November 04, 2005

Yo Ho Ho

by peterb

It was just this past January that I published an article called What To Drink (Booze Edition), purporting to advise readers as to what liquors they should keep stocked in their houses at all times. One of the things I said was that, unless you had a specific need for it, you could easily get by without a bottle of rum.

I stand by that statement. But in the interests of better living through chemistry, allow me to share two recipes that will give you the specific need for a bottle of rum.

Since today was a particularly beautiful autumn day here in Pittsburgh, I'll give you one recipe suited for a nice summer day, and one more suitable for the darkest winters.

Making a drink with rum that tastes bad is easy. The omnipresent favorite of irritating chicks at frat parties everywhere, the rum and coke, is a great example. It's a simple drink that manages to make both of its ingredients taste worse. I'm not interested in giving you bad-tasting drink recipes. So here are two good ones.

The Real Daiquiri

"Daiquiri" has become a dirty word in the modern lexicon, having become associated solely with frou-frou strawberry milkshakes from Chi-Chis. Generally, if you say "Daiquiri" to someone, they'll envision a big glass of frozen ice and strawberry slush which has some amount of rum in it, generally not enough to actually taste.

The real daiquiri is a strong drink. The real daiquiri will make a grown man fall over and forget where he left his brains. Here's how to make one.

You need: limes, rum, and sugar. And some ice cubes. That's it.

Squeeze the juice of one lime, and put it into a glass with some sugar (use simple syrup if you have it, but my life is too short to spend making simple syrup). The sugar is "to taste" — I use no more than a teaspoon or so, but you might like more. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Into this, add a shotglass-sized amount of gold or white rum. There are two rules of thumb here. First, you want to add as much or more rum than lime juice. The traditional recipe calls for half again as much rum. Second, don't use dark rum. It will just ruin the drink and make it taste bad.

Add a couple of ice cubes to the glass. Swish them around, and drink. If you drink it fast, it's probably a good idea to have something soft nearby to land on when you fall over.

That's the perfect summer drink. Here's the perfect winter one.

Hot Toddy

The first step is to develop seasonal affective disorder from not seeing the sun in 2 months because it's dark when you wake up and dark when you go to bed. Then develop a head cold. When all that prep work has been done, make a hot toddy.

Make a pot of good tea. Fill a teacup about half full. Into this, squeeze half a lemon. If you're motivated enough, you can cut off the outer peel (which will be bitter and have pesticide on it) and drop the lemon in the cup, but don't feel like you have to. Add a tablespoon of molasses (or, if you're me, more), and then a generous tot of rum. Sit near a fire and enjoy.

Those are the recipes that I'm giving to you. But now I need you to give one to me.

A Drink I Don't Understand

Some years ago I read a certain American magical-realist book that takes place in a mythical fin de siècle New York. One of the protagonists, in the coldest months, frequently finds himself at certain bars where they are serving roast oysters and hot buttered rum.

"Hot buttered rum." It sounds so intriguing, doesn't it? What could it possibly be? It sounds all spicy and Christmasy and elegant. So, armed with a search engine and a will to expand my horizons, I found a recipe for the drink, and made it. It tasted exactly as foul as butter and rum mixed together could possibly taste, which it turns out is extremely foul.

So either I simply don't like the drink — which is certainly a real possibility — or the recipe I got for it was terrible, or the most pernicious option: really, no one in the entire world actually likes this stuff, it's just talked about because it sounds all old-timey. My challenge to you is to give me a hot buttered rum recipe that you yourself have actually made and enjoyed. If you haven't personally made it, tasted it, and liked it, don't bother sharing your recipe here. If you have made, tasted, and liked it yourself, then tell me your secret. So that I can try it too.

I'll follow up in this space with the results of my attempt to try your recipe.


Posted by peterb at November 4, 2005 07:27 PM | Bookmark This

I like hot buttered rum.

I haven't made it in a while since it's been warm, but this is what I make:

* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg,
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves, or to taste
* 2/3 cup dark rum

Combine the brown sugar, butter, and spices with 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring pretty regularly. Simmer it for 5 minutes or so and then mix in the rum. Serve it in heated mugs and drink while thinking of a magnificent white horse saving you from the ice and/or Pearly Soames.

Also, if you have fresh mint a nice mojito is a pretty good reason to keep rum around.

Posted by Nat at November 4, 2005 09:05 PM

Nat's hot buttered rum sounds like a drinkable version of the topping for Bananas Foster, which I love. I will give this a try on the first chilly day that needs a good tipple.

Posted by Kristen at November 4, 2005 10:46 PM

It does taste kinda like that, yeah.

It also really needs dark rum -- I bet it'd be pretty disgusting with white or gold rum.

Also, now I really really want Bananas Foster. Good thing I have a bunch of bananas and some rum.

Posted by Nat at November 4, 2005 10:58 PM

When I was young, I lived in a small town, and my family doctor was a
real Country Gentleman -- collected antique steam tractors and
everything. He conducted his practice at a leisurely pace and used
each appointment not only to dispense medicine but to catch up on the
lives of his patients. The conversations were long and honest, and
through them I learned that my doctor had an sharp wit and low
tolerance for foolishness.

I also learned that he rather enjoyed hot buttered rum. He said that
when the days got cold, he liked to head on down to Colonial
Williamsburg and treat himself to a nice, hot buttered rum.

Ever since, I have wanted to try the real McCoy. I'm not sure
what constitutes a genuine hot buttered rum, but given the
colonial connection, the following recipe intrigues me:

That the recipe starts off with one _pound_ of butter and involves
eggs only makes it more intriguing. Sure, it could be horrific,
but what's life without a little risk?

Another colonial contender comes from this page (at bottom):

It doesn't have quite the ring of authenticity as the first recipe,
but it's got nutmeg, so it can't be all bad.

Caveat imbiber: I haven't made either of these recipes. I'm
just foisting them off on you in hopes that you'll do the hard
work for me.

Happy holidays! --Tom

Posted by Tom Moertel at November 5, 2005 01:23 AM

My wife is a big fan of the "Dark-n-Stormy", a mix of rum and ginger beer... the addition of a Tipsy Cherry makes it appropriately girly, and adds just a hint of sweetness.

Posted by Mark Denovich at November 5, 2005 09:43 AM

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