Wind blowin' like stink, no place to go, nice time to sit on the boat and read--a quiet day in front of the fireplace? Well, no, not on this boat. Let's see . . . how about a rum tasting? Our friends on s/v Kalunamoo came over with several bottles of rum, we came up with several bottles. Looks like a good evening and one way to tolerate the 25-30 knot winds. In all, we tasted 13 different rums from several places in the Caribbean. It really wasn't a exhaustive list--there are hundreds of rums made all over the world. Check out http://www.rumuniversity.com/ for book larnin', head to your local liquor store for hands on experience.
Our tasting included spiced rum, coconut flavored rum, aged rums, dark rums, light rums and white rums. Thirteen bottles in all. Of particular interest were "Fire in de Hole," Gosling's Dark, Havana Club, Matusalem, Barbancourt 15 year and Ron Zacapa. The first garnered interest because of its name, Fire in de Hole. How much more inviting can it get? Touted as an erotic (yes, "r" not "z") Caribbean rum. It's made in the Bahamas and is one of the least expensive rums where rum itself is relatively inexpensive. Alas, Fire in de Hole was a standard rum, no special qualities and did not deliver its promised eroticism. Gosling's held interest because it is one of the ingredients in the famous drink of Bermuda, the "Dark and Stormy." It is actually quite good, straight and has a bit of spiciness. Havana Club is made in Cuba and not available in the US. "Forbidden fruit?" It is the ubiquitous Cuban rum . It seems to be the only Cuban rum available though I'm sure they have many others. It was a step above "Fire in de Hole" and on par with the 2 Bacardis we tasted. Again, a relatively simple rum with no special qualities. For years, our favorite rum was Barbancourt 15 year. Unlike most of the other rums, it is made from sugar cane juice, not molasses. I'm sad to report that Barbancourt, as good as it is has been supplanted by other rums that we rank as sipping rums. We moved on to Matusalem--the 15 year stuff. Although the general consensus was that it is indeed a good rum, it didn't rank high. "A bit rough," was mentioned. Your humble author was a dissenting voice and Matusalem is still one of his favorites. We sampled a white rum from Martinique. Again, it is a rum that is made directly from sugar cane juice. It retains the grassy taste of the cane. I suppose it is an acquired taste but it makes a really good 'ti Punch, the drink of choice on the French Islands.
Then, there was Ron Zacapa, a rum aged by the solera system where younger rums are blended serially with older rums--as old as 23 years. I was introduced to Ron Zacapa by chance. I had gone into a liquor store and there was a young lady giving out samples of Ron Zacapa. Let me just say that she was attractive and I would have bought stump water from her. Maybe that has influenced my opinion of the rum. It is very dark and has a full, round smooth taste and a spiciness that begs you to swirl the drink in your mouth before you swallow it. The single favorite of the evening!
Dark and Stormy 2 oz Dark Rum (preferably Gosling's) 3 oz Ginger Beer (preferably Barrit's) Ginger beer is not alcoholic. Wedge of lime to garnish
Mix ingredients in a tall cocktail glass, add ice
2 oz White rum, preferably from Martinique or Guadeloupe Tbls of sugar syrup squeeze of lime
Mix ingredients in a small, short glass. No ice if you want to be authentic!
Many years ago, while vacationing in Martinique, Claudia and I were sitting at a Tiki hut at Anse Mitan. We observed folks anchoring their sailboats and dinghying in to the restaurant. "What a neat way to travel," we thought. Of course, we could never do that. Fast forward 35 or so years and we were anchored in Anse Mitan! During those 35 or so years, we lived other adventures as CLODS--Cruisers Living On Dirt. We didn't know it, but we were training for life on a sailboat. We built our own house, lived without running water or electricity, grew our own food, had a goat dairy and produced award winning cheeses. In 2004, we bought a small trailerable boat. Learned to sail, more or less, bought a bigger boat--a Pearson 323 on which we spend our winters in climes warmer than home.