Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of (Premium, Aged) Rum

I’ve never been a rum drinker; unless you count the handle I carried around during a Halloween party in college forcing everyone to take a shot as soon as they walked in…Needless to say that didn’t end well!

When I think of rum, I think of overly sweet frozen drinks or some crazy tiki concoction that’s too many colors.

It’s not that I’m a purist, I just like to taste the alcohol in my drinks (*No Judging*).

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an amazing event hosted by Zacapa Rum. I am thankful to have experienced Zacapa because my whole outlook on rum has changed. Not only am I now a fan (I seek it out on the menu at restaurants/bars), I even enjoy it on its own with a single ice cube (how sophisticated am I?)

Zacapa is a Guatemalan Rum that is aged in “the house above the clouds,” which happens to be 2300m (8,000 ft) above sea level. What’s the big deal? Well, the thin, cool air slows the aging process and helps intensify the flavors in the barrels (translation-it doesn’t burn the back of your throat when you drink it). One of the other things that makes Zacapa different, and gives it the smooth sweet flavor I love is the use of virgin sugar cane honey. Most rum is made with a molasses base which can give you that funky after taste…also, Zacapa is aged in four casks that give it an even greater dimension of flavor with hints of bourbon, sherry and oak. This process can take up to 23 years (hence the name Zacapa 23). Finally, the piece de resistance that sealed the deal with me and Zacapa…their master blender is a woman (oh yeah!) Lorena Vásquez Ampié is awesome, for being one of the few female master blenders in the world, and for a unique, premium spirit at that!

Now to the good stuff…a few recommendations on how to enjoy your next Zacapa beverage. I strongly suggest trying it neat or on the rocks to appreciate the warm flavor of the rum- but I have listed a few recipes I enjoy as well.

Improved Hawaiian Punch
(created at the Zacapa Event by brand ambassador Danny Valdez)
2 oz Zacapa Rum 23
¾ oz black tea
½ oz fresh pineapple juice
15 ounces lemon juice
¼ oz allspice dram
¼ oz palm sugar
Oleo saccharum to taste*
Grated Kona coffee for garnish
* Lemon peels & Sugar. Muddle lemon peels and sugar into a paste. Let sit for at least half an hour.
Create oleo saccharum one hour early. Combine Zacapa Rum 23, allspice dram, black tea, fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, oleo saccharum, and palm sugar into a shaker. Shake well and pour over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish drink individually with grated Kona. Makes 1 Drink. .

The Old Virgin
2 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
Juice of 1 fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
8 fresh mint leaves
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz chilled champagne or prosecco
Add rum, simple syrup, mint leaves and bitters to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously—no need to muddle, as the ice will smash the mint—then strain into a glass. Top with the sparkling wine.
Makes 1 Drink

A Real Daiquiri
2 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 Thinly sliced lime wheel
Combine rum, juice and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Float the lime wheel in the drink as a garnish. Makes 1 Drink.

2 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
3/4 ozfresh lemon juice
3/4 oz honey syrup*
3 slices fresh ginger
1/4 oz Islay single malt scotch (such as Laphroaig)
* Honey syrup: combine equal parts honey and hot water and stir until well mixed. Let cool before using, and keep refrigerated.
Muddle the fresh ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until it is well mashed. Add the rum, lemon juice, and honey syrup- shake well with ice. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and pour the Islay scotch over the back of a bar spoon so that it floats atop the drink.
Makes 1 Drink

As always, feel free to experiment with Zacapa as the base of your favorite rum cocktail!

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