The Story Behind The Bombo

A precursor to the Old Fashioned, the Bombo utilizes fresh grated nutmeg to bring aromatic spice to the picture. It also anticipates the use of bitters — tinctures in which herbs and spices are infused into high-proof neutral grain spirits — to add depth and dimension to a pour of a spirit.

Prior to the creation of this drink, spirits were typically consumed neat, and in rare cases, with a lump of sugar and ice to temper and mellow them. In the Bombo, we witnessed the first step toward the creation of a “true” cocktail.

This recipe originally appeared in the VinePair article, "Taste American History With Classic Rum Drinks and Contemporary Riffs," written by Shannon Mustipher.


  • 2 ounces 5-year-old Barbados rum, such as Mount Gay Black Barrel
  • ½ ounce rich simple syrup (2:1 Demerara sugar and water, simmered for 15 minutes)
  • Fresh grated nutmeg


  1. In a chilled rocks glass, combine the syrup and the rum.
  2. Add a large ice cube, then stir to chill.
  3. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg, then serve.

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Updated: 2021-01-04

Shannon Mustipher’s The Bombo Recipe