Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thirsty Thursdays: Trendy Sips Edition

After spending far too long in the shadows, relegated to keeping company with far too many diet Cokes, rum is enjoying a moment in the sun. Premium rum, that is. The good stuff. And its not so much a moment in the sun, as it is a return to glory. Rum is trending up, my friends, and that's delicious news, indeed!

Why just this month alone, both The New York Times and Time Out New York have written about this oh-so-colonial spirit and hailed its return to glory. While rum may have been our founding fathers' drink of choice, its popularity has been eclipsed of late by small batch bourbons and aged single malts. More's the pity. As it turns out, quality aged rum has more to offer than meets the eye.

And, trust me, my both my eyes and my palate were skeptical. Rum has never been a Diva favorite. Sure, I'll sip on the occasional daiquiri or pina colada, given the proper mood and location - think vacation in Barbados - though generally speaking, most rums are far too sweet for my taste. But all this publicity piqued my interest and opportunity knocked in the form of the exceptional brown spirits menu at Gus & Gabriel. (I know, I know, again with the G & G?! Even I'm embarrassed by how often I've eaten there this month.) Long story short - we dined, we ordered a glass of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 as an after dinner drink, and now I'm a convert.

Aged rum, such as the Ron Zacapa, is similar in character to a fine sherry or tawny port, with a finish that tends toward molasses a/o caramel notes. Make no mistake, the hint of sugar is there ... but its a better, more interesting hint than one typically finds in standard commercial rums. Depending on the brand and finishing, notes of spice, citrus or even leather can be present as well. Suffice it to say that flavor-wise, there's a lot more going here than I'd ever imagined.

Aged rum is delightful as a solo sipper. Enjoy it with a cube or two of ice if you like and, certainly, a water back if desired. Think of it as you would a fine scotch or bourbon and you're on the right track. Hit up that Time Out New York link for a list of reasonably priced aged rums suitable for such sipping. It can also be used in any number of cocktails.

If a festive, summery tipple is your heart's desire, you can't do much better than a classic Dark and Stormy. Does anyone actually need a recipe for this?! Honestly, this one's as old as the hills. I put the husband in charge of bar tending this week - he and the martini shaker have been suffering a bout of separating anxiety of late - and this is the formula he prefers ... taken from John K. Waters' Bar Tender's Guide.

The Dark and Stormy:
  • 2 oz. Gosling's Black Seal Rum
  • 3 oz. of ginger beer
  • wedge of lime
Place some ice into a highball glass or tumbler and over it pour the rum and the ginger beer. Squeeze in a wedge of lime and stir to combine. Garnish with a slice of lime, serve and enjoy, repeat as necessary!

In this case, you must use dark, not white, rum. Really. Its called a "Dark and Stormy", not a "Pale and Somewhat Over-cast." Gosling's is the preferred brand, in fact, I think they invented the drink; though if you have a favorite brand, by all means use it.

A brief word about the ginger beer ... while I failed to procure some in time for my Moscow Mule post, it turns out I was looking in the wrong aisle of the market. It was right there waiting for me all along, tucked in among the regular beer of all things. Will wonders never cease? If you can get your hands on some Jamaican ginger beer, snap it up. If not, Saranac ales makes a fine version.

So, where do you stand on the rum issue? Are you a fan of the aged stuff or more likely to order strawberry daiquiri? Thirsty Diva wants to know.



The Duo Dishes said...

Dark rum can occasionally have scary effects on the brain...makes it quite woozy. ha! Ginger beer is definitely one of the summer favorites though. This could really make an impression on us.

Heavenly Housewife said...

I drink far too many diet cokes lol. I agree, no point drinking anything thats not the "good stuff" life is too short.

pixelgal said...

Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of...say what? I've always hated rum but you make it sound so good! Definitely worth a try.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Duo - I think you might enjoy this one, the flavors are so complimentary and refreshing. Its got some tropical flair going on for sure!

HH - I couldn't agree more! ;)

Pixelgal - I'm not much a rum fan myself, but I do like this. The ginger beer and lime are so delicious. We'll have to make one for you sometime!

Daily Spud said...

I mostly put dark rum in my banana bread and light rum in my mojitos! To be honest, I've never really been a sipper of rum but I think I could be persuaded to try a Dark and Stormy...

doggybloggy said...

dark aged rum for me -

Anonymous said...

I like rum, never tried ginger beer, but I bet it's delicious and excellent in combo with rum!

Veriance said...

I enjoy a good rum, love ginger beer (I'm thinking Vernor's Ginger Ale for me) and can't wait to try this drink!

Donna-FFW said...

I would love to try this drink. I am not necessarily a fan of dark rum, but am always open to a new drink.

AM more of a daiquiri/colada/margarita girl in the summer.

Tangled Noodle said...

I most definitely do not want a "Pale and Somewhat Overcast"! I'll say it again - your introduction of the Moscow Mule into our lives was probably one of the happiest days ever! And we have been using Jamaican ginger beer for it.

I suspect that this Dark and Stormy will be a new favorite, if only I can convince the hubs to let us use aged rum for it. He's attached to it as a straight sipper. But I think I can get him to try it! In fact, we brought back a bottle of aged Filipino rum called Tanduay. I haven't tried it yet but this would be the perfect template for it!