This post has been brought to you by Rhum Barbancourt. All opinions expressed are my own. The following message is intended for those 21+. Please enjoy responsibly.
Today we’re sampling a Haitian rum, a White Rum via Barbancourt. In addition to reviewing the rum itself, we’re be talking about how to spot a good rum, and some of the the best ways to enjoy today’s rum.
Romancing the Sugarcane – The Basics of Rum
Rum is the result of fermenting sugarcane molasses or, conversely, sugarcane juice (called rhum Agricole). The fermented liquid is then distilled. The distillate is then – usually – aged. Higher quality rums are aged in oak barrels, ideally used bourbon barrels. However, aging can also be performed in steel vats as well as other types of wooden containers.
The aging process, provided it takes place in oak barrels or other similar wooden containers, is where rum derives its characteristic amber color. Naturally, if rum is aged in steel vats, or other metal contains, it will remain colorless. After aging, blending is typically done. The blending process is essentially how brands or labels achieve a consistent taste. This is also where the color of the rum is adjusted, either lightening dark rums by blending in lighter rums, or further coloring darker rums with caramel, or filtering out any remnant color from light rums that may have overly darkened during aging.
Most of the world’s rum is produced in the Caribbean and South America. However, rum – as well as other liqueurs that are almost indiscernible from rum – are produced pretty much everywhere sugarcane is grown. Large quantities are produced, for example, throughout parts of Asia such as the Philippines, as well parts of Africa such as Madagascar and Reunion Island.
Standards, regulations, and local preference means that there’s a wide world of rum available for enthusiasts to enjoy. However, this also makes nailing down precisely ‘what’ rum is almost impossible, since what qualifies as ‘rum’ in one jurisdiction might fail to make the grade in another.
However, rum is generally broken down and marketed via ‘grades.’ These include such classifications as Dark, White, Premium, and Spiced Rums, the names of which are largely self-explanatory. Light rums, however, tend to have very little flavor aside from sweetness, and are typically used in cocktails as opposed to being consumed on their own or paired with food. White rums (such as the one featured today), in contrast to ‘Light’ rums, retain the full flavor of standard rum, but without any of the color, allowing it to be mixed into cocktails without affecting the color of the drink. Other varieties of rum include Overproof Rums, which can contain in excess of 80% alcohol by volume. Again, these rums are typically used in cocktails. One interesting class of rum is Brown Rum, which is aged in charred barrels, and have a flavor closer to whiskey than the flavors one might typically associate with rum.
Finding a Good Rum – What to Look For
Unlike whiskey, it is intensely simple to know if you’ve got a ‘good’ rum on your hands.
To start, rum should never be ‘cloudy.’ Cloudy rums are good for one thing and one thing only – pouring down the drain. White rums should be clear, not unlike vodka, while darker rums should be varying shades of amber. Some darker rums will appear redder others, while the darkest of rums can appear ‘amber-brown,’ with some bordering on ‘black.’ Generally, however, regardless of how dark rum might appear, the color should fall somewhere along the ‘amber spectrum.’
In terms of taste, rum should ‘not’ taste of ethanol. Unlike vodka or certain astringent sakes, ‘alcohol’ should be at most a background flavor. In the very best rums, alcohol should be barely – if at all – perceptible. If rum ‘burns’ or is ‘sharp’ tasting, or has any astringency, this is indicative of a low-quality rum. Instead, quality rums should be ‘pleasant’ or even ‘festive’ on the palate, with a complex bouquet of tastes ranging from sweet to smoky, carried on a delicate or ‘smooth’ texture.
The Review – Tasting and Aromatics
The Rhum Barbancourt introduces itself with crystal-clear colorlessness, as to be expected from decent White Rums. On the nose, the bouquet is that of cut grass, tropic fruit, and something I’ll describe as ‘candied banana,’ set against a lush sweetness. On the palate, there are slightly astringent notes of ethanol, but these quickly fade, as tropic fruit and a pleasant-yet-subtle spiciness overtake the palate. All in all, I consider this to be a very approachable and enjoyable cane juice rum, one that’s perfect for mixing into cocktails.
How to Enjoy Today’s White Rum – Serving Suggestions
While today’s rum is perfectly palatable on its own, I think it really shines in cocktails, and I sense that’s as intended by the producers. With that in mind, here a few cocktails I think would work really well around this particular White Rum.
I’ll start out with a few ‘classics’ and then move on to a few cocktails that might be less familiar.
1) The Classic Daquiri. Often called ‘The Sour Cocktail,’ it’s arguable that sour cocktails are only thing because of repeated attempts to replicate the success of ‘The Classic Daquiri.’ In a cocktail shaker, combine three tablespoons of White Rum, two tablespoons of lime juice, and one tablespoon of simple syrup. 3-2-1, and you’re done. Fill the shaker with ice, give it a good shake, and then pour it into a cocktail glass. Simple, delicious, and pleasantly sour.
2) The Mojito. Another ‘by the book’ cocktail. I’m only mentioning this one because it’s pretty much impossible to talk about White Rum without talking about the Mojito. In a cocktail shaker, or in a mortar and pestle, smash up a few mint leaves, then add in two tablespoons of lime juice, two tablespoons of simple syrup, and four tablespoons of White Rum. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice, shake until cold, and then strain into a glass. Top the glass off with about two to four ounces of club soda.
3) The Hurricane. Is this cocktail made with White Rum, or ‘lightened’ with White Rum? Don’t know, don’t care. It features White Rum and I think it’s delicious, so here’s how to make it. In a cocktail shaker, combine 4 tablespoons of Dark Rum (Black Rum if you’re feeling particularly adventurous), four tablespoons of White Rum, two tablespoons of orange juice, two tablespoons of lime juice, three tablespoons of passion fruit syrup, and one tablespoon of grenadine . Fill the shaker with ice, shake until cold, and then strain into a cocktail glass.
4) Papa Doble. In a cocktail shaker, combine four tablespoons of White Rum, one and half tablespoons of lime juice, one tablespoon of maraschino liqueur, one tablespoon of grapefruit juice, and ice. Shake until cold, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a peel of lime.
All in all, if your looking for a decent, affordably priced White Rum, Rhum Barbancourt White has got you covered.Print
White Rum Affogato
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 affogato 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Italian
1 double shot (2 ounces) hot espresso
1 to 2 scoops (about 1/2 cup) very cold vanilla gelato or ice cream
1 tablespoon Barbancourt White Rum
Make your espresso first so it can sit while you scoop the gelato or ice cream.
Scoop your gelato into a small shallow bowl or glass that’s been chilled beforehand.
Pour a tablespoon of Barbancourt White Rum over the ice cream. Then slowly pour the hot espresso in a thin stream directly over the gelato, draping the entire surface of the scoop with an even layer of coffee. Top with some espresso beans if desired and serve immediately.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 47
- Sugar: 0.5 g
- Sodium: 488.1 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.8 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: affogato, ice cream, espresso, coffee, dessert
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