Champagne! In victory, one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it. – Napoléon Bonaparte
2011 was, even in its finer moments, shall we say … a complicated year. But your party to send the Old on her merry way and usher in the New should not be. From Adam Seger, Chicago’s Godfather of Craft Cocktails, comes Hum, a versatile botanical liqueur that, at 70 proof, also functions quite well as a base spirit. Inspired by the French Caribbean and modeled after Italian amaros, Hum (HumSpirits.com) begins with pot-still rum and blends fair-trade hibiscus, ginger root, green cardamom and kaffir lime.
Vesper general manager Andrew Pollard says it best: “Hum provides a unique and distinct level of flavor and dimension that is unmatched in today’s market. The fact that one single product can contribute such complexity is quite impressive. It may be so that I am slightly biased considering that all of the ingredients used in Hum are among my favorites, however, I always preach the method of ‘complexity by simplicity.’”
For easy use, employ Hum as a modifier in any standard recipe, such as to a margarita or a Cosmopolitan. Or, on New Year’s Eve, add a dash to a glass of bubbly—in this case, a sweet and juicy Italian Brachetto, as pictured—for an instant showstopper.
“I am a firm believer in using what I consider ‘bottled cocktails’ to elevate flavor and create dimension,” Pollard says. “Hum, green Chartreuse and the amaro family are all fitting to the category. Granted that Hum is considered to be an American amaro, I consider it to be an American masterpiece.”