Or… consider Rum when drinking late Spring cocktails… But first what is Rum?
I think a better example is what Rum is and is not.
• Rum is not made of grain. It is derived from sugarcane. Most Rum on the market is distilled from Molasses. Molasses is the stuff that is left after making sugar. It’s not pretty- you probably have a bottle of Blackstrap Molasses in your pantry. Same thing.
• Rum can be made with freshly crushed sugar cane juice- That style tends to be what we call Agricole or Agricultural. If the juice is not tanked within a day or so, it goes bad.
• Most Rum is aged in used American Bourbon oak barrels. Just like your Tequila and your Scotch and sometimes your beer. If you like Rum, you will probably be a whiskey drinker too.
• Most Rum contains Caramel Coloring. This is the market forces at work. The consumer assumes that a dark rum means an old rum. Untrue. Like Whiskey, and their Scottish cousin Whisky, these liquids grow lighter in color with age. Not darker in color like the bottles on the shelf would suggest with vastly inflated prices- because the rum just LOOKS old. Bad form in my opinion.
• Most Rum contains the chemical known as glycerin for the creamy and richly textured “mouth-feel”… When distilleries and rectifiers (those who buy their distillate and say they make their own stuff-when they don’t, but there are no rules- so…) often add adjuncts and flavorings to the rum. (Bad news in my opinion)
• Rum is fun.. That is for certain. It says Summer in a glass!
• Rum is not as serious as Scotch Whisky – thank you for this! Such snobs those Whisky folks
• Rum is as old as sailing history, which is pretty long timeline compared to your last booze cruise. Have you ever known a sailor who hasn’t enjoyed a rum punch or a ‘painkiller’ when they have had too much sun?
• Spiced Rum is generally poor quality rum with flavorings added, remember that. There are very few spiced rums that I find palatable- perhaps they added the spice to the batch to be able to sell the awful stuff? Keep this in mind… There are some really good spiced Rums on the market. Let your palate lead you to the one you like best. Hopefully it’s made from good quality ingredients and no artificial color. Good luck finding one. Barrel aging (for added color and flavor) is very expensive for a distillery.
• Rum can be every bit as sophisticated as the finest Cognac and Whiskies. The Rums that are made without caramel, added sugar or glycerin are far preferred by myself, but good luck having that conversation with the typical Rum drinker. They really have no idea- as much as I try to teach this-how terrible most Rum is. But when you find the good stuff, like the Agricole from Martinique – (AOC) or the fine Cachaças (a freshly crushed sugar cane spirit from Brazil) embrace that style and teach your friends about quality.
So now you know just a bit more about Rum than you knew when you started reading this article (I hope). May I make a suggestion of what to mix with it?
For this cocktail… A delicious take on an island of Martinique classic – known as the Ti-Punch. The Ti-Punch is a magical sum of the parts. Fresh lime cut into quarters, Cane Sugar Syrup, White Rum Agricole. That’s it. Not even any ice. Just 100 Proof Rum Agricole and a dollop of sweet and a trace of sour.
My take is slightly different. Sure it has lime, Rhum Agricole and Cane Syrup. But I took a grapefruit, sliced it in half, dripped some Cane Sugar Syrup over the top, broiled it for 10 or so minutes until just bubbly and then the grapefruit is cooled. Then I juiced the grapefruit and added it drop by precious drop into the Ti-Punch with a couple drops of Luxardo Maraschino… very dry! A Hemingway take on the Martinique classic.
A Son in College
- 2 oz. Rhum Agricole Blanc (white rum from Martinique- 100 Proof)
- 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice made by mashing the lime and the skin (valuable oils) into a rocks glass
- 1 oz. Broiled Grapefruit Juice
- .25 Luxardo Maraschino
- 1 oz. Cane Sugar Syrup
- Mash up the lime chunks with the Rhum Agricole and both the grapefruit and the Cane Syrup, add the Maraschino liqueur
- Add to a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
- Shake really hard until frosty
- Pour into a glass of your desire
Make another one. They go down really quickly – but watch out. They can be very potent!