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Thursday, April 21, 2011

'R' is for fine Caribbean RUM


How to Savor Fine Caribbean Rum

When you think of rum you immediately think of the Caribbean, lying back in a gently swaying hammock and watching the waves crash over the distant coral reef. Whether you are knocking back a shot of overproof in Kingston, drinking a pina colada in Old San Juan, or just relaxing with an Admiral Rodney in Rodney Bay. the Caribbean has been the home of rum for hundreds of years, from the dark days of slavery and plantations, the pirates and buccaneers, to the present days of exotic frozen cocktails enjoyed by tourists.

Two years ago, when I moved to the Tampa area, I was delighted to feel the vibe of the Caribbean seeping into the local atmosphere, and it inspired me to write. The result is my new fantasy romance book, Tears on a Tranquil Lake.

One of my favorite settings in the book takes place on the Haitian island of Tortuga, an unruly pirate hangout during the mid-1600s. My main character, a mermaid named Ciel, makes her first visit to the island and learns the wonders of drinking fine Caribbean rum, among many other pleasures and vices. She gets a lesson from her pirate friends in how best to enjoy some expensive aged blends. 

In case you’re curious…after you pour the sample into the glass, lift it up to the light and check for clarity in the rum. Aged rums will have a golden or mahogany hue from their extensive aging in oak barrels. This color indicates what to expect when you taste it. Lighter rums tend to be lighter and drier, and darker rums richer and heavier in flavor. Once the rum is poured into the glass, give it an initial sniff from the far side of the glass. Master blenders use sense of smell the most when creating their rums. Then swirl the rum around in the glass. Now take another whiff of the rum to see if more of the aromas have been released by swirling. Some of the bouquets you may detect: wood; nuts; honey; spice; vanilla; cocoa; orange.

Now for the best part--tasting. Take a small sip and swirl it around your mouth. Let the rum linger on your tongue and then the rest of your mouth. After swallowing the rum, allow the taste to linger and assess the "finish" which will probably be your most important memory of the rum. The length of the "finish", how long the taste remains in your mouth and nose, tells a lot about the complexity of the rum. What did you taste? Oak, vanilla, molasses, caramel, fruit, cinnamon, spices, nutmeg, tobacco, coconut? How would you describe the rum--sweet, smooth, full-bodied, harsh, or well-balanced?

Come join Ciel in Tears on a Tranquil Lake, as she develops a palate for fine Caribbean rum and a few other pirate pleasures. 

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So tell me, what is your favorite brand of rum? Or favorite fancy mixed drink, alcoholic or non?  

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5 comments:

Siv Maria said...

Thats easy, bacardi and long island ice tea :)

Marsha A. Moore said...

Sounds delicious! Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah Mäkelä said...

As far as rum, I really enjoy daiquiris. Yum! As far as brand, I favor Bacardi. This is really cool topic because I'm going on a cruise to the Caribbean this year and will be touring a Bacardi factory in San Juan, Puerto Rico. :-D

Marsha A. Moore said...

A tour of Bacardi would be great fun! I'll look forward to hearing about that.

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Cool! I'll make sure to do a post on it then.