Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Why Whiskey Drinkers Should Look at Trying Rum

Good Candidates for Whiskey Substitution

If you’re a whiskey drinker, that is looking for a little bit more from his cocktails you might want to substitute a rum of the same age as the whiskey you’re are using to make those wonderful whiskey cocktails.  With the help of a knowledgeable rum barman you will be really surprised at how good these really are.   Rum has a natural sweetness that whiskey lacks and allows you to sweeten the cocktail up without the addition of sugar to the mix.
     Rum and whiskey share a parallel history both in the American Experience as well as abroad. Boston area of New England was one of the largest producers of rum in the world in the late 1600’s.  This was in part due to the “Triangle Trade between the US, Africa and Barbados and other British colonies in the central Caribbean. At the same time, Whiskey was being made by farmers utilizing their leftover corn. When the American Revolution went into full swing, the molasses became hard to get a hold of because of the British Blockades of American ports and many of the distilleries switched over to producing whiskey.  Soon, whiskey became the most popular spirit of the colonies.

   Whiskey drinkers in general don’t understand the flavor of the two spirits are very similar.   Although rum and whiskey come from different raw materials they both are fermenting a sugar source that will be aged in American oak barrels that were very often originally used for aging of whiskey. Both spirits exhibit flavors of vanilla, toasted and charred oak, and, in some cases when charred barrels are used you pick up notes of smokiness.   Both spend from three to seven years in the barrel and the ethanol is being exposed to the wood yielding a very similar maturation process.
     Many of the traditional cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan or even a Sidecar can be given a new life by interchanging whiskey and rum. These drinks will still share a lot of the same flavors you know and love, while adding some new dimensions to the flavor profile.