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You're on a boat at sea.

You're on a boat at sea. You've been there for weeks, swabbing the decks under the blazing sun. Worst of all, you're parched. What do you reach for? Rum, of course. Look what wonders the sugarcane-based spirit did for the Royal British Navy. Between slugs of government-rationed rum, they ruled the sea.

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You may not be swabbing a deck at sea, or even know a British sailor, but 'tis soon to be the season of the blazing sun and parched throats. A time when, unlike maritime marauders of yore, we can cool off poolside with a glass in the shape of a tiki god wearing a Carmen Mirandaesque fruit stick for a hat.

Rum is one of the world's oldest spirits, first mentioned in 325 B.C. when Nearchus, a general in Alexander the Great's army, sent a dispatch back to his leader stating: "The Indians have made a sort of honey from reeds, without the help of bees." He meant the substance otherwise known as sugar, which the people of India fermented and called "sidhu." This harsh rum prototype slowly trickled east and west. In the Philippines, the juice of the sugarcane was fermented into a drink called "bawsis," while it was being distilled in the West during the early days of alchemical experimentation. The concoction later came to be known as Kill-Devil.

Barbados is the acknowledged birthplace of what we now think of as rum. In 1638, just a few years after the settlement of the island, the first sugarcane harvest was brought in using the labor of recently imported slaves the less savory side of this old-time spirit. To make rum, the sugarcane needs to be boiled and rendered immediately after being cut. Once the juice or "vesous" is released, it passes through a series of open boilers where the actual sugar or sucrose separates out, leaving molasses or treacle behind. The pure juice is fermented, and then it is either bottled or goes into barrels for aging.

Contemporary rums can be compared to the tragic/comedic masks one sees in community playhouses nationwide. The tragic side of rum is synthetic-i-faction. Certain large rum manufacturers have thought it a good idea to market flavored rums. Coconut, watermelon, lime and lemon rums are frequently the spirit base of many a bad cocktail. Most often, the flavorings used in these rums are 100 percent man-made and will produce in the drinker a roaring hangover, even when taken in small amounts. Behind the comedy mask are pure rums. Aged, gold, anjeo or silver, these beauties made throughout the Caribbean are delicious straight or mixed. Notable brands are Westerhall from Grenada, Rhum Barbancourt from Haiti, and any of the "rhums agricole" from Martinique. The latter are made from blue cane sugar and are so revered by the French, their government has designated the island an AOC (Appellation d'origine controlee, or controlled term of origin), which, as with French wine regions such as Champagne, renders the island the only place in the world with the right to use such an appellation.

Rum is one of the most versatile spirits and has the uncanny ability, after one sip, to transport the drinker to a better, usually balmy place, where palm fronds applaud and turquoise waters soothe the eyes. It works well with all types of citrus, even better with pineapple and in the case of high-end, aged rums, alone in a snifter.

YE OLDE RUM DRINKS

Lesser known rum cocktails you might like to try are the Old Havana and El Presidente.

Old Havana

For the Old Havana Gosling's Black Seal Rum works the best.

In a shaker full of ice, add:

1 1/2 ounces rum

1/2 ounce Cointreau

A splash of fresh lemon/lime juice

A splash of simple syrup

1 ounce orange juice

Shake ingredients vigorously for about half a minute. Serve in a martini glass with a sugared rim.

El Presidente

This drink is a little more on the adult side. There are several variations, but the one that works best was devised by Guillermo, the bar man at the Ritz-Carlton in Santiago, Chile. Though simple, the preparation of this drink requires great finesse. A debate rages as to which aged rum makes for a better drink. Cuban aged rums (which are illegal, but we'll keep that under our hats) are the best. If this is not an option (and, fellow citizens, it isn't), one may wish to substitute Aniversario rum from Venezuela.

In a shaker full of ice, add:

2 ounces anjeo rum

1 ounce sweet vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica)

Gently stir. Serve up in a chilled martini glass with an orange twist. Ensure that as much oil as possible from the twisted orange lands on top of the drink.

Either drink is best enjoyed on the deck of your yacht while island hopping.

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Posted in Cleaning Services Post Date 02/27/2018


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