Monday 16 April 2012

Amaro April: "The Black Prince" from Phil Ward

Today's cocktail took a little tracking down. I first heard about it from my brother in San Francisco, and got to taste it when I visited there. It's currently on the menu at Smuggler's Cove - possibly the coolest bar I've ever been to - so I naturally contacted them and asked to use it in this series. The bar manager there informed me that it was actually created at Death & Co. in New York, but the man who came up with it now works at Mayahuel - Phil Ward. Well, the good news is that I already had Phil Ward kindly clarify his recipe for The Division Bell during Maraschino March, so I contacted him again and asked for this one, and he once again was kind enough to contribute.
First, I have to take a moment to talk a bit about Smuggler's Cove since that's where I tried this drink. Finding the place is almost impossible unless someone who's been there takes you, as the entrance has basically no label or sign or anything, and the entire side of the building is black (from across the street, I didn't even notice that there was a door). Stepping inside, you walk into a dimly-lit three-level bar with twisting stairs, covered in Tiki-decor. Downstairs is the main bar, which has just a ridiculous collection of rum (I would not be surprised if it was the biggest in the country), and is backed by a whirling dervish of mixological speed, pouring about 8 drinks at once faster than I can pinpoint what ingredients are being used. The menu is separated by historical era, and of course, all rum-centric. One of the modern selections is "The Black Prince," a drink my brother loves so much he bought a bottle of Averna and Zacapa rum specifically to make it at home.

Phil Ward from Mayahuel, which you can read more about in The Division Bell post, created the drink while at Death & Co. in New York, which is definitely one of the biggest bar names in the cocktail scene. The name is quite fitting as it's a very dark, dense drink. It looks black, and it tastes black, and it's awesome - especially if you enjoy the New York family of drinks (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Red Hook, etc, and the one even closer in ingredients, the Boulevardier).

There are 2 bottlings of Zacapa rum (somewhat) readily available, the 23-Year-Old, and the XO. In B.C., I've only found the 23., where you can find it at Legacy for $100, or some government stores for $80. However, it is available in Washington State liquor stores for $49. If you choose to use a different dark rum (I assume for price reasons), I wouldn't suggest using something like Gosling's, which has a lot of fruit flavours, but rather something darker and more molasses-y,  maybe like the Flor De Cana 7-Year-Old (for $30), or if you're in the states I bet Cruzan Black Strap would work well. Punt E Mes is available at Legacy and Viti and probably other independent stores, and runs $38 here, and $16 in Washington, and Averna is sometimes in the B.C. government stores, but otherwise is again available at Legacy for $48, or $34 in Washington. While Phil doesn't name the orange bitters he uses by name, I would imagine that Fee's would actually work well here, whereas Regan's may be too bitter and throw the balance a little bit, but Bitter Truth might make a perfect middle ground. Try them all!
[[ edit: I updated some prices above, and I've now tried this at home with Fee's and can say that they work nicely but easily overpowered the drink, so be very careful. I plan to try again tonight with Regan's and I'll update if it works better ]]

The Black Prince

2oz Zacapa Rum
3/4oz Punt e Mes
1/2oz Averna Amaro
Dash orange bitters
Stir with ice, strain and serve up in a cocktail coupe.

Thanks again to Phil Ward at Mayahuel, as well as Smuggler's Cove, which should always be mentioned in the same breath as the word "rum."

[[ See my post on amaro digestivos here ]]
[[ See my post on amaro aperivos here ]]
[[ See a buying guide for amaro here ]]

[[ See "The One Hit Wonder" from L'abattoir in Vancouver here ]]
[[ See "The Penny Farthing" from Pourhouse here ]]
[[ See an introduction to amaro  here ]]
[[ See "The Imperial Eagle" from Bourbon & Branch here ]]
[[ See "Sevilla" from Beretta here ]]
[[ See "Fallow Grave" from the Toronto Temperance Society here ]]
[[ See "Bad Apple" and "Jackson Ward" from Amor y Amargo here ]]
[[ See "The Four Horsemen" from Jay Jones at Shangri-La here ]]
[[ See Colin MacDougall from Blue Water Cafe here ]]
[[ See "Debbie Don't" from Dutch Kills here ]]
[[ See "Welcome to the Dark Side" from Cin Cin here ]]
[[ See "Foolish Games" from Russell Davis here ]]
[[ See "Intro To Aperol" from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club here ]] 


  1. I think a 15 year-old bottling of the Zacapa run is available if you don't want to spring for the 23. Also I agree that Flor de Cana is a good sub -- it's available at 15 and 18 years, both of which would make a better version of this drink than the 7 year-old. They are pretty affordable too, at least here in CA.

  2. So I did a little more research to make sure I got my facts straight:
    Unfortunately, the only Zacapa available in B.C. is the 23-year. Apparently the government stores DO carry it (I'm not sure how I missed that), and it's $80 rather than $100 at Legacy (I'm updating the post now).
    For Flor de Cana, only 4, 5, and 7 years are available at the government store (the 7 is noticeably nicer and only $30), and at Legacy you can also get the 12 year at $51, and the 18 year, which is $100, in which case you should probably get Zacapa.
    Such is our lives up here!