Rum always seems to get the raw end of the piña colada deal. Yes, the spirit has a “sweet” finish, but not in the sugary sense. It's more like a really big inhale of cinnamon and vanilla, with a few other spices in between. Or at least it should be.
What do we want in rum? Depth, diversity, maybe a little summer intrigue. One can dream. Turn the page for our first summer tasting sips.
We're starting with a few aged rums, the sort of beautifully proportioned digestif you pull out after that dinner of grilled anything. Or sure, you could turn it into a really brilliant cocktail. We leave that up to you. Adnd do share the recipe, as well as your favorite aged rum, below.
Cruzan Single Barrel: This Cruzan is full-flavored but not so heavy handed on spice that it screams dessert sipper. It is a blend of several rums aged up to twelve years – something we were surprised to learn as it is the lightest of the aged rums we tasted. Those oak barrels are definitely in that glass, along with some caramel and spices, but this is a great subtle, smooth cocktail hour sipper. About $32, available at well-stocked wine and spirits shops such as Mel & Rose.
Mount Gay Extra Old: Mount Gay gets a lot of air time for being the oldest operating distillery in the Americas (the Barbados distillery has been in operation since 1703), but this rum is what deserves the attention. It is a blend of teenage rums — around fifteen years old — and is much spicier than the Cruzan. Think molasses, toffee, caramel, cinnamon toast. Save it for bold summer nights as an after-dinner sipper. About $42, available at well-stocked wine and spirits shops such as La Bodega Wine.
Zaya 12-year Gran Reserve: The best value of the bunch, the Zaya Gran Reserve was also the richest. It's a blend of aged rums from Trinidad and Tobago with a spicy, caramel-laced flavor that is just asking to be poured over vanilla ice cream. For those who like their rum full-bodied with a bold flavor, this is a great one at a good price. About $30, available at well-stocked wine and spirits shops such as K&L Wine.