Tag Archives: Brugal

Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part II

White Rum is the foundation for any rum collection. It’s a base for literally hundreds of cocktails, not least some of the most famous cocktails of all time; The Pina Colada, Mojito & Daiquiri all contain this clear elixir!

White rum is distilled from the sugar cane plant and can be made using one of two methods: Pot still or continuous still. Some rums use a combination of the two, and all three types have their merits and come-downs.

Check out my list of what I consider to be 5 of the best white rums for use in tiki cocktails (all under £40 of course!)…

(1) St. Aubin – Rhum Agricole (Mauritius) £22 – The Drink Shop

Hitting hard of the bat, this 50% rum is a sucker-punch if you're not careful...
Hitting hard of the bat, this 50% rum is a sucker-punch if you’re not careful…

In my first post about tiki cocktails I mentioned that the best rums to start with included rum from Martinique, Jamaica and, of course, a white rum. Well this Mauritian white rum is a perfect shoe-in if you’re unsure of which white rum to choose.

At 50%abv it’s a heavy hitter, but surprisingly it’s rather smooth and supple. It’s made with the freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, a very French way of making rhum, and is made at St. Aubin which has been a sugar plantation since 1819…

(2) Brugal Blanco (Dominican Republic) £20.85 – The Whisky Exchange

A fine looking bottle for a fine tasting white rum from Brugal (Venezuela)
A fine looking bottle for a fine tasting white rum from Brugal (Venezuela)

Brugal Blanco is a white rum all the way from the Dominican Republic. Its process includes ageing rum for 2-5 years in old American oak bourbon casks. The rum is then triple filtered, removing the colour, and that leaves you with a rum that’s as smooth as super-premium vodka but with all the character you get from premium rum. Basically it’s pretty darn good!

Fervent Insider Tip: Brugal is one of my favourite rum brands and this is one of my go-to white rums for new exotic cocktails; its smoothness compliments the addition of various fruit juices and syrups perfectly.

(3) Havana Club Anejo 3 YO White Rum (Cuba) £15-£20 Sainsbury’s/Tesco

Havana club are one of my favourite rum brands and this is one of my all-time favourite white rums...
Havana club are one of my favourite rum brands and this is one of my all-time favourite white rums…

One of my long standing favourites, Havana club has a superb collection of rums, so much so that they could potentially be on all 4 of these posts, but alas the one I’ve chosen is arguably their most versatile Anejo rum: their 3yo Blanco. Found readily in your local supermarkets, this rum is a quick journey away from becoming part of your now-growing rum library!

Aged for 3 years in Cuba this light yet crisp rum is fantastic in those famous Cuban cocktails, but it also works miracles in classic tiki cocktails like the Pina Colada!

(4) Plantation Rum – Three Stars White Rum (Barbados) £22 – The Drink Shop

I have one of these in post as we speak. It's a great silver-rated blended white rum...
I have one of these in post as we speak. It’s a great silver-rated blended white rum…

This is a well-balanced mildly vibrant rum, blending the finesse, character and fuller-flavours of all 3 historical rum producing islands: Jamaica, Barbados & Trinidad. Its name ‘Plantation 3 Stars’ honours those 3 historical islands and stands as a signal to all who lay eyes on the bottle: This is premium…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: This rum is extremely sophisticated and works better with cocktails that allow the flavours of the rum to come out in the drink. So whilst the juices of some tiki cocktails are not always suited for this rum; cocktails like the Zombie and similar ‘shorter’ cocktails are perfect to make the most of this particular rum…

(5) La Mauny – Rhum Blanc (Martinique) £27 – The Drink Shop

A fancy Martinique rum in a simple bottle. Don't let its subtlety fool you, this rum is class through and through...
A fancy Martinique rum in a simple bottle. Don’t let its subtlety fool you, this rum is class through and through…

This rum from Martinique, one of the countries mentioned in my first post, is a clear white and has a strong 50% abv. With this in mind it is one of the stronger rums on this list and is more suited to the fruit juice laden concoctions that make tiki cocktails so popular.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Coming in at just under £30 this rum is a bit steep compared to supermarket brands and even some better known brands. But unlike a lot of things in this world, when it comes to Rum, as well as straight alcohol in general, you pay for what you get.

Honourable Mention: Wray & Nephews Overproof White rum (Jamaica) £26.00 – Sainsbury’s

Strong and, from personal experience, not a nice straight. But fantastic for adding a little theatre to your cocktails...
Strong and, from personal experience, not a nice straight. But fantastic for adding a little theatre to your cocktails…

This honourable mention is simply because I could not fit all of the rums I liked into the 5 slots I limited myself too. Tiki cocktails often invoke memories of that beach bar on that Caribbean island you never learned to pronounce, along with flames galore. Drinks on fire are usually gimmicky but sometimes this adds to the theatre of the bar world. With regards to tiki cocktails you need a spirit that combusts and yet will not damage the overall flavour of the drink. Enter Wray & Nephews. This high abv alcohol is perfect for this job as it is highly flammable – that means you can light it to give you your fiery theatrical gimmick whilst not altering the overall taste of the cocktail…

Links:

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

The Drink Shop

The Whisky Exchange

St. Aubin

Havana Club

Plantation

LaMauny

Brugal

Wray & Nephews

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.