An underappreciated classic cocktail, the Diablo first appeared as the “Mexican El Diablo” in Trader Vic’s 1948 Bartender’s Guide. Colloquially, the name has been shortened over time to just Diablo, but the “Mexican” nods to the cocktail’s typical base spirit: tequila. The odd couple of the agave-based liquor and the sweet, mellow, slightly acidic black currant–flavored crème de cassis work surprisingly well together, and lime juice and ginger beer heighten the pairing with additional acidity, refreshing spice, and carbonation.

So why mess with a classic? A rich aged rum stands up to the intense flavors of the Diablo, but unlike tequila, it brings a roundness that really emphasizes the berry in the crème de cassis. Functionally, aged rum works almost like a whiskey here; the aging process in a cask carries rum’s signature caramel-toffee flavor.

A touch more subtle than a tequila Diablo—but only a touch—an aged-rum Diablo pairs best with a mellower ginger beer, so as to not drown out the other flavors. (Avoid anything advertised as “extra” or “sharp.”) This is a fairly low-alcohol cocktail, which makes it perfect for outdoor gatherings as the weather gets warmer. It can also be batched well ahead of time: simply combine all of the ingredients, except for the ginger beer, in a pitcher and refrigerate, covered, for up to two days. And when you’re ready to serve, top off the pitcher with the ginger beer, give it a quick stir, and pour into glasses.

Because it’s high on flavor and low on alcohol, this Diablo pairs well with spicy foods: tacos would be an excellent match, as would chilis, curries, or gumbos. And, like most batched cocktails, it is wonderful on its own, enjoyed outdoors with good friends and great conversation.

Pitcher Diablos

Serving a batch of this twist on a classic cocktail with caramelly aged rum and fruity crème de cassis is sure to get the party started.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 6


  • cup crème de cassis
  • cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup aged rum
  • 2 twelve-ounce bottles ginger beer
  • 6 lime wedges, for garnish


  • Add the crème de cassis, lime juice, and rum to a pitcher. Stir. This can be done up to two days ahead of time, and covered and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
  • Slowly add the ginger beer to the pitcher so as to not create too much foam, and stir to combine.
  • Divide the cocktail into six ice-filled Collins glasses and serve with a lime wedge as garnish.