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This cold weather calls for a super hot drink. And there is none hotter than Hogo‘s Rum Flip, which is heated with a long metal rod known as a loggerhead.
The $12 colonial-inspired cocktail is made with 3 Stars Brewing Company‘s Pandemic Porter, a brown sugar simple syrup, and Batavia Arrack rum, which is distilled in Indonesia with sugar cane and rice. Owner Tom Brown says the rum, which is different from most, is close to what the colonial-era liquor would have tasted like.
The drink is brought to a brief boil with a loggerhead, a device specifically used to heat drinks in the days long before microwaves. (Apparently, the term “to be at loggerheads,” meaning to quarrel, has something to do with fighting with the metal rods.) The loggerheads sit on the grill until someone orders the Rum Flip. As soon as the hot metal enters the liquid, it hisses and pops. It also caramelizes the sugars, giving the drink a rich caramel flavor.
It turns out that Brown’s brother and mixologist Derek Brown just happened to have some loggerheads lying around. “Derek’s got a reputation for cocktails and people tend to give him exotic gifts,” Tom Brown explains. Hogo is in the unique position of having a grill behind one of its bar, so they decided to put the tools to use.
Brown came up with the drink after reading about it in a book about the history of rum. The recipe called simply for a “good strong beer,” “palatable rum,” and some sugar, so Brown has taken some creative license. He’s also playing around with a loggerhead-heated cider, but because the caramelization changes the flavors, he hasn’t perfected the balance of ingredients quite yet.
Hogo will continue to carry the drink throughout the cold months, even as the bar’s Hawaiian diner fades away at the end of the first week of February. Next up for the so-called “restaurant accelerator,” which is rotating chefs through the kitchen, is Jewish soul food from Renee Peres, who’s hosted a number of pop-ups around D.C. After a month, Rose’s Luxury chef Aaron Silverman will takeover the kitchen.
We just hope that no matter who’s cooking, the loggerheads stay.
Photo by Jessica Sidman