Rum is a spirit that is Passover-friendly, so let’s taste a couple of rum types & make a couple of simple rum cocktails…a Daiquiri and a Grog. No beach required!
Ok’d for Passover
Last week I wrote about Flourless Chocolate Walnut cookies as one solution to the challenge we bakers face when trying to work within the rules for Passover (i.e. not using barley, oats, rye, spelt, or wheat as ingredients). This week’s post is usually when I put on my whisky reviewer hat, and, lo and behold, those same ingredients feature prominently for whisky and bourbon expressions. So what’s a trying-to-follow-Passover-blogger to do? How about review something that does fall under the ok-for-Passover umbrella…rum!
A product of sugar cane (and a cousin to molasses), rum is a spirit that’s fine for the holiday. I reviewed Bully Boy rum before, and this time I thought I’d compare two types of rum I had in my kitchen…Bacardi Superior white rum and Brugal Añejo Superior dark rum. Then, just for grins & giggles, I’ll make simple rum cocktails from them and review those as well. Good times!
Let’s get to the first tasting…
Bacardi and Brugal Rums
At home, April 22, 2019
40%ABV, developed in white oak barrels
- Nose: light white sugar, light citrus, hint of almond
- Taste: sweet white pepper, hint of almondin the middle, light vanilla
- Finish: alcohol warmth lingers with white sugar and a touch of almonds
- Comments: great as a mixer; alone, flavors are muted
Brugal Añejo Superior
37.5%ABV, a blend of rums aged 3 to 5 years in used American white Oak barrels that previously held whiskey and bourbon.
- Nose: dark brown sugar, oak, hint of lemon, light caramel
- Taste: strong sugar cane taste (unrefined sugar syrup) followed by dark woody notes, like chewing on a piece of sugar cane, light body
- Finish: cane notes linger along with a hint of baking spices
- Comments: I didn’t know what to expect, so the contrast between the dark sugar cane influence and a woody darkness is striking
Moving right along…
The tasting notes above were a good start, but most of the time rum is used as a mixer rather than had straight. In looking for recipes for simple rum cocktails, I came across Supercall.com’s 8 Easiest Rum Drinks. Two looked especially enticing to me, a classic Daiquiri, and Grog (say it with me now in your best pirate voice, “Aaaarg!”). Both these cocktails used the same three ingredients, rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, so comparing the differences between the Bacardi white rum and the Brugal dark rum would be easier.
Actually, the recipes I made used Demerara Syrup, made with brown demerara sugar (similar to turbinado sugar, like Sugar in the Raw, which is what I had on hand) instead of white granulated sugar. The benefit of using demerara syrup was that it brought an undertone of molasses to the syrup, allowing it to really enhance the rum flavors in the cocktails. Here’s how it’s made…
Turbinado (Demerara) Syrup
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (3 3/4 oz, 107g), or demerara if you’ve got it
- 1/2 cup water
- Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Immediately take the saucepan off the heat.
- Let cool, then pour into a container (something clear to show off your nice golden syrup) and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Finally, the cocktails…
The recipes and the tasting notes are below…
- 2 oz white rum (4 Tbsp, 60ml), like Bacardi white rum
- 0.75 oz turbinado syrup (1 1/2 Tbsp, 22ml)
- 0.75 oz lime juice (1 1/2 Tbsp, 22ml)
- Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake.
- Double strain with a Hawthorne strainer through a fine mesh strainer (to remove any ice particles) into a chilled coupe glass.
- Nose: lime, honey syrup
- Taste: honey, bright lime tartness, light body,
- Finish: tart citrus lingers contrasting nicely agains brown sugar candy
- Comments: this drink is well balanced between tart and sweet, like lime jolly ranchers or sour skittles; light and refreshing, not cloying or artificial tasting; the turbinado syrup adds a layer of depth to what would ordinarily be a too-sweet drink
- 2 oz dark rum (4 Tbsp, 60ml), like Brugal Añejo
- 0.75 oz lime juice (1 1/2 Tbsp, 22ml)
- 0.50 oz turbinado syrup (1 Tbsp, 15ml)
- 1 oz water (2 Tbsp, 30ml)
- Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice and stir to combine.
- Nose: sugar cane, hint of lime
- Taste: strong taste of sugar cane, then light lime tartness
- Finish: sugar cane notes linger along with a touch of citrus
- Comments: quite sweet, refreshing with a woody aftertaste
I thought I’d like the Brugal and Grog over the Bacardi and Daiquiri (given it’s aged, like scotch), so I was surprised that the Daiquiri won out for me. Both of these simple rum cocktails would be lovely to sip on a summer evening…on a beach…with swaying palms…sorry, got carried away for a moment. I really enjoyed the clean crispness of the Daiquiri and the clean rum flavor this time. That’s not to say that if a tiki-mug filled with Grog were handed to me that I’d turn it away, not by a long shot. Now, my drink is waiting, along with the swaying palm trees in my imagination, and Passover is almost over. Aaaarg!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!