Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Craft Rums Bring Class to Cocktails and Punches

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Craft Rums Bring Class to Cocktails and Punches

Article excerpt

What better time to extol the pleasures of enjoying fine rum than today -- Aug. 16 -- National Rum Day. With probable origins on South American and Caribbean sugarcane plantations in the 1600s, rum first became a favorite of pirates and the Royal Navy, and very soon with the rest of the world. Ever since my inaugural Dark 'n' Stormy in Bermuda, made with Gosling's Black Seal, I've had a fond appreciation for the spirit. Puerto Rico may be known as the rum capital of the world, with marquee names like Bacardi and Don Q, but lesser-known, quality distillers can be found across the Caribbean - and beyond. Many are producing finely crafted, cask-aged varieties reminiscent of good cognacs. In addition to Black Seal, the Gosling's line also includes aged "Gold" and "Old" offerings. Panama's Ron Abuelo offers delicious blended rums with average ages of 5, 7, 12 and even 30 years. The Dominican Republic gives us a great selection from Brugal, and Appleton Estate Reserve from Jamaica was just awarded the 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge Chairman's Trophy in the rum category.

Like any good cognac or fine sipping tequila, these spirits hold their own nicely when enjoyed neat or over a little ice. They can also be used to make some great cocktails and punches.

-- Bob Probert

* Gosling's Dark 'n' Stormy

A sailors' favorite, this is the iconic national cocktail of Bermuda. Some may add a squeeze of lime or orange, even a dash of bitters, but the official -- and trademarked -- Dark 'n' Stormy couldn't be easier to make.

2 ounces Gosling's Black Seal Rum

Ginger beer

In a tall glass filled with cracked ice, add the Black Seal and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge (optional).

Makes: 1

* Appleton Ginger Strawberry Rumble

Appleton is the oldest sugar cane estate and distillery in Jamaica and production of their rum is carefully controlled. This refined and complex rum offers intense fruit flavors with notes of nuts, nutmeg, orange peel, butterscotch and vanilla.

2 ounces Appleton Estate Reserve

1 strawberry, hulled

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

3/4 ounce ginger liqueur (such as Canton)

1/2 strawberry, sliced lengthwise

Slice of candied ginger

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberry. …

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