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What To Drink Now: Happy Rum Day!

I am good at finding a reason to celebrate, and today is one of my favorites as it is National Rum Day and I am huge fan of well aged, nutty, orange and spice filled rum. I am also a fan of any drink that makes me think I am on a beach, as many rum based cocktails do, especially when mixed in large batches for rum based, happy hour punches. Though some tend to be a little sweet for my taste, as my perfect rum cocktail for sipping if I’m not drinking an aged rum straight is Brugal Extra Dry with club soda and lime, maybe a sprig of mint, however all of these suggestions are tasty and a perfect way to start the weekend.

img_santo_libre_700Most cocktail sippers know about a Cuba Libre…even if you only saw it referenced in the film “Cocktail,” however its lemon-lime soda based sister doesn’t get as much attention, and is every bit as tasty. Try it with Brugal Extra Viejo, my other favorite cocktail base in the Brugal family if you aren’t sipping Brugal 1888. Aged 3-8 years in American oak the rum is filled with dried fruit and sweet spice aromas, marrying well with the citrus soda.

SANTO LIBRE
2 ounces Brugal Extra Viejo (or Brugal Anejo)
4 ounces Sprite or other Lemon-Lime soda
Wedge of lemon, lime or orange for garnish
Directions: Add ingredients to a tall ice filled glass and stir. Can also be made similar to my favorite cocktail with Brugal Extra Dry, just pump up the amount of lime juice to include the juice of a whole lime with the club soda.

BASIL EXPEDITION
Created by Scott Fitzgerald, Mulberry Project (NYC)
2 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
1 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz. Maple Syrup
1 Tangerine
3 Basil Leaves
Directions: Muddle Tangerine in a cocktail shaker. Combine Brugal, Juice, Syrup and Basil on top of tangerine. Shake with ice, and fine strain into a Coupe. Garnish with a Basil Leaf.

CINNAMON SUN
1 part Blue Chair Bay Spiced Coconut Rum (This is the rum owned by country music star Kenny Chesney, created to help transport him to his favorite blue chair on a Caribbean beach….one sipped and you will be there too.)
1 part coconut water
Sprig of fresh mint for garnish, lime wedge and cinnamon sugar for the rim of the glass.
Directions: Run the lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass. Dip the rim in cinnamon sugar. Add rum and coconut water to glass over ice and stir. Garnish with the mint leaf.

Milestone MojitoMILESTONE MOJITO
Recipe courtesy of Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist
1½ ounces Shellback Spiced Rum
1 ounce house made ginger syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
12-14 fresh mint leaves
1/2 clementine, quartered
Chilled soda water
Directions: In a highball glass, lightly muddle lime juice, ginger syrup, clementine and mint leaves. Add crushed ice and Shellback Spiced rum.  Stir until outside of glass begins to frost. Top with chilled soda water. Garnish with mint sprig.

Just the aroma of Malibu Caribbean White Rum with Coconut takes me back a few decades. And my favorite cocktail then is still tasty today, simply mixing the sweet spirit (with very low alcohol – just over 40 proof) with pineapple juice over ice.
The recipe gets an extra twist below with the addition of passionfruit…the perfect pairing with pineapple and coconut.

LICK OF SUNSHINE
1 part Malibu Caribbean White Rum with Coconut
1 part Pressed Pineapple Juice
1 Whole Pressed Passion Fruit (or half Lime)
Directions: Stir the Malibu and pineapple on ice in a highball. Then squeeze the passion fruit into the glass and stir to mix. Garnish with ½ a passion fruit and a wedge of pineapple.

CRUZAN PINEAPPLE PASSION
2 parts Cruzan Passion Fruit Rum
2 parts Pineapple Juice
1 part Lime Juice
1/2 part Honey Syrup
2 Pineapple Chunks
Fresh grated Cinnamon
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of ice and blend for 20 seconds. Pour into a cored pineapple and garnish with fresh mint.

Sangria-LaSANGRIA-LA (serves 16)
Red Delicious apple slices
2 small oranges cut into thin quarters
2 lemons cut into thin quarters
12 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
12 oz fresh lemon juice
6 oz simple syrup
8 oz Pyrat XO Reserve
8 oz Citrónge
2 bottles of Spanish red wine, 750 ml each
Lemon Lime Soda
Directions: Place ingredients (except soda) into a large glass container, cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, pour into an ice filled pitcher until 2/3 full. Add fresh sliced fruits and top with lemon-lime soda, stir gently to mix. Serve in ice filled wine glasses.

RUM DAY PUNCH (This punch still puts you on island time without being overly sweet.)
 2 oz Pyrat XO Reserve
2 oz Soda water
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Dash bitters
Splash of Pineapple Juice (optional)
Splash of Grapefruit Juice (optional)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Fresh Cherries
Directions: Combine rum, lime juice, and bitters in a shaker of ice. Shake gently. Pour into margarita glass. Garnish with nutmeg and fresh cherries. Optional juices are pineapple and grapefruit.

PORT ROYAL PUNCH (Serves 25)
port-royal-punch2  46-oz. cans of pineapple juice
3 cups mango juice
1  750 mL bottle of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
4.5 oz. grenadine
3 oranges sliced thinly and quartered
3 cans of Sprite for fizz
Directions: In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the above ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass – or glass of your choosing.

If you prefer a sipping rum, which if you haven’t tried has many of the same characteristics of a well aged scotch or bourbon, without some of the bite, consider one of these, served simply neat or over ice…maybe while smoking a Dominican cigar.

Mount Gay Black Barrel Small Batch Rum uses toasted and well charred American oak, former bourbon casks to enhance their aged double pot still and column stilled, sugar cane based rum. From the oldest established rum distiller in the world, started in 1703, each bottle of this whiskey-like rum is numbered to enhance how special this hand-crafted, small back spirit is. With a medium body and warming character, Mount Gary Black Barrel is filled with toasted oak, vanilla and caramel notes with sweet cinnamon, clove and nutmeg spice, with a long and smooth finish. Retails for around $30, available at liquor stores throughout Dallas.

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera Gran Reserva 23 Rum, aged 6-23 years in former Palomino and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks, and then blended like the traditional Sherry solera system (with a rotation of the butts from oldest to youngest, blending a small portion of even the oldest rum within the solera into every bottle. A rum to be sipped and savored, full bodied and robust with flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, orange peel, sweet spice and dried apricots. A rum of distinction and character, made from pure sugar cane from Guatemala. Retails for around $55.