Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Rick’s Rum

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.

Rick’s rum

first disclaimer: I have no idea if this rum is commercially available, and if it is, where. But if it is, I assume it’s in The Netherlands. Stijn Elbersen, international director of sales for West Tampa Cigars, gave me a small 30cl bottle a while ago and instead of just drinking it, I thought it would be nice to write about it as it first perfectly in the cigar & spirit theme of this series. The Rick of Rick’s Rum is Rick Rodriguez and the rum is bottled by Beek Spirits, a Dutch bottler of whisky and other spirits.

Rick’s Rum is a spiced rum. That means that it’s a rum with added spices to it. Popular with the masses with Captain Morgan as one of the most famous brands, but looked down upon by rum connoisseurs. The Rick’s Rum has added ginger, anise, cinnamon and citrus to a 5 year old rum. Some spiced rum is coloured with caramel, but nothing on this bottle points that way. The rum has an abv of 37.5%

Neat

On the nose this rum is a bit weird. Very sweet, very fruity, pear, caramel. Just based on the nose, I would say pair it with a Drew Estate ACID but let’s hope that the actual spirit doesn’t taste as artificial as an ACID or as the aroma of the rum. But the first sip confirms that this is a spiced rum made for an infused cigar. The rum is bubble-gum sweet, it is not up to my liking at all. I would not drink this neat, but maybe I can make it work in cocktails by lowering the amount of syrup in the cocktails. My wife though, she loved the rum and gladly finished the glass I poured for myself.

Spiced Rum Mojito

Normally a Mojito is made with white rum, but online I read this recipe for the mojito with spiced rum. Now that recipe is very simple, as it’s a normal mojito recipe but with spiced rum instead of white rum. But even though it’s such an obvious recipe, I would never have thought of it.

Often with a mojito, the nose is all mint and lime but, in this case, the strange sweetness of the spiced rum plays a big part on the nose too. The sweetness is quite strong in the cocktail but the acidity and mint freshness do balance it out more. Still, I would prefer the mojito with another rum. The bubble-gum flavour is still there, but because I adjusted the sweetness of the recipe it’s not that bad. The club soda makes the mouthfeel a bit dry. I paired the cocktail with an Enclave Broadleaf. The thick broadleaf wrapper matches very well, and the earthy and chocolate flavour profile of the cigar is a great match. So I would recommend pairing this with a darker stronger cigar. This is a rum related to West Tampa Cigars, and from the West Tampa portfolio I would pair this with the Red or the Attic.

And now for the Spiced Rum Mojito recipe:
2 tablespoons of sugar (I used one for this rum, as the rum is very sweet by itself)
10 mint leaves
1 lime cut into 3 wedges
2 oz or 60ml of spiced rum
4 oz or 120ml Club Soda
Ice
Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler and crush to release mint oils and lime juice. Add remaining lime wedges and 2 tablespoons sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour in rum and fill the glass with club soda. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.

Drunken Monkey Rum Cocktail

I found this website online, and the writer of the article mentioned that she discovered this potent cocktail on a cruise in the Caribbean. After one cocktail she already fell of her barstool, but her husband was smart enough to ask for the recipe, and that’s why I can make this cocktail now. After tasting this cocktail, I found out that there is a Trader’s Vic Drunken Monkey but that is a completely different drink with cachaca and tequila, whipped cream but no rum.

On the nose, this very tropical looking cocktail is orange and pineapple. The pineapple and orange work very well together but unfortunately, the bubble gun sweetness of the Rick’s Rum still shines through. The coconut rum, I used Malibu as that’s what I have on hand, shows its flavour on the finish. This is a sweet tiki cocktail with a thick mouthfeel. Balanced but on the sweet side. The rum is not present at all, except for that slight bubble-gum sweetness. The bitters give the drink the necessary depth, otherwise it would be a bit boring. I can see yourself drinking this on a cruise, at the pool, and if you are lucky, you can light a cigar there but the chances are slim. If you can, pair this with a medium bodied cigar, don’t go stronger and don’t go peppery.

And now for the Drunken Monkey Rum Cocktail recipe
3 ounces or 90ml of an orange & pineapple juice blend
1½ ounce or 45ml of Coconut rum
½ ounce or 15ml of Spiced Rum
3 dashes of bitters
Nutmeg
Maraschino cherries
Garnish: lime slices and pineapple wedge
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the juice, coconut rum, spiced rum, and bitters. Shake for 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled rocks glass with fresh ice. Then pour in 1-2 teaspoons of cherry juice and let it settle at the bottom of the glass. Garnish with a lime slice, pineapple wedge, and a cherry. Zest fresh nutmeg over the top and serve!

Spiced Pineapple Rum Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is a popular cocktail and there are many twists to the classic version around, with a multitude of different spirits. A classic Moscow Mule has vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. This Moscow Mule variation uses rum to substitute for the vodka and adds pineapple juice to accentuate the spices in the rum.

The ice and the cold copper cup mute the aromas and all I get is ginger from the ginger beer. The cocktail is great, very refreshing with a warmth coming from the ginger. The lime shines through as well, and completely covers the bubble-gum sweetness of the rum. The sweetness does balance out this cocktail though. Due to the lime, I would pair this with a medium bodied cigar or stronger. To stay in the West Tampa range, this would be perfect for the black or red line, or the limited edition Attic.

And now for the Spiced Pineapple Rum Moscow Mule Cocktail recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Spiced Rum
2 ounces or 60ml of Pineapple juice
1 ounce or 30ml of lime juice
6 ounces or 180ml of Ginger Beer
Pour rum, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice and ginger beer into a cup or copper mug filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge, lime wheel, pineapple wedge or pineapple leaves and serve immediately.

Inspector X

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