Welcome the Spring with Rum!

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Here in NYC it’s starting to thaw – last month’s ice and slush patches are returning to pavement, and TriBeCa’s dogs have traded in their sweaters for a more natural look. All of this makes us thirsty for the fresh flavors of the Caribbean. Rum has been slowing gaining a following among wine enthusiasts, as they realize that the spirits have a real stamp of – dare we say it – terroir.  Distillates of sugar cane or molasses are called rum, and its taste can vary significantly depending on the geographic source. For example the high-altitude, poor, volcanic soils of Martinique create quite different flavors than the rich, clay, river soils of Guyana’s northern Demerara region.  You don’t have to believe us though: stop by on Wednesday, May the 1st  from 6-8pm as we celebrate the improving weather with some of our favorite rums.  For those that can’t make it, we’ve listed the three we’ll be tasting below so you can set up your own tasting at home.

Neisson 100 Proof Martinique Rhum Agricole Élevé Sous Bois 1 Liter

Neisson is one of Martinique’s most traditional distillers. The island’s unique, breezy climate and volcanic soils yield sugarcane unlike any other place. Also, on Martinique it is traditional to distill fresh raw sugar cane and not molasses (which is a byproduct of sugar production).  Sugar cane rhums, or Rhum Agricole, have wild, grassy, and citrusy aromas and have a great complexity not often found in molasses-based products. Neisson ages its rums in French oak casks, unlike the Bourbon barrels used by almost everyone else, lending a flavor profile reminiscent of Cognac. Always interested in producing rhum unlike others, Niesson has started fermenting using a native yeast sourced in the cane fields instead of the industry standard commercial yeasts. I can’t recommend this enough for those who know rum well or are interested in an introduction to one of the world’s most delicious spirits.  John Rankin

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  • $51.99

La Favorite Martinique Coeur d' Ambre Rhum 1 Liter

If Neisson is Martinique’s refined, Cognac-esque rhum, then La Favorite is the wild, Bourbon-esque brother. The raw distillate comes from an ancient copper pot still—the last on the island to still use steam power (making them self-sufficient with a very low environmental impact). La Favorite’s un-aged rhums have a complex spectrum of tropical fruit flavors like green banana and lime, and after aging in Bourbon casks they gain layers of toast and vanillin with a lingering spicy finish. When The New York Times’ tasting panel reviewed Rhum Agricole, La Favorite’s Ambre took the top honors among very good competition. This is truly a world class product, and next to a lineup of industrial rums shows how vivid, complex, and delicious rum can be.  John Rankin

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  • $42.99

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Lemon Hart Guyana Demerara Rum 151 Proof

Cocktail geeks (especially of the “Tiki” variety) have bemoaned the sporadic availability of this legendary over-proof rum. Lemon Hart is called for by name in many original tropical cocktail recipes like the “Zombie.” Before that, Lemon Hart was an official rum of the British Navy. The modern iteration is made in Guyana of Demerara Molasses, and the rum packs rich smoky flavors and dark earth tones. At 75.5% alcohol, a splash goes a long way, but a half of an ounce floated on a drink can make a cocktail “pop” and an ounce in a long drink can lend a bass-heavy, earthy note.  JR

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