With limited distribution at present, currently only in New York State, Sag Harbor “Old Whalers Style” Rum should be on your very short list of things that you must find. by Warren Bobrow
It’s rare that I find myself in the position, living in New Jersey, that I actually must drive all the way out to Long Island to find this salubrious slurp. But I know it will be well worth the trip. It’s available for sale within New York State from Domaine Franey Wines & Spirits.
But without further adieux, I need you to find a bottle. Posthaste. Today. Tomorrow. Get in your car and go. Now. Or as soon as possible you must find some. It’s very rare that I recommend any liquor with such adoration. But I really like it!
Sag Harbor Rum is made in a style that doesn’t exist in our country any longer because it costs too much to make rum this delicious. I know this by the amount of poorly made rum that are artificially spiced and usually mixed with cola. Sure the distillers of Sag Harbor Rum use the kind of oak barrels that formerly held bourbon whiskey. That is for certain, but what they do in their proprietary manner is spice to the rum as if it was being enjoyed during the Colonial Era of iron men and their wooden ships.
When I poured myself a glass, served in a snifter- I unlocked the ghosts of the sailing past. It’s really that easy to enjoy!
The first time I tasted spiced rum I was sailing down island with my family on their Little Harbor yacht. It was a magnificent boat, well suited for finding the rhomb line or drinking the rum with limes, as it was. She was nearly 60 feet in length and she cut through the heavy Caribbean seas with rare grace. At the end of the day her center cockpit was the perfect place to enjoy a rum cocktail or two.
The island of Saba in the Dutch Antilles is a place without good beaches or clean anchorage. The swells roll in all night, it’s similar to St. Barth in anchorage, or lack thereof. You have to put yourself outside of the seawall otherwise you’re going to be battered by the rolling surf all night. Usually I sleep like a baby on a sailboat but with a wave hitting the side every few seconds, this joy wears off quickly. Given a punch made with the local spiced rum and I’m out like a champion- no matter where the anchorage.
Saba is well known for their artisanal spiced rums and I think Sag Harbor Rum tastes like the rum I sampled on Saba. They make their rums in a heavier style on Saba and Sag Harbor emulates this Southern Ocean style with ease. That’s not to say that Sag Harbor is dark, it’s not at all- lightly colored in fact with a honey color. But in the mouth the Sag Harbor rum works on my memories like that trip to Saba.
You could say that each sip unlocked the past. The Rums of Saba come in all different varieties of spice. Some are redolent of nutmeg and cloves; others are like a liquefied oatmeal cookie. Sag Harbor Rum tastes like they melted down steel cut oats and then soaked them in vanilla syrup. Not to end the party right there I tasted orange zests, long cooked tropical fruits, bittersweet chocolate, espresso coffee and Caribbean Spices. Sure you can savor it in a snifter with a cube of ice, but why not try mixing it up a bit?
My first forays into the world of spiced rum cocktails were all riffs on the classic pina colada drinks. I love them because of their nostalgic element so I feel compelled to share a few of my ideas with Sag Harbor Rum.
- 4 oz. Sag Harbor Rum
- ¼ oz. Menta Branca- from Fernet Branca
- 2 oz. Coconut Cream (Sweetened is preferred)
- 2 oz. Pineapple Juice- freshly crushed, a MUST!
- 1 oz. Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup
- 1 oz. Seltzer water
Angostura Orange Bitters
- To a Boston Shaker, filled ¾ with ice
- Add the Sag Harbor Rum
- Add the Menta Branca
- Add the Coconut Cream
- Add the pineapple juice
- Add the Fruitations
- Cap and Shake!
- Pour into two tall glasses filled with ice and top with a splash of seltzer each plus- 3 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters