Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rum Wednesday Doesn't Have the Same Ring To It, But Darn It's Good

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 9:26 AM

I know that Wednesday is usually reserved for wine and whiskey here on Bites, but three new rums have made their way across my palate, and I wanted to share them with you all. To prepare you, the first one is from Ron Jeremy, the famous porn star known as "The Hedgehog." I'll give you a few seconds to get over your giggling now.

OK, maybe another minute in case you clicked on that mercifully SFW link.

Now that we're all acting like adults here, let me tell you about Ron de Jeremy. "Ron" of course is the Spanish word for "rum," so it makes at least a little sense to name this product after the star. As comical as some of Jeremy's films are (so I've heard), he's dead serious about his rum. Crafted by Cuban Master Distiller Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, Ron de Jeremy is an 80-proof Panamanian rum that is aged for seven years. The result is a delightfully smooth-drinking rum with notes of oak and vanilla lurking behind the expected sweet sugar cane overtones. There are unexpected fruity flavors that make this an excellent rum for drinking neat or mixing in your favorite tropical cocktail. At about $30 a bottle, I wouldn't advise wasting it in a Hurricane or a Mai Tai though. Let the rum shine through.

Of course, the marketing minds behind Ron de Jeremy couldn't resist a few cheeky innuendos in the packaging for what they call "The Adult Rum." They tout its "long smooth taste" and claim that "Rons come aplenty, but only one is larger than life." The importer of the product is One-eyed Spirits, but we'll forgive their punny fun for rum this good. they also offer a nice spiced version of Ron de Jeremy that is priced comparably to Captain Morgan and Sailor Jerry, but is a little more complex in my opinion.

More straightforward is another newcomer to town, Ron Fortuna Reserva Exclusiva, an 8-year-old añejo rum from Nicaragua. Ron Fortuna is also an 80-proof product, but is special in that is is 100 percent cane-based with no neutral spirits added to the mix. This means that the molasses flavors of the sugar cane are very prominent in this honey-colored liquor. Incidentally, with such a pretty-colored rum, it was an unusual choice to bottle it in green glass that alters the hue of the liquor. Consider it a pleasant surprise when you pour it over rocks.

The extra aging in American white oak barrels and the lack of neutral spirits contributes a nice complexity of Ron Fortuna, and the finish is as long and lingering as a good bourbon. At a retail price of around $20, this is a premium rum at a bargain price and well worth seeking out. It just hit town this month, so you might have to ask around a little bit.

>Finally, even though I like to talk like I have this amazingly refined rum palate, I must admit that a tumbler of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and a splash of coke has been a favorite last drink of the evening for years. Y'know, just to get it done after I've already had all the good whiskey I'm gonna get that night. A training-wheels drink for folks just getting into rums, Captain and Coke at least offers a little more complexity than the Bacardi 151 bombs that ruined so many Sunday mornings after Saturday night parties in high school and college.

Recently, Captain Morgan released a version of their flagship product called "Lime Bite." I bought a bottle of it to try out, and though the spike of lime was pleasant and not as artificial as I had feared, I put pen to paper and figured that at 33 cents for a fresh lime, it didn't make economic sense to buy this instead. If you are even lazier than I am (unlikely), go ahead and get you some.

The Captain's latest release is Captain Morgan Black, is crafted from Caribbean Blackstrap rum and select ingredients, including clove spice and premium cassia bark, and is finished with double charred blackened oak. The oak aging contributes a much darker color and more full-bodied flavor than your traditional "Breakfast with the Captain." (What? I'm the only one who does that before Titans' games?)

Sweeter than most rums, and with a strong flavor of vanilla, it doesn't make as good of a Cuba Libre as some other products I've tried. The extra sweetness is a little cloying when mixed with cola, though with a Coke Zero (I know, I know ... blaspheme) it wasn't half-bad. Then I took the suggestion of mixing it with ginger ale for a more traditional Caribbean drink and discovered what I'd been missing. Even better was the Dark and Stormy I mixed with Captain Morgan's Black, which allowed the sweetness of the rum to fight it out with the gingery heat of the ginger beer and the tartness of a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice.

As long as you don't treat Captain Morgan's Dark the same way you would a regular spiced rum, you can do some really good things with it. I wouldn't suggest drinking it alone over rocks as the dark color and slight oiliness weren't as appealing as the two rums I led this column with. But in it's place, especially in a Dark and Stormy, this could very well be a nice addition to your liquor cabinet. Just in time for summer pool season!

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