Saturday, July 23, 2016

Diplomatico Rum Tasting and Dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar (South End, Boston, MA)

I recently had the opportunity to taste the line of Diplomatico Rums at a tasting and dinner held at Barcelona Wine Bar in Boston's South End with Diplomatico's master distiller, Maestro Gilberto Briceño.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
Diplomatico was founded in 1959 and adhere to the traditional Venezuelan way of making rum. They have their own yeast strain for fermentation and use sugar cane molasses and honey from sugar cane for their rums. Diplomatico's distillation process differs from most Caribbean countries which use column distillation. Diplomatico uses column distillation for their light rum, copper pot (to get heavy alcohols), and batch kettle for medium alcohols. The copper pot tradition came about because Seagram's used to make whiskey in Venezuela.

Anyway, the rums. We tasted six different rums from Diplomatico.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona

Diplomatico Anejo
This is their youngest product, which is aged up to 4 years and a mix of light and heavy alcohols (which they get from the different distillation processes). The rum itself has a hint of vanilla and with light sweetness. This rum is good for cocktails and a great value at about $15 a bottle!
Diplomatico Blanco
The white rum is made from 50% pot distilled, 50% column distilled spirit. Unique to Diplomatico, this white rum actually had 6 years of aging (most white rums in the market are 6-12 months aged),  then they do sieve filtration to get the clear color back. As a comparison, Venezuelan government requires a minimum of 2 years aging. There's a lot of fruitiness and coconut notes. The rum is sweet but complex.

Diplomatico Reserva
This rum was aged in sherry barrels from Spain up to 8 years. Lightly sweet, smooth, more oaky, with hints of citrus peel. Made up of 50% heavy alcohol. Good for mai tai and Manhattan variations.

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
This is their flagship rum and is best for sipping. This rum is aged up to 12 years. Sweet caramel, vanilla, and coffee notes. Retails for about $30 - again, a great buy.

2002 Vintage
This is the 12-year rum aged an extra year in sherry cask and has 43% ABV. Light sweetness with some bitterness. Diplomatico only produce 40,000 bottles of this rum per year.

Diplomatico Ambassador
This rum is somehow more like port wine and has a smoky (leather) notes. Light sweetness, well balanced, with a hint of dried fruit (prunes). They produce only 5000 bottles per year.

After the tasting, we got some tapas paired with rum cocktails. The first course was Cana de Cabra a la Plancha, Eva's rhubarb, Marcona almonds. Cana de Cabra is a Spanish goat cheese, which here is topped with rhubarb and almonds. It's almost like a dessert!
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
Noche Espanola
2oz Diplomatico Anejo
½ oz Amontillado sherry
½ oz lime
½ oz dark sugar simple
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona

Bacon-wrapped quail, sherry jus. Can't go wrong.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona

Marinated beets with mint chimichurri Omni-pair
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona

And ... tableside jamon service! This jamon is a special one since it's a Mangalitsa pork leg.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
El Juancho
2oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
¾ oz Vermouth Royale Blanc
¾ oz grenadine
1 dash Suze orange bitters
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona

Seared red snapper, blood orange, snap peas, pea tendrils paired with Daiquiri Royale
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
Daiquiri Royale
1 ½ oz Diplomatico Reserva
Lime juice
¾ simple syrup
Top with cava
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
For dessert, different Venezuelan chocolates, as well as a Chocolate pudding with bananas foster puree paired with The Chocolate Factory.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
Willie Juancho and The Chocolate Factory
1 ½ oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
½ Dark Crème de Cacao
Instant coffee
We rim of a snifter glass with lime and dip in instant coffee.

The drink was also paired with three different Venezuelan cacao (60%, 70%, and Chuao (DOC chocolate from Venezuela). 

This last drink, which I think was my favorite, is inspired by a Venezuelan tradition called El Ritual, whic his how they take a shot of rum. You dip one side of a lime wedge in brown sugar, the other side in instant coffee powder. Suck on the lime wedge and take your shot of aged rum!
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
Thanks to Maestra Briceño and the Barcelona's bar and kitchen team!
Diplomatico is also a green company. Did you know that to produce 1 liter of alcohol, you would produce 17 liters of waste? Diplomatico treats their waste to convert them to natural fertilizer and pesticide to feed the 20,000 water buffalos they have, and they also produce their own electricity!


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