Monday, May 8, 2017

Vodka or Rum?

     “Island Company Rum has offered a new “new ultra-premium” spirit, that was created to appeal to both rum lovers and vodka lovers alike. It is a blonde rum with virtually no burn and has even less calories than your favorite liquor.”  Vodka by definition is clear and tasteless. “I wanted to make a rum that women could drink straight and that appealed to the sailors and mariners I know throughout the Caribbean,” according to Island Company, founder, Spencer Antle.  The spirit is “blonde” which immediately takes it out of the vodka category.  The spirit was obviously taken to the point where it became a “neutral spirit” before being aged for three years.   The rum may be good. “Handcrafted in Trinidad and five times distilled for purity, but that is just moving out of the rum category and into the neutral spirit category.  Once you strip the conigers from the wash, you raise the percentage of alcohol and remove the flavors.  You have to make a choice, are you a neutral spirit or a rum?
     There a number of very good rums that can be substituted into cocktails that were originally based on vodka, but the flavor of the light rum will add new notes to the cocktail that will bring a once good and popular cocktail to the level of a premium cocktail.  I believe in the fact that rum really has no rules, but honesty has to be the new rule of rum.  You can’t turn your wash to “vodka by stripping all of the character, flavor and color from the distillate and bring it back to being rum by barreling it.  This is a gray area, but it is still for the most part a neutral spirit even though the barrel has put flavor back into the spirit “naturally”.
     You can’t have it two ways, vodka has no flavor profile, yet what you are saying there is a flavor profile.  “Island Company Rum® has hints of natural vanilla and wild honey. On the palette, this blonde rum is effortlessly smooth with virtually no burn. The clean, gluten free, sugar free, zero carb quality of Island Company Rum® goes easy on the body as well, perfect any time of the day or night, at any bar or on any beach.”

     This may well be a wonderful product, but there are a lot of clean rums out there that can replace vodka in cocktails just like vodka did to gin, but they are still rum.  Passing rum off as vodka is a real problem.