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TIP OF THE DAY: Aged Rum On The Rocks

Today is National Rum Day.

Rum, a favorite drink in colonial times, has fallen out of favor. Sure, the rum-based Mojito is America’s favorite cocktail (rum, mint leaves, lime juice, club soda and simple syrup), according to Some people may order a Cuba Libré (rum, Coke and lime juice) or the Polynesian-inspired Mai-Tai (light rum, cream of almond, triple sec, sweet and sour mix and pineapple juice).

But few people are enjoying rum straight up or on the rocks.

That’s a shame, because an aged rum from a fine producer is a beautiful thing. If you don’t have a good aged (añejo) rum at home, meet a friend at your favorite watering hole to try one.

When the workday ends, we’ll be enjoying a bottle of Ron Abuelo, brought to us from Panama by a friend (and available at fine spirits stores in the U.S.).


Yo ho ho and a snifter of really fine rum.
Photo courtesy Ron Abuelo.


What Is Rum?

Rum is a spirit distilled from freshly pressed sugar cane. To make an añejo (aged) rum, pressed sugar cane juice is fermented and distilled. It is then placed in small Bourbon barrels for aging (fine spirits are aged in Bourbon, sherry and other used oak barrels to pick up flavor nuances that remain in the wood).

Rum has been made in the Caribbean since the 17th century. Sugar cane was brought to the Caribbean from Southeast Asia, where spirits made from cane juice appeared much earlier.

Ron Abuelo (Grandfather’s Rum) was established in 1908 as the first sugar mill in the recently formed Republic of Panama. In 1936, founder Don José Varela decided to try the rum business.

Today, the company produces four expressions of dark oak-aged rums: Añejo, 7 Años (aged 7 years, this standout has won numerous awards, including a Double Gold Medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition), 12 Años and the limited edition Ron Abuelo Centuria (if you have a bottle, please let us know so that we can plan a visit).

At a suggested retail price of $22.99, the 7 Años won’t break the bank. Amber in color, it is smooth as silk on the palate, with a medium body. A sip yields caramel and vanilla notes from the wood, plus some fruitiness and perhaps a bit of toasted coconut. The finish yields spicy and nutty notes.

Of course you can use aged rum for mixed drinks, but our favorite way to enjoy it is straight from a snifter.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of [aged] rum!


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