This sweet, locally inspired coffee drink is like a dessert in a glass, and makes for a lovely after-dinner treat that offers a bit of a buzz beyond the alcohol. The Shoulda Benne Pirate comes from Harold’s Cabin in Charleston, South Carolina, a historic market, bar and restaurant that has existed in some form or another since the 1920s. The cocktail, too, is rooted in history, as it takes a crumble of benne seed wafers, a South Carolina low country staple, for a unique, crunchy garnish. The dessert is toasted benne seed—otherwise known as sesame seeds—on a thin caramel wafer. Salted, toasty and crisp, the cookies can be hard to find outside of South Carolina, but if you’re intent on authenticity, you can always order some online or try your hand at baking some yourself. Otherwise, some thin sesame wafers can fill in.
Similarly, the base spirit for the cocktail is rooted in South Carolina, as Harold’s Cabin infuses fresh strawberries into Striped Pig rum. Founded as Charleston’s first distillery since prohibition, Striped Pig is renowned for its sustainability, with such efforts including sourcing local sugarcane for its rum. However, its availability is mostly limited to the Palmetto State, so those who want to make the Shoulda Benne Pirate but can’t get their hands on the real deal can substitute another high quality white rum; after the strawberry infusion, it shouldn’t taste dramatically different.
Some cold brew coffee, either homemade or bought, Baileys Irish Cream, simple syrup and egg white finish the drink. The egg white gives it a creamy, silky mouthfeel that accentuates its richness without adding additional sugar. For those who want to make it a night cap, feel free to swap the cold brew for a decaf blend; the Bailey’s has a negligible amount of caffeine.
- 3/4 ounce Strawberry-infused Striped Pig rum*
- 2 ounces cold-brew coffee**
- 3/4 ounce Baileys Irish cream
- 3/4 ounce Simple syrup
- 1/4 ounce egg white
- Garnish: Benne seed wafer crumble
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker and dry shake (no ice).
Add ice and shake again until well-chilled.
Double strain using a hand-held strainer into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with benne seed wafer crumble.
*Strawberry-infused Striped Pig rum: Fill a mason jar with halved strawberries, and add Striped Pig rum to completely cover the strawberries. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks. The berries will turn ghost white. Strain through a metal strainer into a second jar. Keeps for 3 months.
***Cold brew: use your favorite bottled cold-brew coffee or make some yourself by soaking 140 grams of ground coffee beans in a coffee filter and 32 ounces water for 12 hours. After steeping, remove grounds in coffee filter.
RAW EGG WARNING
Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.