by Dale Degroff
Rich in Variety and Wonderful in Cocktails:
Rum is unique in its mixability. While we would never mix gins together in the same cocktail, two contrasting rum styles in one drink topped with a float of over proof rum is common in the cocktail world. Rum is at home in the playful concoctions of Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron, as well as in the sophisticated classics like the Bacardi cocktail. The legendary bartenders of Havana, Cuba who flourished during the darkness of Prohibition, took a simple country cocktail like the Daiquiri, which was created to mask the poor local rum, and manipulated the ingredients in a dozen ways to fashion a series of spectacular cocktails, like the Floridita and the Mulata. The Papa Doble, with it's ambrosial combination of rum, lime juice, grapefruit and Maraschino liqueur, became the stuff of legend when Papa Hemingway made it his drink of choice while visiting Constante at the Floridita Bar.
Like wine grapes, the soil and the climate where the sugar cane are grown have a huge impact on the character and flavor of the rum produced from the cane. The two main production methods employed by the rum makers of the Caribbean and South America produce two distinctively different rum styles; rum agricole (distilled from free run sugar cane juice) and rum produced from molasses. Within these over all categories, the rums are further classified by body; beginning with the lighter bodied, un-aged or filtered white rums, to the amber and golden medium rums, to the heavy bodied aged and flavored dark rums. Try your own blend of these different rum styles as you concoct your rum punches and cocktails. Utilize the rich resource of products from the Caribbean that are a must for flavoring rum cocktails; products like Angostura Bitters from Trinidad and Velvet Falernum from Barbados carry with them the spices and flavors of the islands.
Here are some of my rum specials:
PLANTERS PUNCH* (Serves 6)
5 ounces dark rum
5 ounces light rum
3 ounces orange curacao
6 ounces fresh orange juice
6 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces simple syrup
3 ounces fresh lime juice
3 ounces of grenadine
1 tablespoon Angostura Bitters
Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Before serving, shake the drinks individually in a cocktail shaker and strain into a goblet filled with ice. Garnish with pineapple, orange and lime slices. (Shaking each individual drink just before serving adds life and flavor and makes the drink look great.)
CAIPIRISSIMA De UVA (red grapes)
2 ounces Bacardi 8 yr. old rum
4 eighths of a lime
4 seedless grapes
1/2 ounce Demerara sugar syrup
1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum
Place lime quarters and the grapes in the bottom of mixing glass, add the Velvet Falernum and the syrup and muddle extracting the juice and the oil in the skin from the lime quarters. Chill a rocks glass with cracked ice. Add Cachaça to the mixture in the mixing glass and dump the ice into the mixing glass and shake well. Pour the entire contents of the mixing glass back into the chilled rocks glass and serve.
One ounce Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
One ounce POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
Splash of fresh lime
Top with one ounce Roderer Champagne
Garnish: Star Anise
Chill the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a champagne flute top with Roderer Champagne.
RUBY RED MOJITO
One and a half ounces Bacardi Limón Rum
One ounce Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
Splash fresh lime juice
Splash of cranberry (for color)
top with an ounce each of soda and 7UP
Glass: Ice Tea
Garnish: Mint Sprig
Muddle the mint with the lime juice and cranberry juice in the bottom of the ice tea glass. Add ice, rum and grapefruit juice and top with the two sodas. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.
*A Dale DeGroff original
As a leading authority and popular personality in the beverage world, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff appears regularly in the press and on television. He is the author of "The Craft of the Cocktail" (Clarkson Potter). He offers "bartender boot camps" at bars in Manhattan and lectures throughout the U.S. and Europe. DeGroff is also the spokesperson for the Distilled Spirits Council in the United States. (more info at: www. Kingcocktail.com)
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