Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.
My sister recently showed up with a bottle of rum. Which is odd, as she never drinks rum. She told me she had this for years and asked if I would like to have it. I’m not the one to say no to free alcohol, I mean, even if it is a lower quality spirit, I can use it for a cocktail. And judging from the label, this is probably a low quality, low price rum. The label is confusing too. It says it’s made in Aruba, which is a part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands yet mentions “seit 1868”, which is German for since 1868 and not Dutch. The back label is completely in Dutch. It looks like an old label, as google shows the same rum with an updated, modern label. Google also tells me that I am right, this is a very cheap rum.
I fear this, from what I gather online, this is a very affordable rum. It might be good for cocktails, but often rums from this price range, combined with the looks of the bottle, don’t promise to be good as a sipping rum. The nose has some ethanol, fruits like apple and pear combined with caramel. The rum is very sweet but burns as well. You can tell just from the taste that the caramel is added later. There is a hint of sour apple too. I would just pair it with a strong cigar, full body and full flavour just to mask the taste of the rum.
In 1975 bartender Angie Conigliaro at the Ship’s Store & Sapphire Pub on the island of St. Thomas created a cocktail that can be best described as a sibling to the Mudslide. He named it after the dog of the owner. The original recipe is said to have included rum, Baileys Irish cream, creme de cacao and coconut cream, but over the years the recipe changed to the one below. I have seen a lot of other recipes online though, and I will be trying several other versions soon.
A creamy vanilla and coconut aroma hit the nose while smelling this cocktail. I did not add whipped cream as garnish, that might alter the nose though. This very much tasted like a thinned Irish cream but with a stronger boozy undertone. It is creamy, it has coconut, vanilla and the characteristics of white rum. The Hansen rum is completely overpowered although I guess that the burn in the drink comes from this rum. Since the cocktail is already creamy, I would not pair this with a Connecticut Shade wrapper. Due to the bite of the Hansen rum, I would pair this with a medium full cigar. The Arturo Fuente Magnum R series, Charter Oak Maduro Rothschild, or a Cuban Romeo y Julieta.
And now for the Bushwhacker recipe
1 ounce or 30ml of Coconut Rum
1 ounce or 30ml of White rum
1 ounce or 30ml of Hansen 54
½ ounce or 15ml of milk
1 scoop of vanilla ice
Garnish: whipped cream
Add the coconut rum, El Rumba, milk and ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour in a glass and top with the Hansen 54. Garnish with whipped cream
Pineapple Basil Rum Cocktail
The nose is a muted pineapple aroma. The ice mutes a lot but there is still a little hint of basil. The cocktail is lit, it’s refreshing with the pineapple sweetness, the herbal flavours of the basil, the bite and caramel of the rum. A perfect summer cocktail, cold, refreshing, sweet and sour, balanced and easy to pair with a cigar. I was lucky enough to pair this with a Tatuaje Havana VI that had a decade of age but it will be great with a fresh one too. But truthfully, most cigars will go well with this. Even machine-made shortfillers. I will make an exception for coffee infused cigars though; I think that would be a bad pairing. Or flavours like cherry.
And now for the Pineapple Basil Rum Cocktail recipe:
1 ounce or 30ml of Hansen 54 Rum
1 teaspoon of lime juice
2 basil leaves
4 ounces or 120ml of Pineapple juice
Muddle the basil with the lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add the pineapple juice and the rum with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Double strain into a hurricane glass with crushed ice.