What’s shaking: A Rum Do

Laura Macfehin whips up three rum cocktails to banish the mid-winter blues!

Because of its Caribbean heritage rum has an understandable association with warm weather and island life. People think of it as a summer drink.

Which is perhaps why in the middle of a chilly, drizzly, drab New Zealand winter I start to get a rum craving.

Whether it is some kind of sympathetic magic type invocation of sunnier weather or a simple desire to warm up I am going to go on record and say that rum makes a fine mid-winter drink.

Apart from the good old rum and cola combo (it is just a good combination, don’t fight it) here are my three favourite rum drinks made how I like them right now (sitting inside by the wood burner in a barkcloth dress and parka ensemble).

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The daiquiri – Hemingway you like it

The daiquiri has probably been around as long as rum has—it just makes sense to cut your rum with citrus and sugar.

There is an origin myth though, which co-opts its invention and places its conception in the soft white hands of Jennings S. Cox.

He was a mining engineer who with a lot of other American industrialists, engineers and farmers moved in on Cuba after the Spanish-American war.

The original recipe featured white rum, lemon juice and sugar. Ernest Hemingway famously loved them (one of the few things in his favour in my opinion) and the recipe eventually settled into a white rum/lime juice/simple syrup groove.

Perhaps because of the advent and propagation of its frozen cousin, the daiquiri has acquired a somewhat tacky reputation which is undeserved. In its pure form it is just as sophisticated as a manhattan or a martini and deserves classic status.

After saying that I am going to give my recipe which totally messes with the accepted classic form! I will justify that by saying this is a winter daiquiri.

Ok, whatever—it tastes good! The main difference is a return to plain old lemon juice, and a rich syrup made from demerara sugar, which makes it almost a ‘tiki toddy’.

In a chilled shaker dump a whole lot of ice and add:

2oz white rum

1oz lemon juice

3/4oz rich syrup

Shake it up until your hands are cold and strain into a glass!

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My ‘winter’ daiquiri made with the delicious New Zealand-made Murderer’s Bay rum

(I love it when we’re) Cruzan together…

Corn n’Oil was first made for me by a beautiful lady who ran one of the friendliest music venues in Auckland. Thank you Karyn—miss you and your shaker!

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When first in its thrall I would have insisted that it be made with an alcoholic velvet falernum like John D. Taylors.

These days, because I am older, and frankly, wussier, I am happy to use a non-alcoholic falernum syrup like that made by Fees Brothers.

Falernum has the ginger, lime and spices that are essential to this drink.

The drink gets its name from the heavy blackstrap rum that is used and sits like oil in the bottom of the glass.

This combo of molasses and ginger makes it a perfect summer-in-winter drink for me!

I make it like this:

Put some ice in a glass and add

2oz blackstrap rum (like Cruzan)

½ oz Falernum

1/2 oz lime juice

3 dashes Angostura bitters

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The Combination

Rum punch might seem at its essential level to be a summer drink—but really, when do you need high levels of vitamin c and a reason to get up in the morning more than in darkest mid-winter?

This punch provides both! Fresh orange juice really does make a huge difference to the overall taste, so squeeze your own or buy the best you can!

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When making punch I believe in using what you have on hand. If you are unsure of quantities the old rhyme helps as a guide—“one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak”.

This recipe roughly follows this outline! To make my rum punch in a mixing glass add ice and:

1oz lime juice

2oz sugar syrup

1 oz blackstrap rum

2oz white or golden rum

2oz orange juice

2oz pineapple juice

Add some orange slices for a cheerful decoration then close the curtains, get the fire roaring and put some calypso on the turntable.

Only a few more months until summertime!

What’s your favourite wintertime drink?  Let me know if you have a favourite!

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