Friday, August 16, 2013
Yum Yum Rum, National Rum Day
I used to pass this spirit off as a sweet party drink sure to give me a raging headache, make me wonder what happened to my sunglass and how I got a fist-full of beads.
My whole perception of rum changed when I attended a rum dinner two years ago at Hemingways Island Grill in Estero, FL. I met Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez the so-called rum czar and sipped on a 25-year-old barrel aged Panamanian spirit that sells for $400 a bottle: Panamonte.
Panamonte drinks more like a cognac than a rum, those rich oak flavors give it a silky quality and I can assure you there are no headaches. I tried Panamonte again this year at it's debut party in Panama, the country, not the city in the Florida Panhandle. Owner Jim Wasson also makes an overproof rum that you can actually sip on its own, called Panama Red.
Country music star Kenny Chesney is also a rum aficionado. He has just launched a line of spirits called Blue Chair Bay Rum. The portfolio includes a White, Coconut and Coconut Spiced selections.
If you look on the shelves in your local liquor store you'll see more and more flavored rums. Malibu is out with the first low calorie selection called Island Spice. It is made with Truvia. There is even a new rum distillery in Southwest Florida called Wicked Dolphin.
When you sit down at happy hour today and are asked, "What are you having?" start the night with a festive rum cocktail, or a refreshing splash over ice. Cheers!