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  • Writer's pictureDane

Drinks with Dane | Week 6

Today we’re gonna talk about how we talk about rum and the exciting changes happening in the rum world. it’s never been a such a great time to start exploring Rum/Rhum/Ron!

Hello Everyone,

I hope you’re not digging too much into the Halloween candy like I am, but if you are today's newsletter should still be relevant to your interests because rum comes directly from sugar cane after all.

Thank you for your support and please tag me @drinkswithdane on Instagram or #DrinksWithDane so I can raise a glass with you!


Ruminations on Rum

First, the color system: white, gold, and dark. When I started bartending, this is how we talked about rum and if the bar I was working at had at least one of each, well, that was a selection to be envied. This system of classification ignores about everything unique in rum. White rum can be unaged or in the case of Cuban and Puerto Rican rums, aged and then filtered clear. Gold isn't a reflection on age. White rums can be colored or the color could have come from maturation in barrel. Dark rums are often the same as gold in that the color may be achieved with caramel coloring.

Next, comes the colonization system. Now that you know everything you thought about rum was a lie, let’s look at some truths, some very ugly truths. Rum is often a byproduct of sugar production. It's created by fermenting a waste product of the sugar refining process (molasses). Slavery and rum were two of the legs of the larger triangle of trade among Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Enslaved people were taken from West Africa to work the plantations in the Caribbean and Southern American Colonies. Molasses and sugar were then shipped and sold in New England. Rum and cotton along tobacco (from North American plantations also utilizing enslaved labor) were then shipped to Europe. Understanding European colonization of the Caribbean gives us a lens to look at rum styles in a historical context.

  • British style: Rum - pot still and molasses based.

  • French style: Rhum - fresh pressed cane juice and column distilled.

  • Spanish style: Ron - molasses based and use of continuous column still to produce highly purified distillates.

These historical classification are still inadequate to categorize today’s rums and are merely for historical context

Now we use the Gargano System. This modern classification of rums was first taken on by Luca Gargano of Habitation Velier and Richard Seale of Foursquare. This system has been refined and championed by Martin Cate of Smuggler's Cove and seeks to look at all the complexities of rum.

1. Raw materials - fresh cane juice, molasses, or cane syrup

2. Fermentation - wild yeast or commercial yeast. length of fermentation. Any special conditions of fermentation (such as use of dunder in Jamaica)

3. Production method - pot still, column still (Coffey, single/multiple, or continuous) hybrid still. Is it a blend of pot and column still?

4. Aging and barrel - length of aging, location of aging (Caribbean / Continental), barrel type size and source (ex. Calvados founders / ex. American oak bourbon / ex. sherry butt)

5. Bottling

  • Estate bottled - produced and bottled at the same estate (Appleton, Foursquare)

  • Private label - produced at a single distillery for a private label (Doorly’s, Gosling’s)

  • Independent bottlers - they source rum from many different places - directly from a distillery, rum broker, or private collection and bottle or élevage (aging, finishing, and blending) (Smith and Cross, Plantation, Habitation Velier)

6. Geographic indication or place of origin - where is the source of the rum.

7. Transparent labeling of the product gives the consumer the information to make an informed choice.

The rum world is leading the charge in label honesty in the spirits world, and I for one, hope the whisky world takes note.


Cocktail of the Week: Poisoned Apple

This cocktail celebrates the freshness of the autumnal season. The sharp crispness of the Granny Smith apple combined with the distilled essence of cane and espadín.

This is my imagination's interpretation of what a poisoned apple would taste like.

The apple is sharp and tart, the mezcal is slightly smoky and the rhum is sweet yet complex. It's juicy, fresh, apple, vegetal and something darker lurking just below the surface.


What You’ll Need:

  • Blanc Martinique Rhum

  • Joven Mezcal

  • Lemon

  • Granny Smith apples (or fresh juice)

  • Honey syrup (1:1 honey to water)

  • Shaker set

  • Juicer


Poisoned Apple Cocktail serves 1 1 ½ oz Clément Blanc Martinique Rhum

½ oz Verde Momento Mezcal

2 oz Fresh Juiced Granny Smith Apple

½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice

½ oz Honey Syrup

Combine all Ingredients into shaker tin and shake with ice until the tins are frosty cold to the touch. Strain into old fashion glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with a pinch of kosher salt and lemon twist. Salute!

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