Henry "Box" Brown 1.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Spirits Oct 24, 2012

This cocktail is named for the Virginia slave (and eventual anti-slavery speaker and performer) who escaped to freedom in 1849 by mailing himself to Philadelphia in a wooden crate. The genius of this drink -- just like Brown's escape plan -- is in its simplicity.

At Hop Sing Laundromat in Philadelphia, the Demerara rum from Guyana called 15-year-old El Dorado is used. But feel free to experiment with other rums that have decade or more of aging, such as Appleton Estates 12 year old from Jamaica, Rhum Clement 10 year old rhum agricole from Martinique or 15-year-old Rhum Barbancourt from Haiti. Red grapes from Chile that aren't too dark work best. For best results, juice the grapes right before serving. A juicer works best, though you can muddle the grapes in the shaker as well.

Servings: 1
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces well-aged rum
  • 3 ounces freshly pressed red grape juice (about 15 medium-to-large red grapes; see headnote)


Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the rum and grape juice; shake well, then strain into an old fashioned or rocks glass filled with large ice cubes.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Hop Sing Laundromat in Philadelphia.

Tested by Jason Wilson and Jane Touzalin.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.