Thursday, July 8, 2010

i eat em raw like sushi


... and some hot weather drinking.

This rum is amazing.

This is the best rum in the universe.

I've had some great rums, I've had rums that cost two, three times as much as Smith and Cross, but oh my God, oh my God, THIS RUM.

It's worth reading about, but here is the upshot: first, as far as I know, this is the only rum in this category which is widely available in the United States (and "widely" is maybe an exaggeration). Second, the two rums used to make Smith & Cross are fermented with wild yeasts -- you know, like sourdough, like lambic, like kosher pickles -- which certainly has an effect here.

But the main thing is, this is a really bold, dirty rum.  Throughout so much of the 20th century, especially the milquetoast back half, the move was towards "clean" and "crisp" flavors -- not just the shift towards vodka, but Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear, Snapple clear cola and root beer, the favoring of young/light/sweet flavors that you get from lighter rums or Canadian whiskey, and the use of calone to create oceanic/ozonic perfumes and colognes like Cool Water, Escape, Polo Sport, every beach/seabreeze/ocean scented deodorant in the world, etc.

This is not that.

This is a rum that rolls out of bed looking like Mickey Rourke in Barfly.  Or Mickey Rourke in anything else.  This is not a Kevin Costner kind of rum.  If this rum were a character in Weekend at Bernie's, it wouldn't be Andrew McCarthy, it would be Bernie.

It's so good.

It's also Navy Strength, which means 114 proof -- compared to 80-100 for most rums.  Navy Strength is called that because it's the level of alcohol content at which you can spill this stuff on gunpowder without keeping it from igniting.

Now, what are we drinking?  A mojito, an authentic mojito.  Well, as authentic as you can get without Cuban rum, anyway.  An original mojito doesn't use mint, it uses yerbabuena -- and while it's a perfectly good drink with mint, yerbabuena has a VERY different flavor, herbaceous and complex and without the menthol notes of mint:


I used the blunt end of a wooden citrus reamer to muddle some of the herb with sugar:


Add lime juice, add amazing rum, shake with ice, and boom:



  1. Isn't "yerba buena" the common name for dozens of different minty herbs?

    (planning to check out the rum ASAP, thanks)

  2. Yeah, that's the problem -- it's sort of the way "oregano" refers to at least four different herbs (Mediterranean, Mexican, Cuban, Portuguese). So really, I should say "the authentic herb to use in a mojito is the herb that is referred to as yerba buena in Cuba," which is not the same as what they would call yerba buena in Mexico (for example), but is *probably* similar.

  3. Ah, makes sense. Wikipedia says "In Cuba, yerba buena generally refers to Mentha nemorosa, a popular plant also known as large apple mint, foxtail mint, hairy mint, woolly mint or, simply, Cuban mint."