Rum on the Rebound

The drink of the Caribbean makes a comeback

The Pistillo Rosato cocktail at Osteria Papavero

The Pistillo Rosato cocktail at Osteria Papavero


Bond’s martini, Carrie’s cosmo, all those Absolut ads that college students taped to their walls—from the late sixties through the early aughts, vodka ruled the American liquor market. Then gin reemerged as the favorite, inspiring the resuscitation of Prohibition-era drinks. Could rum be due for a comeback next?

“Daiquiris have been really popular in Madison over the past year,” says Mariah Mendez, a bartender at Osteria Papavero. (Note that she’s referring to the classic rum sour, not the frozen coconut slushie.)

Inspired by rum’s resurgence, Mendez set out to make a daiquiri with hibiscus, which she loves for its “earthy, slight cranberry taste.” She came up with one called the Pistillo Rosato, a flirty cocktail that packs a wallop. Think of it as the cosmo’s Caribbean cousin.

RECIPE: Pistillo Rosato


1 1/2 oz white rum, such as Flor de Caña
3/4 oz hibiscus simple syrup (see recipe below)
3/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz Plantation Original Dark Overproof Rum
4 drops Bittercube Jamaican Bitters
Lime wedge for garnish


To make hibiscus syrup, combine 2 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers (available at health food stores) with 12 oz water in small saucepan. Bring to boil. After 5 minutes, add 3/4 cup sugar; stir until dissolved. Remove from heat, strain hibiscus flowers, let cool. To make cocktail, combine white rum, hibiscus syrup, lime juice and dark rum in shaker with ice. Shake; strain into cocktail glass. Add Jamaican bitters and garnish.

Recipe courtesy of Osteria Papavero, 128 E. Wilson St., 255-8376,



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