So, what to do to set it aside from any other day (especially in my life which is pretty Rummy all the time anyway)?
Perhaps you could play up to a stereotype or two. Dress like a pirate and head to your nearest Rum bar and pretend you’re Billy Bones; Callin’ for Rum and be askin’ young Jim (i.e. any member of staff) to keep a watch for “a seafaring man with one leg”. You never know – you might just inspire young Jim (member of staff) to head off and find their own Treasure Island? But be careful though or you might get arrested if you get too Rumbustious.
Joking aside – how about these three things to do on National Rum Day?
#1 Try Something New
Yeap – that simple. We’ve all got our favourites. I’m no different. I’ll very often end up drinking my familiar, and favourite Rums.
BUT, unless you can claim to have sipped every Rum out there (unlikely), there are still going to be some to drink and it’s either the ones that you couldn’t get on with years ago or something completely new that surely demands your attention.
If something was a bit full-flavored, or high proof then there’s a good chance that your palate will have developed in between, and you’ll be better equipped to deal with it. You might even have one of those “where have you been all my life?" moments. Let’s face it, you’ve been meaning to go back that Rhum Agricole, right?
Now might be the moment – and check out #3 – but don’t jump ahead and miss something – read on!
This is also true if you tend to sip sweeter Rums. It’s worth trying something drier as you’ll probably appreciate the flavors of the Rum that could so easily be hidden by the sugar, or other flavorings. Spiced Rum drinkers especially. I know so many of you are Rum fans, but flavored Rums can only take you so far – the really good stuff needs a leap beyond!
#2 Get Non-Drinking Rum Friend to Try a Tot
It’s a given that we all know just how amazing Rum is, right? We might be relatively new to the category, or have been drinking it for years, but there is always someone waiting to discover the delights. Make your friends or family members day – change their life – and get a tot of the noble spirit in their glass.
Gin people might respond to a good Spiced Rum – none of the vanilla and sugar only stuff. Perhaps a brand that is more about macerating botanicals in a proper Rum base. Don’t be afraid to pull out a bottle of a full-strength release either. Gin people don’t mess about below 40% ABV very often anyway. Look for a Spiced Rum where the sugar is in balance and serve it with tonic – yeap that’s a thing – it will help to ease them over. Other options exist of course and my ‘How to drink Rum’ blog post might help, I recommend Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum, Cargo Cult Spiced Rum, and Foursquare Spiced Rum.
If they are more Whisky orientated, then try something from Barbados or Jamaica and don’t be afraid to pull out the big guns in terms of Pure Single Rum. My blog post on Rum selection had a section on the Gargano Classification – this will help to understand Traditional, Blended and Single Rum.
Whatever you chose, I’m sure that you’ll be setting them on a path that they will appreciate. So, what else could you do on National Rum Day? Well…
#3 Make a Rum Cocktail!
Once again, I’m sure that a mixed drink is a fairly common occurrence in your world. The good ol’ Rum and coke is a staple serve just about everywhere (including my own home bar) and there’s absolutely no need to feel bad about that. But have you made a Daiquiri? Or something more complicated than a spirit mixer? No?
Well, now is the perfect opportunity. The thing is that while you might not want to mix up your very best Rums, the truism that the better the ingredients, the better the cocktail!
Assuming you’ve not got a cocktail shaker, you’ll need something that closes and becomes watertight (either that or a disposition to not mind cleaning the walls and floor afterwards) – like a jam jar. Stir two teaspoons of fine (caster) sugar into one measure (could be an egg cup if you’ve not got a jigger) of freshly squeezed lime juice – not the pasteurised stuff, that’s yucky.
If your egg cup is large, you might need a third teaspoon of sugar. Then add two measures of your Rum of choice. Shake with cubed ice and either drink it from the jam jar or dump the whole lot into a hi-ball or rocks glass, or if you’re feeling fancy – strain it into a cocktail glass, like a coupette. Garnish with a lime wedge if you like – but I reckon it won’t be hanging around long enough to concern yourself.
Rum Old Fashioned
Old Fashioned cocktails are even easier. Put a teaspoon (or a sugar cube) of demerara sugar in a glass, add a couple of dashes of Angostura Bitters and maybe a teaspoon of cold water. Dissolve the sugar into the solution and then add a double measure of your favourite aged Rum. Add ice and stir until the ice melts a little, dropping into the glass and the whole thing feels cold to the touch.
Add more ice if you like, and for extra ‘fancy’, cut a length of peel from an orange – ‘zest’ it by squeezing or twisting the peel over the cocktail and then drop the peel into the glass. The orange oils add a nice dimension to the drink.
Other simple cocktails to try: a Ti’Punch for those blanc agricoles, or a Manhattan-style Rum and Vermouth serve.
Whatever your National Rum Day involves, I hope you have fun – and remember – drink less, but drink better! Cheers, Salut, Sláinte and Kanpai!