Created by Nico Szymanski for BAYOU RUM

Chilled Drink of the Week: Spirit of Frontage Road

Chilled Drink of the Week: Spirit of Frontage Road

Photo Courtesy of Nico-Szymanski

Spirit of Frontage Road

There’s a bit of prep work involved here, however the Bayou Bittersweet Blend is a pretty universal modifier that can be mixed in all types of spirits and cocktails. Try it as a substitute for simple syrup or as an added ingredient to your favorite stirred drink.


  • 2 oz. Bayou Select Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Bayou Bittersweet Blend


Cayenne Tincture

In a glass container crack open 6 dried cayenne peppers and add 4 oz vodka or rectified spirits (moonshine). Seal and let sit for 48 hours. Strain off peppers.


BAYOU Bittersweet Blend

In a sealable container mix together:

  • 1 oz. Angostura Bitters
  • 1/2 oz. Bittermens Elamakule Tiki Bitters
  • 1/2 oz. Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
  • 1/2 oz. Cayenne Tincture (Method Above)
  • 2 oz. Demerara Syrup (1.5:1)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Bayou Select Rum

Store in the refrigerator.

Preparation: Stir over ice. Strain into rocks glass with large ice cube. Garnish with 2 orange twists or a gator tooth.

Meet Nico Szymanski

Head Bartender, Mr. Purple – New York City

I grew up in South Florida and once I decided I’d had quite enough of heat and hurricanes, I threw my guitars in my car and moved to Boston to start a band. When the band broke-up I decided to make the jump to New York City and I’ve been here for over five years. Bartending for me started at TGI Fridays when I was still in college (go ahead, laugh!). Soon, after moving to Boston, I landed a gig in a new cocktail lounge where I received a crash course in classic cocktails and technique, then moved on to the Liberty Hotel.

Fast forward to New York where I really took an interest in craft and learned exponentially more than I had anywhere else. I was fortunate to work with people who had been trained from the same talent pool as the Little Branch and Milk n’ Honey crew. From there I expanded my role within the Gerber Group, helping to open five properties for the company before landing where I am now as head bartender of Mr. Purple.

Nico Szymanski, Bayou Rum, mixologist

Nico Szymanski, Bayou Rum

Photo Courtesy of Lara Callahan

For the Spirit of Frontage Road I was inspired by the Old Fashioned. Its revival has been unbelievable in recent years and the rich oaky notes in Bayou Select make it a perfect contender for this style of drink. Personally, I love a Rum Old Fashioned and I’m also a bit of a Tiki nerd at heart.

For this cocktail, though, I wanted to add something that was unquestionably Louisiana and Americana. I played around with Creole spice rubs before simplifying it down to a homemade Cayenne tincture to give the drink a nice Cajun bite. The Bayou Bittersweet Blend evolved through experimentation as a way to streamline the drink making process (I was considering how a drink with this many ingredients could be made efficiently in a high volume bar). The fact that the bittersweet blend works well on its own as a cocktail modifier was an unexpected benefit (I always keep a bottle of it behind the bar now).

And finally, keeping in line with the all-American theme, the name is a nod to the Spirit of St. Louis – Charles Lindbergh’s famous Atlantic crossing plane, as well as the road where the Bayou distillery is located.