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Raising Cane; Rum Still Parties Hearty, But It Also Can Be A Good Dinner Partner
By William Rice
July 20, 2003
Rum is unique in the spirits world because it is produced in a rainbow of colors and non-colors, among them white, silver, gold, amber and dark brown. There's spiced rum, too, usually colored amber, and a fruit-flavored version.
Rum comes from sugar cane, which was brought to the New World by Columbus on his second voyage.
F. Paul Pacult, in his guide to distilled spirits, "Kindred Spirits," notes: "Silver [white] rums should be clean smelling and tasting as well as slightly sweet. Amber and dark rums at their best should provide aromas and flavors of molasses, vanilla-caramel and wood. The darker rums of renown are typically complex, concentrated, balanced and heavier in body than all other white spirits."
There is no international quality control of rum, but experts say the best ones come from a dozen islands in the Caribbean. Nonetheless, nearly 90 percent of the rum we drink in this country comes from one locale, Puerto Rico.
Jeff Balcerzak, the rum maven at Schaefer's Wines, Foods and Spirits in Skokie, has been pleased with Plantation pot still rums from Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados ($25 to $30), 12-year-old Zaya from Guatamala (about $45) and Jamaica's Appleton Estate VX (about $15). Another favorite in the medium price category is Mt. Gay Eclipse (also $15). Rums infused with fruit juice (Redrum, Bacardi limon and Bacardi O--for orange juice), sell in the mid-teens and appeal to those recently out of their teens.
Looking for rum drink recipes led me to a charming, newly published book titled "The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris" (Simon & Schuster, $19.95). It presents a treatise on creating cocktails and recipes for drinks consumed by the rich and famous in the stylish bar (now known at Bar Hemingway, after its most famous patron) of the Paris hotel.
The author, Colin Peter Field, is head bartender at the Ritz, and he has put forth a novel procedure for re-creating cocktails in any language. Divide the liquid ingredients of a cocktail into 10 tenths, he recommends. Therefore a Daiquiri contains 5/10 rum, 3/10 lemon juice and 2/10 sugar cane syrup and a margarita is made from 5/10 tequila, 2/10 Triple Sec or Cointreau and 3/10 lemon juice. Make a drink of whatever volume you desire, he counsels. No need for liters or tablespoons.
Try his method with some of the following rum drinks prepared in the Ritz manner.
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stem fresh mint
1/10 lemon juice
5/10 rum, Cuban preferred
Pour the sugar, the fresh mint and the lemon juice into a tumbler. Muddle the whole for about 20 seconds.
Add rum and finish with soda. Stir and serve.
NO NAME COCKTAIL
8/10 aged rum
4 batons of cinnamon, in half
("A very good cigar cocktail for the middle of the evening.")
Pour the ingredients directly into a shaker. Shake vigorously and serve in a cocktail glass. No garniture.
-- By Jonann Burgos, Bar Hemingway, Ritz Paris, 2000.
1/3 Noilly Pratt dry vermouth
1/3 creme de cacao
Created for the National Cash Register Co.
Pour the ingredients directly into a shaker. Shake well and serve in a cocktail glass.
-- By Frank Meier, Cambon Bar, Ritz Paris, 1933.
5/10 Bacardi rum
3/10 lemon juice
2/10 sugar cane syrup
Pour the ingredients into a shaker. Shake and pour into a Bordeaux glass with no ice or into an old fashioned glass with ice.