Ignite Your Spirits!

Ignite Your Spirits!

Winter is always a time of recovery, resolution, hibernation, hunkering down, working hard, and for some of us, hard drinking. Whether you are looking for consolation or celebration in bottle form, what better than something with a little extra kick like overproof spirits?

What is proof? Alcohol proof is a measure of the content of ethanol in an alcoholic beverage. The term was originally used in the UK and was equal to about 1.75 times the alcohol by volume (or ABV). The UK now uses the ABV standard instead of alcohol proof. In the United States, alcohol proof is defined as twice the percentage of ABV.

Today many spirits producers proof their products down by adding water to somewhere between 40-42% or 80 to 84 proof. Lower proof spirits usually feel sweeter while higher proof spirits feel drier on the palate. Our modern American palates have adjusted to a somewhat lower proof than drinkers have historically sipped. Today anything at 45% can feel or taste “hot” or overproof. Heat is often used to describe a higher proof spirit. For purposes today we’ll safely call overproof anything at/over 50% ABV or 100 proof. Finally, we have the term “Navy Strength;” British Sailors who loved rum and gin alike were often paid in booze. The “proof” of a good bottle of rum or gin would be determined by mixing the spirit with gunpowder, if the rum soaked gunpowder still ignites the proof is at least 57% ABV.

Now, what will ignite your spirits the rest of this winter?  We at Skurnik have a few ideas…

Damoiseau Rhum Rhum Agricole 100 Proof

Rhum Damoiseau clocks in at 110 proof or 55% ABV. Islanders on Guadaloupe drink this overproof rhum agricole in their classic ti’ punch cocktail. Keeping this fresh sugarcane juice distillate at 110 proof allows those funky, grassy, vegetal, tropical fruit notes to really shine. Damoiseau 110 is a mouth coating, and mouth-watering nectar perfect to add a quarter or half ounce to any rum cocktail.

TI Punch

Muddle limes and build over crushed ice; swizzle using a swizzle stick. Garnish with lime wheel.


Rhum JM Rhum Agricole Blanc 100 proof

On the neighboring island of Martinique, this southernmost French AOC produces rhum agricole according strict AOC guidelines. The sugarcane juice is pressed within 30 minutes of harvest, gleaning every last drop of sugarcane.  Rhum JM 100 proof boasts the same funky, vegetal notes as Damoiseau, but is more angular on the palate, think green bananas versus the ripe bananas of Damoiseau.  We love it with fresh lime and a little sugar, shaken and served up for a classic daiquiri.


Combine ingredients in shaking tin; add ice & shake until frothy and delicious; pour through strainer into chilled cocktail glass.

Lemon Hart 151

Lemon Hart 151 has long been the gold standard of overproof rums, used in many tiki cocktails throughout history. This Demerara rum shapes up at 75.5%, and is featured in Beachbum Barry’s 151 swizzle at Latitude 29 in New Orleans.  This is one fire hazard we definitely suggest trying at home.

151 Swizzle

  • 1.5 oz Lemon Hart 151
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • barspoon of absinthe
  • 8 dashes Angostura bitters

Whip shake, serve in tall glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.

Medley Brothers 102 Proof Bourbon

Clocking in at 102 proof, this Kentucky Straight Bourbon has a mash bill of 77% Corn, 10% Rye, and 13% Malted Barley, as well as a long history.  Master distiller Charles Medley and his son Sam are the seventh and eighth generation of Medley’s that produce this American heritage spirit.  Medley Bros 102 creates the perfect base for any cocktail, whether shaken or stirred.  At Skurnik we love an “Expat” created by Lauren Schell of Little Branch.


Combine ingredients in mixing tin; add ice & shake hard to muddle mint. Pour through strainer into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a sprig of mint.


Visit our cocktail page to see how you can play with these staples at home or at work.  Cheers and happy drinking!