The Expense of Honesty: Bridging Rum and Bourbon in a Classic Cocktail

In the world of cocktails, innovation is key. Matthew Tocco, the beverage director at Strategic Hospitality, understands this well. At Nashville’s Pinewood Social, he has been experimenting with Old Fashioned riffs, leading to the creation of the Expense of Honesty cocktail. This drink is a unique blend that marries the worlds of rum and bourbon, two spirits traditionally not seen together in classic cocktails.

Expense of Honesty Cocktail Recipe
Calories: 206kcal
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
The Expense of Honesty cocktail is a masterful blend of rum and bourbon, crafted by Matthew Tocco of Nashville’s Pinewood Social. This innovative drink combines the dryness of Brugal añejo rum with the sweetness of Arehucas Ron Miel Guanche and the robust spice of Old Forester Signature bourbon. Sweetened with demerara sugar and honey, and balanced with Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, this cocktail is a testament to the versatility of rum and the enduring appeal of whiskey. It's a sophisticated choice for those looking to explore beyond traditional cocktail boundaries.


  • 1 ounce Rum (Brugal añejo)
  • 1 ounce Bourbon Whiskey (Old Forester Signature)
  • 1/2 ounce Honey Rum (Arehucas Ron Miel Guanche)
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 dash Bitters
  • 1 dah Cherry bitters
  • Garnish: orange twist


  • Combine the Brugal rum, Old Forester bourbon, Arehucas Ron Miel Guanche rum, demerara sugar, honey, Angostura bitters, and Peychaud’s bitters in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
  • Garnish with an expressed orange twist.

Estimated Nutrition:

Calories: 206kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 10g (3%)Protein: 0.02gFat: 0.01gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 5mgFiber: 0.01gSugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 0.5mgIron: 0.1mg (1%)
CourseBeverage, Cocktail, Drinks
CuisineBeverage, Cocktail, Drinks
KeywordBeverage, Cocktail, Drink

A Fusion of Flavors

The Expense of Honesty starts with a base of Brugal añejo rum from the Dominican Republic. This rum, aged in ex-bourbon casks, brings a drier profile than many of its counterparts. To add complexity, Tocco includes Arehucas Ron Miel Guanche, a honey-laced rum from the Canary Islands. This choice adds a sweet, nuanced layer to the cocktail.

The bourbon component is Old Forester Signature, chosen for its spicy and robust character, and its 100-proof strength adds a significant punch. This combination of spirits creates a cocktail that is both bold and balanced, showcasing the individual characteristics of each component while harmoniously blending them.

Sweetness and Bitters: The Perfect Balance

To complement the spirits, Tocco uses demerara sugar and honey. The demerara sugar’s rich, molasses-like sweetness pairs perfectly with the dryness of the Brugal rum, while the honey naturally complements the Ron Miel Guanche. The cocktail is then balanced with a dash each of Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, adding depth and complexity.

Redefining Rum in Cocktails

Tocco’s creation is more than just a drink; it’s a statement. “A lot of people associate rum with sweet, fruity drinks, but there are a lot of different ways you can apply the spirit,” he says. The Expense of Honesty challenges the conventional perception of rum, showcasing its versatility and capacity to pair beautifully with other spirits like bourbon.