Why is it that crushed ice makes everything in life so much better? probably because there´s RUM in it…. When you drink demerara rum….do not clean the glass you`re drinking in…smell it and savor the scents of that deep demerara flavor….RUM….MMMMM Cést si bon!
First time i saw rhum arrangè being made by suspending the fruits above the rhum in large jars was when i saw a video from La Rèunion and i got quite curious. There were all kinds of fruits hanging there with all kinds of things (spices) sticking out of the fruits. I had known about rhum arrangè before but not being made that way. So i decided to try some day and now it´s the time.
The style is called in french – “ananas qui pleure” (the crying pineapple) since the pineapple is suspended in the jar above the rhum agricole as to not touch the rhum and thus avoiding any flavors from the skin to get into the rhum. This is typically done with citrus fruits which carries bitter flavors in their skin.
But also this kind of maceration above the rhum can be done with any fruits and in the French islands only the imagination is the limit, you see ALL kinds of things in intriguing jars…some you have NO idea what they are…
And there´s for example rhum arrangè with shrimp and snake…i`m actually wondering how it would taste with a crawfish rhum?
The one i`m experimenting with here has New Orleans community coffee pecan-praline coffee beans stuck into one side of the fruit and Tahitian vanilla beans in the other and the beans are cut in the ends so the juice from the pineapple can pass through like a “funnel” through the vanilla bean bringing some of the tiny vanilla seeds along down into the rhum.
And all the pineapple, vanilla-coffee goodness will slowly drop down to flavor the rhum…thus the name “ananas qui pleure…The whole thing will sit like that in the closed jar until the fall, at least 4 months.
I wrote a post about rhum arrangè before and i that post i included that video from the island of la Rèunion where there is a restaurant called Le Saint-Bernard that contains ONLY rhum arrangès (about 400 rhums) of all kinds of flavors made with fruits, roots, spices and God knows what…and many are suspended this way.
Unfortunately (very) the video i first saw is not there anymore but the article (in french) is. The place looks like a veritable laboratory of rhum arrangè, absolutely amazing and a place i`d love to visit.
In my earlier post i wrote about this method of hanging the fruit above the alcohol explaining it:
There´s two different ways of macerating, one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.
The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.
This method is called D.S.M – or Delicious Scientific Magic!!
DSM – or diffusion – The alcohol, exerting a vapor pressure, will diffuse into the lemons saturating the lemon, thus the loss of alcohol in a closed system.
In turn, the lemon oil will also exert a vapor pressure; the lemon smell you get when you cut the skin. It will diffuse out of the lemon and saturate the alcohol.
In the Limoncello post they are talking about high proof or overproof spirits but the traditional rhum arrangè isn`t necessarily done with especially high proof rhums, i think the common proof is between 45-55%
Here´s one of the videos about the rhums arrangès at Le Saint-Bernard:
As you can see there´s absolutely no limit of what you can do with rhum arrangè…but what you need is a lot of patience because this ain`t no quick fix!
So here`s what i did to make this variation with pineapple, vanilla and coffee:
1 – Prepare everything you need, jar, rhum or rum, fruit (not too ripe), spices, a string to tie the fruit with. Cut the vanilla beans in half pieces and cut off the top ends. Make sure the jar and the string is clean and the fruit washed.
2 - Cut up the fruit to a size that fits the jar and discard the leaves, then cut small holes in the fruit and stick the coffee beans in one side and the vanilla beans in the other (the skin side) I had to cut up this pineapple because it was too big for the jar but one can also use whole fruits with this method.
3 – Add the rhum to the jar, then the sugarcane syrup (i took one bottle (75 cl rhum) and add 2-3 tsp of sugarcane syrup. (or 15 cl/o.5 oz)
4 – Suspend the fruit to the cover of the jar with strings so that the fruit do not touch the rum and close the jar good and SEAL it hermetically with tape and leave to macerate for a minimum of 4 months ( it can go 6 months without problem or longer, there are rhum arrangès that have been sitting 3-4 years…)
But i think 4-6 month is good for this one. I`m planning to open the jar in the fall and see what i got – exciting…
Let`s continue with the tropical rhum/rum drinks made with rhum arrangè! i have found with my last post that rhum arrangè does mix very well with tropical rum drinks giving them a depth of flavor from the fruits and spices they have been macerated with paired with a touch of herbal grassiness from the rhum agricole most of them have had as their rum base.
The way they are usually enjoyed is as apertif or digestif or in a tropical punch or ti-punch and it´s fabulous but there´s more you can do with them than that…
The cocktail inspirations in this post (and the last) mainly comes from two sources; the “Potions of the Caribbean” by Jeff Berry and the tribute recipes to the Mai Kai cocktails on one of my favorite blogs - the Atomic Grog.
By switching out the rums in the recipes for the rhum arrangès paired with my newest other rums turns out a very interesting taste-test experiment – and a tasty one at that!
I cannot let go of my fascination for the french island style rhum arrangès, they ARE different from spiced rums. These are not spiced, they are long-time macerated and then because of the rums mostly used as base – the rhum agricoles and their tèrroir and then the tropical fruits used, accompanied by some spices and other things…
There´s something very refreshing and exotic about these rhums, and they add a deep mellow flavor from the fruits that`s been macerated in these rums for at least a month or more.
I discovered that they go very well into tiki and other tropical rum drinks, adding a deeper exotic touch.
So here are the drinks!
Myrtle Bank Swizzle #2
This is a twist of the Myrtle Bank Punch, a drink which both Trader Vic and Donn Beach made their versions of after visiting the Myrtle Bank Hotel i Jamaica at the time. Read more about those drinks on page 181 in the Potions.
My version is a twist of Don`s drink switching out the gold Jamaican rum for Cèd`s rhum and thus changing the drink by adding an element of deep mellow flavors of dark cocoa and banana flambè.
Also i switched Don`s honey for sugarcane syrup and took it down to 0.5 oz instead of 0.75 since Cèd´s rhum is naturally a bit sweet. But the amount of syrup in this drink can be tinkered with to suit the palate.
1.0 oz Appleton Extra
0.5 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum
1 oz Ti’ arrangés de Ced Banane-Cacao
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz grapefruit juice (white)
0.5 oz sugarcane syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Swizzle all ingredients with crushed ice until the glass is frosty. Garnish with pineapple leaves and cherry.
1.0 oz Ti’ arrangés de Ced Banane-Cacao
0.5 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum (or 50/50 LH151, Smith & Cross)
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz fresh orange juice
0.5 oz soda
0.25 oz sugarcane syrup
6 drops pimento dram
Dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a glass lined with an ice shell.
Ice Shell: Scoop a large amount of ice crushed to powder (if possible) in a preferably 6×6 inches glass and with a wooden muddler carefully move in a circular motion to hollow out the center of the mound and continue compressing the ice against the walls of the glass until there´s space to hold the drink and a solid coating inside the glass of about 1/4 inch thick ice.
These rums cannot be found everywhere so i have found that the best way to sub the Polynesian Inspired rum is with equal parts Lemon Hart 151 and Smith & Cross. Actually the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums are very different, two different rums…but they are at the same time similar in style even if not altogether in flavor.
Still, the only thing i can come up with that you could sub them with is 50/50 LH151 and Smith and Cross. Well, i`d say that the Navy style has some more of the LH151 flavors in it while the Polynesian inspired has more of the Smith and Cross…if that makes any sense since they are still not the same rums, but it´s the best i can come up with.
And Cèd´s rum is even harder to sub, it cannot really be substituted by anything, the closest would be another similar rhum arrangè or something that can give a deep, mellow, soft flavor of mature banana flambè and very dark, dry, raw cocoa.
If you cannot find rhum arrangè you need to make it yourself and luckily it`s not too difficult, it just takes some patience since the ingredients need to macerate in preferably rhum agricole for about a minimum of 1-3 months or more, even a year is not unusual…
What`s the hardest part is to get the flavors just right and balanced, to add just enough of the fruits and spices and macerate the right time.
But don`t put away the swizzle stick! here`s another swizzle:
This drink is a variation of Jason Alexander´s Spiced Swizzle where Cèd`s rhum adds a deep mellow flavor of mature tropical banana with a hint of that dark raw cocoa.
0.75 oz lime
0.75 oz allspice dram
1.0 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum (or 50/50 LH151, Smith & Cross)
1.5 oz Ti’ arrangés de Ced Banane-Cacao
A small dash of sugarcane syrup
Swizzle until frosty with crushed ice. Garnish pineapple leaf and brandied cherry.
Tribute to the Shark Bite
A twist on the Shark Bite that turned out zesty and spicy with a wonderful aroma of tropical banana and dark cocoa, aged premium rum and a bite from the Polynesian float.
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.5 oz rich sugarcane syrup (2:1 ratio brown sugar to water)
1/8 0z rich cinnamon syrup
1 oz Ti’ arrangés de Ced Banane-Cacao
Float Lost Spirits Poynesian Inspired Rum (or 50/50 LH151, Smith & Cross)
Serve in a low wide glass with ice-shell and garnish with mini pineapple
Dust a little cinnamon on top of the ice
So with this post i just wanna show that you can do more with rhum arrangè than the traditional – which – i still must say is the best use though but that said – only your imagination is the limit, really…
So now i have got to try out two very nice rhum arrangèes made by Cèdric Brement and Benoit Bail, and since i wrote my reviews of Benoit´s exotic Zwazo ananas-vanille rhum arrangè and Cèd`s award winning Banane-Cacao, i feel i want to make more drinks with them and see what`s good – starting with the tropical Zwazo.
Even though the traditional way is mostly to drink these rhums neat since they contain so much flavor of their own, they are also used to make tropical punch style cocktails.
I don`t think they have been used very much in tiki style drinks….or have they? in any case it doesn`t hurt if i try right? i`m curious to see how they mix with other rums.
Don the Beachcomber was a master of creating balance with many exotic ingredients – and he was especially skillful when it came to the art of blending rums and so was the original Mai-Kai mixologist Mariano Licudine. One person today that i come to think about getting close in that direction is Martin Cate. (Smuggler´s Cove)
Starting with Zwazo ananas-vanille i needed to find drinks that had ingredients that would harmonize with the pineapple and agricole flavors of the rhum and then switch out the rums used in those drinks for the Zwazo and some other rums that i figured would go well with it.
So i dived into the Bum`s new book the Potions…of the Caribbean for inspiration…and i sure found a lot.The book is filled with the one mouth watering drink after another (apart from all the interesting things there is to read in it) and the first drink that i decided to experiment with was the Siboney, which is a drink by Trader Vic circa 1950`s.
It`s basically a twist on the daiquiri with pineapple juice added and lemon instead of lime plus passionfruit syrup, mixed with Jamaican dark rum (but only 1 oz) I decided to simply just add 1 oz of Zwazo to give the drink more tropical depth.
The result was absolutely delicious! since the recipe called for dark Jamaican rum i took my Denizen Merchant`s Reserve which is a blend of plummer style pot still Jamaican rum and Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique.
Now Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique is not rhum agricole even if the name sounds like it – instead it´s molasses based rum.
The reason why it´s in the blend of the Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is that when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.
Note, that it says “likely” so there´s no proof whether Vic used molasses based Martinique rum or rhum agricole in his blend with Jamaican rum in his Mai Tai`s when the 17 year Wray and Nephew rum was finished.
So here we got a rum that contains pot still Jamaican rum and a molasses based Martinique rhum, and then Zwazo – a rhum arrangè with pineapple and vanilla macerated in a rum base of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana.
And don`t forget the overproof Polynesian Inspired float…
It`s a lot of rums going on here…but to my joy the drink tasted fantastic, cool and refreshing yet with a strong rum bite. Deep flavor of mature tropical fruits, and then something “earthy”, maybe from the float of the Polynesian Inspired rum…I like the different layers in a tropical cocktail.
Siboney – Swazo Style
1 oz dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
Float of Jamaican style overproof dark rum
Shake well with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. (if you like)
Now unfortunately, for the time being, Zwazo is only sold in Europe, locally in Luxembourg and then in Paris at Christian de Montaguère and it´s a small batch seasonal product – so if you cannot find it, my best advice would be to either try to find a pineapple-vanilla rhum arrangè from one of the French islands, such as Martinique (or a pineapple rhum arrangè paired with vanilla syrup) or make your own. (google how to make rhum arrangè, and there´s a great french site with a forum containing tons of recipes here)
Likewise when it comes to the Lost Spirits rums, they are only sold in the US but not Europe or elsewhere…so i would sub them with Smith and Cross mixed with Lemon Hart 151, to get that strong punchy flavor – even though the flavor will not be the same, but since Smith and Cross mixed with LH 151 is a great combo i believe it will still taste fantastic!
Next cocktail to play with was the Island of Martinique Cocktail, which is a Don Beach drink circa 1948. This drink is actually a tikified ti-punch…
It was described in Beachcomber´s 1948 menu as a drink with “Lusty Martinique rums aged in casks for 120 moons. Subtly combined with falernum, wild honey, Angostura bitters and Maui mountain limes”
How does that sound?? mouthwatering to me…
The original recipe which is found in the book Potions of the Caribbean was handed to the Bum by ex-Beachcomber bartender Tony Ramos.
Island of Martinique Cocktail – with a Pineapple Twist
1 oz rhum agricole vieux
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
0.25 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, gently heat it up so the honey dissolves in the water, then cool to room temp)
Dash Angostura bitters
A handful (3 oz) crushed ice
Float Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum on top (or Lemon Hart 151)
Blend at high speed in a blender for 5 seconds, then strain into
a hollowed out pineapple and float the Navy style rum on top.
The drink tasted fruity and spicy, the flavor of fully matured tropical fruit from Zwazo came through and this drink was not as fruity and earthy as the first one but more mellow and spicy, with a kick from the float.
Now let`s dive deeper into this amazing book…
On page 164 i found the Voodoo Grog, a concoction created by Trader Vic, circa mid 1950`s. A drink containing equal parts lime, grapefruit and pimento.
First time i made it i was a bit overwhelmed by the pimento/allspice flavor so i took the Pimento dram down from 0.75 oz to 0.5 and it was better for my palate, but if you like a strong allspice flavor the 0.75 will be good.
Also it matters what brand of pimento dram/allspice dram you are using, the best i think are either homemade or St Elisabeth`s or Bitter Truth. For the moment i have St Elisabeth.
1 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum
1 oz Swazo
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz grapefruit juice (white)
0.75 oz honey
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
1 egg white
1 cup (8 oz) Crushed ice
Dissolve honey in lime juice and place this mixture plus the rest of ingredients except for nutmeg in a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.
Dust with freshly ground nutmeg and garnish with mint and pineapple. (I also wrapped a pandan leaf around the glass)
Last cocktail is the quintessential rhum agricole drink…a ti-punch but with aged rhum agricole and therefore it´s called a punch vieux.
Petit Punch Vieux
1 oz Zwazo
1 oz rhum agricole vieux
0.5 oz sirop de canne
One half of a fresh lime
Cut the lime half in two and squeeze both edges into an old fashioned glass. Drop in the first spent wedge in the glass, then rub the rim of the glass with the other and then discard the second wedge. Add sirop, rums and ice and stir to chill. I also did rim the glass with brown sugar and added a sugarcane stick and roughly cut lime peel as garnish.
Rimming the glass with sugar and adding a lime peel is not traditional punch vieux but this is all about experiments!
Sirop de Canne is a thick, dark syrup made from a slow reduction of fresh sugar cane juice. Exported by brands such as Clèment, Dubois, Depaz, Dillon and La Mauny.
You can make a similar syrup by making a rich syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to water) with dark raw sugar.
Punch Vieux is always a nice treat as is the regular Ti-Punch…
Zwazo definitely mixes well in this style of tropical drinks, it gives a deep pineapple/tropical fruit flavor into the drinks which for tiki drinks fits so well into the flavor profile of a lot of them.
The aim with this particular post is to show that you can do a lot with rhum arrangè that goes beyond the traditional use…
The fifth rum bottled by Rum Swedes is a 16 year old Caroni, ABV 61.3% or 122.6 proof. This is the sister cask of the 15 year old Caroni 97 that they released a year ago and which i wrote about here. This Caroni is heavier and have a stronger character than the first one.
It`s a strong oaky, woody rum laced with tropical fruits.
It was distilled in 1997 by the Caroni distillery, then aged in a bourbon barrel and bottled in 2013, there are 249 bottles.
I just love Caroni rums – and it´s the heavy ones i love the most – and i think it´s such a shame they are no more produced, so make sure to try them and grab a few bottles before they are gone.
They are pricey yes – but the content in those bottles is really also something very special, and they are rum history.
Nose – I find the nose brimming with notes of tropical fruits and wood, apricot, mature banana, molasses, orange peel, toffee. It`s a very pleasant nose which invites you to have a sip.
In the mouth – The tropical fruits come clearly to the surface and there´s a pronounced tropical exotic fruit taste with a strong woody backbone. It`s easy to sip even though this is a strong rum and there´s a slight burn on the tongue which quickly fades and gives way to rich hints of wood and toast.
A few drops of water brings out a more woody character but at the same time it gets smoother.
This is a real nice Caroni – strong, rich, flavorful and does have a lot of character. I give it a 4 out of 5.
With such a nice rum i really feel like making a Mai Tai because i know it`s gonna be good…
Recently Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell made a VERY tasty Mai Tai for me at Koko-Mo, when he was guest bartending after his Rum Masterclass seminar and i used his recipe for this Mai Tai (just switching out the rums) which is a bit different from the usual Trader Vic`s and it´s not the Don Beachcomber Mai Tai either.
The flavor in this Mai Tai was pleasant, rummy and strong, giving a nice buzz…and a flavor with much character and personality, not on the too sweet side, just the way i like it! in other words – it`s a full flavored Mai Tai!
Rum Ambassador´s Mai Tai
2 oz Caroni-97
0.5 oz Don`s mix (a 2:1 mix of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to cinnamon syrup used by Donn “Don the Beachcomber” Beach in his seminal 1934 Zombie Punch.
0.25 oz orgeat
0.25 oz rich demerara syrup
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig, add a short straw near the mint.
This Caroni is available for purchase online at the Master of Malt website and in Sweden, here.
This is the second rum made by the Lost Spirits Distillery, the first was the “Navy Style” rum which i wrote a review of earlier. This rum is called “Polynesian Inspired Rum” and is made with the same methods as the Navy Style and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – i send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom”
High ester rums in the making…using high quality ingredients and distilled in Bryan`s beautiful handmade copper pot still. I wrote a little about esters and dunder in my post on the Navy Style rum.
It´s hard to believe how that funky muck-looking “witches brew” called dunder can make such good rums but it does:-)
The Polynesian Inspired rum also comes in a similarly beautiful bottle as the Navy Style rum, with an artful label, this label has a gorgeous Marquesan style tiki on one side and moais on the other.
The Polynesian Style rum isn`t out for purchase yet but it will hopefully soon be. Like i said in my earlier post, i think i see a steady trend for pot stilled rums with rich bold flavors suitable for both sipping and mixing of exotic and tiki drinks and other rum drinks and i welcome that.
I think rum – regardless of style – is supposed to taste rum! its supposed to have flavor and both of Lost Spirits rums has that in abundance paired with a fiery bite. If the Navy Style rum was full of funk and punch this one is sharper and more fiery. It has a bit lower proof at 66%.
To me the Navy style rum is rounder in it´s flavor profile and thus the Navy style rum is more sippable to me but you can sip this rum too if you like to sip strong rums. Personally i do not prefer overproof rums for sipping and second, i think this rum and Navy Style as well, are best suited for cocktails.
And for most, i suggest to use this rum in drinks – and as a mixing rum it´s really great – especially if you wanna make tropical, exotic and tiki drinks.
Here is their description:
“POLYNESIAN INSPIRED” Rum
NITROGEN DEPRIVED FERMENTATION
GRADE A MOLASSES
WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER
LATE HARVEST RIESLING
SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK
“Nitrogen deprived fermentation” is a way to trigger stress response in the yeast which leads to higher production of esters in the fermentation which in turn leads to more flavors completed from the acids.
There are many ways to trigger this stress response and it turns out nitrogen deprivation is one of them.
I think it`s amazing what they are doing at the Lost Spirits Distillery…which btw they built nearly everything at the distillery with only their tiny team of three people…how cool is that?
The 600 gallon copper pot still…see more amazing pictures from the distillery here.
Aroma and flavor
So let´s move on to the tasting – the rum has a beautiful golden amber color and the nose is fruity with notes of apricot and ripe tropical fruits like macerated banana, it´s warm and inviting.
In the mouth the woodiness hits you and there´s a strong alcohol sharpness, a burn which slowly mellows down and warms your throat. It`s a bit astringent, some citrus notes and ripe tropical fruits same as in the nose followed by some caramel that smooths it out. The finish is quite long.
It´s strong and quite sharp but definitely not harsh, and if you like sipping on strong rums i believe you`ll like this, but when you mix with it, it´s a whole different thing and i think this rum really shines in cocktails. It`s made in a different way than the traditional long barrel aging so i won`t compare it with those rums, this is a rum on it´s own. And now, let`s wrap it up with a few rum drinks:
I was all of a sudden craving one of my favorite tiki drinks, the Painkiller but not with Pusser`s rum this time….
4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco Real (or Coco Lopez) coconut cream
3 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum
Shake all ingredients with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a coconut shell or other suitable glass or tiki mug. Dust with grated nutmeg or cinnamon and garnish with a mini pineapple. (or pineapple chunk, leaf and cinnamon stick)
2.o oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum
0.5 oz Aperol
1 oz honey syrup
Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a brown sugar-coffee rimmed rocks glass and top with a splash of Soda. Garnish with a tropical leaf but make sure the leaf doesn´t touch the drink.
The drink turned out tasting like a good rum sour minus the egg foam, very refreshing and the rum did it justice in every way.
Does this rum lend itself to these type of drinks? YES!!! it really does…and with 3 oz of 132 proof rum it packs a punch..
So here´s my final thoughts - It sips well but i really recommend it for all kind of rum drinks and it really does have both the flavor and punch required for tiki drinks (and so does their Navy Style Rum) To me this rum is – along with the Navy Style rum – a keeper for my tropical and tiki drinks! These two rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery are two very different rums even though they – my guess – are made in about the same way but probably aged differently.
You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on the Navy Style rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” - where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how he makes his rums.
I`m very happy to share my impressions of yet another interesting rum…but this one is a bit different from the rest…
Lost Spirits Distillery owners Bryan Davis and Joanne Harut of Monterey County are known for their award-winning single malt whiskies, especially their ultra-peated American single malt craft whiskey Leviathan – and now they have come up with this rum and another one (called Polynesian Inspired, review will soon follow)
They have a lot of passion paired with a scientific approach in the making of spirits and they are – to quote Camper English over at the Alcademics – ” Lost Spirits Distillery are doing some crazy shiz” - And now they have managed to concentrate all the flavor goodness in these rums….and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – i send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom”
Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is a 68% cask strength high ester rum, distilled in Bryan`s copper pot still and made from fermented grade A baking molasses and evaporate sugar cane juice, and what they call wild bacteria banana dunder, aged in oloroso sherry seasoned virgin american oak – here is their description:
“NAVY STYLE 68%”
GRADE A MOLASSES
WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER
OLOROSO SHERRY SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK
PHOTOCATALYTICALLY “CHARRED” NEW AMERICAN OAK SLABS
Note that it says “Navy style” and not “Navy strength” as navy strength is no more than 57% abv, the reason for this, was that gunpowder would still explode if alcohol at this strength was accidentally spilt on it. Over that strength is overproof.
The bottle is nothing but a work of art and it looks old yet new…sort of and i don`t think i ever seen the statements “Does not contain coloring additives” and “Does not contain flavoring additives” written out like that on a rum bottle before.
I was a bit mystified about this rum from when i first heard of it but after studying and now also trying it i`m less mystified and i`m quite impressed with the flavor.
This is a high ester rum (esters = the aromas of fruits, flowers, and spices) are made from chemically bonding alcohols to acids) and part of creating all the esters are what is called “dunder”
A quote from the page explaining what dunder is:
Dunder is a mysterious substance added to the fermentation in high ester rum production. Dunder is sometimes made from overripe fruits, rotten fruits, and sometimes a special soup of decomposing bats, and waste from the last distillation.
Dunder is made in pits or caldrons and is sometimes ripened for up to a year before use. Though it may sound like voodoo there is actually a good reason for this substance. When the fruit, molasses waste, or bats undergo bacterial fermentation the bacteria produce carboxylic acids as a byproduct. These acids are responsible for the “rotting smell” but remember we are going to chemically bond them to acids later to make esters. The final esters will smell and taste completely different from the acids they are made from.
A carefully made “dunder” can yield more carboxylic acid than many years in a barrel. In my case this means overripe bananas which are a component of the yeast starter.
The rum doesn`t have any caramel coloring, yet it´s very dark, like coke, the rum doesn`t contain any flavor additives yet it´s more flavorful than many other rums. I trust my taste buds…and they are telling me i`m gonna like this…
To start with, the nose, to me what you get is a funky punch of wood and citrus peels of grapefruit and lemons, something dark…and a hint of vanilla that softens and binds it all together.
First sip is strong…and no wonder, this is an overproof beast of 136 proof or 68% abv. (alcohol by volume) but it´s amazingly sippable…and the mouthfeel is a just a little bit viscous.
There´s some heavy funky wood notes and some caramel, followed by tropical fruit and this rum ain`t for the faint of heart. For tiki drinks it´s thumbs up all the way to tiki nirvana…this is definitely a rum that can stand up and complement all those mixers and juices tiki drinks usually contains. Also it will surely make great bold rum cocktails of any kind.
There`s a lot of punch, funk and flavor, it`s a rich and robust rum, on the dry side, what more can you ask for? this is a rum for the rum geeks but i believe also whiskey lovers would like this. To be an overproof it´s surprisingly smooth, it burns a bit on the tongue but not unpleasantly so.
There´s a hint of Smith & Cross in this…and a bit close to demerara rum as well even though it does not have any of that specific flavor that only demerara rums have, but it´s somewhat similar in style though, like what i imagine the old style navy rums might have been.
Is it just me, or do i see a steady trend towards more flavorful pot-still type of rums? rums well suited for tiki drinks and stronger rum drinks as well as sipping rums? old school style rums?
What`s interesting with the Lost Spirits Navy Style rum is the method it´s made, with a combination of premium raw materials, high ester making with more emphasis on creating esters and less of aging time, as far as i have understood it, correct me if i`m wrong. Of course that is not all but part of the picture.
Like i said, this rum is not for the faint of heart and the same goes for the distillery, apparently….take a tour here.
Now on to the drinks, let´s make a few…
The other day i discovered a thread at the Tiki Central containing a recipe from a long lost book called “Introducing original Polynesian tropical bar recipes … Mai Tai, Navy Grog … and many more” from Dick Moano – containing a recipe for a drink called Wally`s Kanaka Punch.
It´s not a complicated drink and seemed well suited to try this rum with so i gave it a shot, but changed it a bit adding a little vanilla syrup and a vanilla bean and mini pineapple garnish:
Shake with cracked ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with fresh cracked ice.
Garnish with a quartered mini-pineapple and vanilla bean.
The drink is fruity and blends well with this rum which have both woody and fruity flavors, is strong and spicing it up, giving the drink a kick.
The next drink i tried was the daiquiri, i suspected it´d be a spicy one and it was, very strong, woody and spicy. Not 100% balanced because the strong flavors took over a bit but for those who like it strong, like i do, go for it.
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
To wrap it up, i sure enjoy this rum a lot and i hope Lost Spirits Distillery don`t ever stop making rums…
Flavor lovers and tiki drink drinkers, here´s a rum for you!
You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on this rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” - where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how it is made.
The first time encountered Denizen rum i was very pleased with it`s flavor, it was their white rum i tried and reviewed. Denizen rums are blends of rum from the Caribbean selected by master blenders in Amsterdam who have been handcrafting small-batch Caribbean style rums dating back to the early 1700s, when the Netherlands colonized much of the Caribbean.
Now Citizen Spirits have followed up with an aged rum that is a blend of aged plummer style pot still rum from Jamaica and also are component of Rhum Grande Arome from the Le Galion S.A.E.M distillery in Martinique.
60% of this rum has been aged 8 years in small used American oak bourbon barrels. The Jamaican rums used in this blend come from Worthy Park, Hampden, New Yarmouth, and Clarendon. Most of the aged rum comes from Worthy Park Distillery.
The rums used in the blend were fermented using slow working yeasts in order to extend the fermentation time and allow the high ester flavor compounds to fully develop – a very important step in the rum making process.
One of the reasons they chosed to include the molasses based rhum grande arome in the blend and not the more traditional rhum agricole from Martinique is because when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.
Having learned this, they tried to come up with a historically accurate classic amber rum that is unapologetically funky and would have made Trader Vic proud. The fact that it has been aged 8 years also makes it a fine sipping rum despite it being slightly higher proof at 43% ABV.
Denizen Merchant’s Reserve should be available in the US early April. Citizen Spirits will launch it in New York City and San Francisco initially and then expand to additional markets.
So i go straight to the Mai Tai eh?
This is a rum which obviously is partly designed for making great Mai Tais but of course not only – but also to be sipped neat and make other cocktails with – and flavorless cocktails you won`t get with it.
What a shame i haven`t had any chance to try the old JWray 17 year….which is a long time dream of mine, so therefore i cannot compare with it, but i can compare with other Mai Tais i`ve had with great rums and see how this rum stand up in comparison and i have a feeling it will do very well.
Also the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve earned a score of 94 at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was recognized as a finalist. Scoring 94 points is equivalent to “Excellent and highly recommended”
Let´s taste it.
Nose – It`s a fruity nose with a bit of citrus and apricot, a hint of wood, very fresh.
Mouth – The same fruitness is there and it has a warm spicy finish. A hint of sugarcane, warm caramel, ripe tropical fruit, dried banana, apricot, wood.
My impression – This is a warm, funky and flavorful rum, not much alcohol burn, it´s smooth enough to sip and flavorful enough to mix tiki drinks with, at the same time it`s great for classic rum drinks as well. Fruity and spicy!
I bet it`s good to drizzle over ice cream too…or use in baked papaya with butter, vanilla and demerara sugar.
The first drink i wanted to make with this rum is the PYT swizzle from Rumba Seattle, (a bar and Caribbean restaurant in Seattle) and a place where they make some extraordinary cocktails, actually everything they make at that place looks tasty, i hope i can visit some day.
The PYT swizzle first catched my attention on instagram where i saw pictures of it after it won the Island Imbibe competition in august 2013. I thought it looked so tasty….so here`s a version of it with Denizen Merchant`s Reserve and again, i regret not having any mint!
Top with a heavy doze of angostura and peychaud`s bitters
But mint or not, with this rum the swizzle turned out nice and spicy!
The next drink is the quintessential test cocktail when you wanna evaluate a rum in cocktails, due to it`s simplicity and way of letting the rum shine through in such a way that you cannot make a good one with a bad rum – the classic daiquiri.
And yes, it pass the test! this rum makes a very nice and somewhat spicy daiquiri!
And finally…the Queen of Tiki Drinks…(and the Zombie is the King:-)
2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve rum
1 oz fresh lime juice (add the spent lime shell to shaker and later, in the glass)
0.5 oz orgeat
0.25 oz Combier triple sec
Shake all ingredients and garnish with mint – or if you don`t have mint, add the spent lime shell and a sherry into the glass.
Serve in rocks glass with crushed ice.
Yep, it definitely makes a great Mai Tai, the kind that gives that extra yummy after taste, provided you use good quality mixing products throughout. Of course i did the Trader Vic´s Mai tai. The only thing i regret is that i was out of mint but instead i just used the spent lime shell and a sherry.
To wrap it up – Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is very good, flavorful and i warmly recommend anyone to try this rum!
If you like the french island style “arranged rums” or rhum arrangès here´s a very interesting one. Rhum arangé is a speciality of the French islands, so most of them are made with rhum agricole, fruits and spices.
This rhum arrangè is made by Cèderic Brement who calls his rhums – Les Rhums de Ced/Ti’ arrangés de Ced.
What i have here is a rhum arrangè of cocoa and banana macerated in rhum agricole. Make no mistake here….this ain`t no overly sweet bananaesque concoction – instead you will meet a very elegant and mature flavor or pure raw cocoa upfront with a subtle rich flavor of tropical banana flambè in the background…and it´s absolutely lovely.
Cèdric who is a food engineer, started to create some rhums arrangés during his studies and produced his rhums at home during 10 years before he finally created his product – “Les Rhums de Ced”
He first tested his products on friends and family and then eventually friends of friends started to order his rhums and from there it got bigger. People appreciate the balance of fruits aroma, rum, vanilla and a little bit of sugar says Ced.
And with the success with the products he did quit his job to launch his products and he started with 6 products, which are 100% organic using fruits, spices and AOC rhum agricole from Martinique.
After that he developed a 6 months macerated product in oak barrel : Vanilla – Macadamia nuts.
I want to work to use only natural, very high quality fruits and i’m looking for special and direct procurement. I want to highlight terroir.
He won 8 medals in 2013 :
Gold for Victoria Pineapple at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris
Gold for Ginger Apple at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris
Gold for Mango Passion at the Rum Fest in Madrid
Silver for Pineapple Victoria at the Rum Fest in Madrid
In 2014 :
Gold for Cocoa Banana at the salon de l’agriculture in Paris
Impressive! of course i was dying to try one of his rhums and the one i have here to try out is the Cocoa Banana, and it´s as tasty as it sounds..
I was pleasantly surprised at the cut down sweetness of this rhum, it`s not like what you usually find when the ingredients banana and cocoa are in it. It has some sweetness of course, because it contains some sugarcane but it`s not cloingly sweet at all.
Nose – Cocoa, sugarcane, ripe bananas with a slight hint of vanilla. The balmy creamy sweetness from the cocoa lingers…
In the mouth – The mouthfeel is rich, then pure raw dark cocoa hits you but it doesn`t taste like an upfront chocolate rum, this is much more refined and the cocoa flavor is never anything near too sweet, rather it´s that raw quality of fresh dark cocoa beans. It`s rich and warm and it embraces you.
In the background you have a flavor of banana flambè sweetened by sugarcane and a very subtle hint of vanilla. The vanilla bean is still in the bottle, and how he managed to have it there without it adding too much vanilla flavor to the rhum is more than i know.
There`s only a very slight “rhum agricole grassiness” – the flavor trademark of rhum agricoles – that i can detect. It`s a very smooth rhum and there´s no alcohol burn at all, just a very subtle sharpness and it`s like the whole rhum is mellowed out…into a ripe fruity punch and then that raw cocoa flavor…
It`s very tasty, well balanced, nuanced, quite complex, semi-sweet and of good quality.
It`s a very tropical rhum and is best sipped neat with or without ice – which is the way it really should be enjoyed – it has enough flavors all of it´s own and nothing else is needed.
That said, of course you can make cocktails with it if you like and i decided to make a french island style tropical punch cocktail , it´s my version of a cocktail from the island of la Rèunion called “Mon ti cafrine”.
Punch Mon Ti Cafrine
3 oz (90 ml) Ti’ arrangés de Ced Banane-Cacao
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
2 coffee beans in shaker
Muddle the coffee beans and lime juice, add the rhum and give it a quick shake. Double strain into a sugar rimmed glass.
Garnish with banana leaf.
“Mon ti cafrine” is a french crèole expression from la Rèunion and is an affectionate expression for a beloved woman.
Les Rhums de Ced`s webpage is here and Facebook page here and the rhums are sold at Christian de Montaguère´s rum shop in Paris. If you can`t go there he might send it, mail and ask.
Also Les Rhums de Cèd will be displayed and ready for tasting at the Rhumfest Paris in april 6-7.
More rum to the thirsty!! Miami Rum Fest is expanding with more than 50,000 square feet of exhibits and will be back in April 25-27 to gather rum producers, professionals and enthusiasts.
There will be three rum filled days of grand tasting sessions allowing participants to evaluate hundreds of notable rum brands and expressions from around the world, in addition to expert seminars, entertainment and fun in laid-back tropical island environment.
“We’re expanding the size and scope of the festival again this year,” said show manager Robin Burr. “Rum producers from many more countries will participate in the exhibition, bringing an exceptional selection of cane spirits to a larger audience of consumers that appreciate fine rums.”
The admission price of $50 (or $75 for VIP access) allows participants to sample any of the rums on display Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27. The Friday, April 25 Trade Day grand tasting session is reserved for those in the spirits industry and VIPs, as well as members of the press.
A new addition to the Rum fest is the Miami Cocktail Week where the emphasis will be rums that make the best cocktails since hand-made cocktails are all the rage in the best bars around the world.
Those who have been to the UK Rumfest in London knows what the cocktail week can be all about, and the public can acquire a wristband that allows them to enjoy high quality cocktails made with top-shelf spirits by the best bartenders in Miami for a set price at a select number of top-rated cocktail bars in South Florida.
The mission is to increase awareness of high quality cocktails and build appreciation for the best bars, bartenders and spirits.
Miami Cocktail Week features a series of seven key events — one exclusive VIP cocktail gathering per evening — hosted by participating spirit brands at select cocktail venues. VIPs and members of the trade are invited to attend.
Rum enthusiasts from all over the world are coming to Miami to experience the ultimate rum tasting experience. “We’re seeing a great increase in travelers attending the rum festival from all the islands of the Caribbean, as well as Europe and Asia,” said Burr.
Miami is the number one rum market in the world. Miami Rum Fest was voted best festival in Miami.
International Rum Expert Panel judges from across the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, England, Australia, Sweden and Holland will converge in Miami to judge rums for their annual tasting competition, awarding the best of the best with gold medals.
Rhum arangé is a speciality of the French islands, so most of them are made with rhum agricole but there´s also some people doing it with molasses rums. Benoît Bail - the maker of Zwazo uses a blend of both styles to get this particular taste and the blend is of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana.
So what i have here is a rhum arrangè that is a special mix between agricole and molasses rums, pineapple and vanilla. The difference between a spiced rum ( “rhum épicé “) and rhum arrangè (arranged rum:-) is that rhum arrangé also contains fruits or just fruits. And rhum arrangé is a sexier name than rhum épicé, don`t you think?
It`s quite low in ABV, 25% – because it`s made especially for the persons who don’t like rums or don’t know them or even don’t drink strong alcohol for example people who like sweet fruity tastes without a strong alcohol taste.
And that`s also a great way to introduce rum to non rum lovers isn`t it?! and i can vouch for that this rum here tastes fantastic!
Benoît uses only organic seasonal fruits so the flavors available will vary throughout the year and since this is a highly artisanal product there´s limited quantity.
The two first Zwazo rums made by Benoit was this pineapple/vanilla and a banana/vanilla which i hope to try sometimes. New flavors are coming up in february!
At the beginning Benoît was just doing some rhums arrangés at home for himself, friends and family but with the time they began calling him to ask if he wouldn’t sell some because they would need some for friends or at barbecues.
So Benoît got the idea to make business with it and build his own brand and people much appreciated the idea and the taste of his flavoured rums – so he began making a business plan and looking for funds and now one and a half year later Zwazo is here!
And now i`m tasting this delicious Pineapple and vanilla rhum arrangè and all can say is that i`m really impressed because this rum is lovely!
I prefer to drink it neat with ice but it can be used mixed as well and one way to mix it is making a Ti Punch, either with just Zwazo or mixed with another white rhum agricole to boost up the alcohol punch.
It would be a waste to use it in drinks like the Zombie that contains a lot of other rums and mixers because it´s flavor is quite delicate and it would be a shame to mask it with other things. But i could do well in tiki drinks with just a few ingredients in them, and i can see it shine in a daiquiri for example or mixed with champagne.
The bottle is pretty, it looks very exotic with the pineapple chunks and vanilla beans inside and the tropical looking label and exotic name - Zwazo means bird in french creole. The bird Benoit first had in mind was the Toucan but then the rhum Toucan came out from french Guyana and so they switched to another Caribbean bird – the Hummingbird…
On the nose it smells of ripe tropical fruits, vanilla and pineapple and you are transported to a tropical island…
The taste is sweet with mature tropical fruit, a bit like burnt sugar and pineapple or roast pineapple maybe, with hints of apricot. Slight notes of agricole rum that gives a freshness to the blend paired with a hint of sexy vanilla…
And once the bottle is empty you can also take out the fruits inside and eat them or make jam with it, or put them in cakes.
It`s such a perfect rum when you want to be on the light side, make a wonderful summer drink – or on the contrary – something to escape the winter with.
I love it!
I made a simple Ti Punch with 2 oz Zwazo, the juice of 1/3 piece of the lime and 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup, stirred together with some ice.
As for now you can get Zwazo rums from one of the best rum shops in Europe - Christian de Montaguèrein Paris. If you can`t go there he might send it, mail and ask. They sell for for 25€.