Drink of the Moment
Steady As She Goes
Name: Rock Steady
Contents: Smith & Cross rum (“Navy Strength” at 114 proof), St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Pierre Ferand Dry Orange Curaçao, angostura and aromatic bitters, Barritts Ginger Beer, mint garnish.
Inventor: The inimitable Brother Cleve.
Inspiration: The Dark ’n’ Stormy. Also, rocksteady, a Jamaican music genre related to reggae and ska that peaked in popularity during the 1960s.
Taste: Bitters define the first sip, framing the drink as a serious cocktail, not a sweet, rummy wash. A hard stroke of alcohol and spice follows next, courtesy of the Navy-strength booze. Ginger beer pops and fizzes at the tail.
Taste, expressed more lyrically: “It’s got a lilting rhythm,” says Cleve. “It swings and sways, like a reggae organ.”
Secret weapon: The St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, which reinforces the bitters with pepper and clove.
The rest of the cocktail list: “Since this is the site of the first printing press, I wanted something related to printing,” says Cleve, who signed on to overhaul the drinks program. The result includes 19th-century tipples like the Correspondent, featuring cognac, green chartreuse and liqueur de rose (concocted from essence of rose, Crème de Violette and Crème Yvette).
Historicity: Cleve found inspiration in his personal library of 300–400 cocktail books, including such rare titles as 1935’s So Red the Nose, which reveals that Mr. Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink is absinthe mixed with Champagne.
Future titles: Look for Cleve’s upcoming take on an alcoholic snowcone.