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Dark Jamaican rum suggestions?

It's late January in Michigan, which in my world means it's time for festive beverages in the style of tiki. (What? I'm an escapist.) So my last trip to the grocery store yielded white grapefruit, limes, and a bottle of Myers. My ancient mariner tonight reminded me how disappointing Myers is. What should I be using instead? I KNOW there are better options, but this is one rum horizon I have not yet broadened.

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  1. I like Appleton. But I like Bajan Cockspur better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: prima

      Is Appleton dark enough for the tiki recipes that specify dark? Seems a little tame. Bajan rum is harder to find on my side of the border...one of the only things I miss about the LCBO is the rum diversity that came standard. I can get Mount Gay here...but again, not dark.

    2. Can't speak for Tiki recipes, but I consider Smith & Cross an essential rum. Unique and astonishing. Deeply funky.

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      1. Smith & Cross and Coruba are my favorite dark Jamaican rums. Coruba works well because it is quite dry and should be blended with another rum such as a demerara like El Dorado for levels of flavor that is typical in tiki drinks.

        Here's my adaptation of Jeff's Ancient Mariner. By the way, Ocean Spray bottled white grapefruit juice works fine in cocktails. Research has shown that fresh squeezed white grapefruit juice actually improves over the course of several days after squeezing and hits its flavor peak around 72 hours after squeezing and holds for 2-3 weeks, easily. Good quality bottled white grapefruit juice is very near to the quality of fresh squeezed during its peak flavor profile.

        The Ancient Mariner– Beachbum Berry, 1994, his version of Trader Vic’s Navy Grog
        1 oz. El Dorado dark rum
        1 oz. Coruba dark Jamaican rum
        3/4 oz. lime juice
        1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
        1/2 oz. simple syrup
        1/4 oz. house Allspice syrup

        Shake with ice and strain into a hurricane glass or large brandy snifter, then top off with ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and scored lime (Tribal lime.)

        Here's a pic what I mean by a scored "Tribal" lime in one of my cocktails called the Rickey Tiki Tavi, and Indian spice influenced tiki drink.

        1. While not a Jamaican, Cruzan Dark is popular in our home.It is from St.Croix. It is less expensive than many.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Raffles

            Cruzan is ok, but for a better price and much higher quality with more flavor, I recommend the El Dorado line of demerara rums.

          2. Coruba is really where it's at for a Jamaican dark rum for tiki drinks. Appleton Extra is another great rum in my book, and Jeff Berry says in Remixed it can also be used in recipes calling for dark rum.

            As much as I like Smith & Cross, it tends to take over a drink pretty easily. I've found a few drinks where I enjoy Cruzan Blackstrap as well, but that's another one that won't easily slot into any recipe.

            1. Thanks, gang. I'll be on the lookout for the Coruba the next time I'm in a halfway decent liquor store. That's the kind of suggestion I was looking for - something affordable for mixing but better than the ubiquitous Myers. But thanks for reminding me to put Smith & Cross and various El Dorado products on my shopping list, too.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Wahooty

                The one bad thing about Coruba is the bottle/label. It looks like cheap crap.

                1. re: JMF

                  Yeah, I think had I just seen it on a shelf, I would have passed it by. Which is precisely why I started this thread. ;)

              2. If you are looking for an aged rum that you can drink straight (like a good brandy or single-malt whisky), look for Rhum Clement, which is from Martinique.

                5 Replies
                1. re: DavidT

                  Only thing about Clement is it's a rhum agricole, which has a very different flavor profile. It and Rhum JM are fantastic, but the Martinique rhum agricole's are very different critters than rums made from molasses.

                  1. re: DavidT

                    I have several rums that are great for sipping neat...this happens to be a tiki-specific quest. But I do appreciate the suggestion!

                    1. re: Wahooty

                      Rhum agricole is definitely used in some tiki drinks. Usually a mix of several rums to get a really broad rum flavor profile. That's one of the things that tiki drinks are known for, mixing rums.

                      1. re: JMF

                        Yep, I'm aware of that, but I don't exactly have the budget to be mixing with Clement. ;)

                        1. re: Wahooty

                          I understand. Some of the Rhum JM are inexpensive enough for cocktails. I find that anything $30 a bottle or less I can use in cocktails, especially if they are modifiers and not the bulk of the main spirit.

                  2. Coruba should be your tiki mixing rum of choice for a dark Jamaican rum

                    It is superior than Appleton 12 in most tiki drinks and it is also much less expensive

                    Smith and Cross (gold Jamaican) is not a dark jamaican and very funky, I like it quite a bit but it takes the drink in a different direction, not traditional per se

                    You would sub Appleton V/X for Smith and Cross, and come up with a similar but more complex/funky drink with the Smith and Cross - I would probably start out with Appleton V/X and try them side by side both are good additions

                    For a good sipper ED 21 is pricey but excellent, before going for that make sure you enjoy ED 12 / LH / LH 151 flavor, if so you can pull the trigger with confidence

                    Not sure i would sip Rhum Clement VSOP but you should certainly use it in your Mai Tai along with Appleton V/X or Smith and Cross