumpkin or apple spice. As winter comes around, it's time to consider all that warm spices can bring to the world of cocktails. A mixologist tells Glass Revolution that the combination of spices, like cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg, paired with spirits, like whiskies, single-malts, and dark rums, and sweetened with brown sugar, is a good place to start when it comes to winter cocktails.

Food & Wine finds that summery cocktails can also be given a winter makeover using clever alcohol swaps — think spirits aged in barrels or spirits infused with herbs and spice in place of regular liquors. In fact, Food & Wine recommends an excellent spice-filled liqueur to turn the heat on your winter cocktails up a notch: allspice dram. The Jamaican liqueur not only pairs well with the rich spirits that make for wonderful cocktail bases in colder temperatures, but it also adds the exquisite fragrance and flavor of warm spice that's synonymous with winter.

The Jamaican liqueur that will spice up your bar

Allspice dram was once a popular liqueur in the U.S., but that changed when the distiller Wray & Nephew stopped exporting it to the country in the 1980s (via Punch). It wasn't until nearly three decades later, when another distiller, Haus Alpenz, managed to make allspice dram and export it to the U.S. again, that the Jamaican liqueur found a renewed interest.

As the name suggests, allspice dram is an herbal liqueur made from Jamaican rum and allspice berries, or pimento berries, that are popular in the Caribbean. Also known as pimento dram, the allspice dram has complex notes of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon and is a popular liqueur used in tiki cocktails like Three Dots and a Dash.

While allspice dram is popular in tropical tiki cocktails, its warm spiced flavor makes an excellent addition to winter cocktails, too. Food & Wine recommends pairing the liqueur with rum and Angostura bitters in an Old Fashioned-style cocktail to bring out the spicy layers of allspice dram. When mixed with bourbon, bitters, lime juice, and simple syrup, allspice dram also forms the base for the Lion's Tail cocktail. While the allspice dram can add a deep complexity and wintery spice to most cocktails, Punch recommends going easy on the amount of liqueur you use. It's best to think of allspice dram as a bitter of which you would only add a few dashes.