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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Morriseau

Rum, Rhum, and Other Less Notorious Cane Spirits

Rum is a generic term for the spirit, and it can be applied to distillates made from a variety of sugar types—including molasses, demerara sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, honey or sugarcane juice. 

Within the Caribbean, each island or production area has a unique style. These styles can, more or less, be grouped by the language traditionally spoken: English, French, and Spanish. English-speaking areas are known for darker rums with a fuller taste that retain a greater amount of the underlying molasses flavor, while areas formerly part of the Spanish Empire traditionally produce aged añejo rums with a relatively smooth taste. French-speaking areas are distinguished by their rhum agricole -- rum distilled only from fresh cane juice. Rhum agricoles are known to retain the original character of the sugar cane, and are considered to express terroir in addition to the skill and style of the distiller.

Why, you ask, have we distilled the definition of rum into this little sip of information? Because we are really excited about our rum collection!  

Avuá Prata 'Silver' Cachaça, Brazil

OK... technically not rhum since 2013, when legislature was passed that allowed it to be recognized internationally as a distinct Brazilian product. Cachaça is a cane spirit made similarly to a rhum agricole (in that it's distilled from cane juice), but it must be produced in Brazil using Brazilian sugarcane. Avuá is always produced with a rotating single varietal sugar cane harvested near the border of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. Grassy, bright and funky, their Prata is good for an adventurous sipper and is spectacular in a classic Caipirinha. For a true Brazilian experience, try it "Tabelinha": alternate sipping between cachaça and beer, letting the two flavors play against each other, much like passing a soccer ball between two players. For the perfect complement to the Prata, try a fruited beer or radler.

Scarlet Ibis, Trinidad

This is old school rum is a blend of 3-5 year aged Trinidad rums, Scarlet Ibis has classic flavors of toffee, tobacco, and dark honey on a firm, dry backbone. It’s balanced enough to sip on its own, but has power to perform well in a cocktail. This project, named for the national bird of Trinidad, was originally commissioned and blend-selected by the famous New York bar, Death & Co.

Privateer True American Amber Rum, Massachusetts

Privateer's founder digs into some family history for the naming of both the company, and this rum. Andrew Cabot (1750-1791), was a merchant, rum distiller and successful American privateer during the American Revolution, with a fleet of more than twenty-five ships --including the True American.

Distilled from boiled brown sugar and grade A molasses, True American is a select blend of 2-4 year rums aged in new, used, bourbon, and brandy barrels. This dry, amber-colored libation sports almond, vanilla, custard, dried apple, and orange peel notes that will have you hot for a tot (or down for daiquiri). Whiskey drinkers take note.

Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum

Amongst the craft cocktail scene, Smith & Cross has achieved a nearly cult status. Spirits enthusiasts freak out and geek out over the fact that it contains only distillates from Wedderburn and Plummer pot stills (OG's of the distilling world), famous for their notes of caramelized banana, exotic fruits and spice, and earthy finish-- this stuff has got some funkadelic hogo. The complexity and flavor depth of this Navy Strength (57%) rum makes it a cornerstone of classic rum drinks, and is the best Jamaican rum for providing the richness that punches and Tiki drinks require.

Boukman Botanical Rhum, Haiti

Steeped in culture and history, Boukman is dedicated to keeping the spirit of spiced Hatian rhum agricole (clairin trempè) alive. This botanical rhum is named for legendary rebel leader, Dutty Boukman, who sparked the Haitian Revolution against French rule-- the largest slave uprising since Spartacus and the only Carribean slave uprising that led to the founding of a state which was both free from slavery, and ruled by non-whites and former captives. This clairin is distilled from 100% Madam Mevs cane juice derived from two of Haiti’s best rhum terroirs: Croix des Bouquets in the south, and the northern cane fields around Cap Haïtien (the scene of Dutty Boukman’s rebellion). The botanicals are a thoughtful mélange of bitter orange peel, allspice, clove, bitter almond, cinnamon, and native woods and barks (bois bandé, zou’devant, campèche, bois cochon, limosin oak). The warm amber color is surprising in an un-aged rhum, but is a natural result of the botanical maceration. On the nose you'll find , bright orange, vanilla, toffee and baking spices; on the palate, rich crème brûlée, grassy cane, and a dry and nutty finish.


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