Poached plum syrup, Incan maca, a coffee-tinged Manhattan, smoked salt and pepper, and frankincense and Brazil nut tincture? If Caña’s brand-new cocktail menu sounds like it emerged from a dream, that’s because many of its concoctions do. General manager Alan Katz tells Grub Street that he sometimes gets mid-slumber calls from bartender Julian Wayser, detailing the latest cocktail idea that’s come to him while sleeping. Tonight, Cedd Moses’ romantic rum bar unleashes an enchanting new menu of seasonal libations that celebrate the colorful mythology of the spirit through complex combinations of fresh and fantastic ingredients. What will you be drinking here?
The menu is broken down into three bucaneer-friendly sections: Daggers, Pistols, and Cannons. Balmy drink names reference everyone from Peter Tosh (in a “Stepping Razor” of white rum infused with Serrano and Anaheim peppers, with cucumber, lime, salt and pepper, and turbinado), The Kennedy’s, Havana’s Hotel Nacional, Amelia Earhart, and Harry Nilsson. Guests may choose something as simple as a Cruzan Black Strap rum served simply in a young Thai coconut or a complex creation called the Tijuana Death March bearing anejo rum, reposado tequila, cholula, pomegranate, ginger, lime, and fizz.
Our view of cocktails were changed through the intense combination of absinthe, mezcal, Gosling’s rum with passion fruit and canela syrup called the Day & Age #3, while our heads swirled over the elegant additions of brandy, amaro, fio sherry, and armagnac that continually bridge the old world with the new. The full list is below and should get you ooohing and aaahing over Katz’s poetic descriptions alone.
Find the new menu starting tonight at Caña Rum Bar, 714 West Olympic Blvd. Downtown. 213-817-5321
Caña Rum Bar
Late Summer Menu
Natural Daiquiri |12
Still the one.
Don Q Cristal, lime, just enough raw sugar
Bird of Paradise |12
In the words of The Trader, “Many an unwary customer is knocked right on his ear by the bartender who fouls up the mixture… You’ve a man’s life in your hands, so take it easy.” Yes sir, we will.
Plymouth Gin, fresh lemon, crème de mure, traditional sours, and fizz
* Includes egg white
Hotel Nacional |12
The Cuban Hotel’s namesake cocktail is still a defiant reminder of the island’s glory days.
Our recipe leans towards Ted Saucier’s version in Bottoms Up, with fresh pineapple
providing the perfect texture for the 90 proof white rum to shine.
Bacardi 1909 Ron Superior, lime, apricot brandy, pineapple
The Kennedys were synonymous with good taste. In tribute to Jacqueline, Julian came up with this beguilingly complex little number utilizing one of JFK’s favorite desserts: poached plums.
Ron Barceló Gran Añejo, Amaro, lime, poached plum syrup, bitters, and pepper
Eastern Sour |12
This tasty whiskey-fueled fluff is proof positive that Tiki had a simple and ingenious side, too.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon, fresh lemon, homemade orgeat, bitters
Incan Wonder Drug |13
Maca fueled the Incan Empire in times of love and war. Literally. In need of some fortification one night, Julian threw a spoon of the pulverized root into Allan’s batida and a house favorite was born.
Leblon Cachaça, market berries, lime, Peychaud’s bitters, Maca, a touch of condensed milk
Lockheed Model 10 |13
What if Amelia Earhart’s disappearance was really a rum running flight from the Caribbean to Spain? To dramatize our theory, we offer a cocktail that tastes like something beautiful just disappeared.
Dos Maderas 5+5 Jerez-aged Caribbean rum, fino sherry, peche de vigne, Amaro Abano
Stepping Razor |12
“I’m like a walking razor, don’t you watch my size, I’m dangerous.”
Peter Tosh would agree that the Gordon’s Cup was such a nice cocktail until it started hanging out with us.
Serrano & Anaheim-infused Demerara rum, cucumber, lime, raw sugar, smoked salt ‘n’ pepper
Rum & Coconut Water |14
Popular everywhere coconuts fall off trees and rum is readily available. Los Angeles is now included.
Cruzan Black Strap rum gently shaken and served in a fresh young Thai coconut
Algo Mas |12
Inspired by a wild claim from Adam Shuman that Cynar and watermelon are natural mates, this oddly addictive concoction has waited almost two years to see a menu. It was just waiting for the right place.
Leblon Cachaça, Cynar, kaffir-spiked watermelon, fresh citrus, pineapple, pandan syrup
All Saints’ Fizz |13
Ever hear the one about the priest that walks into a rum bar and ends up drinking a fizz with Peruvian brandy, Venezuela’s arguably greatest rum, and a whisper of frankincense? We have.
Pisco, Santa Teresa 1792, house frankincense tincture, fresh sours, fizz
* Includes egg white
Monica Vitti Swizzle |12
A tall drink best enjoyed on a deserted volcanic island in the Mediterranean Sea in 1961.
Plymouth Gin, Amaro Cio Ciaro, lime, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, ginger, honey
Nilsson Sling |12
Harry Nilsson’s Me and My Arrow is a song about a pure and simple love. As soothing as an afternoon with your favorite pet, we offer this long and refreshing remix of the classic sling formula.
Plantation Reserve Bajan Rum, Dolin Blanc, Benedictine, citrus, strawberry, Mexican Coke
Straits Sling |12
Precursor to the Singapore Sling, this was a powerful reminder of The Empire’s reach.
Paying no mind to the argument regarding its original recipe, we happily submit our
take on the granddaddy of all tropicalia.
Beefeater London Dry Gin, kirsch, Benedictine, lime, ginger ale
Tijuana Death March |12
It’s no walk in the park, but it certainly doesn’t live up to a literal interpretation of its name, which is a play on Charles Baker’s Mexican Firing Squad Special, which is just genteel by comparison…
Potosi Añejo rum, Reposado Tequila, lime, ginger, pomegranate, Cholula, and fizz
If a Fog Cutter and a Painkiller were in a horrible bus accident and their survival meant that they had to be sewn together and cauterized with a liberal dose of bitters… They’d taste awesome. The heat this one packs isn’t evident at first, so we cordially request that you enjoy no more than two during a visit.
Overproof Spiced Rum, Plymouth Gin, St. Vivant Armagnac, a barspoon of Angostura bitters, pineapple, citrus, house-made coconut cream, orgeat
Day & Age #3 |13
In these modern times, sometimes matching Gosling’s with spice isn’t enough. This is the 21st century. Spice, smoke, and tart tropical fruit combine to meet the demands of the imbiber of the future.
Reposado Mezcal, Gosling’s rum, passion fruit, lime, canela syrup, a mist of absinthe
Smith & Hart Swizzle |12
Named for its rums, not a short-lived 70’s police drama, this decidedly old school swizzle is a polyester-clad kung-fu kick if we’ve ever seen one. And who doesn’t love those?
Lemon Hart 151 proof Demerera rum, fresh citrus, maraschino, Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
The Way Home |12
Thanks to motives that are best left undisclosed, earlier this summer we discovered rye whiskey and aged Cachaça are incredible together. No matter the destination, we enthusiastically recommend you try our way home: A coffee-tinged Manhattan that is pure sacrilege in all the right ways.
Russell’s Reserve Rye, Novo Fogo Ouro Cachaça, Carpano Antica,
and dashes of peach bitters, coffee, and Brazil Nut tincture