Cheers June/July 2018

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 25 of 79 26 • June/July 2018 TAKING A PAGE FROM WHISKEY Borrowing inspiration from whiskey, a few producers offer rums with unique barrel fi nishes as well as single-barrel expressions. For example, Ron Abuelo Finish Collection is a 14-year-old rum matured for an extra year in different barrels: The expressions are oloroso sherry casks, tawny port casks and Napoleon Cognac casks. And the latest entry in Serralles' Signature Series is Don Q double aged vermouth cask fi nish rum. "The different barrel fi nishes add complexity," says Gobis. He cites an expression from Rhum Clement aged in bourbon barrels and Cognac casks. "It's a gateway to agricole rum for whiskey drinkers." Don Q also offers a Single-Barrel Signature Release, with the age of the batch indicated on the label. Plantation Rum has a whole series of single-cask expressions. And Goslings Rum is about to release a limited quantity of a single-barrel rum. PRICE IS RIGHT Especially compared to whiskey, rum is generally a bargain, bartenders say. "One of the beautiful things about rum is that you can get a 25-year-old rum for about the same price as a seven-year-old whiskey," says Gobis. He gets customers who will sip a Ron Zacapa XO or El Dorado 15-year. The Roosevelt Room's most expensive 2-oz. pour of rum is priced at about $16. Among the rum selections on Monarch Prime's drinks list are several aged expressions such as Diplomatico Exclusiva, Kirk & Sweeney 23-year, and Don Pancho 8-year and Don Pancho 18- year. The standard pour is 1 ½ oz., served in a Glencairn glass. "Prices for rum range up to just $20, which is crazy when a whiskey with that kind of age would be $40," notes Heese. CHANGING MINDS AND HEARTS Beyond promoting the price/value equation, what's the best way to engage customers with rum? Right now, it's mainly hand-selling by educated and enthusiastic bartenders. "Typically, I start by describing how rum is not synonymous with the typical cloying, syrupy cocktails that have haunted the spirit for years," says Joel Schmeck at the Irving Street Kitchen in Portland, OR. The American-cuisine restaurant stocks at least one bottle from each of the various countries and styles, including rhum agricole and cachaça, but the most popular calls are for blancos or dark rums. Pour size is 1 ½ oz., with prices ranging from $9 to $15. "It's fun to pour a really great rum for a guest and talk about its long and complex history," says Gobis. Rum was the fi rst spirit to be popular in Colonial America, long before whiskey came on the scene. "At X, we are exploring all the various sugar-based spirits of the new world," says creative director Andrew Miller. He cites cachaça from Brazil and the Mayan pox (made from corn, sugar cane and wheat) from Mexico. Miller is trying to source some old stocks of Colonial rum from an English distiller for the new rum bar, as well as a Haitian Agricola rum. The variations are nearly endless. "Rum is an easy spirit to gravitate toward for whiskey and Cognac lovers," says Wright at X. She has found that substituting rum for the base spirit in cocktails is the easiest way to make converts. The menu at X includes the Petit Bouquet cocktail, made with batavia arrack, rum, turmeric, star fruit, kalamansi and lemon juice. COCKTAIL CREATIONS Although some of the aged rums demand to be sipped and savored, most of the action on-premise is in cocktails—at least for now. For rum, mixologists are exploring three avenues: trendy Tiki drinks, classic rum cocktails and crossover concoctions. "Tiki bars have transformed into exciting cocktail programs featuring boundary-pushing fl avor profi les," observes Schmeck. Irving Street Kitchen's cocktail program ranges from spins on classics and Tiki to taking inspiration from the spirit to showcase the complexity and fl avors. For example, the Solstice Swizzle mixes Zaya 12-year rum, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, Flor de Caña 7-year rum, house-made The Irving Street Kitchen in Portland, OR, stocks at least one bottle of rum from each of the various countries and styles. The Petit Bouquet cocktail at the new Caribbean rum bar X in Chicago, made with batavia arrack, rum, turmeric, star fruit, kalamansi and lemon juice.

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