April 2011

The Smoking Gun

by SOPHIA KERCHER / photograph by BRIAN LEATART

Its origins may have been smoky scotches such as Laphroaig, but the true character of the Smoking Gun is built on mixing contrasting assertive ingredients—say, a grain whiskey like scotch or rye—with pungent bitters. Now, Allan Katz, general manager of downtown’s Caña Rum Bar, has reimagined the cocktail in an exclusive rendering for Los Angeles Times Magazine, pairing what he calls the evilest fernet imported to the States with Plantation Jamaica rum.

“Here we have a rum that’s heavy bodied—it’s got some substance,” Katz says of his version, “but there are some fruity notes—and that’s necessary since I’m forgoing the scotch.” He suggests an ignited-grapefruit garnish to add ammunition to an already aromatic potion.

The Smoking Gun

• 2 ounces Plantation Jamaica Rum
• 1/4 ounce canela syrup*
• 1/4 ounce Luxardo Fernet Amaro
• Large grapefruit twist**

Pour ingredients over one large cube of ice in chilled glass and stir 10–15 seconds. Strain into old-fashioned glass with one fresh large ice cube. Garnish with an ignited, silver dollar–size grapefruit twist.

*Canela Syrup

Boil 4 or 5 large sticks of canela (or Mexican cinnamon) in 1 quart of water until it becomes a dark tea—usually 20 to 30 minutes. Strain, measure the liquid and add an equal amount of raw sugar. Whisk until sugar is totally dissolved. Fortify with 1/2 ounce 151-proof rum. Can be used in place of simple syrup in any number of cocktails. Makes a tasty gimlet. Refrigerated, the mixture will keep for weeks.

**Ignited Grapefruit Twist

From a fresh grapefruit, cut a silver dollar–size swath of peel, complete with pith. Hold twist between thumb and index finger. Light a wooden match about 2 to 3 inches from the peel and about 6 inches above the surface of the drink. Warm the peel a bit by holding it near the flame, then quickly bend or “snap” it toward the drink’s surface. This takes a little practice. For an extended how-to, check out The Modern Mixologist by Tony Abou-Ganim.