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Rhum Clement Rhum Agricole For Yourself Or Gifting

One of our favorite experiences this year was an introduction to Rhum Clément, a premium distiller on the beautiful island of Martinique in the West Indies.

Rhum Clément was established in 1887 when Homère Clément purchased a distillery in Le François, Martinique. There was a sugar crisis* in the Caribbean at the time, and the economy was in trouble.

Homère Clément was a prominent member of the Martinique community and the mayor of Le François. He is believed to have been the first Black person to receive his doctorate in medicine in France, following which he returned to Martinique to work in both medicine and politics.

His innovative thinking resulted in a unique type of rum—rhum agricole**—which helped to stabilize the island’s economy.

Today, Martinique’s rhum agricole is considered among the finest in the world [source].
 
National Rum Day is August 16th.
 
 
RHUM AGRICOLE

Rhum agricole is not made from molasses, the byproduct of sugar refining, which is the basis of many rums. Rather, it is distilled from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice (see photo #6 below).

The style is common in the French islands of the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique). The historically British and Spanish islands (Barbados, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, etc.) make molasses-based rums (rum can be made anywhere, and the majority of the world’s rum is made from molasses).

As rum connoisseurs have learned to appreciate the style of rhum agricole, production has spread across the globe, to places as far apart as Australia, Hawaii, Mauritius, Réunion, and Thailand [source].

Compared with rums made from molasses, a typical rhum agricole yields more of the terroir† of the sugarcane juice.

Rum lovers enjoy rhum agricole for its flavors and aromatics, often described as earthy, vegetal, grassy, and herbaceous. They also can have banana, mango, papaya and pineapple notes.
 
 
WHAT ABOUT CACHAÇA?

Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, is also distilled from sugarcane juice. Americans may be more familiar with it as the basis for the popular cocktail, the Caipirinha.

Rhum agricole and cachaça taste similar in their unaged, “white” or “silver” versions. The difference comes in the aged spirits.

  • Rhum agricole is usually aged in American or French oak.
  • Cachaça is aged in a number of exotic hardwoods from the forests of Brazil, not known and rarely found outside the country. These unusual woods impart unique, intense flavors to the spirit.
  •  
    Here’s a deeper discussion of the differences.
     
     
    MARTINIQUE A.O.C.

    Producers of sugarcane juice rums made entirely in Martinique and meeting certain production standards are entitled under French law‡ to the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or A.O.C., which translates to “protected designation of origin.” It tells buyers that the product conforms to the rigid standards set for it.

  • It confirms that the rum is 100% made in Martinique.
  • The A.O.C. rums are usually distilled to 70% alcohol (140 proof), and then watered down before bottling to 40%–55% A.B.V., alcohol by volume, which equates to 80–110 proof (you double the A.B.V. to get the proof).
  • The rum may be aged as few as three months, or up to a few years.
  • After three years of aging in oak barrels, an A.O.C. rhum may be called “rhum vieux,” old rum (photo #3).
  •  
     
    RHUM CLÉMENT EXPRESSIONS

    At Rhum Clément, all of the rums, both white and aged, are rhum agricole.

    Rhum Clement Agricole Blanc, the entry-level expression we enjoyed, has a 40% A.B.V., which equates to 80 proof.

    It’s a blend of several varieties of sugar cane and delivers floral and citric notes. At less than $30, it’s affordable for the home and for gifting (photo #1).

    Rhum Clément also makes another white rum, slightly mellower in flavor and higher in alcohol:

    Canne Bleue Agricole Rhum, A.B.V. 50%/100 proof. It is made from a single type of sugar cane called canne bleue (blue cane—photo #2).

    The canne bleue cane delivers an intensely aromatic juice that’s reflected in the flavor of the rum.

    Canne Bleue rum rests for more than six months in a stainless steel vat, and is slowly reduced over time with distilled volcanic spring water before bottling. It has a more mellow flavor, an A.B.V. of 50%/100 proof.

    The line includes the two white rums, six aged rums, orange shrub, and coconut liqueur. We were also privileged to taste the aged spirits, at a tasting conducted by the brand. We’re now big fans.

    See the whole line here.

    Here’s a store locator.

    Discover more at RhumClement.com.
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF RUM

    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RUM

     


    [1] Rhum Clement Agricole Blanc (photos © Woodland Wine Merchant).


    [2] Canne Bleue, made from a single variety of sugar cane (photos #2, #3, #4, #5 © Rhum Clément).


    [3] Rhum vieux is aged three years or more.


    [4] Select Barrel is aged in heavily charred barrels, resulting in a soft, approachable rum that mimics the flavor profiles of American whiskey.


    [5] Cachaca, Brazil’s national spirit, is made in a manner similar to rhum agricoler; but the aging technique is very different (photo © Novo Fogo).

     

    ________________

    *When France began to make sugar from sugar beets around 1811, sugar prices dropped and the debt-ridden sugar factories in the French Caribbean could not survive solely on sugar production. That meant that much fresh cane juice was now available for fermenting and distilling into rum.

    **Agricole is French for agricultural.

    Terroir, pronounced tur-WAH, is a French agricultural term referring to the unique set of environmental factors in a specific habitat that affects a crop’s qualities. These include climate, elevation, proximity to a body of water, slant of the land, soil type, and amount of sun. These environmental characteristics give the rum, wine, cacao, or other product its character.

    ‡In 1946, the French National Assembly voted unanimously to transform Martinique from a colony of France into a départment, known in French as a Département d’outre-mer or DOM.
     
     

    [6] The sugarcane from which rum is made. The cane is pressed to release the juice inside.

     
     

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    Absolut Juice Apple Edition: Vodka With Apple Juice


    [1] Apple Hot Toddy with mini apple pie bites (photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).


    [2] The Absolut Juice family: Apple, Pear & Elderflower, and Strawberry (photos #2 and #3 © Absolut).


    [3] An Absolut Sparkler: 1 part Absolut Juice Apple, 1 part soda, 1 part sparkling wine.


    [4] Maple syrup is a delicious addition to a toddy, substituting for the sugar that’s part of many recipes (photo © Runamok Maple, a great artisan maple syrup).


    [5] An apple ginger hot toddy. Here’s the recipe (photo © Castello USA).


    [6] Instead of apple slices, you can garnish with spices (here, a cinnamon stick and star anise). However, apple slices have a big benefit: You can eat them (photo © L’Addresse | NYC)!

     

    Today’s guest post is from Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog, who introduced us to Absolut Juice Edition. Absolut Vodka didn’t include us on any announcements of the line. (Do we take umbrage? Yes, even though it isn’t yet available everywhere.)

    Absolut Juice Edition is produced and bottled, as is every bottle of Absolut Vodka, in Åhus, Sweden, a town not far from where the brand’s founder, L.O. Smith was born, in Kiaby.

    (If “Smith” doesn’t sound Swedish, he was born Lars Olsson. Later in life, he reinvented himself as L.O. Smith. He was called “The King of Spirits” because of his domination of spirits production in Stockholm during the end of the 19th century.)

    > Here’s the story of how the brand came to be.
     
     
    ABOUT ABSOLUTE JUICE EDITION

    Absolut Juice Edition is made with Absolut Vodka, in Apple Edition, Pear & Elderflower Edition, and Strawberry Edition. They are made with real fruit juice and natural flavors† (photo #2). There is no sugar added.

    Absolut Vodka itself is made with water and winter wheat*. The water comes from a deep well in Åhus, where it’s protected from impurities. The use of fertilizers is minimized.

    Here are Hannah’s comments, which she opens by commenting on the challenge to know if spirits are vegan:
     
     
    ABSOLUT JUICE EDITION: APPLE

    Finding Reserve Bar spirits has been a gift! They select ONLY the best quality and clearly state what is vegan, right on the sales page.

    “Plus, I don’t even need to leave the house for delivery straight to my door; always a huge plus for avoiding holiday shopping crowds. They’ve also led me to discover new bottles I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed, like the Absolut Juice Edition of Absolut Vodka.

    “The Apple Juice variety tastes like it’s infused with real, fresh apple juice, although it’s actually flavored with a natural extract of apple with other flavors to create the desired results.

    “The Absolut website calls it ‘elegant and fresh aromas with a distinct aroma of ripened apple followed by soft floral notes, a touch of vanilla and apple cores juicy character and a well-balanced sweetness with juicy character. The rich taste of ripened apple, smooth juicy character, and a well-balanced sweetness on the palate. Fresh and fruity with juicy character on the finish.’

    “Just mixing it with seltzer is a real treat, but for a cozy, seasonal cocktail, it’s easy to take it to the next level.

    [Editor’s Note: See also the Sparkler recipe under photo #3.]

    “A hot toddy is classically made with plain hot water, but I prefer to infuse the water with chai tea, which adds subtly nuanced spices that have comforting pie filling vibes [recipe below].

    “Unlike typical mulled cider or wine, just a splash of Absolut Juice Apple Edition lends rich, juicy flavor while staying light and hydrating, rather than overwhelmingly sweet.

    On a cold winter night, nothing beats this well-balanced slow sipper.

    I’m so happy I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home to stock up again, too! I’ll just head to ReserveBar.com.
     
     
    RECIPE: APPLE HOT TODDY

    A toddy is a cocktail made with boiling water, sugar, and spices. It can be made with any alcohol— rum, vodka, whiskey, and lower-alcohol spirits like sherry.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bag chai tea
  • 3-4 tablespoons Absolut Juice Apple Edition vodka
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Optional garnish: thinly sliced apple
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the water to a boil and add the teabag. Steep for 3 – 4 minutes and discard the bag.

    2. ADD the apple vodka, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Stir with a cinnamon stick and garnish with the sliced apple, if desired. If you don’t have a cinnamon stick, use 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or if you don’t have cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice.
     
     
    MORE SPICED APPLE COCKTAILS

  • Apple Ginger Hot Toddy
  • Hot Apple Cider Cocktail
  • Spiced Apple Cider
  •  
     
    CHECK OUT THESE FOOD HISTORIES

    > THE HISTORY OF TODDY

    > THE HISTORY OF VODKA

    > THE HISTORY OF APPLES
     
     
    ________________

    *Winter wheat differs from other wheat crops. It’s sown one fall and harvested in the next one. In Sweden’s winters, it grows under the snow, which helps to develop its hard grain.

    †“Natural flavors” are extracts made from all-natural ingredients.

     

     
     

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    For National Have A Bagel Day, A Different Take On Bagels & Lox

    December 11th is National Have A Bagel Day. Here’s a a new take on bagels and lox, from Bluebird London’s branch in New York City.

    Located in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, Bluebird London NYC has a Café and Tea Room, Cocktail Lounge, and International Brasserie, all overlooking Central Park.

    The restaurant is a branch of the beloved restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of London. It was not named for birds, but for the record-breaking race car driven Sir Malcolm Campbell, which set the land-speed record in 1925.
     
     
    RECIPE: BAGEL CHIPS & CURED SALMON

    For a copycat recipe:

    Ingredients

  • Buy or make bagel crisps (the full size version, not the cracker size bagel chips)
  • Buy cream cheese
  • Make cured salmon or gravlax, or buy thick-cut smoked salmon*
  • Garnishes: capers, dill, chopped red onion (option: you can pickle onion slices)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the cream cheese into 1-inch squares. It is easier to do this if you put the block in the freezer for 15 minutes. In the Bluebird London preparation, the cream cheese was thinned and piped into the plate. If you want to pipe it, first thin it with a tablespoon of milk or cream.

    2. SLICE the salmon into 1- or 2-inch-long pieces. Arrange on a plate with the cream cheese and bagel chips.

    3. GARNISH as desired.
     
     
    BAGEL HOLIDAYS

  • January 15th: National Bagel Day
  • February 9th: National Bagels & Lox Day
  • July 26th: National Bagelfest Day
  • December 11th: National Have A Bagel Day
  •  
     
    MORE BAGEL RECIPES

  • Bagel Buffet
  • Beautiful Bagel Toppings
  • Healthier Bagels
  • Homemade Bagels
  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese
  • Red Caviar Bagel
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese
  • Sweet & Crunchy Cream Cheese Spread
  • Weekend Bagel Brunch Platter
  •  
     
    > THE HISTORY OF BAGELS

    > THE HISTORY OF CREAM CHEESE

    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SMOKED SALMON

     


    [1] “Bagels and lox” as interpreted by the Bluebird London restaurant in New York City (photos #1 and #2 © Bluebird London NYC).


    [2] A closer look. The cured salmon is cut into small squares, the cream cheese piped into rounds.


    [3] A classic bagel and lox (smoked salmon) platter (photo © Good Eggs).

     
    ________________

    *If you purchase smoked salmon at a store where it is custom-sliced at the fish counter, tell the lox slicer that you want to serve it in thick squares, about 1/8″ thick.

    †You can quick-pickle vegetables in an hour. Here’s how.

     
     

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    Chocolate Rum Balls Recipe For Christmas: Gluten Free, Vegan


    [1] Kōloa Kauai Cacao Rum is used to add spirit to these chocolate-coconut rum balls (photo © Kōloa Rum).

    Khadrawi Dates
    [2] Dates add natural sweetness. There’s no sugar added (photo © Good Eggs).


    [3] Walnuts add protein (photo © Bake Your Day).

    Dutched & Natural Cocoa Powder
    [4] You can use ditched or undutched cocoa powder (photo © Silk Road Spices).


    [5] Roll the balls in shredded coconut or chocolate sprinkles (photo © Gourmet Food World).

    Chocolate Sprinkles
    [6] You can substitute chocolate sprinkles for the coconut, or divide the rumb balls and roll half in each (photo © King Arthur Baking).

     

    Our Mom made rum balls every holiday season. As a kid, we didn’t like the taste of the rum. Because these are no-bake cookies, the strength of the spirit doesn’t dissipate.

    As we moved into adulthood and our palate embraced alcohol, we found that we loved them. We eagerly anticipated the holidays…and Mom had to make a double batch to accommodate our sweet tooth.

    While most people in the U.S. make rum balls as Christmas cookies, you can make them year-round.

  • National Rum Day is August 16th.
  • National Cookie Day is December 4th.
  •  
    But if you’re attending a dinner or party on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve, a tin of these cookies will be most welcome. They’re gluten-free and vegan.

    They’re delicious with coffee, an espresso Martini, or a glass of red wine. Or a Dark & Stormy rum cocktail.

    The history of rum balls is below—and necessity is the mother of invention!

    This recipe, from premium rum distiller Kōloa, uses the brand’s Kōloa Kauai Cacao Rum in the recipe.

    You can treat yourself to a bottle and enjoy it in cocktails as well as baked goods.

    But coconut rum, spiced rum, or plain rum will do nicely.

    For more rum-spiration, visit Koloa Rum and check out the whole line of fine rums.
     
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS
     
    Ingredients

  • 1½ cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • ¼ cup Kōloa Kauai Cacao Rum
  • ¼ cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (substitute chocolate sprinkles)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the dates, walnuts, rum, and cocoa powder in a food processor. Process until you achieve a very dense, fudgy texture, scraping down the sides as needed.

    2. SPOON out the mixture in 1 tablespoon increments and roll each into a ball.

    3. ROLL the finished balls in shredded coconut.

    4. STORE the rum balls in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to several weeks.

    5. SERVE chilled, right out of the refrigerator, for the best texture.
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF COOKIES

    > THE 11 BASIC TYPES OF COOKIES

    > A COOKIE GLOSSARY
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF RUM BALLS

    Rum balls were invented by the Danish bakers to use up unsold breads, cakes, and pastry that would be stale by the next day.

    Someone came up with the idea for romkugler (rum balls). All the unsold cakes, and pastries were mixed together with cocoa powder and rum.

    The sticky dough was then rolled into balls, coated with coconut flakes or sprinkles, and sold the next day for a low price.

    It remains a popular choice in Danish bakeries.

    Recipes vary from region to region and from family to family. While chocolate and rum are givens*, the rest of the ingredients can vary.

    Some recipes use jam or condensed milk as a binding agent, and these can be part of an alcohol-free recipe.

    Others substitute bourbon for the rum.

    Some recipes add nuts and/or raisins.

    Some cooks place a whole (pitted) cherry, soaked in rum or brandy, in the center of the ball.

    Confectioners have adapted the idea to rum-infused balls of chocolate ganache.

    Here’s a recipe that uses muffins instead of leftover cake, plus raspberry jam, as well as cocoa and rum.
     
     
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    ________________

    *Some modern recipes do away with the chocolate, like this recipe made with vanilla wafers, pecans, both bourbon and rum, and honey as a binder.

      

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    Enjoy The Nobel Prize Winners Banquet In Stockholm

    You most probably will never get a Nobel Prize, but you can dine on the same food served at the awards dinner. Just head to Stockholm.

    The 2021 Nobel Banquet, celebrating the year’s Nobel laureates, takes place annually on December 10th.

    Each year’s banquet has a unique gourmet menu with Scandinavian accents.

    You can view the menus dating back to 1901, the first year the prizes were awarded (excepting the war years and 2020, when Covid-19 canceled the banquet).

    Since 1934, the banquet has been held in the Blue Hall of Stockholm’s City Hall, which seats 1,300 guests.

    You too can feast in City Hall—although not on the same day, and not in the same room.

    Instead, you can enjoy the banquet at The Stadshuskällaren, the City Hall Cellars (which is, as the name says, in the cellar of City Hall).

    The restaurant features menus from years past—for example, the main dish from the Nobel banquet of 2017, saddle of lamb and bilberry bavaroise.

    Want a dish that fêted one of your Nobel heroes?

    Fans of Gabriel García Márquez can have the banquet from 1982 (including Arctic char in dill cream sauce and Nobel ice cream).

    Marie Curie devotees can toast her 1911 chemistry prize by dining on fonds d´artichauts duchesse and poularde fermière (artichoke bottoms “duchess-style” and farm chicken).

    Want to make your own Nobel Prize dinner at home?

    Pick your birth year, pick specific winners, create the dinner on whatever theme you like.

    You’ll have to create the recipes, though: The menus are given, but that’s all—except there are beautiful photographs of the dishes from the more recent years.

    By the way, The Stadshuskällaren serves à la carte, a tasting menu and Nobel menus for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Stadshuskällarens, a classic Christmas smorgasbord (buffet) is served this year from December 3rd to December 19th.

    The buffet is divided into three parts:

  • A buffet of pickled herring and cold meats.
  • Hot dishes.
  • A “gottebord” of sweets and cookies.
  •  
    The whole restaurant is dressed for Christmas. The historic room is decorated with Christmas flowers, garlands, Christmas trees, and trimmings.

    Ready to head for the airport?
     
     
    ABOUT THE NOBEL PRIZE

    The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, and based on the fortune of Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and entrepreneur.

    Each prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma, and a cash award.

    A person or organization awarded the Nobel Prize is called Nobel Prize laureate. The word “laureate” refers to being signified by a laurel wreath.

    In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honor.

    There are 6 prize categories: Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Physics, Peace, and Physiology or Medicine.

    Since the awards began in 1901:

  • There have been 609 awards granted to 975 laureates. Here they are.
  • Women have received 58 awards. Organizations have received 25 awards.
  • The youngest laureate was 17. The oldest laureate was 97.
  •  
     
    Discover more about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize at NobelPrize.org.

     


    [1] 2019 starter: kalix vendace roe with cucumber, pickle-poached kohlrabi, creamy dill and a horseradish sauce (all photos © NobelPrize.org.).


    [2] 2019 dessert: raspberry mousse, dehydrated chocolate mousse, raspberry kissel and raspberry sorbet.


    [3] 2018 starter: lightly baked Arctic char with crayfish broth, dill seed-infused onion, lightly smoked trout roe, crispy potato and watercress foam.


    [4] 2018 dessert: medley of apples, with caramelised Frida apples from Österlen, apple sorbet, vanilla custard, caramel sauce and oat crumbs.


    [5] 2017 main: crispy saddle of lamb, potato terrine with Svedjan crème, yellow beet, salt-baked celeriac, apple salad and rosemary-spiced lamb gravy (photo Dan Lepp).

     
     
     
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