Tag Archives: Kraken

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

Cocktails O’clock: Aranciata Cocktail

More than just a Rum & Orange, It’s a slice of heaven…

This cocktail is a rather new mixture, one using a great san pelligrino soda: Aranciata (or Orangeade).

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A can of Aranciata, Courtesy of http://www.tumblr.com

This cocktail celebrates a great mixer with the classic addition of Rum & Lime.

A refreshing drink on a summers evening, rain or shine, this cocktail really will help you chill out…

Recipe:

60ml Anejo Rum

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 Lime wedges (1/4 of a lime)

Top up San Pellegrino Aranciata (Orange Soda)

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Delicious and addictive this cocktail boasts a healthy dose of rum… Picture courtesy of http://www.marthastewart.com

Method:

1)      Fill a highball glass with ice and squeeze in a lime wedge (be sure to drop it in after, you’ll want the flavour the oils in the skin provide).

2)      Add in the Angostura and Rum.

3)      Stir well and top up with the Aranciata.

4)      Garnish with the other Lime wedge (wipe the glass’ rim and sit either just inside the glass or on the rim itself).

This cocktail is a great summer spritzer, and is part of the ‘family’ of Cuban style drinks. That is the pool of rum, lime and soda family of drinks. Refreshing and rather crisp (lime will do that for you) this cocktail is perfect for the family members wanting to try something a little new, but it isn’t too strong as to ruin the experience for them.

Should you like Blood Orange, try San Pellegrino’s Aranciata Rossa (Red Orangeade), it’s slightly bolder in flavour but combine with a really flavourful rum like Kraken or Lambs Navy, it’s pretty special…

For the original recipe please see Martha Stewarts Site

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…

The Cuba Libre – A classic cocktail for the new era.

 “The Cuba Libre requires Bacardi rum and Coca Colatm with ice and a wedge of fresh lime. Why? Because that’s how an original Cuba Libre has always been made – at least since 1900, when American soldiers on Neptuno Street, Havana, first persuaded a barman to mix his precious Bacardi rum with their tasty new beverage called Coca Cola” – Bacardi’s description of the Cuba Libre on their website. (http://www.bacardi.com/uk/Cocktails/BACARDI-Cuba-Libre)

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Old Havana Skyline, taken by Wikimedia Commons/Flickr user Gabriel Rodríguez.

The Cuba Libre has all the mysterious history you need from a classic cocktail and then some. Now I’m not saying it’s because of this that it’s actually considered a ‘classic cocktail’ but you have to admit the uncanny similarities to some of the other classics (Mojito, Martini, Margarita etc…).

The one thing that the Cuba Libre has in its favour though is its base spirit: Rum. Rum, as any well-to-do person will tell you, has a mysterious history all to its own. It just so happens that the Caribbean (that’s the collection of islands that includes Cuba would you know) is arguably the best place for premium quality rums anywhere in the world. Whether it’s the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Trinidad or even the ‘Rum King’ Island known as Barbados, the rum used in Cuba Libre’s has traditionally been of the best quality full stop (little wonder it’s become a classic then eh?).

The Recipe:

So traditionally it was made using Coca Cola, a Premium quality Cuban Anejo Rum and a wedge of Lime to freshen the drink up a little. However recently (mainly due to the lack of any Cuban rum in my repertoire) I have been trying out different brands and styles of rum both to find my favourite, and also because it is a simple recipe to stick to and easy to tweak without destroying the original idea…

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As you can see it keeps to the simple and balanced nature of the classic cocktail, but also packs a great taste (just try it if you don’t believe me)…

Of course there are many variations, more variations than the time I have to write them down for you, and some include different types/brands of rum. From the classic white(light) rums  to the semi-aged golden and Aged ‘Dark’ rums of the Caribbean and even the spiced rums (Captain Morgan’s, Kraken etc.) which have become more and more popular over recent years here in the UK…

The last time I got paid (just after Christmas) I went out and stocked up on some quality rums that my local Sainsbury’s had on offer at the time (and I also got a bottle of Makers Mark, but that’s a story for another time)… The Rums purchased/received as presents were;

–          Brugal Ron Anejo Rum £20-25 (I got it on offer for £16.99)

A Golden (semi-aged/aged) rum from the Dominican Republic; considered to be of a very high quality.

–          Kraken Black Spiced Rum £18-23 (depending on store)

Imported from the USA, Kraken comes in a glorious pirate themed bottle and denotes a giant squid (hence the ‘Kraken’) on the label. It’s a high quality black spiced rum and it tastes magical, which is probably why it has gathered quite the cult following. This was a very well received present from my sister for Christmas.

–          Bacardi Oakheart  £18-19 (£12 – offer price when I got it)

My soul reason for buying this bottle of rum was the price. It was a mere £12 at the time (worked out around £10.80 after my discount) and I just could not pass that up (considering its usual RRP is around £18-19!!!)…

Also I was a little wary because whilst Bacardi is a quality product, I feared they had created something that might not work (needless to say I was very, very wrong!).

Anyway, back to the recipes;

                So I tried a Cuba Libre using a 2-1 (Rum-Lime) ratio and topped up with a cola (Pepsi as it’s my favourite but feel free to change that to your favourite). Needless to say you do get 3 very different tasting drinks.

The Brugal Anejo Cuba Libre is as close as a Classic Cuba Libre these recipes got, purely in the way of geographical accuracy (Dominican Rep. is as close to the Havana Club style Anejo I have) and I imagine it’s similar in tastes to a classic Cuba Libre too. Whilst not the best when mixed with Pepsi, if you use Coca Cola like the classic recipe requests, it becomes sublime. And as a classic Cuba Libre (if you don’t have any Cuban rum) then this is the recipe I suggest you use!

The Bacardi Oakheart Cuba Libre was a standout favourite among my friends and family, with its smooth taste blending with the lime and Pepsi better (in their opinion anyway) than the Brugal Ron Anejo. The Bacardi was obviously made for cocktail mixing; such is the way with their other rum products.

The Kraken Black Spiced Cuba Libre, after a few tries, was my personal standout recipe. Purely for the thick, almost syrupy taste it brings to the drink. The Lime juice, when freshly squeezed, cuts through the nasty aftertaste of the alcohol (that horrible kick you get that can spoil a drink) allowing you to pile in 2 measures without thought, and the Pepsi brought out the Spiced notes perfectly and made sure they were there in the background, but not too overpowering.

In my opinion the Kraken Rum brought something extra to the Pepsi recipes that the others simply did not have: a thick almost syrupy, spice texture that when cut with the fresh lime juice created this sensation of pure bliss; that something a little bit special.

Now don’t mistake my gushing for naivety. I know that the classic Cuban rum recipe will always be the classic Cuba Libre, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but what I am saying is that If you want something a little special and a bit of a taste-treat in the disguise of a Cuba Libre; then Kraken Black Spiced Rum is your poison of choice. Trust me you will not regret it.

Footnotes:

–          Always use freshly squeezed lime juice. Lime cordial is never a replacement at the best of times, and especially not here. It is too sweet and doesn’t help balance out the rum. Don’t expect the taste to be that good if you do use it. Having said that, if you have no choice try to use a little less rum so you don’t overpower the drink.

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Always use fresh lime juice where possible. It is far superior to any lime cordial in every way.

–          These rums were used purely because they were accessible at the time I tried them. So whilst I am raving about the Kraken Rum here, it is very likely you will disagree. Please don’t hate me for ignoring your favourite rum; that is not the intention. It was simply MY favourite of the 3!

Recipes:

Brugal Ron Anejo Cuba Libre (Coke)

2 measures Brugal Ron Anejo Rum

1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice*

Top up Coca Cola

Brugal Ron Anejo Cuba Libre (Pepsi)

2 measures Brugal Ron Anejo Rum

1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice

Top up Pepsi

Bacardi Oakheart Cuba Libre

2 measures Bacardi Oakheart

1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice*

Top up Pepsi

Kraken Black Spiced Cuba Libre

2 measures Kraken Black Spiced Rum

1 measure freshly squeezed lime Juice*

Top up Pepsi

*this is equivalent to around 1 small lime being around 25ml

Now as a slight addition to this post, one I did not intend I might add, will be in relation to the fact that whilst in the process of writing this post; I was again paid.

This payday I invested in a rather well-known brand of Cuban Rum, mainly to test out the theory of ‘Cuban rum for a Cuba Libre is better’ and also because I love it. That’s right ladies and gents; Havana Club 3yo white rum.

Now normally I would keep this sort of information to myself, but seeing as it was mainly to try a proper Cuba Libre Recipe out, I thought it best to add. The recipe I used was a 2:1 ratio (the same as the above recipes) only I added the lime juice to the glass first (following Havana Club guidelines).

And can I just say, from the above recipes, Brugal & Coca Cola was my favourite (not including the Kraken & Pepsi recipe), but this Havana Libre I made up, was on another level… It is very strange, but the flavour of the Havana Club comes through the cola perfectly, so you taste the rums flavour, but without the painful bite of the alcohol (thank the lime juice for that).

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Havana Nights: Cuba is the birthplace of the Cuba Libre and Cuban Rum should always be your first stop…

So I suppose to summarise I just have to leave you with this bit of advice: Cocktail recipes can be fluid. You make them to your own tastes. And sometimes you may want a spiced rum, sometimes you want a white. But if you ever have a Cuba Libre, try it first with the Havana Club 3yo, create a Cuba Libre the way it was intended and then, if you want to, experiment with other rums. You’ll find that this classic recipe is just that: a classic. You may find you prefer a spiced version, or even the taste of black rum. But no matter what you try you cannot beat the Cuban Anejo rum recipe. It’s just one of those things… Like gravity or the short life of a turkey; it’s inevitable.