Rum is made from sugar cane and then distilled so it still counts as something sweet for the Sugar Hedonist.
Rum is not necessarily my favorite hard liquor, but it is one I have much experience with, because I used to have a roommate who was really into rum and mixology, and he spent a lot of money on growing his rum and entire liquor collection.
Portland boasts many rum only bars, but to my dismay, they have all turned into pseudo tiki bars that claim Bacardi watered down drinks is the best ever.
They are wrong and the only authentic Tiki experience in Portland is at Hale Pele.
But I will save Hale Pele for a special entry, because this entry is mostly about using and abusing my new favorite rum, Cruzan Black strap.
I went to the Rum Club, located in SE Portland the other evening, excited for a quiet corner to enjoy a nice cocktail like the last time I had been there about a year ago.
They had fun syrups, like pineapple gomme instead of simple syrup and an interesting sweet popcorn dessert. The bar also was full of pretty polished wood.
This bar has now transformed into a loud, tiki’esque bar, with red lighting and too lively music. The walls even are now papered with parrots in flight and the food has a random Caribbean flair.
The cocktails are littered with Bacardi and Tequila selections. I ordered Black strap rum, which I knew I liked from going to Hale Pele.
The cocktail was called the Fino Countdown, with Sherry Mix, Black strap & Jamaican Rums, Don’s Spices #2, Fresh Lemon, Bitters.
I liked the Fino Countdown enough, but when the server came back and asked me if I wanted the blackstrap in a daiquiri, I said sure.
The first drink had gone to my head, because the daiquiri is not a good idea for a dark rum. The flavor profile of Black strap rum tastes like maple, molasses and organic cola, great with a touch of citrus, but adding too much drowns out the citrus flavor and makes it medicinal.
Daiquiris are supposed to be on the tangy side and there are better rums to emphasize this point like Pussers Navy Rum.
Here is a brief guide to some rums for mixing cocktails:
1.) Spiced (if using Falernum or ginger beer)= Goslings or Cruzan Blackstrap
2.) Refreshing, like with mint for mojitos and mai tais: Wray and nephew white rum, Smith and Cross Rum, Novo Fogo Cachaca
3.) The everyday versatile rum: Appleton Estate and Smith and Cross
You can also blend rums together, like the everyday versatile rums to make a great cocktail. I would always start with Appleton Estate as your mixing base, because it is affordable yet tastes great on its own and blending with stronger rums like the Smith and Cross evens out the different rum tastes into a balanced cocktail.