Another article just appeared in DRiNK. Since this issue looks at brandy, I wrote about the Corpse Reviver. The Corpse Reviver is more like a semi-forgotten category than a single cocktail. The famous Corpse Reviver #2 is based on gin, but most of the other Corpse Reviver recipes use brandy. Oddly, despite being a diverse bunch, Corpse Revivers never seem to call for American spirits like bourbon, rye, etc. I figure they were a specifically English thing. (more…)
Archive for the ‘rum’ Category
I recently did some experimenting with amontillado sherry and Dominican Republic rum. While I do not drink it nearly often enough, sherry might be my favorite wine – it has amazing complex flavors. Rum of course is something I ingest rather more than my fair share of. It seemed efficient to try to combine my rum and sherry drinking, hopefully to the benefit of both liquids.
The new issue of Drink is out. The theme for this issue is rum, well known as one of my favorite topics. Fittingly, I got to write not one, but two articles. . . (more…)
The Daiquiri at the Havana Club, straight from the pages of Graham Greene
While in Havana, when I wasn’t drinking Mojitos I could often be found in close proximity to a Daiquiri. I already discussed the Daiquiri in detail here, so there is no need to say too much more. Still, it would be a shame not to share a few observations on how the drink is made in Cuba.
Street scene outside the famous Bodeguita Del Medio, the little bar that has spent well over half a century promoting itself as the spiritual home of the Mojito
The tropical heat can be a killer, and while in Havana I made sure to stay properly hydrated by drinking lots of Mojitos. This constitutionally prudent habit turned out to have useful side effects, such as affording an excellent opportunity to learn how the Mojito is made in the country of its birth. Little did I know at the time, but the long hours spent lapping up knowledge in stifling barrooms would eventually provide the launching pad for a prestigious writing career with China’s preeminent drinks industry magazine, imaginatively entitled “Drink”. Naturally, I got started by writing about Cuba’s famous export.
Art Deco meets Neoclassical in the lobby of Havana’s Hotel Nacional
Freely as the rum flows in Havana, the selection is limited. Most rum countries are like this, but Cuba may be unique in the total lack of imports. Even Bacardi is conspicuous only in its absence. No Bacardi is remarkable enough, but even more peculiar is that many Cubans name Bacardi as their favorite rum. More on that curious situation later. . .
Revolutionary decor in Havana’s Coppelia ice-cream parlor
Well over a year after I left the place, I’m finally writing about Cuba. I didn’t stay as long in Cuba as I would have liked. The lack of Internet in Cuba made work, and hence a lengthy stay, difficult. My stay lasted only five or so days, but during that time I devoted myself fully to drinking in the sights – and the rum.
I left Guatemala on a dawn flight, transited in Panama, and was in Havana by early afternoon. From arrival Cuba had its own unique feel. Havana airport was slightly worn, but red painted girders and splashes of yellow made it seem bright and cheerful.
While offering pleasant sojourning, the Guatemalan rum landscape does not exactly excite with its variety. Everything comes from a single company, Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, though that company produces at least two labels – Zacapa and Botran.
Zacapa represents the glamorous international face of Guatemalan rum: attractive, commercialized, definitely expensive, and while it makes for exceedingly pleasant company, you can’t help suppressing the occasional yawn and wondering how thick that make up is. Botran in contrast is the slightly homely stay-at-home sister, working a nine-to-five job and hurrying home to cook instead of mixing with high society, and generally getting taken for granted by all and sundry. Zacapa smugly preens itself from little clusters of high priced bottles in duty free stores and on the top shelves of smarter bars, while Botran runs itself ragged covering the shelves of local supermarkets and bars, where it jostles for attention with the anise liqueur that is ubiquitous in Latin America.The question then is this: does Zacapa deserve to be Guatemala’s Ambassador of Rum?
Being a rebel, and a fan of rum with a glow to it, I’m going to support the underdog and say I rather like Botran.
Exhibits A through E follow.