Frangelico is a bit divisive in the bartending world; this hazelnut-based liqueur is often relegated to overly sweet dessert cocktails—look for it in drinks like the Mint Chocolate Chip Shot and the creamy Toblerone—and is even used for topping ice cream and other desserts. But bar founder and author Jim Meehan found a use for it in the Chairman’s Refresher, a silky and (appropriately) refreshing cocktail that celebrates both Frangelico and Banks 5 Island rum, from which it gets its name.
“I always liked Frangelico, even before I moved to hazelnut country,” Meehan says, speaking of his move to Portland, Oregon. He had used the ingredient in cocktails at his previous bar in New York, the famed PDT, and considers it a natural accompaniment to the bright and refreshing quality of coconut water and muddled cucumber. “The combination of hazelnut, coconut and cucumber is magical,” he says.
When making the Chairman’s Refresher, the brand of white rum used is essential, as Meehan built the drink around Banks 5-Island rum, a blend of 20 different rums from across the Caribbean. It can be a little on the pricey side, and not available in every market, but its flavor profile is crucial to the quality of the final product. “Banks’ savory, pungent aromatics take it all to another level,” Meehan says. Even the name comes from Banks Rum, as Meehan describes the chairman of the company’s propensity for sipping white rum with coconut water. If you do go for a bottle of the rum and don’t enjoy it in the Chairman’s Refresher, it’s also essential for another Meehan creation, the Kew Garden.
Bright and crisp with a vegetal kick from the cucumber and nutty sweetness from the Frangelico, the Chairman’s Refresher is intended to be enjoyed in the warmer months, preferably on a patio or in a garden. But of course, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying it year-round, as long as you can find fresh cucumbers. Even in the winter months you’ll be transported to sunnier climates with your first sip.
- 1/2 ounce Frangelico
- 3 cucumber slices
- 1 1/2 ounces Banks 5-Island rum
- 2 ounces coconut water
- Garnish: cucumber slice
In a mixing glass, muddle the Frangelico and cucumber slices.
Add the Banks 5 Island rum and coconut water, fill mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled
Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Garnish with a cucumber slice.