Crafted from necessity, perfected by complexity, this is the most modern twist on the mojito’s ancestor: the El Draque - the world’s first cocktail.
Named after its inventor Sir Francis Drake, the El Draque is the predecessor of the mojito, which originated from the same area of the world: the Caribbean.
In 1536, Drake (the British officer, pirate and slaver, not the Canadian musician) was busy plundering Spanish ships off the coast of Cuba when his crew fell ill.
Keen to get his booty back to Blighty, Drake sought the help of the Taíno and Ciboney peoples, indigenous to the Caribbean.
Their concoction of mint, lime, medicinal tree bark and aged sugarcane spirit (plus a touch of sugarcane juice) was quite literally what the doctor ordered and the voyage was able to continue.
And though it might sound farfetched, these ingredients would’ve probably helped. Mint helps settle the stomach, lime prevents scurvy, the bark from the chuchuhuasi tree is still sold today, lauded for its wide range of health benefits. And the rum goes without saying.
Either way, it righted Drake’s fleet and he was able to sail home, later to defeat the Spanish again when he repelled the famous Armada that attempted to invade the English coast in 1588.
In spite of Sir Francis Drake’s ongoing feuds with the Spanish, they graced this drink with their nickname for him - and so the El Draque lives on.
How to make the El Draque with Spiced Australian craft spirit from Illegal Tender Rum Co
Most El Draque recipes these days call for either gold rum or cachaça when really, Illegal Tender’s Spiced is probably a more accurate spirit to use.
Not only is it more of an aged cane spirit than rum, Spiced’s blend of botanicals add to the herbaceous profile that chuchuhuasi bark would give.
The difference - apart from anything else - is Spiced is way smoother and better crafted than the stuff Drake’s men (or anyone in the 16th Century) would have experienced!
The Spiced El Draque
- 60ml Illegal Tender Spiced
- 6-10 mint leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 30ml regular sugar syrup
1. Put the lime juice and mint leaves into a shaker along with the the leftover lime skins, and muddle the mint leaves so they’re releasing their aroma. If you don’t have a muddler, bruise the leaves by clapping them in your hands before you put them in the shaker.
2. Add ice, sugar syrup and Spiced, and shake until the sides of the shaker frost over.
3. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with a slice of lime and sail away into the Caribbean sunset.
Read our full Taste Test review of Illegal Tender Rum Co’s Spiced here to learn more about how it’s made and the man who makes it.