It’s time to move the nutmeg from spice cupboard to bar cart.

This fragrant spice is fantastic in fall cocktails—especially as garnish—where it wafts in with every sip.

For Baylee Pruitt, a bartender at Cardinal Spirits, the craft distillery and cocktail bar in Bloomington, a dusting of nutmeg is the ideal topping for her Spice Island cocktail, which crisply combines light rum and tart apples with other fall flavors of cinnamon, raisin and brown sugar.

“I like the look of nutmeg, I like the smell of it, I like the texture. I like everything about it,” Pruitt says.

Pass on the powdery, pre-grated stuff, she says, and buy whole nutmeg seeds instead—they’re right there in the spice aisle, or sometimes in the bulk area. Give the whole seed a few scrapes on a microplane grater right over the glass, softly dusting the entire surface of the cocktail.


By Baylee Pruitt of Cardinal Spirits

Makes 1 cocktail

4 slices Pink Lady apple

½ ounce Raisin–Brown Sugar Simple Syrup (recipe follows)*

2 ounces light rum

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

1 dash cinnamon bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters


Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Place apples and Raisin–Brown Sugar Simple Syrup in a shaker. Muddle. Add rum, lemon juice, both bitters and ice. Shake vigorously.

Double-strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.

Grate fresh nutmeg on top of the cocktail to garnish.

* To make Raisin–Brown Sugar Simple Syrup: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup water and ⅓ cup raisins. Heat until simmering, muddling the raisins as it cooks. Cool completely. Strain before using.

Note: For this cocktail, Pruitt uses Cardinal Spirits Tiki Rum, a light, tropical rum that earned 92 points and a Best Buy rating from Wine Enthusiast.

Subscribe today!