Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Tomorrow is National Rum Day, a holiday at least as important as Arbor Day, and we are here to help you celebrate. But first, a quick history lesson.
For some, rum brings to mind eye-patched pirates, tiki bars, and fruity drinks consumed on warm sea-side evenings, but the spirit has a long and complicated global history. Once a key leg of the slave trade, rum underwent a mass commercialization during which low quality vodka-like versions were produced and is now re-emerging as a specialty alcohol. And with that change, rum has graduated from being useful only in the context of the unappreciated college dorm rum-punch and is now a key focus of spirit connoisseurs.
A sugar-cane based tipple, rum comes in a variety of iterations, some made directly from sugar cane juice (like rhum agricole and cachaça) and others from a caramelized sugar cane molasses (like rhum industriel). Some are aged in bourbon barrels, and some are spiced with cinnamon or rosemary or pepper. For the drinker, this means not only a bevy of rum producers to choose from, but also a slew of fantastic rum cocktails to shake and pour and drink.
“Rum has really changed,” says The Beach beverage director, William Ward. “White rums, aged rums. Instead of ordering a rum and coke, people are specifying what kind of rum they want. Like, ‘I want a Bacardi Coke,’ or ‘I want a Brugal and Coke.'”
Ward also finds that his rum-based cocktails are some of the most popular on the menu. His favorite is the Colada, a mix of Kelvin Natural Slush Company’s Spicy Ginger slushy, Mount Gay Rum, and caramelized pineapple puree. Sounds like an ideal way to celebrate this holiday. As an added bonus, the Beach–which is housed inside the Dream Downtown hotel–has a new backyard, beach and cabanas included, where you can take in the rays while you sip.
For a rum on the rocks, Ward recommends Niesson Martinique Rhum, a rhum agricole, for its apricot and grassy notes. Rhum agricole, by the way, is made only in the French islands from cane juice. Or taste around and see what sparks your interest. Haitian, Brazilian, or West Indies? Aged or un-aged? Spiced or plain?
For an at-home rum cocktail, Ward has shared his recipe for the Dream Girl, a rum-tastic take on a Cosmo made with Bacardi Limon, raspberry syrup, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice.
1 ½ oz Bacardi Limon
½ oz Cointreau
¾ oz Royal Rose Raspberry Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
1. Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with lemon twist.