Star Eyed Monkey


Star Eyed Monkey:

Citrus season is upon us and as always, we should do our best to use “freshness of the season” to tantalize (and titillate!) our guests. Here is another cocktail that uses citrus, rum and a little touch of the exotic to achieve this noble goal.

The inspiration of this cocktail is one part Indian cooking and one part Beastie Boys!!! (Adam Yaunch-May he Rest In Peace). To be more specific, the iconic trio’s eighties hit “Brass Monkey”, which was written about a bottled a cocktail by the same name from the 80’s and 90‘s (made by Heublein’s). For years this dive-strip mall-liquor store favorite had brought a smile to many thirsty and eager fellows including myself.

Pyrat XO with it’s orange citrus, vanilla & cinnamon notes, along with our House Spiced Rum seamed to work naturally well with the saffron and cinnamon infused Amaro Meletti (The house spiced Rum was blended with light and dark rum and a number of different spices, cinnamon, clove, star anise, ginger, peppercorns, citrus zest, and a heavy dose of vanilla bean). Juice from a CaraCara orange and a little lime “set it off” with bright acidity and a fresh sweetness that seams to bring all of the spice components together in a beautiful explosion of flavor.

All in all the Star Eyed Monkey joins together many “Apacian” spices, a celebrated new world spirit, and a fresh citrus base that should make your palate want to dance!

First step in creating our cocktail will be to infuse our rum!

Infusing Liquor: 

In general, it is pretty simple.  Take your favorite spirit, throw in your favorite spice/fruit/flavoring, Wait until the magic happens!  There are some finer points but the fun part is the experimenting and the ability to make something unique and special.

This is my recipe for the Spiced Rum used in the Star Eyed Monkey

 Ingredients needed:

One half bottle of White RUM

One half bottle of Dark/Amber RUM

2 Vanilla Beans


Star Anise





Citrus Zest

Two Mason Jars

A Mesh Strainer

One Week of your Time


I wanted this Spiced Rum to be Vanilla forward so I started first with 1&1/2 Vanilla Beans(sliced once lengthwise down the middle) Dark Rum/White Rum in the mason Jars.  Allow it to infuse for 2 Days before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add the rest of the items to the rum and then the hard part, the waiting! Usually it will be from 2-5 days depending on the room temperature and barometric pressure; so if you have some variation, it can happen more quickly.  But please just taste everyday…  After it has imparted enough flavor, strain all of the ingredients.  Separate the Vanilla Beans and slice them a few more times and add back to the Rum with the remaining 1/2 of unused Vanilla Bean.  One more day, is usually all that it takes and then you are mixing and sipping!

The mix of light and dark rum is intentional because  I like to have the blank canvas of the white rum to showcase the infusions but also to have the hint of flavors imparted by the Oak aging.  Vanilla Beans are much better than Vanilla Extract, because fresh is always better!  Clove and Star Anise should be used in very small amounts because they can easily become dominate in the flavor profile. Ginger should be sliced and you can use 3-6 inches. Un-cracked  rainbow peppercorns are what I like due to the variety of flavors that they bring.  Cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg are also preferable over powders or gratings because of the essential oils. Finally, any citrus will do but I prefer Orange zest for its sweet richness.

3/4 oz Pyrat XO, 3/4 oz House Spiced Rum, 1/2 oz Amaro Meletti, 3/4 oz Fresh CaraCara OJ, 1/4 oz lime juice, Star Anise & Pink Peppercorn Garnish

Combine Rums, Amaro, Juice and Shake and Strain into a chilled Cocktail glass.

Float Star Anise & Pink Peppercorns as garnish, and Salute!

-Adam Rains

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