Ron Zacapa 23 Rum

Holy Moly! Ron Zacapa 23, now that is rum! This is a fantastic top shelf rum. There is a pleasant sweetness, molasses, honey, banana, maybe vanilla, a subtle spiciness, something fruity, along with a mild alcohol bite. As much as I like Plantation, and I still like Plantation, this is an incredible rum!

There is considerable discussion online regarding the labeling of “23” on the bottle. On other spirits, it is considered bad form, or in some cases, is illegal, to state an age unless that number is accurate. In the case of Ron Zacapa 23, it is not 23 years old. If it was, it would be far more expensive. It is thought to be a blend, including some amount (who knows how much) that is 23 years old. Some say it is more likely 6 to 8 years old. If you want to know more, there is a detail articles (with charts!) here: https://refinedvices.com/ron-zacapa-part-ii-solera-system-explained

There is also a great deal of discussion about rums, including this one, having added sugar. Purists are concerned/offended/angered/insert-adjective-here. I don’t care, and will continue to enjoy the rum for whatever it is.

Age: Thought to be a blend of rums distilled from virgin sugar cane aged between 6 and 23 years, in white oak casks.

Proof: 80% (40% ABV)

Price: (It was a very generous gift from my son!) On the shelf it is $50 for 750ml

Buy Again: Yes, but I’ll have to save my pennies and save it for special occasions!

Mount Gay XO Reserve Cask Rum

Mount Gay XO (Extra Old) Reserve Cask Rum is a top shelf rum. The taste is intense molasses, banana, and even though the alcohol is there, it doesn’t hurt too much. It is not as sweet as the Don Pompero Aniversario. This is one of the few rums I can drink neat. I don’t know if I would ever admit to mixing a rum like this and as long as I can drink it neat or over ice, that’s probably how I’ll continue to drink it.

Age: Thought to be a blend of rums aged between 8 and 15 years in American bourbon barrels

Proof: 86% (43% ABV)

Price: (It was a very generous gift from my son!) On the shelf it is $50 for 750ml

Buy Again: Probably not, based on the price

 

 

Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum

I’m a big fan of rum. And so far, I’m a big fan of Plantation rums. This was no exception and in fact it a fantastic rum. The Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple is one of Plantation’s dark rums, with a pineapple infusion. Don’t think syrupy sweet pineapple. This has a mild sweetness and the essence of pineapple. You instantly get the flavor, but it doesn’t overwhelm.

I can certainly drink this neat. I’m sure it would go well in any number of cocktails. I’ll have to try some and report back.

Proof: 80% (40% ABV)

Price: (It was a very generous gift from my son!) On the shelf it is $30 for 750ml

Buy Again: Yes, but I’ll have to save my pennies and save it for special occasions!

 

 

 

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

When I first considered trying a bourbon after all of these years, the reviews resoundingly said that Buffalo Trace was the “go-to” bourbon, popular and relatively inexpensive. It just so happens that the Buffalo Trace Distillery also makes Pappy Van Winkle, a very sought after bourbon (in some opinions, over-hyped and over priced).

So into the ABC Store. “One Buffalo Trace please”… Okay, they didn’t laugh at me, but they made it clear that, in North Carolina anyway, Buffalo Trace didn’t stick around long after a shipment comes in. By pure chance, I walked into one of the ABC Stores that I visit less frequently. There, on the shelf, were a couple of bottles of Buffalo Trace, behind the hand-written sign stating “One per customer, per day”. By this time, I had purchased and tried a few other brands. But, given that Buffalo Trace was the first bottle I had been looking for, I grabbed one of the bottles and made my way to the cashier. A few days later, my usual store got in 8 bottles and they were gone in short order. Whether the difficulty in getting this product is real or artificial, I can’t say.

[more coming]

Age: No age statement, but thought to be 8-10 years

Proof: 90% (45% ABV)

Price: $29 for 750ml

Buy Again: Probably not, given it’s price compared to others I like equally as well…

Sip Bourbon: Revisited

As an update to my previous post on sipping bourbon, I find it much easier to consume by adding a couple of ice cubes. I guess its the same as adding water, but a little at a time as the ice melts. The alcohol burn is greatly reduced, and more of the flavors seem to come through.

With this in mind, and after adding more bourbons to the mix, here is my current ranking of the bourbons I have tried, from least favorite to most favorite. These are only my opinion, and subject to change with the next bottle.

6) Woodford Reserve: I get a lot of alcohol burn and the spice and oak are very strong
5) Knob Creek: Spicy, more than I think I like, but I can see how people would like it if spice is your thing
4) Maker’s Mark: Was highly recommended and I like the sweetness, but the burn was more noticeable than some others
3) Evan Williams 1783: Relative mild alcohol burn, some sweet, some spice, but maybe a little mild
2) Larceny: The sweetness brought by the wheat was nice and the alcohol burn wasn’t too bad
1) Evan Williams White Label Bottled-in-Bond: Even with the higher proof, the burn was, manageable, the oak was prominent, as was the corn sweetness, and the touch of rye still gives some spice.

 

Banana Mama

Back to a rum cocktail with lots of tropical flavors.

1.5 oz Light Rum
1.0 oz Banana Liqueur
0.5 oz Dark Rum
1.0 oz Coconut Cream
2.0 oz Pineapple Juice

Get a shaker. Separate the halves. Add ice. Add ingredients. Join the shaker halves. Shake. Separate the shaker halves. Strain into a glass and enjoy!

Mudslide

We at the lair have decided to give some very dessert-like drinks a go over the feels-like-winter, but-not-quite-winter season. The Mudslide showed up on my search and gave me an opportunity to finally open the bottle of Carolans Irish Cream I have. This was a good start to trying creams of the Irish variety!

2 oz Chocolate Liqueur
2 oz Coffee Liqueur
2 oz Irish Cream

Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Add ingredients. Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Drink. Lick the cocktail glass clean!

Very Merry Bourbon Alexander

A sweet and creamy winter cocktail.

1 oz bourbon
1 oz crème de cacao
1 oz half and half
One egg white (I didn’t do the egg white and it was still pretty creamy)
Dash of simple syrup
Dash of salt

Add ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, strain into a cocktail glass. “Garnish with nutmeg, cranberries, and a sprig of rosemary.” (Okay, so they lost me after cocktail glass)…

Source: www.townandcountrymag.com

Tiki Passion Pineapple Rum Cocktail

I really like the taste of Passion Fruit (the syrup at least). This cocktail is another great example of what can be done with it. The Passion Fruit is very present, but isn’t as overwhelming as some cocktails based on it.

0.75 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1.0 oz Pineapple Juice
1.0 oz Lime Juice
1.0 oz Orange Juice
0.75 oz Demerara Syrup (simple syrup made from Turbinado sugar)
2.0 oz Dark Rum

Ice, shaker, shake, strain. Simple. Good stuff!