Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gastronomista Gift Guide - Sipping R(h)um

There are so many assumptions made about rum.  1) It is only consumed by pirates and mermaids, and 2) it should only be used in Tiki drinks (which are usually delicious, but not the only way to drink rum).  Wrong you are, dear readers.  Rum, when made right can be addictively delicious: sweet, complex, and almost mysterious.  Rum, is the new whiskey, and is a respectable tipple even for the wildest of characters.  

1.  Angostura makes more than bitters - they make delicious rum too!  Angostura 1919 is a gorgeous blend of rums that are aged from 5 to 10 years in first fill bourbon barrels.  The nose brings aromas of sweet mango and honeysuckle, and when sipped is silky smooth with flavors of coconut, cocoa, banana, oak from the barrel, caramel, and bright citrus notes of lemon.  1919 drinks like a bottle at a much higher price point, and that's something to get very excited about.  $32

2.  Tiki Cocktail Ornaments - Daiquiri, Pina Colada, and Mai Tai.  $17

3.  When the urge for a proper rum cocktail calls, make sure to have the right tools.  Arctic Chill Muddler won't splinter in your drinks.  $14

4.  For any one interested in giving this gastro girl a bottle this year, I will gladly accept a bottle of the gorgeous  Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron MMXII made to celebrate the company's 150th anniversary.  There's only 400 bottles of this ambrosia for sale in the entire world.  Bacardi MMXII has been aged in American oak for over 20 years, transferred into 60 year old cognac barrels, and exquisitely presented in a hand blown crystal decanter with a custom leather case.  Swoon.  $2,000

5.  Brooklyn distilling darling Bridget Firtle has been hard at work with Owney's Rum, branching out into a new line of infused rums.  Limited edition rums are infused with mint, rosemary, and vanilla bean - only 400 bottle of each, so move quickly!  $60 for all 3

6.  Sipping rum need not be aged, my friend.  Shellback Silver Rum is a great white rum that is sweet, smooth, and very easy to drink.  It has a strong flavor of vanilla and predominant cream soda, with undertones of banana and tropical fruit.  $16 

7.  There's one thing that goes best with rum, and that's the Caribbean.  Jet Set to the islands for this holiday, and don't forget your sunnies.  Mirrored iridescent purple Illesteva Frieda round frame sunnies for the ladies, and folding Steve McQueen Persols for the gents.  $200 and $240, respectively.

8.  Gent's need new Penguin swim trunks for tropical vacations.  $65

9.  Cynthia Rowley fashionable and floral wetsuits for the ladies.  $330

10.  Get dry with Striped Turkish Towels.  $20

11.  Sip on Brugal 1888 aged for 6-8 years in American Oak and then 2-4 years in Oloroso Sherry casks, previously filled with Macallan single malt.  This is an extremely complex rum that drinks similarly to a bourbon.  Sweet with layers of flavor such as chocolate, coffee, baking spices, and carmelized fruits.  This is a memorable bottle that will impress those that deserve impressing.  $53

12.  Yes, your drink needs a mermaid in it.  $12

13.  Great rums make great punches.  Great punches deserve great punch bowls such as this Towle Sterling Silver Enamel Punch Bowl from 1955.  $8,650

14.  Craving something strong, rummy, with coconut?  So am I.  Mix up your favorite tropical cocktails with Caliche Rum, aged using the solera process with sherry casks.  But it's a white rum!??!.  It's charcoal filtered aged rum, which looks clear, but retains the flavors of the aging process such as caramel, banana, baking spices, and tannins from the oak. $24

15.  One of the big surprises I tasted this year was Captain Morgan Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum.  It drinks like a much much more expensive bottle and has a lot of flavor, whist being smooth and complex.  It's got the sweetness one expects from a rum, and then big flavors of cherry and stone fruits that come from the Sherry Casks.  Flavors of black peppercorn, baking spices, dark chocolate, and vanilla come through as well, pairing nicely with the fruit and sweet molasses of the rum.  Drink this bottle neat, and pat your self on the back for a good find.  $25

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