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Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part V

And here, finally, we have our 4th section of rum: Spiced. This is arguably the most important section of this list as the ‘spice’ in these rums can be what gives a tiki cocktail its kick!


There are a couple of rums on here you might need to scour online shops for, but for the most part the rums in this list are readily available in your local supermarket/off licence!

Kraken Spiced Dark Rum (USA) £21.95 – The Whisky Exchange

Kraken Rum combines two greats: Dark Rum & Spiced rum. And it hits it out of the park!
Kraken Rum combines two greats: Dark Rum & Spiced rum. And it hits it out of the park!

This 40% black spiced rum is somewhat of a genius. Its quality is unmistakable, earmarking it for greatness in the eyes of rum-tasters. But what really sets it apart from every other bottle of rum on the supermarket shelf is its old-style bottle shape. The traditional handle-necked bottle invokes visions of pirates and the romance often associated with the idea of a free life at sea.

Whilst the bottle makes it stand out, it does so knowing full well that the gloriously thick, molasses based alcohol contained within can more than hold its own; one of the only spiced black rums at home being sipped neat as it is swirling around a glass full of lime and cola. This is a perfect topper in a tiki cocktail too! Especially when you do not want to set the house on fire, but still want some theatre to your drink!

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Made in the USA from Caribbean rum and named after the mythical giant squid-like beast, Kraken rum is fantastic; a black spiced rum that is extremely reasonably priced! What’s more, for a limited time only, the whisky exchange is selling a special pack that includes an awesome looking mason-style glass! Perfect for Kraken’ your bottle open when you get in! Excuse the pun – Sorry, not sorry.

Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum (Jamaica) £17-20 Sainsbury’s

Considered a student drink, this versatile spiced rum will give you tiki cocktails a kick, whilst leaving your wallet a little fuller...
Considered a student drink, this versatile spiced rum will give you tiki cocktails a kick and leave your wallet feeling a little fuller…

One of the favourites of my best mate at university, this rum truly has stood the test of time. In the past 10 years I’ve seen it go from strength to strength and literally fly of the shelves!

Perfect for combining with a mixer for a quick drink, this rum is often overlooked in its ability to fill out a cocktail or two. Regardless of your feelings towards it, Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum is a fantastic addition to any ones tiki-cabinet. Try substituting it into your next Mai Tai, it won’t taste like a classic mai tai, but it will be something a little special I’ll tell you that for nothing!

Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (Guyana) £20 – Tesco

Sailor Jerry Spiced rum is one of the all-time spiced rum greats and is certain to spice up any tiki cocktail...
Sailor Jerry Spiced rum is one of the all-time spiced rum greats and is certain to spice up any tiki cocktail…

Another original spiced rum, Sailor Jerry’s fits into the ‘classic’ tiki choice section as it comes under one of the mandates set out in my first tiki cocktail post: It’s from Guyana!

Although Sailor Jerry’s has changed its recipe several times, and some consider Kraken to be more akin to the recipe everyone loved, this rum is still something very, very special. If you’re not a fan of Captain Morgans, for whatever reason – I’m not one to judge – then you should definitely be setting your sights on this classic tiki-suited spiced rum…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Ever tried a spiced mojito? Well you’re missing out! Try this recipe out the next time you have a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s knocking about…

Bacardi Oakheart (Puerto Rico/Cuba) £14-22 Sainsbury’s / Tesco

Extremely versatile, Bacardi Oackheart is a spiced rum perfect for tiki cocktails (or any cocktail for that matter)...
Extremely versatile, Bacardi Oackheart is a spiced rum perfect for tiki cocktails (or any cocktail for that matter)…

This is the second Bacardi rum to make it into one of my top 5 lists, and it is by far the best of the bunch! I tried this a year or two back and it certainly did not disappoint! Combining a rich hearty gold rum with the heart of charred oak barrels this rum is smooth, spiced and even has a tang of smokiness about it! Wonderful in a Cuba Libre or ‘your own tweak’ on a dark n stormy ‘like’ cocktail this rum is best  mixed with other ingredients for sure, but make use of it when creating your tiki masterpieces and you shall never be disappointed!

Fervent Shaker insider tip: If I’m honest, of the two Bacardi rums on my lists this should be the one you buy (if you have to choose)… Sweet, Smooth, Spicy, Smokey and damn good; this rum is perfect in a spiced Pina colada and even better in a rum-toddy…

Admiral Vernons Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum (England) £30-36 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange

Old Vernon is steeped in history, and worth every penny for that added 'something-special' in your tiki cocktail...
Old Vernon is steeped in history, and worth every penny for that added ‘something-special’ in your tiki cocktail…

Ok, so here’s another ‘danger’ warning. This rum, at 75.5%, is by far the strongest of all the rums included in any of the previous lists! Thus it should be treated with the upmost respect.

So with the warning let me share some info about this fine, high-proof, rum:

This rum was the brain child of Admiral Edward Vernon. He enforced a strength reduction on the rum the British Navy gave to its sailors (back in 1740). After hearing the complaints of his men however, ‘Old Grog Vernon’ suggested the addition of lime & sugar to help the flavour and make the drink more enjoyable.

This Old J rum was created in honour of ‘Old Grog’ himself and whilst the strength of the rum has been readdressed, it was increased back to 151-proof [75.5%], it has kept the same balance of spices, lime and sugar that made the original rum a great hit.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Although this rum is perfect for tiki cocktails (it has tiki in its name after all) it is a 151-proof rum and therefore highly flammable! Whilst it gets a little old for me to keep warning you, you seriously need to be careful when handling such high-strength rum. It may taste great, used properly, but when you mess around; things can and will go wrong!

Links:

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

The Drink Shop

The Whisky Exchange

Bacardi Oakheart

Old Vernon

Kraken

Captain Morgan

Sailor Jerry

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Shaken, Not Stirred: Cocktails in a box…

So I finally did it. I’ve subscribed to Shaken Cocktails.

I’ve been meaning to take a proper look for a month or two now, mainly to see if the price was reasonable. All too often you come across these ‘Product-X to your door’ services and they’re either outrageously over-priced or so pants you might as well be ordering manure in a box. Yes things can be that bad. I recently had a seriously disappointing experience with MyGeekBox and whilst my issue was dealt with well (I got a full-refund and return-postage refund) it has left me a little suspect of these box-to-your-door style services. Although I still have my Lootcrate to turn up – that might restore some faith.

Coming in cute little bottles this venture might just be a winner...
Coming in cute little bottles this venture might just be a winner…

Anyway the point is I finally went and researched Shaken Cocktails and their box of cocktails to your door service… I was so happy with what I read that I instantly signed up and am now eagerly awaiting my Negroni/Elderflower Collins Cocktail box (that’s the March 2015 box). At only £24 per box it’s surprisingly cheap compared to how much the same drinks would cost you out and about.

So for those of you who don’t know what Shaken Cocktails do here’s a little bit of information straight from their website:

“Shaken is a small company; just Alex, David, Mark (see our team page). We create cocktail kits for our members, featuring a different drink each month. The kits are designed to showcase a classic cocktail and its variations. We include premium ingredients (as recommended by that month’s drink designer) for the classic and a single variant. Each kit makes 4 servings (2 of each drink) and includes a bit extra.”

Taken from the Shakencocktails.com website.

Now what exited me, as an amateur (albeit kind of semi-professional) cocktail maker, is that whilst catering for the beginner there is also enough information to allow more experienced cocktail makers the opportunity to learn about the ingredients they’re using as well as the drinks themselves. Perfect for this blog don’t you think?

So here’s my monthly plan: Every Sunday after I get the latest box from Shaken, I’ll take some pictures of the ingredients, mix some cocktails up and test them out. But I’ll also try the spirits/liqueurs they send (along with the other ingredients they supply) neat. This way you’ll get a view at what the boxes are like both information wise as well as the quality of the ingredients they supply.

Last months box: the Manhattan...
Last months box: the Manhattan…

Now aside from the initial box they send I’ve read that they also offer the chance to attend exclusive events (whether this is held by them or partners/suppliers is unknown to me, as are the general prices of said events) and also offer discounts with certain suppliers. Now this is the intriguing part because I have yet to see or hear about any upcoming cocktail related events in the UK (or at least local to me here in Kent). So whilst I’ll be looking initially at the cocktails supplied, I’ll also be looking at the ingredients as well as attending some events.

Now if Shaken Cocktails box-to-your-door service is something you’re interested for you or a friend, why not sign up? It’s a monthly payment so you can cancel anytime you want (this sold it to me if I’m honest). What’s more if you use the link at the bottom of this post you’ll receive £5 off your first box. How about that for a sign up bonus?

Also you can look forward to this blog having a few more ingredient focused posts than usual thanks to this adventure…

Link for £5 off your first box: ShakenCocktails.com/fkue

Another great offer from the drink shop… Brandy & Cognac…

Today i received another offer related email from my favourite alcohol seller:

http://www.thedrinkshop.com

Last time it was Tequila, this time its all about the Cognac’s and Brandies they have in stock… ‘Up to 20% off all brandies and cognacs’ says the email. Hip Hip Hooray says me.

Any of you tried out any cognac/brandy cocktails before? No me either, but now might be the best time to try them! Give this link a look and see if anything takes your fancy!

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/productlist.php?catid=13#

An Honorary note;

When the webpage loads up, there will be a link to ‘spirits on offer’ to your right, check this out too, as there are some great bargains to be found… Whilst you wont find many half price bottles, the £2-£3 they do take off really helps you save a few pennies. Let’s face it, you’re prepared to pay the price if you really want it, but a few quid saved here and there is no bad thing! Here’s the link in case you miss it:

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/productlist.php?grpid=414

Also keep an eye out for the general beers/wines on offer! Bargains, Bargains Bargains!

Keep mixing and enjoy responsibly!