As I've remarked previously (you know, at some point in the dozen or so posts prior to this one), I'm a fan of Tiki drinks, and especially of rum. It's a pretty damn simple spirit, fermented and distilled from the normally-cast-off leftovers of the sugar refining process, but for it's simplicity in make-up, it's remarkably complex and varied in flavor, as well as in it's history (for which I highly recommend reading Rum: The Epic Story of the Drink That Conquered the World by Charles Coulombe).
Most people that aren't rum-heads seem to think rum comes in two flavors; Bacardi White and Captain Morgan Spiced. Sometimes Malibu if they want coconut rum. By and large, those first two brands are good, solid workhorses of the rum world. They do the job they're meant to do in the drinks that they're served in. Not many people would think to just pour one of those over ice and sip, and they'd be right not to. They've come to be distilled and bottled as mixers, not as beverages you'd care to drink straight or on the rocks. There are, however, some great rums that let you do just that.
Now, I'm not a well-off guy, money-wise. I can't go out and taste the artisanal rums that get shipped out of Martinique and Trinidad. The biggest splurge I ever made on rum when when I got a promotion and bought a bottle of 10 Cane for about $33. And it was well worth it. It's a pale straw-colored liquid in a pretty cool bottle. It's almost more of a rhum or cachaça in that it's pressed directly from the sugarcane, rather than extracted from the molasses as most other rums are. It was a beautiful thing, and I was damned sad when it was gone.
In honor of that glorious spirit, here's a drink that I made with it; a slight variant on a classic Planters Punch (I bucked the "1 part sour, 2 parts sweet, 3 parts strong and 4 parts weak" rule a little bit, but it turned out wonderfully just the same).
3 oz 10 Cane rum
1 oz grenadine syrup (use homemade or Stirrings brand. Do not touch Rose's with a 10 foot pole)
2 oz lemon juice
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients save for the soda water vigorously with crushed ice and pour, without straining, into a tall glass. Pack the glass to the top with more crushed ice and fill to within 1/2 from the top with soda water, then gently mix with a bar spoon until the glass frosts.
As a variant, replace the soda water with mango juice. Very different, but very tasty.
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