In my life I have had a lot of rum splash down my gullet and take up residence in my innards. This long overdue Booze Blog is devoted to two of my favorites. When most people think of rum they think “something you mix with cola” or perhaps “something you make mojitos with”. The fact is rum is one of the most widely mixed alcohols out there but very few people drink it straight and really appreciate it for what it is.
Rum used to be America’s drink of choice, in colonial times every man woman and child drank about 4 gallons of it a year. Rum is pretty much responsible for the beginning of the slave trade, which though absolutely awful also helped shaped American history and rum also helped fuel the Revolutionary war. So what happened? Why has rum become simply a mixer and not really appreciated?
A lot of it has to do with whiskey, a lot of it has to do with prohibition when rum was so rot-gut and hideous that it would eat you alive from the inside out. In fact liquor that was bootlegged by people in their homes and as harsh enough to make you go blind was almost always called bathtub rum. After prohibition women were drinking in bars with their husbands and “floofy” drinks became very popular. Rum was sugary and delicious so it was mixed it with fruit juices and eventually soda.
While all of this helped the sale of rum, it sort of gave some manufacturers the go ahead to make a really shitty product since it was almost always going to get mixed in with something else.
Now we are all familiar with Baccardi and Captain Mo, and while they are certainly of fine quality, at least in this country, they are very bland, very run of the mill. They are like the Bee Gees of booze. Sure they’re very good at what they do but who wants to listen to the Bee Gees all the time?
Rums come in several varieties, but today my friends I am going to focus one oak barrel aged, dark spiced rum. I will admit, I only recently (about a year ago) got back in to regularly drinking rum and trying new ones, so there may be better rums out there and if there are I welcome your input, but so far, these are my favorites.
The first rum on the list is Spiced Jack No. 94. Produced by White Rock Distilleries, the legend goes, as a Navy pilot stationed in Bermuda in 1956, Lieutenant Jack Butler developed a taste for ﬁne rum and a reputation for rowdy carousing. After countless hours spent in his ramshackle bungalow, Jack perfected his recipe for blending spiced rum, using a top-secret combination of native spices to punch up the ﬂavor of the centuries-old traditional island rum. On a stormy day in late 1957, Jack’s plane disappeared without a trace…and later friends discovered that his stockpile of rum was mysteriously missing. What happened to Jack Butler and his perfect blend of island rum and spices? We may never know. Fortunately for us, however, Jack quietly enclosed the recipe in a letter to his brother shortly before he vanished.
At first taste I was really surprised by this rum and I instantly fell in love. Boasting 94 Proof I was expecting something that tasted like rubbing alcohol or worse… Banker’s Club. As soon as I took a sip the first thing I noticed was that it was almost fruity, delicious, like a slowly dissolving candy. It made me feel warm all the way down. No after taste, no heart burn, no dry heaves. I had another sip…same results. I had a shot, then two, then ten. Each one was more delicious than the last. I drank half a bottle of this in one sitting without even noticing…other than the fact I was plastered, which is ok too.
I give Spiced Jack a 10 out of 10. I recommend you drink it neat, save the cheap stuff for mixing drinks, this is delicious all on its own.
I discovered Kraken Rum about a year ago and honestly it was what reignited my love with rum. I was standing in the liquor store, trying to decide what lucky bottle to take home with me and I had no real idea of what I wanted. I had just come out of my Tequila phase (not that I ever REALLY left my Tequila phase) and I wasn’t in the mood for whiskey (bourbon, Scotch, Irish or otherwise) and I already had a bottle of vodka on the bar butler at home.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the bottle, it has a very traditional look and the label is printed like a treasure map to deliciousness. The Kraken is produced by Proximo Spirits and also checks in at 94 proof.
This rum is as deep and as black as the heart of Davey Jones and smells like Vanilla from the first sniff. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SNIFFING IT FOR?!?! Rum is for drinking! The taste of this rum explodes in your mouth. If you can actually taste any alcohol in this it’s in your imagination. This is hands down the most flavorful, most delicious non-mix drink I have ever had.
So far I have convinced two of my favorite bars to carry it so I can drink it when I’m out and I of course keep it in my private stock at all times.
I give The Kraken Spiced Black Rum 700 out of 10. Drink this every chance you get.