Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Lesson in Rum And Cocktails With Shellback Rum

A Shellbacker is someone who's crossed the equator. Shellback is also the name of a rum made in Barbados, claimed to be the birth place of rum according to the oldest document found thus far documenting rum being made (from 1651). They're one of the affordable rums (about $15 a bottle) and come in both silver and spiced rum. 
They had sent me a box containing both of them and while the rum is affordable, they sure sent them in a fancy box with my name engraved on it!

The silver rum was pretty smooth and they both make good mixing rums. I didn't know what to make with them though (other than the classic rum cocktails that I usually drink), so when I was invited to a tasting and mixology workshop with Tony Abou-Ganim, the Modern Mixologist, I figured it's a great chance to get some creative recipes. 
Before making cocktails, we had to learn how to properly taste rum. Tony told us to put our nose in the glass but breathe through the mouth. Then we rinse the mouth with the rum itself. We get a saliva drip in the back of the mouth which is a good indication of acidity. As I said when I tasted it at home, the rum is pretty smooth.

Barbados style rum is unique in Caribbean because it is a blend of pot stilled and column still. The silver rum tasted of burnt sugar, honey, banana, vanilla, and caramel.
The spiced rum had seven natural spices added: Vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cassia, ginger. It has the aroma of caramel butterscotch and is rich with a luscious mouthfeel. It's hot as it runs down your throat. There's a bit of acidity and a lingering finish but it's a clean finish.

Now, on to cocktails! He gave us three recipes.

He told us that the ratio of lime juice to simple syrup for sour drinks should 1:1.
Pick good limes. These are ones with a nice dark green color, soft and pliable to the touch. Leave out at room temperature before juicing them. 
Milestone Mojito

1.5 oz Shellback spiced rum
1 oz housemade ginger syrup
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
12-14 fresh mint leaves
10-12 slices of kumquats (or mandarins, nectarines, clementine)
Chilled Fever Tree soda water

In a highball glass, muddle lime juice, ginger syrup, kumquats and mint leaves. Add crushed ice and rum. Stir until the outside of the glass begins to frost then add soda water and mint to garnish.
IMG_7961First Mate

1.5 oz Shellback spiced rum
1 oz cinnamon simple syrup
2 oz apple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
chilled Fever Tree ginger beer
lemon spirals and apple slices to garnish

In a shaker add rum, cinnamon syrup, apple juice, and fresh lemon juice. Shake with ice until well blended, strain into ice filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer, stir to mix and garnish with lemon spirals and apple slices.
Deck Hand Daiquiri

2 oz Shellback silver rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
fresh seasonal fruits and berries

In a shaker muddle fresh fruits with simple syrup, add fresh lime juice and rum. Shake with ice until well blended, double strain into a chilled cocktail coup. Garnish with lime or fruit of your choice.


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