Paul Marshall banged his hands together and the sound ricocheted between the columns and the back wall of the pavilion. 'There's something I do rather well,' he called. 'With crushed ice, rum and melted chocolate.'
The suggestion prompted an exchange of glances between Cecilia and her brother, and thus their discord was resolved.
Atonement, Ian McEwan, Chapter 4
I realise that presenting a cocktail as my first recipe in January could be a little cruel... at least for those of you two days in to a 'dry January'. To be fair though, you could certainly consider this drink as a dessert rather than a cocktail (if you've vowed to forego desserts too, I'm not quite sure this one is going to be for you). For those of you still with me, this is a truly special drink, one I have very much enjoyed developing.
Unlike the odious Paul Marshall, I don't pretend to be a master cocktail maker. More often than not, I'll just order a gin martini in the manner of Noel Coward: "A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy". But I do like to play around with flavours, and my experience with rum tells me it works well with winter spices. So although Cecelia and Leon enjoy this cocktail on the hottest day of the summer, I've developed one instead for the dark days of January - I've left out Paul's crushed ice, which can do funny things to melted chocolate, and have added some nutmeg and ginger (not to mention rum) that will warm you to your toes.
The Tallis Special
60mL dark rum (or brandy)
40g chopped dark chocolate
2tsp syrup from a jar of preserved ginger
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
Grating of nutmeg
Microplane grater or nutmeg grater
1. Place the chocolate in the small saucepan with the rum, and set over a very low heat. Stir constantly, ensuring that the chocolate doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan.
2. Once the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat, add the ginger syrup and ground cinnamon and continue to stir - the alcohol and chocolate will come together into a rich, thick liquid.
3. As soon as this happens, divide between two glasses and grate nutmeg generously into each glass. Serve immediately and drink while warm.