Palmetto Cocktail Recipe

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Palmetto Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Palmetto cocktail is a classic rum-based drink that harkens back to the Prohibition era. It's a simple, yet sophisticated blend that has stood the test of time.

  • Origins: While the exact origins are a bit murky, it's believed to have been a favorite among American expatriates in Cuba during the 1920s.
  • Popularity: The cocktail saw a resurgence in the craft cocktail movement, appealing to those who appreciate a well-balanced drink.
  • Audience: Ideal for rum enthusiasts and anyone looking for a smooth, classic cocktail with a hint of complexity.

How Palmetto Tastes?

The Palmetto cocktail has a rich and velvety taste, with the warmth of the rum complemented by the herbal and slightly sweet notes of the sweet vermouth. The orange bitters add a subtle citrusy zing, creating a well-rounded and sophisticated flavor profile.

Interesting facts about Palmetto

  • The Palmetto is sometimes referred to as a 'rum Martini' due to its similarity in composition.
  • It's a stirred cocktail, which helps to maintain the clarity and smoothness of the drink.
  • The cocktail's name is derived from the Palmetto tree, a symbol of its supposed Cuban-American heritage.


  • Gold rum: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Sweet vermouth: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Orange bitters: 1 dash

Gold Rum

Gold rum brings a particular warmth and richness to the Palmetto cocktail. It's aged, and therefore has nuanced flavors from the barrels it's rested in. Using less rum would make the drink less robust, while using more could overpower the vermouth's subtlety. If you substitute with light rum, the drink will be lighter and less complex; dark rum, on the other hand, will intensify the molasses notes.

Emma Rose

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth is herbal and sweet, providing a beautiful contrast to the rum. The chosen ratio sees it matching the rum for a balanced drink – too little, and you'd miss the depth it adds; too much, and the cocktail becomes cloyingly sweet. If you switch to dry vermouth, expect a drier, more bitter cocktail, which can be a pleasing twist for some.

Alex Green

Orange Bitters

A dash of orange bitters gives a zesty kick that punctuates and balances the drink. Without it, the cocktail might taste too sweet and unidimensional. There isn't really an alternative that would exactly mimic orange bitters, but Angostura bitters could offer a spicier profile, changing the cocktail's character.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Palmetto Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Pour 1.5 oz of gold rum and 1.5 oz of sweet vermouth over the ice.
  3. Add a dash of orange bitters.
  4. Stir the mixture gently until well chilled.
  5. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  6. Serve up without garnish.

Pro Tips

  • Always use fresh ice when stirring to ensure the drink is properly chilled without being diluted.
  • Chill the cocktail glass beforehand to keep the cocktail at the perfect temperature longer.
  • Stirring should be done smoothly to avoid over-dilution and maintain the cocktail's silky texture.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Charcuterie: The richness of cured meats can complement the warm notes of gold rum.
  • Cheese Plates: Sharp or aged cheeses can provide a nice counterbalance to the sweet and herbal notes of the sweet vermouth.
  • Dark Chocolate Desserts: A piece of dark chocolate can bring out the complexity of the cocktail and match its intensity.
  • Grilled Meats: The smokiness from the grill will harmonize with the oak-aged rum flavors.

Drink Pairings

  • Coffee: Enjoy a strong cup of coffee before indulging in a Palmetto to cleanse the palate and enhance the rum's sweetness.
  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips, opt for some refreshing sparkling water.

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What you could change in Palmetto

  • Rum: You can use a dark rum for a deeper flavor or even a white rum for a lighter taste.
  • Sweet Vermouth: A dry vermouth can be used for a less sweet version, though it changes the classic profile.
  • Orange Bitters: Aromatic bitters can be a substitute if orange bitters are not available.

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Rum-forward Palmetto

  • Use 2 oz gold rum, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and 1 dash orange bitters.
  • The increase in rum will amplify the cocktail's body, giving the rum's vanilla and oak flavors more spotlight.

Dry Palmetto

  • Use 1.5 oz gold rum, 1.5 oz dry vermouth, and 1 dash orange bitters.
  • With dry vermouth, this version will be less sweet, highlighting the botanicals and bringing a crisp edge to the drink.

Spiced Palmetto

  • Use 1.5 oz spiced rum, 1.5 oz sweet vermouth, and 1 dash aromatic bitters.
  • Swapping in spiced rum adds a kick of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other warm spices, while aromatic bitters give the drink a more complex bouquet.

In case you forgot basics how to make Palmetto

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Palmetto

What type of glass is ideal for serving a Palmetto cocktail?

A chilled cocktail glass, often a coupe or a martini glass, is ideal for serving a Palmetto to maintain its temperature and presentation.

Can I make a Palmetto cocktail in advance?

It's best to mix a Palmetto cocktail right before serving to preserve the freshness and proper dilution; however, you can pre-mix the rum and vermouth and store them in the refrigerator.

How do you properly store vermouth?

Vermouth should be stored in the refrigerator after opening because it is a fortified wine and can spoil. Use within a month for the best flavor.

Is the Palmetto cocktail suitable for vegans?

Yes, the Palmetto cocktail typically contains ingredients that are suitable for vegans, but always check specific brands of alcohol for any animal-derived products.

What is the best way to stir a cocktail?

Insert a long cocktail spoon into the mixing glass, place it between your fingers, and rotate the spoon using your fingers and wrist, without agitating the ice too much.

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