What is it about Rum and Bitters?
I’m quite fond of white rum. It’s got the stuffing to stand up to mixers and to cocktail bitters. A couple weeks ago I received a sample bottle from the R. St. Barth’ Rhum company. I told them I’d like to try their product and if I liked it, I would write something about it. The same holds true for all the spirits I receive as samples. If I like it, we can see the results, if not, well, I’ll leave that to you.
Sitting in front of me is a medium glass. I’ve added a couple of coconut water ice cubes and some drops of a couple of bitters- most divergent in styles. The Bitters, Old Men, Macadamia Bitters and the Bitter End Thai Bitters to be exact. And yes, I received them as samples as well.
But as simplicity is my guide, I wanted to taste this Rhum before I did any cocktail augmentation. That means, taste the Rhum, right into my glass. Then- experiment a bit.
The St. Barth Rhum is stylistically more akin to the Rhum Agricole of the island of Martinique. Now there are some that will disagree with me- and that’s fine.
This is a gorgeous Rhum Agricole. Smacking of fresh sugar cane and white flowers, the slight salty bitterness guides me to adding some augmentation.
Truly nothing is needed but time in the glass and fresh citrus fruit. Maybe a splash of Cane Sugar Syrup?
No, it doesn’t taste like Martinique, what it tastes like is Guadeloupe Rum.. That is what it is! Sure it says St. Barths’s on the label, and that’s where the company is from.
I think real estate is too valuable on St. Barth’s for growing cane. Having spent a few weeks on St. Barth’s, it’s a magnificent place, brimming with French tourists in various stages of undress.
A harbor filled with mega-yachts, moored stern in, the European way. It’s a veritable Rhum fueled holiday!
The town of Gustavia is filled with the wealthy and the super-wealthy. You come here to soak up the sun and dream away the afternoons!
St. Barth’s has long been a clearing port for fine Rhum from the surrounding islands. You can get anything there virtually tax-free as long as it says RUM on the label.
I learned about the truly high end Rhums of Martinique while enjoying a “Cheeseburger” in paradise and washing it down with a Rhum Punch. Each restaurant on St. Barth’s makes their own version of the Rhum Punch. Usually it is Rhum Agricole, with infused herbs, fruits, spices and syrups.
The St. Barth’s Rhum Agricole would make the perfect base as a Rhum Punch. But I digress.
Today’s cocktail is ever so simple and delicious!
The Grilled Rhum Slingback
Rhum St. Barth
Grilled orange rounds (about 3 per drink)
Fresh Lime cut into 8th’s
Coconut Water Ice
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Bitters, Old Men Macadamia Bitters
Freshly picked Kentucky Colonel Mint
Freeze Coconut water into ice cube trays
Chill short cocktail glasses with regular ice and water- let sit then pour out when glasses are very cold
Muddle the grilled orange rounds with the mint and the limes in a cocktail shaker
Add 2 Shots per person of the Rhum St. Barth to a cocktail shaker with the grilled orange/lime/mint muddle
Add the bitters, three drops of the Bitter End Thai, then 5 drops of the Bitters, Old Men-Macadamia Bitters
Stir to chill and combine well
Pour out water and ice from your short cocktail glasses
Add a couple of coconut water ice cubes
Strain the Rhum Agricole St. Barth’s mixture over the coconut water ice cubes
Garnish with an un-grilled orange slice and splash with seltzer to finish
So what is it about Rhum and Bitters. Are they a marriage of like-minds? I think so. Depending on the variety and scope of your bitters of course.
I want you to experiment with flavor! That’s what brings you deeper into your cocktails.
Close your eyes and dream of Eden Rock.