Making Rhum Arrangè

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE4 BOTTLE SIDE PINEAPPLE

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.

Here`s a link to a case study with limoncello.

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:

Here`s also a link to some pictures of the rhums.

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.

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE 1

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.

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE CUT UP FRUIT COLLAGE

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…

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE 3 PICS COLLAGE

And that is all!

Tropical Cocktails with Rhums Arrangè – Ti’ arrangés de Cèd

Cocktails with Ceds rhum Grog Colonial 2

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…

It´s actually tiki drinks…with rhum arrangè.Yes.

In this post i`m using Cèd`s “Ti arrangès de Cèd” – banane-cacao – a mellow deep flavor of banana flambè with a distinct touch of dark raw cocoa.

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

Cocktails with Ceds rhum Myrtle Bank Swizzle

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.

Grog  Colonial 

Cocktails with Ceds rhum Grog Colonial 1

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:

Swizzle Èpicè

Swizzle epice

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.

Cacao Bite

Cocktails with Ceds rhum 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 and 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 it´s fun to experiment…

Cocktails with Rhums Arrangèes – Zwazo

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé 2

More rhum arrangè cocktails!

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.

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Book Potions

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.

And top it off with a generous float of something overproof…and my stomach feeling told me to grab my bottle of the Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum.

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

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Siboney 5

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

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Island of Martinique Cocktail

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.

Voodoo Grog

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Voodoo Grog filt

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
Grated nutmeg
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

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…

Go and check out the Zwazo page on Facebook!

Rhum Arrangè

The term “rhum arrangè” means “arranged rums” – or rather – flavored.

Rhum arrangé comes from the islands of la Rèunion, Mauritius and nearby Madagascar as well as the french islands in the Caribbean.

It`s house or home made rums flavored with fruits, roots and spices that are macerated for a minimum of 1 month – but it´s actually recommended to let it macerate for 6 months or even longer in many recipes.

There`s a restaurant calld Le Saint-Bernard on La Rèunion (article in french) carrying 400 different rhums arrangées and there´s  actually some rhums being macerated as long as 3-4 years!

And here`s a video from the same place:

So it´s not the same thing as spiced rums which are made with spices and roots and not macerated as long as these. And there is no end to what things are put into those bottles to “arrange” the rums…in the first video there was even a jar with a snake and in the second video another with something that looks like sea urchins…but when i look at pictures of rhum arrangè with fruits and spices – it all look so delicious…

Also if you notice there´s two different ways of macerating seen in both videos, 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.

Here`s a link to a case study with limoncello.

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. I find this very interesting and fascinating and i have yet to try it.

Right now i have a traditional rhum arrangè going with tahitian vanilla, it has been macerating 3 weeks, here´s how the color changed for each week:

So what you do to male rhum arrangè vanille is to split 5-8 vanilla beans in two and add to the bottle of rum and then add some sugar or simple syrup, i took a tbsp of brown sugar. Then leave to macerate at least 6 months – or up to a year to bring out the whole flavor.

When you have got the flavor you want in your rum you remove whatever you did put in the bottle otherwise it will keep changing the flavor.

Below is a picture of a ginger flavored rum or rhum arrangè gingembre made by my friend Benoit Bail who operates “Boutey” – which is from the the french crèole word “boutèy” – which is none other than the french word “bouteille” – bottle.

He makes all kinds of rhum arrangees and the top picture plus this one of the ginger rum are courtesy of Benoit. You can visit his page on facebook here.

On the island of La Rèunion there´s a tradition of using the leaves from a regulated wild orchid – Jumellea fragrans, called Faham in rhum arrangé for it´s special flavor which is described as “strange and unforgettable” – hm…that sounds interesting i think..

This orchid is indigenous to the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, in particular La Réunion. Although it appears to be a protected species, live specimens are occasionally sold in local markets, but usually it´s sold dried in a small packets together with other local herbs and spices, such as cinnamon leaf, cloves, tonka beans etc

You can get the dried faham leaves online and one source is right here where you can find various things for your rhum arrangè.

I have made a few bottles of rhum arrangè over the years and my favorite has always been vanilla and pineapple but there`s some very exotic recipes to try out as well and i tried one long ago. The recipe for it plus the cocktail i made i will re-post now, it´s rum flavored with combava or kaffir lime peel and vanilla.

The word combava is another name for the kaffir lime on la Reunion and combava is used in the creole cuisine on those islands.

RHUM COMBAVA

1 liter of white rum (traditionally Rhum Charette) or rhum agricole

Grated zest of one combava/kaffir lime

1 vanilla bean, split in two

150g raw cane sugar

Mix and infuse the rum for at least 2 months.

I don`t have Rhum Charette so i took some of my agricole rum from Guyana, La Belle Cabresse which is a very good and interesting rhum agricole and it does have a slightly different flavor than the agricoles from Martinique.

To make the Punch Combava when the rum is ready is simple:

Shake some of this infused rum with ice and serve in a chilled glass with mint and grated coconut rim and ice. I wanted to add some juice to my punch so i added passionfruit juice.

As i didnt have any mint i used only grated coconut on the rim. So the recipe looks like this:

PUNCH COMBAVA

2 oz rhum combava

2 oz passionfruit juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake and serve over cracked ice, rim the glass with grated coconut.

Top with some sprinkled nutmeg.

One of this life`s great pleasures is to taste new rums, and new rums always finds their way into the glasses of the true appreciators.