Celebrating Rum

Posted by TraderTiki on August 17th, 2008 — Posted in Rum

Unless you’ve spent a bit too much time off of the internet, you may just well know that August 16th (yesterday) is being celebrated as National Rum Day.  A holiday declared… somewhere, by someone (my earliest references being from 2006), but like any other occassion, the desire to celebrate is fine cause to do so.  It’s almost perfect timing too, as International Tiki Day takes place on the second saturday of August!  Now, unless my Gregorian calendar skills deceive me, the two may never occur on the same day, but nonetheless it’s a fantastic time to celebrate the spirit with our Ohana as the summer days melt by.

Seeing as both of these occasions have been, well lets just say, noted in an untimely fashion, I will suggest a Sunday sip and a drink in continuing regard to the spirit.  After all, Rum is something to be celebrated daily, if not by the hour.

Whenever I am asked what my favorite mixing spirit is, the answer is inevitably Rum.  When asked what my favorite sipping spirit is, I again have to go with Rum.  But Rum is such an all encompassing term for a wide and diverse selection of spirits.  There’s Jamaican Rum, Demerara Rum, Rhum Agricole, Whites, Aged whites, Dark, Gold, Aged, Amber, Red, Black Strap, Screech , Añejo, rums aged by Solera method, pot-distilled funky rums, rums from Australia, the Caribbean, locally distilled Rums, Louisiana Rums, New England Rums, Trinidadian Rums, Spiced Rums, Naval Rum… and so on, and so forth.  Each an entirely different spirit than the next, and each with its own variations per distiller, country, or otherwise.  Even a few lifetimes might not be enough to get a taste of all the rums available.  But for those interested in getting a good go at it, there’s always the Forbidden Island Kill-devil Club, a celebration of over 90 variations of the spirit, complete with a checklist.  Everything from Anguilla to Scotland is represented, and those who complete the list are celebrated with a placard on the rum shelf.

I’ve been treated to a good number of rums lately, thanks to a few friendly folks representing Mount Gay, El Dorado, New Orleans Rum, Rhum Clément, and even a bottle of the Rhum JM 1997 presented to me by the Bum hisself.  Mount Gay, however, has been the focus of the month, having sent a countdown calendar of cocktails for National Rum Day.  While the numeric days have passed, there’s always time for a wee bit of catchup.

Rum Day Countdown Calendar

Chesterfield Browne, representative for Mount Gay in Barbados, was one of the panelists at Rum, Ron, Rhum at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail.  While the branding was heavy, his passion for the spirits he represents (with a beaming smile and booming voice) can be a touch infectious.  It’s a fine brand he’s representing, so no wonder he’s so pleased.  When asked about his favorite drink, his answer was Mount Gay Extra Old.  While a fine sipper, he encouraged mixing as well, as it is a very versatile spirit.  Mount Gay Extra Old is a blend of rums aged in Kentucky Oak barrels, blended to a resulting maturity of 17 years.  It speaks very strongly of the barrel, with the softened sweetness of the molasses working together with the barrel aging for a readily sippable spirit.

Mount Gay has a large spirits portfolio, but their flagship is Mount Gay Eclipse.  First batched in 1910, this is a golden spirit with a rich floral aroma and light, spicy flavor.  When Barbados Rum is specifically called for in a mixed drink (Bermuda Yacht Club, Dead Reckoning, Barbados Red Rum Swizzle), the Eclipse mingles magnificently.  For a bit of catch up, let’s try Monday the 4th’s drink, and a Mount Gay signature, The Red Cap.

The Red Cap

The Red Cap

  • 2 oz Mount Gay® Rum Eclipse
  • 1 wedge fresh lime
  • Dash bitters
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grenadine
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Ginger ale
  • Maraschino cherries

In a rocks glass, muddle 4 cherries with mint leaves and sugar. Add ice. In a cocktail shaker, mix Mount Gay® Rum Eclipse, a squeeze of lime, a dash of bitters and a slurp of grenadine. Shake well. Pour over ice and muddled mixture. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a cherry.

The name comes from the signature Red Cap of the Mount Gay Eclipse.  The drinks itself is excellent, combining muddled mint and cherry for sweetness, a bit of tart lime, and the Mount Gay Eclipse for a touch of spice and plenty of rum goodness.  It’s a light sipper, perfect for a red sky at night.  You’ll notice mine is a bit murkier of a red than on the calendar.  That’s the effect of my homemade grenadine combined with super fancy real Maraschino Cherries.  That’s with a “sk” sound, not a “sh” in the Maraschino.

If you wisdom of rum lasts only ’til the end of the bottle, I have a few suggestions if you need to play catch up.  First, for all the rum information you could possibly shake a swizzle stick at, there’s Ed Hamilton’s Ministry of Rum.  There you can find rum information by country, distiller, or pick the brains of the experts at the MOR Forums.  If you’re more of a paper person, and I’d have to agree that a sip of rum goes better with a book than the internet, you’ll have to give a read to Wayne Curtis’ And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.  There are quite a few selections available regarding rum and its place on the stage of history (check the library), but this is probably the most compelling read of all of them.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Rum Drinks

Interesting mix, look forward to testing this one out soon!Although I’m not a big fan of cherries, it must be done!

Posted on August 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

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