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During the winter months, I am one to have a few drams of some form of whiskey from time to time, usually Irish, Single Malt or Cask Strength Scotch. Sometimes, my hand will find its way to a glass with a little rye or bourbon.

But, I find that whiskey does not often agree with the warmer months. It can seem very much to me like drinking eggnog around the barbecue in July. It's very seasonal. So, in the summer months, I switch to Rum, which can probably be blamed on a few years of sailing and some desire to act like the pirate I have wished I could have been. And rum lover that I am, I have watched for threads and rarely seen rum discussed on these boards.

So, what rums are your favorite rums and how do you like to drink them?

I find few rums worthy of being sipped slowly like a fine whiskey, and that is probably for lack of availablity. The best rums should be placed into a glass with little if anything else. the ones I have that get treated this way, usually get a very small amount of ice, and include: Barbancourt, Ron Zacapa Centario, Ron Barrelito, some bottles of Mount Gay, and maybe a few others. I might drink some, such as Appletons, Cockspur, Mount Gay Eclipse, and others, with either a bunch of ice or mixed with either ginger ale or tonic and a squeeze or lime or lemon. I am not a rum and coke drinker, and if you ask for one in my place, there is an unopened jug of some no-name there for your consumption. To me the idea of drowning the flavors of Barbancourt or others in coke is like smothering a good steak in ketchup.

So, please, what rums do you like, how do you like to drink them, and what rums do you want to try?

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  1. I really like the Zacapa 23 year, Pussars, Pyrat Pistol and XO Reserve which are in the sweeter style of rums.

    In the dryer style I like everything by Rhum Clement and Rhum JM both from Martinique.

    I like to drink good aged rum in a snifter or on the rocks, it is sacrilege to mix a fine rum with anything. Save the mixers for the low end stuff.

    In a few weeks I will be doing a huge review of aged rums that I have been tasting over the past six weeks at www.slashfood.com

    7 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      Rhum Clement is very good and very much drinkable on its own.

      1. re: JMF

        Since, I see you are a fellow NY area resident, where do you find the Rhum Clement and Rhum JM in thia area? I've seen the others you mention, but not the ones from Martinque. I have the same question for MOREKASHA about the Port Morant rum, which I have not seen.

        1. re: Captain

          Well I'll tell you one that you can't get in Gotham City Cap and be damn well glad of it. Only sold in Vt., N.H. & Me. and there's a movement afoot to eliminate it there, as well. The rot gut with the onomatepedic name from Newfoundland; http://www.screechrum.com/home.asp

          1. re: Harp00n

            I've had that rum, at a wedding of my wife's cousin. There was some process for becoming and honorary Newfie, and I drank the rum. No comment on the rest of the process. I

            1. re: Captain

              Ya, roger on the "process" no comment, I'm thinkin'.

          2. re: Captain

            Astor Wines and Spirits at 399 Lafayette at 4th st. is the only place that carries Clement it as far as I know, and just the Shrubb Liqueur, VSOP, and Premiere White. They don't have the two ultra, ultra premium rums from Clement yet because they haven't been released in the US yet, but will be in a few weeks. JM rhum isn't widely available yet either, but Astor will have them as soon as they are.

            They also have many other good rums. I just got Diplimatico Reserva Exclusiva and one of my favorites, St. Teresa 1796 there the other day, two great Venezuelan rums.

            1. re: Captain

              I've gotten my Port Morant outside of NYC. A great liquor store in Van Nuys, CA and @ Sam's in Chicago (who do mail order!). I have never seen it in NY. The collection is Classic Rums out of England and they have quite a selection. They do for rum what folks like Cadenhead and other small bottlers do for scotch.

          3. I love the Classic Rum Brands from Demerara, Port Morant (Guyana) 10 year old. Neat in a rocks glass. I've tried the Classic Rum, Demerara, Versailles (French Oak Finish, 15 years, but it's not to my liking.

            1. El Dorado 15 yr, neat.

              1. Flor de Cana 12 year and Goslings Old Rum.

                1. My two favorites are Matsulem Gran Reserva & Anniversario, both are great spiced rums.

                  1. Zaya rum from Guuatamala. Keep it in the freezer and serve it neat. It drinls like a fine cognac.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greenstate

                      I'm a big fan of Zaya. The first time I tried it, on the rocks, I thought the bartender mistakenly made me a rum and coke - but no, it's that sweet (and smooth). Now of course I drink it neat. Will try the freezer trick - good idea!

                      Lately I've been enjoying Ron Zacapa Centenario - the 23 year is probably the best rum I have ever had; the 15 is good but not nearly as good as the 23.

                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                        Cruzan Estate Dark Rum, a wedge of lime & fill with selter.

                      2. Anybody ever had Sailor Jerry Original Spiced Rum?

                        I don't know whether it's all hype but it's a pretty interesting website;

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Harp00n

                          I had some a few weeks ago. I normally dislike spiced rums, but Sailor Jerry's was very intricate and complex, with a hint of dark cherry in the aftertaste. I definitely think it is the best spiced rum I've ever had.

                          1. re: JMF

                            Okay, although my preferences run to darks, now I'll have to try this one as well.
                            So many bottles, so little time..... Thanks JMF

                            1. re: Harp00n

                              glad someone mentioned sailor jerry.. personally I love the stuff

                        2. Interesting website.

                          Not sure I'd like the rum.

                          Not about to get the tattoo, even if I have sailed on every Ocean except the Arctic.

                          1. Even I've been to the Artic, whaddya a slacker? And negatory on the tatoo.

                            C'mon Cap, if it's good enough for Big Head Todd you should try it and then let me know:-)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Harp00n

                              I just checked out the N.H. Liquor site and they have Sailor Jerry. I'd been told, haven't looked at their site in some time, that they'd cut back on their selections of everything and, sadly, it's true. Tax-free N.H., what are you doing to me?

                            2. A year or so ago I happen to stumble, no pun intended, on Captain Morgans Tattoo rum....For some reason I fell in love with it....I never have had the chance to drink very many imported higher prices rums...But for years I was a Morgan fan. Now with Tattoo....ARRRRGGGHHHH..
                              And of course straight up...I can't understand putting anything into perfectly good booze.

                              1. Favorite of all times is Barbancourt Rhum. The distillery oversees every aspect of its making right down to growing their own cane. I steer away from "makers" that merely buy lots of rum from many sources then mix and bottle at other locations. Too many overpriced rums out there with no pedigree. Adding a vanilla bean and putting it in a snazzy bottle doesn't justify an inflated price.

                                1. Flor de Cana 12 year old is the best Ive tried with Barbancourt 15 yr old coming close second. I like the smoothness of the Cana but maybe some would prefer the character of the barbancourt.
                                  I saw Flor de Cana 18 yr old at the airport in Mexico, but at less than 20 dollars I thought the 12 yr old would be a better value.

                                  Has anyone tried the 18 yr old flor de cana?

                                  The only way to drink these top shelve rhums, is with like one or less ice cubes. Too many ice cubes and you dilute the flavour too much. So its either 1 maybe two cubes or just neat.

                                  If you go on holiday to mexico or the caribean snatch up these delights for next to nothing in the duty free shops...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: gastrognome

                                    I've never tried Flor de Cana but thank you for the tip. I'm in need of rum so I'll look for it. Just a note...I've heard that rums over 12 years old don't really age well in the barrels. Too much time in the barrel causes leeching from deep within the raw parts of the wood and doesn't really add favorably to the profile of the rum. Can't speak from experience because I've been very happy with rum between 8 - 12 years old anyway.

                                    1. re: Carla Suz

                                      I've had quite a few very old rums. Much more than 12 years, and they have all been exceptional. I never heard anything like your comment on aged rums having too much barrel time and I've interviewed a lot of experts lately.

                                      1. re: Carla Suz

                                        I'm with JMF -- my experience with older rums has all been positive, some more positive than others, of course, but still . . .

                                    2. Flor de cana 5 years old: the 12 year old is too syrupy.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        Thanks for the tip Sam.
                                        The 12 yr is almost smooth to a fault, and some people who have tried have reacted that it is a little on the syrupy side. Next chance I get i will try the 5 yr. Im sure it is also superb value for money as the 12 yr is less than $20.00 in Mexico.

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          I think the seven year old Grand Reserve is rough, mediocre, and needs more aging. The four year old is cheap and rough tasting with off tones, only good enough to use with a mixer, and I hate most mixed drinks. I personally don't think thy are worth the damage to my taste buds. I haven't tried the five year old and older ones since I was so unimpressed with the younger ones.

                                          1. re: JMF

                                            You need to give the 12 yrs a chance.. Its the only flor de cana ive tried and is really spectacular. Friends of mine who work in Dominican Republic/Haiti who spend their lives sampling aged rums introduced it to me as their favriot, along with its close second; barbencourt 15 yrs.

                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            I haven't tried the 12-year Flor de Cana, but the 4, 5, and 7 years are all very decent. 7 and 5 years are both very good (I think; I'm not a huge rum person normally) and *very* similar. The 4 year is different and not as good. We usually bought the 5 year when in Central America because it seemed to be the best value vs. flavor.

                                            Our favorite way to drink the Flor de Cana (we had no refrigeration and temperatures hovered around 85-95 degrees) was what we called a "pink rum"--rum straight into a glass with a dash or two of Peychaud's bitters. But with the luxury of refrigeration and ice, it's a whole different deal!

                                            The link is a shot of our liquor provisions before heading out for a month in the western panama islands; those 1/2 gallon bottles of 5-yr were around $8 I think.

                                          3. Myers platinum (clear) I favor for mixing because it has no antiseptic finish. Medium weight/ popular price everyday rum: Cacique from Venezuela; Centanario from Costa Rica. These three do not enjoy the distribution they deserve, but when you find it, stock up. It doesn't spoil.

                                            I recently concluded a series of volleys on a Chowhound thread with The_Man, a customs agent who kindky answered 100+ questions mostly about transporting liviing things. I bring back Havana Club rum from every country I visit that sells it. The 3-year is yellowish in color and has enough aged flavor to stand up to sweet mixers and juices. It's a nice flavor unlike all other rums. The 7-year anejo is awesome. Have it neat, on the rocks, or dab a little on your next cigar. Havana Club makes a clear unaged blanco, and a 5-year, and a super-premium anejo I have not tried but will.
                                            The (Customs) Man said that the penalty for being in posession of Cuban rum at customs is nothing more than confiscation. On the customs declaration form, one is not required to identify the country of origin of a bottle of liquor. I simply declare it as bottle of liquor and nobody has ever peeked. (My cherubic innocent looks?) It is good stuff, hounds, not because it is the forbidden fruit. It is good!
                                            P.S. The blanco is actually best for mojitos, the 3 year is a little strong for the mint.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              Just passed through the airport in Amsterdam and they had a cask strength Havana Club rum. No age statement that I saw. 27 euros. Never had a problem bringing back any booze, except w/security these days.

                                              1. re: MOREKASHA

                                                That's pricey; it sounds like the "super-premium" I mentioned that I have not yet tried.
                                                Let us know when you put a little air in the bottle!

                                            2. A couple to try: Barcelo Imperial and Bermudez from the Domincan Republic and Santa Teresa from Venezuela. Cruzan single barrels are good.

                                              I also love Havana Club (the real thing, anejo or 5 yo, and definitely not the new domestic one!)

                                              For mojitos or "boat drinks" I'll use Cruzan or Don Q white. If serving (I don't drink 'em) rum and coke, I've delighted some folks with Mount Gay vanilla.

                                              1. Sailor Jerrys Spiced Rum is pretty good sipping rum and so is Goslings Black Seal Rum from Bermuda...Its like scotch for the Summer months

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: atufo

                                                  Thanks atufo, well that does it, I'll have to buy a bottle or two. Love Goslings btw

                                                2. Batavia Arrack

                                                  Google it and you will get 1930 hits and not one retail source.

                                                  Although technically not a rum because it is fermented from malted rice in addition to molasses, for most practical intents and purposes it is rum. It is made in Java and bottled in Germany and the Netherlands.

                                                  I bought one bottle at a German store, Kuhns, in Chicago about 35 years ago and haven't been able to get it since.

                                                  It has light color and a strong aroma and flavor that make it superior for flavoring sweets such as pastry, confections, ice cream, eggnog, etc. In my opinion, no rum is better for this purpose.

                                                  Goslings Black Seal Rum - What nobody else will tell you is that it tastes and smells like essence of molasses, at least, more than other rums. That is why I don't listen to rum reviews from poets. Good for sweets, but not really a typical rum flavor.

                                                  Myers Dark Rum - Usually my choice for sweets. It has a barely noticeable fishy aftertaste. (A poet won't tell you that) About 45 years ago, I had a bottle that clearly reeked of fish. Frankly, I with that kind was still available for the diversity.

                                                  Bacardi Select - Aroma very similar to Myers Dark but the flavor is considerably more bitter.

                                                  Bacardi Anejo - Too soon for me to comment about the flavor, but the bottle cap and plastic plug thing took me half an hour to remove because there were no instructions. I ended up with broken pieces of plastic in the bottle and had to seal the bottle with a cork. I think Bacardi deserves a lawsuit for this.

                                                  Has anyone tried Strohs Rum?

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: aruzinsky

                                                    Stroh's is, last time I checked, 160 proof and smells of nothing except those butterscotch lifesavers you had as a kid. OTOH, it's very hot and harsh on the palate if you have any more than the smallest sip, and the bottle I have has this huge (and I do mean HUGE) warning label that the stuff is flammable! D'oh!

                                                    1. re: aruzinsky

                                                      Batavia Arrack is now being imported by Eric Seed of Haus Alpenz http://www.alpenz.com/ Eric also imports Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette.

                                                      1. re: aruzinsky

                                                        I think they now have Batavia Arrack at Astor Wine.

                                                      2. Rum is a great summer drink; I also like tequila specially when I want something not as sweet.

                                                        I love Zacapa Centenario, also a good choice from the same distillery is Zaya, Barrilito is great and here in Mexico we get the Habana 7 anos which I also enjoy. Appleton is just too much flavor/sweetness for me but will have it once in a while.

                                                        1. I've never had one, but I have heard that a rum drink called a Dark & Stormy ( I think?) is really great. It's a mix of Gosling Rum & Ginger Beer, maybe with some lime. Sounds really refreshing on a hot day.

                                                          1. I recently got a bottle of Khukri rum from Nepal which is excellent. Dark brown, very full flavored, and at a great price, less than $20 a bottle.

                                                            1. Thank you, hounds, for directing me to Flor de Cana. I have not been to Nicaragua and I usually start from the source. I now enjoy the 7 year; any opinions on their 20 year in the blue bottle?
                                                              Update on Havana Club rum: Capitalism is running amok even in Cuba. The 750ML blanco (clear) continues as before, as does the wonderful 7 year anejo, plus a 1 liter version with english text for export. What used to be the 5 year anejo is now simply "anejo" with no date. But they have apparently discontinued their workhorse; the utilitarian 3 year anejo, with the beautiful yellow color and a mild flavor that melded so well with cola or citrus. Rats! It was nonpareil. I would write my congressman, but...

                                                              1. For the price, Bacardi Anejo and I get along really well.

                                                                Can't drink so much liquor these days...too easy.

                                                                1. Zacapa 23 and I really love El Dorado 12 and 15

                                                                  A plug for the Ministry of Rum if you have never visited the site


                                                                  1. I'm not much of a rum drinker, but I do like Flor de Cana. My biologist neighbors brought me back thank you bottles from their field work trips to Costa Rica? Flor de Cana is how they passed the nights at their research station.

                                                                    I have several bottles sitting in the kitchen. One opened bottle on a kitchen counter was "appropriated" by my movers some years ago. I now use a different mover.

                                                                    1. Barbancourt 15 y/o estate reserve, Flor de Cana 12 and Pyrat xo reserve are my faves, drunk with 1 ice cube and a small twist of lime(not a wedge) To mix, I like Mt. Gay or for a punch, I like Cruzan Navy Blackstrap It's quite rich and stands up well to fruit juices

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: chazzerking

                                                                        Mmm mmm rum

                                                                        Some great choices listed. Heres a few I've tried.

                                                                        Aged - Barbancourt is great. Beautiful sipping rum. A downright bargain at $20 for 5 star.

                                                                        White - I've had good experiences with Cruzan white. It's aged so it has a bit more flavor than most whites. Flor de Cana white is also nice and clean. (Just avoid Bacardi, once you've had good rum you'll never go back)

                                                                        Agricole - I *think* Porfidio rum is agricole. It has a great fresh sugarcane aroma and taste. A very grassy/caney finish.

                                                                        Dark/Molasses - Cruzan blackstrap. Wow the molasses punch is strong, such a great flavor.

                                                                        Try this simple but tasty drink:
                                                                        1/3 Cruzan blackstrap
                                                                        1/3 orange juice
                                                                        1/3 soda water

                                                                      2. I've recently been enjoying a bottle of "Montecristo" rum from Guatemala - deep amber and very flavorful. I drink it in a rock glass with just an ice cube or two.

                                                                        How about "Old Monk" from India? This dark rum was a really shocking revelation to me. A friend delivers bottles from the equivalent of an Indian Armed Forces PX. Taken in small measures, I drink this one neat.

                                                                        Barbancourt XXX never fails - a few ice cubes and a lemon twist.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: MDBBQFiend

                                                                          The lemon twist in Barbancourt on the rocks, a new idea. I guess it could be used with any rum on the rocks. I tend to like a squeeze from a lemon wedge in a rum and tonic from time to time, so this sounds like a good idea.

                                                                          I have never tried "Old Monk," although I think I've seen bottles of it (I just did an internet search for it). According to what I read, it's one of the three best selling rums in the world. I learn more each day.