“It gave me a strange feeling, and the rest of that night I didn’t say much, but merely sat there and drank, trying to decide if I was getting older and wiser, or just plain old.” ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary
Rum is often the forgotten spirit. It does not carry the mystique of tequila, the executive-class nature of scotch or the ubiquity of vodka and gin. But rum is a fantastic and complex drink. It was the first distilled by plantation slaves in the 17th century, fuel for many a British navy-men and pirate alike, and the foundation of America’s tiki culture during the 1940s. Today is National Rum Day and we tip our had to this cane-sugar based tipple. Here are five great drinks from around the web to celebrate National Rum Day:
Basically a rum sour, the Daiquiri has been bastardized over the years will all abominations of grocery store mixes and corn-syrup laced flavorings. But the classic – rum, sugar and lemon juice served up – is a thing of beauty.
Another rum classic that has been relished to spring breakers and college parties, the Cuba Libre is far more balanced than the frat-party rum-and-cokes I grew up on.
Let’s get Tiki for a minute. The beauty of a tiki drink is in its balance. While most people think of frozen daiquiris and piña coladas, true tiki drinks are a balance of sweet, sour, and bitter… often with a heavy hand of booze. My favorite is the Test Pilot, a blend of two rums, orange liqueur and falernum for sweetness, bitters and pernod for a savory quality, and lime juice to cut through the sugar. Done right, it is a thing of beauty. These are all bottles well worth having in your home so stock up and get tiki!
Not quite tiki, and more complex than a Daiquiri, Planter’s Punch is one of the oldest rum drinks around. There are dozens of recipes for this blend of juices, sugars, and rums but my favorite is this recipe from Professor Cocktail. The ingredient list is manageable as long as you have Grenadine in the house. If you don’t, get make your own with this recipe or do what i do. Use pomegranate juice and add a bit more sugar to taste.
I can think of no other drink that embodies the Tiki more than the Mai Tai. Both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic – the two men responsible for America’s Tiki craze – claim credit for inventing the drink and countless others have gone on to create poolside variations. I prefer Trader Vic’s version… a blend of rums and lime juice sweetened with some Orgeat and Cointreau. Again, nothing fussy, but damn fine. I’m a lazy (and cheap) mixologist so I make my Orgeat from Almond Milk already laying around the house (here’s how).
Combine equal parts The Great Gatsby, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More and Club Pacha, shake well, and you start to get an idea of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s 2011 Open Gala. Spanning three floors (and several half floors, stairwells, side rooms and assorted alcoves) of the New York Public library, the event transformed the mild-mannered tomb of research into a mélange of cocktials, dancing, live bands, and even more cocktails.
In the basement, a full-fledge dance party erupted complete with disco ball, women dancing on speakers, and a swing harnessed to the hundred-year-old ceiling. On the second floor, a vintage game room bathed in red light housed some of the finer Scotches available to taste. And even an obscure half-floor stairwell paired Pat LaFrieda steak tartar and an unassuming opera singer and a fantastic Byzantine Julip made with apple brandy, date molasses, mint sprigs, and a tincture of green coriander.
With world class mixologists filling every tiny nook available it was easy to stumble upon your new favorite cocktail. Standouts included Bootlegger’s Vodka’s Lindy Hop, a mix of vodka, marachino liquor, green grape sour mix and lemon sour mix, as well as Lillet’s refreshing Cul Du Sabion, combining Lillet Blank, Lillet Rouge, Solerno Blood Orange Liquor, Gran Classico Bitter and Fever Tree Bitter Lemon. For a more detailed breakdown on the Gala’s best sips, check out Maggie Hoffman’s recap over on Serious Eats:Drinks or click through to view the full photo gallery.
It’s been a slow start in the new year over here on IDrunkThat, but Edible Manhattan’s Good Spirits event this week changed all that. For one night, those beloved NYC foodies transformed Le Poisson Rouge into a pop-up cocktail party featuring over a dozen of the city’s hottest restaurants, bars, and lounges in a pairing event – one restaurant to one bar – similar to Craft Beer Week’s Brewer’s Choice event.