12:29pm – Our panelists today are Wayne Curtis, Angus Winchester, Ben Jones (Rum Clement) and Chesterfield Browne (Mount Gay). This is going to be an exciting one.
12:42pm – Here are the cocktails for the session:
- 1 1/2oz Bacardi 8
- 1/2oz Rock Candy Syrup
- 1/4oz falernum
- 1oz lime juice
Serve over crushed ice.
- 1 1/2oz Rhum Clement VSOP
- 3/4oz lime juice
- 1t grenadine
- 1/4oz rock candy syrup
Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled mug
12:47pm – “A basic rum punch is basically the DNA of all great rum drinks.” And with that from Wayne, we get our Rum Punch. Rum is the key ingredient of North American history. Tequila has had an impact, but rum has been important through the ages, from when it was first developed. You should definitely read Wayne’s book, And a Bottle of Rum, so I don’t have to summarize all this lusty history.
12:56pm – There were about 160 rum distilleries in Boston around 1760 as rum spread into the New World. Rum was cheap from the beginning; the stuff was wretched and cheap. It was mixed with lots of sugar and citrus to make it palatable or steeped with cinnamon nutmeg or cloves. Flip was one of the more interesting ways to consume rum; mix strong beer, lots of rum, molassas or dried pumpkin, and stick a red-hot plunger into the canister to burn it. Wayne, of course, had an iron monger make one of this tool for him.
1:02pm – It looks like we’re going to be getting some fun kits for making punch during the session! Chesterfield takes the mic and immediately captures everyone’s attention with his boisterous delivery. He’s detailing the process for making their Mount Gay rum, which is based on molasses. From the fields, while still green, to the factory for knifing. It’s combined with extracts from limestone, then boiled until thick and it crystallizes producing a combination of brown sugar and molasses. It’s then spun to separate the two. After that it goes to the stills.
1:09pm – The rum samples have started to come around: Mount Gay Silver Eclipse and Extra Old. And now we’re making our own punches with the rum. Everyone is fumbling around with lime wedges, sugar cane syrup or demerara syrup, our rums, some nutmeg, cute little bottles of Angostura (Craig H. conveniently dumped in about 2 teaspoons in our punch), and some water. This display of neanderthal drink creation is vastly amusing and producing tasty results.
1:20pm – Ben, from Clement, takes the mic to talk about rum agricoles. The first sample, Clement Premiere rum made its way to our table. He’s detailing the process of their rum, made from sugarcane syrup, which must follow AOC laws.
1:31pm – Ben is now making a Ti Punch. His is passed around; it’s quite nice and smooth.
- A slice of lime with equal parts skin and lime
- 1/2oz pure sugar cane syrup
- rum of your choice
Squeeze the lime, add the sugar syrup and rumive it a quick stir, and you’re done.
1:40pm – Angus Winchester jumps up and takes hold of the crowd. This is a captivating panel so far! Pirates, romance, crazy old rums sold for thousands of dollars. He points out how various rums often find their way into the same drink, something that doesn’t often happen with other spirits (you’ll rarely find two ryes in a single manhattan). Our Winchester Swizzle comes up and Angus rhymes the recipe for us.
1:44pm – “Are you a pirate or a naval officer?” Angus has delved into tiki drinks, and I’m too entranced to concentrate on typing… :)
1:55pm – Falernum, bitters, pastis, pimento dram, gold, demerara rum… just imagine everything tiki and that was the last 10 minutes.
1:56pm – A question was asked as to each panelists’ favorite rum cocktail. Ben’s favorite is new every week. Chester’s favorite is rum and coconut water. Wayne’s is the Ti Punch. Angus’s is “the one your about to buy me,” but then he goes with the Nuclear Daiquiri, a mix containing Wray and Nephew overproof rum and Chartreuse.
2:01pm – Favorite white rums… Angus goes with Havana Club and Appleton Silver. Wayne goes with New Orleans white and Prichard’s. Ben seconds Prichard’s and white rhum agricole. And Chesterfield goes with Wray and Nephew white and Mount Gay.