Rum: The original spirit of bootleggers, gangsters, rum runners, and pirates like Captain Jack Sparrow
Before you celebrate the cocktail-centric holiday, National Rum Day, we wanted to provide you with a little history behind the celebrated spirit of the day. Our good friend and owner of the Rum House, Kenneth McCoy provided us (again) with some knowledge on Rum and his top three bottles he keeps in rotation.
We can trace rum back 300 years to the British Royal Navy and its tradition of rationing it to the sailors with a lime to prevent scurvy. This practice ended on July 31st, 1970, the day forever known as Black Tot day, but you can still find Black Tot rum, the last of the rationed Royal Navy rum stocks …(psssst, you can taste this historic rum at The Rum House NYC, but hopefully you won’t be drinking it to prevent scurvy!)
It was the liquor of choice for guys like Owney Madden who ran the West Side of Manhattan; Captain Bill McCoy, a Prohibition-era rum runner; Hemingway and, let’s be honest, every cat since the birth of New York
The Dutch settlers originally packaged the spirit to use as currency in trade negotiations. It has since been coursing throughout historic veins of this great city like an original life-force! This sweet nectar starts with the sweet juices that are extracted from the sugarcane plant by crushing, mashing or cutting. Some rums are even made from freshly crushed sugarcane leaves. These extracted sugars are then boiled and turned into molasses. Black strap rums– like Cruzan and Gosling’s– only use the darkest molasses produced. Water and yeast are added to start the fermentation process. The product is then distilled and aged in casks or tanks. The aging vessel plays a major part in the resulting color of the product. Light rum are usually aged in stainless steel tanks for up to a year, keeping the rum clear and clean.
Rum mixes well with all kinds of cocktails! Good quality light rum complements a classic mojito or Daiquiri every single time. Use gold or amber in your Piña Colada or Cable Car Cocktail, and dark rums for sipping, floats, and let’s not forget the Dark and Stormy, practically the national drink of Bermuda! Remember, during the height of Tiki bars rum was
THE craze in the 50s and 60s. And while it never really went away, there seems to be somewhat of a renewed passion for this delicious spirit. Perhaps it’s because a sip of Rum evokes beach imagery (fun-in-the-sun-with-surf-and-
Here are three of my favorite rums right now:
•Ron Zacapa 23: rich and luxurious, for sipping
•Brugal Especial Extra Dry: fantastic for cocktails such as Daiquiris and Piña Coladas and the always famous Cuba Libre
•Santa Teresa 1796: makes a fabulous Old Fashioned
Folks, obviously these are suitable to my palate, but get out there this Friday and try some rums – sip, taste, enjoy and please indulge responsibly or you’ll be walkin’ the plank…AAAARRRGG!!