Flor de Caña has staked its claim to title of sustainable brand in a big way. The distillery brands itself as the first-ever spirit company to be Fair Trade Certified and carbon-neutral, and also touts its rum’s health benefits; the products contain no added sugar, no artificial flavoring, and no gluten. So when Nicole Lebedevitch decided to bring Flor de Caña onto the cocktail menu at Denver’s Forget Me Not, she created a cocktail as commendable as the spirit it is crafted with.
That’s how Love on Top was born.
This cocktail is sultry shades of pink and comes to you in a coupe glass—an elegant riff on the king of all beach beverages: the daiquiri. Love on Top has all the sweet, fruity charm that makes the daiquiri so cravable, but with an exotic tiki twist.
“We [add] a touch of clove spice, which is often found in tiki drinks by way of the velvet falernum, and fruit flavors with the wine float on top,” Lebedevitch says. “You’ve got spice, you’ve got fruit, you’ve got citrus—it hits all of the notes.”
The complex flavor profile stands on its own, but the vision for the drink runs much deeper than just creating a crowd pleaser. Lebedevitch’s inspiration behind the beverage wasn’t sandy coastlines at all, but rather a pledge to sustainability.
The recipe for Love on Top is founded on a collection of leftover ingredients that can be repurposed, therefore reducing food waste. For example, the wine-syrup float is made from bottom-of-the-bottle wine pours that aren’t enough for a full glass and would otherwise get poured down the drain. And unused cocktail fruit at the end of a night’s service? Hello, citrus-infused simple syrup.
Thanks to the lack of added sugar and flavoring, Flor de Caña is the perfect canvas on which to play around with new or scrap ingredients. “Flor de Caña is known for being very dry, so we get to add the flavoring and we get to add the texture,” explains Lebedevitch, “using things that we would otherwise discard throughout the restaurant.” So while Love on Top does indeed taste great, its commitment to sustainability feels even greater.
- Restaurant: Forget Me Not, 227 Clayton Street, Denver
- Bartender: Nicole Lebedevitch
- Cocktail: Love on Top
- Brand: Flor de Caña
- 1 ½ ounce Flor de Caña
- ¾ ounce citrus simple syrup
- ¾ ounce velvet falernum
- ¾ ounce lime juice
- ¾ ounce grapefruit juice
- ½ ounce hibiscus-infused wine syrup
Combine all ingredients except the hibiscus-infused wine syrup in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Double strain into a coupe glass. Add a hibiscus-infused wine syrup float and serve.
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