As one of the world’s oldest spirits, rum’s history is directly linked to global trade. A distillate derived from fermented sugar cane or molasses, one of the first spirits of the New World was rum. Sugar cane was originally brought to Europe from Southeast Asia, and Christopher Columbus expanded the journey of this grass to the Caribbean. Today, it is made all over the world, and festivals are devoted to it from London to Florida, and beyond. Here are some highlights and styles of rum that you might like to compare:
Bacardi was founded in 1862 by Don Facundo Bacardi in Cuba. Within 50 years, the light rum became so popular that the company opened distilleries in Puerto Rico and Mexico, too. Although aged and flavored versions have launched in recent decades, the crisp flavor of the original easily lends itself to cocktails such as the daiquiri and mojito.
Sailor Jerry Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins was a tattoo artist and sailor, and an embodiment of train-hopping, wanderlust adventure in the early 20th century. This style of spiced rum is also based on the tradition of sailors enhancing their cheap rum rations with cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla. The Cable Car cocktail, created by world-renowned Tony Abou-Ganim in the '90s, substitutes Captain Morgan spiced rum as a base for a sidecar (instead of cognac) and is a great example of a classic drink with a rum twist.
Ron Diplomático is produced from sugar cane in Venezuela and distributed in more than 50 countries. The distillery sits at the base of the Andes Mountains and employs environmentally friendly practices such as repurposing production run-off water into organic sugar cane fertilizer. The distillate is aged in malt whiskey, bourbon and sherry barrels, then blended.
Gosling's signature dark rum from this 200-year-old company is made from fermented molasses and distilled in both pot and continuous stills in Bermuda. Aged in whiskey barrels, its deep flavor signature is the base of the Dark-'n'-Stormy cocktail, a mixture of dark rum, spicy ginger beer and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Bayou Rum is made in Louisiana, which has had distilleries in operation since the 1700s. They went underground in the early 1900s when Prohibition hit and struggled through
Here in Santa Fe, find a plethora of rum drinks for your own experimentation:
Eloisa (228 E Palace Ave., 982-0883): Naval Rum Flip
This refreshing mix of English rum, amontillado sherry, botanical liquors, pineapple, a whole egg and a beer topper is both savory and unique. ($12)
Secreto Lounge (210 Don Gaspar Ave., 983-5700): Secreto Pina Colada
A lighter, sumptuous twist on the traditional drink featuring Don Q rum, OM Coconut Lychee liqueur, coconut milk and fresh pineapple juice; it's on the new spring menu. (price unavailable)
High Note (132 W Water St., 919-8771): Daiquiri
Using classic ratios, this handshaken drink pays homage to the traditional version. This one features two kinds of rum: fresh lime juice and powdered sugar. ($12)