If you’re sole goal is a direct route to being drunk, move on from this article and perhaps even indulge in a little self- reflection. But if you're looking for suggestions on how to get the most flavor indulgence from that fine bottle of Rum you've purchased, you're in the right place (if you don't have the bottle of Rum, you've come to the right place as well).
The best serves are the ones that allow the spirit to be featured for best effect. So, by this very token, we may as well be thinking about Spirits with character. Light, dull, boring spirits have no place here.
1. The cocktail hourIn my experience, a well-made cocktail is a thing of joy and it’s all about balance. Recently I spent a few hours in one of my favourite bars. During this time I sipped a few Daiquiri’s made with Trois Rivières Blanc Rhum – it’s an unaged Agricole Rhum from Martinique and it’s pretty vibrant, very fruity and full flavoured – oh and presented at 50%ABV.
The holy trinity of Rum (rhum), lime and sugar, shaken with ice just enough to get the right mix of chill, mix and dilution is in theory a simple thing, but I was reminded that in the hands of a skilled bartender the result is always greater than the sum of its parts. It was delicious. And so were the next three afterwards…
There are all manner of cocktail styles that work for me. Tiki is a particular favourite – it was always my idea of a cocktail. Generally served long, a balanced blend of Rum, fruit juices and imaginative syrups; a serve that doesn’t necessarily taste particularly alcoholic, but have a habit of creeping up on the unwary.
Tiki cocktails also tend to blend different styles of Rums, the only cocktail category to do such a thing – I mean, who would bother to blend two or three types of Vodka for cocktail? But the Rum category does very well when it comes to the classics, like a Manhattan as well.
Swap out your Bourbon and replace with a fab aged Jamaican Rum, or an aged Agricole Rhum from Martinique. Believe me when I say these ‘booze lead’ serves have to be respected, but they are oh-so-delicious as well!
2. Mix it up, keep it simple. And no, cola is not off-limits.
Nope, I’ll take a nice aged Jamaican (Appleton Signature Blend for example), or Bajan Rum (maybe Mount Gay Eclipse) and (depending on my mood) serve in a ratio of either 2 or 3 parts cola to 1 part Rum and hold the ice and lime please! I know people can be sniffy about a good old Rum and coke, but do it right and you’ll still be tasting the Rum!
Simple serves such as a Rum and cola can be pretty good as well.
Other popular mixers for Rum are (of course) ginger beer, but despite its popularity, you might find the ginger beer to be too overpowering, so you can go for the ginger ale instead. And that reminds me of a particular signature serve called the Black Storm: a double measure of Mount Gay Black Barrel, served in a tall glass over cubed ice, topped with ginger ale and served with a slice of orange. Delicious, simple and very ‘moreish’.
3. Rum and juiceRum and apple juice work super well together for those who need a healthier option. But how about Rum and tonic? Never tried it? Not surprised, but take a moment and make yourself a Rum and tonic, just the way you’d make a Gin and tonic. You can use a lightly or unaged Rum in this case. Coconut water has it’s advocates for sure, and well worth exploring.
Before I hit the ultimate serve, let me just remind you that if the Rum your drinking is so bad, that the only way you can consume it is by mixing it, then I think you’re doing it wrong. Always work with something you’d be happy to sip neat, then that way you’ll want to make sure the spirit shines through in your serve.
Always work with something you’d be happy to sip neat, then that way you’ll want to make sure the spirit shines through in your serve.
4. Straight upThe ultimate Rum serve? Well that’s obvious: neat.
Producers that take their time to craft a well distilled, appropriately matured Rum will be super proud of that spirit and enjoying it ‘straight up’ is the only way that you and your Rum maker of choice are going to be sharing a moment.
Add some ice, or a splash of water if you need – the sipping experience is a little easier in both cases, but the pleasure that can be enjoyed is second to none.