Tag Archives: angostura

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

Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part IV

So here we are, the second to last post, and it’s all about the rich and powerful: Dark Rum…

Dark rum, the rich and powerful, best kind, of rum!
Dark rum, the rich and powerful, best kind, of rum!


Now we move onto the Dark rum and here is where it gets a little special, some of these rums are aged for nearly a decade and most come with a pretty special little story or two… From the Highly prized Goslings Black seal to the highly flammable overproof Plantation Rum here is my top 5 Tiki Dark Rums:

Goslings Black Seal (Bermuda) £21.15 – The Whisky Exchange

goslings
Goslings Dark rum (left bottle) is a delicious and rich Bermudan rum, so good in fact, they even have their very own cocktail trademarked!

This brand of rum is one of the best dark rums on the market; its rich, well-balanced flavours make it an ideal choice for tiki cocktails and enjoying with your favourite mixer.

Interestingly the Dark N Stormy cocktail (at least in the USA, Caribbean, UK & most of Western Europe) can only be made with Goslings Black Seal Rum! This is the result of a trademark Goslings started filing back in the 1970’s.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Goslings were the first alcohol company to put in for, and get, a trademark for a cocktail. The trademark covers the use of the name ‘Dark N Stormy’ and regardless of the amount of lime or ginger beer used; the rum has to be Goslings Black Seal!

Bacardi Black (Cuba/Puerto Rico) £18-£20 – Sainsbury’s

Dark and powerful, like a dark rum should be, Bacardi Negra is a classic dark rum, readily available in your local supermarket...
Dark and powerful, like a dark rum should be, Bacardi Negra is a classic dark rum, readily available in your local supermarket…

Made in the Cuban style, but exiled to Puerto Rico; Bacardi Carta Negra (Black Rum) is a rich full-bodied dark rum that can hold its own against some of the best. Whilst the price would indicate its relative ‘cheapness’ when compared to some other brands, this rum is intended for the general use of mixing. Whilst it can be sipped, it’s best served in long drinks with cola or juice.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: I don’t like this rum neat. But I do love it in a Cuba Libre. Its dark-nature shines through in the rich taste and you don’t lose it when it’s mixed with Cola. Definitely worth the punt if you can’t afford the top end dark rums…

Plantation Overproof Dark Rum (73%) (Barbados) £35.65 – The Whisky Exchange

Overproof Dark Rum... Dangerous but theatrical in an epic way!
Overproof Dark Rum… Dangerous but theatrical in an epic way!

Like the honourable mention of Wray & Nephews white overproof rum in my first post, this dark rum is also overproof. If you’ve ever made, or had made for you, a cocktail called a ‘Zombie’ (made famous by the Don himself) then you’ll know that there is a requirement for overproof rum and for it to sit on the top of this drink. Its primary function is to burn and add a deep charred, burnt alcohol flavour to the drink. A worthwhile addition to any bar, home or public house; this rum is an excellent rum and perfect for advanced mixologists/bartenders…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: As with all alcohol one should be always be careful. However seeing as this alcohol is overproof (it’s 73% abv) it’s extremely flammable and should not, in any way, be underestimated or used lightly!

Ron Abuelo 12YO (Panama) £31.80 – The Drink Shop

Abuelo Rum, 12 year old. A rich taste and perfect to give your cocktails that added lift!
Abuelo Rum, 12 year old. A rich taste and perfect to give your cocktails that added lift!

Made from their home-grown sugar cane plantation, Abuelo 12 year old Anejo rum is soft, complex and character-full and can challenge even the most sophisticated of palates. Now some aficionados might argue that to mix rum of this quality would be heresy, I for one like my cocktails full of class. And this rum provides some serious weight in that category…

Clarkes Court – Special Dark Rum (Grenada) £27-30 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange

Special Dark Rum. It's in the name really...
Special Dark Rum. It’s in the name really…

Winner of 9 bronze/silver awards from 2002-2009 (as well as various gold medals) Clarkes Court Special Dark Rum is a 40% abv rum from the shores of Grenada. This dark rum is aged in ex-bourbon casks and is perfect for cocktails as it is considered to be a gentler style of rum; those preferring softer rum have a love for this particular bottle.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: This particular rum is perfect for adding a little tweak to your tiki cocktails. Being of the softer variety of rums, this bottle will supply you with an easy to mix rum and help you develop your prowess, in regards to tiki cocktails at least…

So there you have it, my 5 top dark rums to use for you tiki cocktails. If you ever get a chance to nab a bottle or two off that list then I suggest you go ahead and give them a go! Just be extremely wary of the Plantation overproof 73%!!!

Is there a Dark rum you prefer that didn’t make my list? Why not leave a comment below with your choice? Although please understand that tomorrow I’ll be looking at spiced rums as the 4 section and therefore any ‘spiced’ dark rums will possibly be on that list!

Links:

The Drink Shop

The Whisky Exchange

Sainsbury’s

Ron Abuelo

Goslings

Plantation

Clarkes Court

Bacardi

Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part III

The colour is the first thing you’ll notice – it’s not called gold for the fun of it after all!


Ok so I covered the basic white rums. There were a few brands (and countries) covered but now we move onto my favourite type of rum: Gold Rum.

This section should allow you to expand your rum styles, and your geography knowledge, a little further. With Gold rums from Venezuela to Cuba and across the entire Caribbean; there is sure to be a choice for everyone…


Diplomatico Anejo (Venezuela) £22.84 – The Drink Shop

Classic Venezuelan Rum at its best...
Classic Venezuelan Rum at its best…

This smooth-sipping golden rum is blended from a combination of continuous still rums and potstill rums. Although blended, the average age of the finished product is 4 years old. Diplomatico is a very strong brand from Venezuela and can hold its own in almost any rum-sipping competition (its various products have won various awards over the years) and yet it blends into tiki cocktails remarkably well.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: If you’re looking for a well-balanced, blended gold rum and want to try something other than Caribbean rum then I strongly suggest giving this brand, including this particular rum, a go!

Ron de Jeremy – Reserve Adult Rum! (Panama) £33.32 The Drink Shop

Distilled by a Legend, tastes like it was too...
Distilled by a Legend, tastes like it was too…

Ron de Jeremy is an extremely well-balanced 7 year old rum and is quite literally distilled by a living legend: Cuban Master Distiller Francisco ‘Don Pancho’ Fernandez. Don Pancho is 72 years old and is considered one of the most experienced and renowned master distillers in the rum industry.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: This rum is fantastic to sip, and will reward those with a well-developed palate. However it has been created in such a way that it will also mix well with other ingredients, especially when mixing cocktails. 

Mount Gay – Eclipse (Barbados) £19.70 The Drink Shop

A great rum at a reasonably low price... Perfect for mixing and a shoe in for this list...
A great rum at a reasonably low price… Perfect for mixing and a shoe in for this list…

Another long standing favourite of mine, this reasonably price rum is one of the sleeper hits of the last few decades. Whilst all of the top-end rums clean up at awards ceremonies, this rather unassuming bottle sits itself on the supermarket shelf and literally sells by the bucket.

Those who have been to Barbados and visited the distillery will know its history well and even those not interested in rum will have heard of it whilst on the island.

Hand-crafted since 1703, Mount Gay Rum is made using the finest Barbados sugar cane and pure spring water. This leaves you with a rum that can be sipped neat and yet is equally, if not more so, at home combined with your favourite mixer…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: this rum is reasonably priced and found in most of the bigger supermarkets in the UK. Failing that you can find it easily in online alcohol shops.

Flor De Cana – 4YO Gold (Nicaragua) £22.68 The Drink Shop

A Nicaraguan Rum perfect for light cocktails. Try it in your next tiki attempt...
A Nicaraguan Rum perfect for light cocktails. Try it in your next tiki attempt…

Flor de Cana 4YO Golden Rum is a little something different. From central/south America this rum is well-balanced and perfect for combining with mixers and works brilliantly in light cocktails.

Palate notes: “A soft entry leads to a round, dry medium-bodiea palate with caramel, sugar cane and peppery spice flavours. Finishes with a dash of toasted coconut shavings and pepper. Very clean and pure.” – Flor De Cana.com

Appleton Estate Special (Jamaica) £14.00 – Sainsbury’s

A supermarket staple, this gold rum is perfect for adding to your collection...
A supermarket staple, this gold rum is perfect for adding to your collection…

The price tag on this rum may make you cringe and think ‘bargain basement’ but the idea here is to give you a cheaper option whilst making sure you get your money’s worth. Appleton Estate special Jamaica Rum is only £14 yes, but it’s an absolute bargain in regards to its taste and overall finish. It’s not as sophisticated as some of the other rums on this list, but its sheer versatility means it can be used in a range of tiki (and non-tiki) cocktails. And for that reason alone it makes the list…

Honourable Mention: Angostura 1919 (Trinidad & Tobago) £26.00 – Sainsbury’s

Links for further reading:

Flor De Cana

Appleton estate

Mount Gay

Diplomatico

Ron de Jeremy

Angostura

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

I Entered a Competition!!!

“I hope I win…”

So recently I entered two competitions, whilst one involved coming up with 3 cocktails (one initially but 3 in total should you make it to their UK heats) the other was a screenplay competition. In my spare time (when I’m not working on my cocktails, this blog or my book in progress) I love coming up with Sci-Fi novel ideas. None of which I’ve had the time to write up in full yet.

However these competitions have given me something to focus on heavily (hence the abundance of shorter posts from me in recent weeks). The screenplay was only for a 3 minute scene, but I actually got some great ideas written down for my own novel, which I’ll be working on this week coming.

This screenplay competition is something I’m extremely excited about from a personal point of view; however this next competition is something I’m also proud about from a business point of view…

With London cocktail week coming up (October 7th-13th) I wanted to enter a proper cocktail creativity competition. Then I saw the Angostura Bitters Global Competition. An annual competition, Angostura looks for ways to showcase one of their flagship products: Angostura Bitters.

The prestigious Angostura global cocktail championships…

This competition calls for three cocktails:

1)      A Rum based cocktail containing 5 dashes of Angostura bitters. Rest of the ingredients were my own, as were the garnishes, glassware and methods.

2)      A freestyle cocktail: Can use any combination of alcohol but must contain 5 dashes of bitters once again.

3)      An Angostura Rum (1919, 1824, Reserva, 5yo & 7yo Rums) & bitters drink.

All 3 are allowed up to six ingredients as long as 1 is Angostura bitters (5 dashes). Now I think 5 dashes is far too much, but I set out to prove myself wrong and try and come up with something a little better than I have done before. Now straight away I singled out Ginger Ale as the obvious mixer for at least one of my three drinks…

The others are very orchard like, and what I feel to represent the best fusion of Angostura Rum/Bitters with the British produce. One is a soft berry & mixed berry themed punch (my signature one) and the other rum one is an orchard special (using apple and elderflower).

I won’t be sharing the cocktails just yet as, should I be invited to the heats, I want them to be a surprise (you never know who’ll read the post right folks?)…

With any luck I can make it to the heats, be told how my cocktails are, and either take the brutal criticism on the chin or revel in some great remarks (most likely a mixture of the two).

Anyway I shall leave you with this, rather special, cocktail you should all try:

Open House Punch

750ml Southern Comfort

175ml Lemon Juice

175ml Fresh Lemonade*

175ml Fresh Orange Juice*

3 litres lemon-lime soda (7up/Sprite)

Perfect for large parties, this punch is soft enough but if you're not careful it'll kick like a Bucking Bronco...
Perfect for large parties, this punch is soft enough but if you’re not careful it’ll kick like a Bucking Bronco…

Method:

1)      In a punch bowl combine all the ingredients, and stir well.

2)      Chuck in some fruit you like (citrus works well, and so do orchard fruit, soft fruit & berries).

3)      Chill well if making in advance (cover and place in fridge for 2/3 hours) if making to order:

4)      Add ice and stir until cold. The bigger the ice cubes the less the dilution. A single large block of ice is best.

5)      Serve out with a ladle and enjoy.

Top tip: Try experimenting with fruit liqueurs and different fruit juices, it won’t be an ‘Open House Punch’ but you just might discover something a little special…

*these can be found down your local supermarkets fresh juice aisle. The original recipe calls for frozen 6 oz cans of both the lemonade and OJ but over here in the UK we don’t have those readily available. Should you also want something a bit fresher (I’m aiming that one at all you north Americans (USA & Canada alike) then fresh lemonade and (not from concentrate) smooth Orange juice work as a great substitute.

Planters Punch – Another great Caribbean delight…

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The Planters Punch cocktail is unmistakably Caribbean in heritage and like you would expect, its perfect for mild beach evenings.

The recipe for this is a very complicated mix of sweet, sour and tart. And in no way is that a bad thing…

Planters Punch Classic Recipe:

45ml Dark rum

35ml Orange Juice

35ml Pineapple juice

20ml Fresh Lemon Juice

10ml Grenadine

10ml Sugar Syrup

2-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

This is the classic version I took from the cocktail books in my library (a cupboard in the kitchen). However as some people find Dark Rum a bit overpowering, you can substitute any rum you are accustomed to (be it Bacardi’s standard white rum or a nice Havana club 7 Anejo or even Captain Morgan’s Spiced)…

However due to restrictions in my own cabinet, I could only make this the once. So I decided to tweak the recipe to suit my dwindling range of spirits…

My own tweaked Recipe:

45ml Kraken Black Spiced Rum (remember this bad boy?)

35ml Grapefruit Juice

35ml Pineapple Juice

20ml Fresh Lime Juice/lemon juice (personal taste)

10ml Grenadine

10ml Sugar (Vanilla flavoured)

2-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

My version was slightly tarter and a little brisker on the taste buds, but on a nice summers evening it’s just as thirst quenching as the original. Don’t get me wrong, the original is fantastic and I suggest you try that before mine, but my recipe is proof that experimenting to what you prefer is what mixology is all about (this point is a constant theme throughout my blog posts). The idea that not every cocktail is going to be liked by everyone, but with a small tweak (sometimes the addition of a mixer) even the most disliked drink can be made favourable.

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Mixing fruit into a planters punch is like mixing up a Pimms, add in what you like and dress it up as much as you want… Just make sure it tastes good first…

Anejo Highball – The Caribbean … but with a twist!

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A dry but slightly sweet drink, the Anejo Highball is a classic in the making…

The Anejo Highball is not so much a celebrated classic as it is a modified masterpiece. The original recipe comes from “insert creators name here” and has become a house cocktail in their bar. The thing is, this cocktail is better shared than kept for that bar (sorry “name”)… The recipe is a combination of a wonderfully aged ‘Anejo’ Rum, fresh lime juice and ginger beer (with a few dashes of angostura bitters)… And it is as flavoursome as it is simple to make.

For purely experimental reasons I tried this drink, firstly with freshly squeezed lime juice (DIY – it’s really not that hard to do yourself) and secondly with Roses Lime Cordial… Needless to say, Lime cordial is 100% a bad choice. The job of the lime in this drink is to cut through the rum and help layer out the flavours. By using lime cordial you take away the limes capability and end up with an overly sweet unbalanced mixture.

The layers this drink supplies are held together by the lime (without question) but the potency comes purely from the Anejo rum. I used a brand called ‘Brugal’, from the Dominican Republic and of high quality, this rum was a recent addition to my collection and has been a relatively new addition to my local Sainsbury’s (supermarket not convenience) spirit selection (among many others that will feature in this and future blogs).

The thing to remember about cocktails is that they delicately balanced. Too much of any one of the ingredients and the drink be transforms into something nobody wants to consume.

With this in mind, a few things to remember about the Anejo highball are as follows:

–          Lime Juice – Use freshly squeezed (see above for details)

–          Ginger beer – use because it is lighter and smoother than ginger ale and works better with the rum.

–          Angostura Bitters: the drink calls for 2 dashes but if like me you like a little more bitter in your drink up the does to around 3 / 4 dashes.

–          Triple Sec – using Cointreau is a possibility if you don’t have triple sec available, but the where possible use a standard triple sec or ‘dry’ curacao (No coloured versions please – leave your blue curacao in the cupboard for Woo Woo’s and grease lightning’s).

–          Anejo Rum – Always, without fail, use Anejo Rum – It’s in the name after all!

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Orange curacao is made by many companies, the most commonly available are shown here…

Overall this drink caters for those of you who prefer a cocktail on the more bitter edge of the taste experience (also you kind of need to like ginger beer – replacing it with other sodas generally does not work).

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I used Ron Brugal Anejo Rum (shown here) but any Caribbean Anejo Rum will suffice. Find one that suits your tastes…

 

Anejo Highball

1.5 measures Anejo Rum

½ measure fresh lime juice

½ measure dry curacao/triple sec liqueur

2-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Top up with Ginger Beer

Lime/orange wheel slices to garnish.