Not a rum taste at all

By crikey, rum has come a long way since that little incident involving myself, a friend and a bottle of the devil’s stuff back in the early 70s.

Never having touched a drop of liquor in my life, it was not a good introduction and I swore off rum forever.

The word itself is thought to come from rumbullion, or rumbustion, both of which turned up in the language the same time rum did, and were slang for tumult, or uproar. Seems about right to me.

Decades of never going near the stuff changed instantly a few weeks ago when N8N scooped the highly coveted Alcohol Sponsorship Press Awards, run in association with Stolen Rum, the prize of which is one (1) bottle of Stolen premium aged rum.

The bottle, a thing of beauty in and of itself, arrived safely in our post box, and then I realised I had to drink some. Never mind, there were centuries of Trinidadian rum heritage on offer here, it had to be good.

A panel of professional tasters, each with impeccable palates, was invited to join us in a highly scientific interaction with the golden liquid. Sandra was the only one available at short notice, so we went with her. She did have discerning taste buds and an impressive track record when it came to grog.

To get us in the right mood, we threw Harry Belafonte’s Day-O on the record player – much better than CDs – and warmed up a traditional Antiguan beef stew with added chilli peppers.

First up, we opened the bottle and gave it a sniff. Oddly enough, it smelled quite good, really. Next we deposited tiny measures into little glasses, to try it straight. That is, the wimps used little glasses, the professionals waded right in there with peanut butter jars.

Sandra: “Warm, well rounded, with a touch of honey.”
Iris: “It doesn’t taste much like it smells.”
David: “Clear herbaceous undertones, with a floral finish.”
Danny: “Ah God.” (Danny’s input was withdrawn not long after this point; he had just had his wisdom teeth removed and was clearly on too many drugs to be useful.)

And as for me, I was pleasantly surprised – it was nothing like the evil brew I’d hoovered up when young and impressionable. I’m sure rum used to be sweeter. This was more like a whisky, which is a good thing, in my opinion.

The next task was to get our teeth into a number of cocktails that we had researched earlier, all were said to bring out the best from a bottle of gold rum. (In the spirit of being helpful, click on the names for information on how to create these little delights.)

Pino Frio
Seriously Nom (note: this is a good thing.) Very pineappley, and a pleasant enough little drink to enjoy after a day at the cricket.

Polynesian Paradise
Interesting. But in a good way. Gorgeous flavours, not too overpowering. A perfect blend. Actually, really nice.

Good, but definitely needed more gin to make it a serious contender. Or possibly more rum.

Fort Lauderdale
As Sandra was the only person to have actually visited Fort Lauderdale, we deferred to her obvious expertise on this one. “Needs more sugar. Urk.”

Pina Colada
Easy to make, easy to drink, what’s not to like, bring it on. Just no-one sing that song.

At the end of the evening, we were definite about one thing – this rum needed more of an outing to really achieve any real consensus as to its merit. In other words, it was fabulous, in and of itself, and mixed with fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, Cointreau, gin and other happy making ingredients.

However, next time we must get one of those little umbrellas or a dinosaur shaped swizzle stick.

And there will be a next time, because we haven’t had the pleasure of a Honeysuckle Cocktail or Frozen Brum yet. It keeps getting better.

Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-oh…

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4 thoughts on “Not a rum taste at all

  • Pingback: A nice little stew | Number 8 Network

  • March 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Knowing Sandra as a lady of impeccable taste and in no way watered down, I rather doubt she is an expert on grog (in the pure definition). Grog, be it known, is watered-down rum and was rationed daily to British sailors in the days before the Royal Navy became puritanical about alcohol. When the daily rum ration disappeared so did the comfort of the nautical expression: “Arrr, a bugger of a day, but it be better come tot time.” The rum was watered in time-honoured tradition, a representative of each mess witnessing the process carried out by a petty officer. Careful quantities of over-proof navy rum were measured into a copper or oak cask container (usually inscribed “The Queen, God Bless Her”). In the RNZN it was sometimes a plastic bucket. Measured quantities of water were added, it was well stirred, then dolled out to each mess according to its number of men. The few drops left in the cask (there usually were a few drops) went to the petty officer who had done the mixing. Everything was witnessed to keep everyone honest. Petty officers and above got their rum ration undiluted and could store it for later use. The watered-down rum (grog) quite quickly went off and needed to be consumed quite speedily – it was the navy’s way of saying lower ranks couldn’t be trusted to handle more than a tot at a time. – and that’s a little bit of history!

    • March 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Sir, I am mightily offended. I always take my grog straight.

  • Pingback: Close but no cigar | Number 8 Network

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