Tuesday, January 08, 2008

what about rum?

Bored of vodka? I know I am. In fact, just a few weeks ago I was thinking about how bored with vodka all the cool cocktail kids I know seem to be--despite how enamoured with vodka the rest of the world continues to be.

How did it get to be this way? What precipitated vodka's vogueness? There was a time when no one wanted to drink it, allegedly, when gin was the "white" liquor de rigeur. Then three marketing savvy guys walked into a bar -- one from Smirnoff, one seller of ginger beer, and one purveyor of copper -- and together they invented the Moscow Mule, a vodka-based highball alternative to gin. The rest, I guess, is history.

But what will precipitate the next spirit craze? This weariness of vodka will eventually trickle down. And what will will dominate modern cocktail lists when it has? We find gin drinks often enough on menus, and despite the popularity of the Cosmo, the gin & tonic never seemed to die. We also see whiskey & bourbon drinks here and there, Manhattans and hot toddies, especially in New England in winter. But what ever happened to rum? An occasional guest at Toro will order a rum and coke, but aside from the mojito, I don't think I see it much on drink lists. It was super popular in the '60s. But, what ever happened to rum? I think rum might actually be the least sexy spirit out there at the moment, making it a perfect candidate for a make-over.

Within minutes of forming this thought, I received an intriguing email from the proprietor of Beija, a new kind of cachaca, which in this country, technically falls into the category of rum. It was the invitation to a very exciting, very exclusive product launch of his new brand of virgin cane rum, held this evening at Eastern Standard. And that is how I spent my evening: drinking a spirit that is unlike any I've ever had before.

I've tasted some bangin' cachacas, thanks to a recent tasting of various versions of the spirit that we carry at Toro. But I've never had one quite like this. It was light, easy drinking, and not rough around the edges like the other versions of the spirit that I've tried. And mixed in the lovely cocktails that Jackson and Tommy created to showcase it tonight, it was absolutely, effortlessly delicious.

More over caiprihnia, there's a new kid in town, made with a younger, hipper version of your base ingredient, more sophisticated and oh-s0-much easier on the palate than her worker bee lineage suggests. Even the name is elegant, the Portuguese word for kiss.

Who knows? Before long it could be all that we drink.

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