This cocktail was inspired by a recipe in Winter Cocktails called 1,001 Nights. A smooth and thick mixture of rum-and-cinnamon-soaked dates blended with coconut milk and served warm, it’s an incredibly rich and comforting drink that hints of warmer climes. Tasting it after blending, I thought it was a little too sweet, so I skipped the honey and sweetened whipped cream that the original recipe called for and instead added a splash of bourbon to the mixture. The result was just right for me – the drink was still sweet and rich, but with just enough smoky, woodsy flavors to offset the syrupy-ness. While it certainly has it’s roots in Middle Eastern flavors, it has a profoundly American accent, so I’ve changed the name to 1,001 Kentucky Nights. And I’d make it just like this next time, too. That said, if you don’t have a copy of Winter Cocktails yet, you should really go order one – I’ve discovered so many great recipes from it this winter.
1,001 Kentucky Nights
Adapted loosely from Winter Cocktails. Serves 2-3.
- 1/2 c. pitted dates, roughly chopped
- 3/4 c. dark rum
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3/4 c. coconut milk
- 1.5 to 3 oz. of Bourbon
- Add the chopped dates, rum, and cinnamon stick to a small saucepan. Bring to a very gentle simmer over low heat, and simmer until the dates have absorbed most of the liquid and are very soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick (you can save it for garnish, if you’d like).
- Add the dates and their liquid to a blender with the coconut milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and thick. Strain the mixture back into the small saucepan. If you are using a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, you won’t need to strain it. Reheat gently until just warmed through. Stir in 1.5 oz. of Bourbon and taste, adding more if you’d like a stronger drink. Serve immediately.