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.
Ultimatum Infinitum 12
Recently I was reorganizing my man cave, checking up on my cigar and alcohol selection. And in the back of the alcohol cabinet I found I bottle of rum that I didn’t know I had. Now while writing this, I realize it may sound like I’m an alcoholic with a problem, but no, that’s not the case. It’s just a short bottle and it was hidden out of sight by other bottles. It was a bottle of Ultimatum Infinity 12 with an ABV of 40%. This is a brand owned by the Dutch independent bottler and importer Van Wees, who also has a series of whiskies, the Ultimate series.
The Ultimatum Infinitum 12 is a blended rum from undisclosed distilleries and partially an English style rum, partially a Spanish style rum. Both styles of rum are made from molasses, but the molasses from the Spanish rum has lesser fermentation time. The English rums are made with pot stills where Spanish rums are made with column stills and often use the Solara system where younger rum is mixed with older rum. That results in a smoother, rounder and softer rum than the spicy and powerful English style rums. Since the two styles are mixed here, hopefully they present the best of both worlds.
I am trying this rum in a Glencairn glass. There isn’t much ethanol on the nose, but there is vanilla and fruity. It is a pretty pleasant aroma. The sum is surprisingly spicy and peppery, that must be the English part of the blend. But there is also sweetness, plenty of vanilla and a little bit of orange flavour. The flavours are a bit thin, but the liquid itself isn’t. It has a nice viscosity. This is a rum from the cheaper end of the spectrum but it’s not bad at all. I would pair this with a Brick House Maduro from J.C. Newman or a Rocky Patel Sixty.
Jungle Bird is a cocktail born in Malaysia. You would not expect a cocktail from a Muslim dominated country, but there is a healthy party scene in Malaysia’s capital and this cocktail was created somewhere in the 1970’s at the aviary bar of the Hilton hotel in Kuala Lumpur. I had a bottle of Campari laying around, bought once to make a Negroni and then discovering that I hate Campari. To avoid it becoming a white elephant and a waste of money I decided to try a few more cocktails with it. Jungle Bird is the first.
On the nose this cocktail is very mild, with just a bit of pineapple. The cocktail enough sweetness from the pineapple to balance the bitterness of the Campari. The lime gives it the tardiness that this cocktail needs, with the sweet vanilla notes of the rum. I think I’m in love. Complex, full of depth and balanced. A perfect cocktail for a stronger cigar, La Riqueza from Pete Johnson comes to mind, Cohiba for the Cuban smokers.
And now for the Jungle Bird recipe:
1½ ounce or 45ml of Ultimatum Infinitum 12
¾ ounce or 22½ ounce of Campari
1½ ounce or 45ml of Pineapple juice
½ ounce or 15ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
½ ounce or 15ml of rich Demerara syrup
Garnish: pineapple wedge and pineapple leaf
Add the rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice and the syrup in a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Boston Rum Punch
Who doesn’t love some home-made lemonade on a hot day? I do, and if I can spice it up with some rum and call it a cocktail, then count me in. The home-made lemonade is simply made, and then mixed with some rum it’s a refreshing summer cocktail.
On the nose I mostly get orange from the garnish. The balance if great. Sweetness and vanilla from the rum, tart from the lemonade. But since I made the lemonade slightly on the sweeter side too, this cocktail is not too sour to pair with a cigar. The rum is only noticeable on the background, lemonade is more dominant. A nice earthy, not to peppery, cigar with a medium to full body would be a perfect match for this cigar. Juan Lopez in the Cuban realm or a Kafie 1901 Don Fernando or a Sumatra would be a great pairing from the Dominican Republic.
And now for the Boston Rum Punch recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Rum
Lemonade to fill
Garnish: strawberry & orange slice
Add the rum and lemonade in a shaker with ice. Shake briefly and pour unstrained into a pint glass. Garnish with half a strawberry and an orange slice.
Homemade lemonade recipe:
1 cup of (caster)sugar
1 cup of water
1 cup of lemon juice
boil the water with the sugar until the sugar dissolves. Once it’s all dissolved, add the lemon juice and the simple syrup in a pitcher. Add 2 to 3 cups of cold water and a few slices of lemon. Stir and enjoy.