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.
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:
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.
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.
Unlike the other two varieties, which are manufactured using sugar cane molasses, the French rhum agricole is 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.
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.”
This recipe is courtesy of Jacob Pelletier, executive chef and co-owner at The Duchess Bake Shop. It’s adapted from The Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook, which was released in November 2014 and an updated version is now available.
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