Rum is experiencing a spike in popularity, not just in the glass but on the plate as well. But whether you sip it, marinate your chicken with it or bake it in a cake, there is so much more to this liquor than tiki drinks and pirates.
Meet the Family
True connoisseurs will know that rum is classified not by colour (a marketing designation) but by the three different styles that come from the former colonies of Britain, Spain and France. Here’s how Jeff Savage, bar manager at Tavern 1903, breaks it down:
British:Also known as British Navy rum or overproof rum, it is the heaviest, with a “richer, more sugary flavour, like cola.” Examples include Appleton Estate and Pusser’s. Goes best with cakes, sweets, creamy desserts, autumnal vegetables and meats like chorizo.
Spanish:It is the lightest of the rums, with a “super clean, floral flavour, very delicate in nature.”The classics are Havana Club and Bacardi. Pairs nicely with citrus fruits, poultry, charcuterie, sharp cheeses and berries.
French:Unlike the other two varieties, which are manufactured using sugar cane molasses, the Frenchrhum agricoleis made from the juice of the sugar cane plant. It is “fruity, floral, grassy,” says Savage. Try with herb-rich dishes, salads, wild game and fowl, and vanilla.
Shaken, Not Stirred …
Until the 1970s, a daily ration of rum was issued to sailors in the British Navy, according to Andrew Borley, co-owner of Woodwork. “That’s how the daiquiri evolved. They would cut it with water and some lime to prevent scurvy.” Far from being a fruity, blended concoction, a “true daiquiri,” he says, is a simple, shaken drink involving good rum, fresh lime juice and a bit of simple syrup. “It’s the best way to test whether a rum is of quality.”
Rum’s role in the kitchen is primarily as an ingredient in desserts and baked goods. The creative staff at the Duchess Bake Shop, usually reach for one of the darker, British rums. “They tend to be more on the rich, toffee-side of the spectrum,” says co-owner Garner Beggs. “While the French rums are delicious, they tend to be a bit more subtle [and expensive] and get lost in the baking.” Beggs adds that it’s fine to substitute one dark rum for another, but watch out for flavoured rums, such as Captain Morgan Original Spiced or The Kraken. “They tend not to bake up so well and the heat can have an odd effect on the flavourings.”
Mango Rum Financiers
The recipe is courtesy of Jacob Pelletier, executive chef and co-owner at The Duchess Bake Shop. It’s adapted fromThe Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook, which was released in November and is available at Provisions By Duchess and its website.
1/3 cups diced mango
1 tbsp dark rum
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 1/3 cups icing sugar
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Butter and flour a 24-cavity silicone financier mould (or mini-muffin pan). Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
Mix mangoes and rum together.
To make thebeurre noisette, melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat until it starts to foam. Now whisking, continue to cook until the butter is a dark, golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Pour into a heat-resistant bowl and set aside to cool.
To make the batter, whisk together the icing sugar, almond flour, and all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Add egg whites and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Add the beurre noisette in two parts, whisking between each addition.
Fill each cavity about three-quarters full and spoon over a small quantity of the mango rum mixture. Finish with a sprinkling of coconut.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the financiers are a light golden brown on the sides and just baked on top.
You’re at home with popcorn and a bottle of wine. Which is your go-to Christmas movie?