These are the rums I love. Above is the famous picture of the Cubans “liberating” the Bacardi factory in 1959. I am lucky to have a signed copy of the Raul Carrales photo, which I purchased 10 years ago.
Recently I’ve been getting into rum. Although I love single malts, both highland and islay, lately I’m knocked out by the sensuality and variations in different types of rum. Rum is a tropical drink and comes mostly from Caribbean countries.
There is Barbarcourt, 15 year old rum (they spell it Rhum), made straight from sugar cane in Haiti with no molasses, which is unusual. A Frenchman from Cognac, France, started this company in the 19th century. It’s a smooth dark rum.
I also love Matusalem from the Dominican Republic. I prefer the dark, but there is a light version too. I think the dark is one of my two current faves.
Then there is Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum. a fabulous, perfumed dark rum. This is my other current fave.
Bacardi is the classic Cuban rum, which moved from Cuba to Puerto Rico after the 1959 revolution. I have a great photograph by Raul Carrales of los barbudos (the bearded ones, as Castro’s troops were called, because they all had beards) riding along after requisitioning the Bacardi factory, which is ironic because the Bacardi family supported the revolution.
The Scarlet Ibis is a smooth, dark Trinidadian rum.
Pampero is Venezuela’s great rum, and many consider it the best of all rums.
10 Cane is an inexpensive Trinidadian light rum, great for cocktails.
Finally, there is Dos Maderos from Spain, thus named because the rum is aged in two different madera casks.
Rum is less $$ than single malt. It is more lush and viscous, coats the throat with warmth and goes down slow. It is for sipping, though when I was in Cuba years ago and the rum bottle came out, there were medium-sized glasses that were filled up half way and everybody around me–at 1 p.m.–downed each glass in about a minute or two, then got refills.
Perhaps I like rum because it comes from countries whose music I love: reggae, Cuban, salsa, merengue, calypso and soca (soul calypso), and so on.
Let’s not forget that the Boston Tea Party was not about tea, it was about rum. The colonists preferred French rum from Haiti but were heavily taxed by the Brits, who wanted to sell their own Barbados and Trinidadian rum. In protest the tea got dumped into Boston Harbor, but the whole fracas was about rum, not tea.
Finally, I want to recommend a wonderful little book, Six Glasses that Changed the World. Rum has a nice chapter. The other glasses are coffee, tea, wine, beer, and coca-cola.