Today is National Rum Day. While the spirit typically evokes thoughts of sweet, tiki-style cocktails and frozen beverages, it can be a whole lot more.
Rum, which is distilled from byproducts of sugarcane such as molasses or directly from sugarcane juice is the third most popular spirit in the United States, losing out to just vodka and whiskey — and it’s not just for sweet drinks.
Extra-aged rums are starting to get a lot of attention. The barrel-aged rums can be sipped on just like one might an aged whiskey, and just like their whiskey counterparts, come with a host of complex flavors.
One of those older sipping rums on the market is made by Nicaragua’s Flor de Caña. It sells a 12-year, 18-year, and 25-year sipping rum along with its lineup of mixing rums. The Flor de Caña 25 walked away with the “2017 Best Rum of the Year” last year from the International Rum Conference in Madrid.
While you might expect a lot of sweetness from a 25-year-old rum, Flor de Caña ambassador Ashela Richardson says you’ll actually get a whole lot more.
“That’s there, but that doesn’t dominate the liquid. There’s so much complexity added in,” Richardson told us at a tasting event in San Francisco. You’ll also get a bit of tobacco and wood and dark cocoa notes. If you’re really paying attention, you can also pick up on the volcanic soil from the area in Nicaragua where the rum is made.
If you’re new to rum and want to learn more, Richardson suggests starting with daiquiris.
“It’s the purest form of a tiki cocktail,” she says. The ingredients list: rum, lime, and sugar.
“It tastes great with every rum. You can’t go wrong. And it’s a great litmus test to understanding the type of rum you’re drinking,” she says. Once you get adjusted to drinking daiquiris and start to learn what you like, you can play around with the proportions in the drink so it’s even more rum-forward.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at making your own daiquiri to celebrate National Rum Day, grab a bottle of your favorite rum and follow this recipe:
• 2 oz rum
• 1/2 ounce of simple syrup
• 1 ounce lime juice
Shake everything with ice and then pour into a glass.
And if you’d like to try something a little more adventurous for your celebrations, here are two interesting cocktails from the Flor de Caña team:
2 parts Flor de Caña 7 Year
1 part coconut water
.75 part pineapple juice
.5 part fresh squeezed orange juice
.5 part fresh lime juice
.5 part simple syrup
Method: Pour all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir briskly until well chilled. Top with grated nutmeg, garnish with a slice of pineapple.
2 parts Flor de Caña 7 Year
1 part guava juice
.5 part fresh squeezed lemon juice
.15 part Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
.15 part simple syrup Dash of orange bitters
Method: Shake all of the ingredients and strain over ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with thin orange slices.