For years, mixologists and spirits experts have been trumpeting the return of rum. And its popularity and status in the world of cocktails is now without question. Just as with Scotch, there are bars devoted to the liquor and an ever-growing selection of bottlings. So we asked Martin Cate, all-star bartender and owner of acclaimed San Francisco establishment Smuggler’s Cove, to share with us the five new rums he thinks you should try this winter. Enjoy!
Kirk and Sweeney ($40):
This recently released spirit (pictured above) hails from the Dominican Republic and was matured for 12 years in American-oak barrels. It’s named for a Prohibition-era rum-smuggling schooner and is bottled in California. “Light in body, but long on character,” Cate says. “A subtly complex charmer.”
Caña Brava Rum ($36 for 1 liter):
“Caña Brava is dry but bright and lively,” Cate says of the alcohol co-created by Liquor.com advisory board members Simon Ford and Dushan Zaric. “This lightly aged Panamanian rum comes with gentle fruit notes on the nose and the right proof to make it pop in a perfect Daiquiri.”
Mount Gilboa Aged ($35):
Have you heard of Mount Gilboa? “It’s from one of the oldest distilleries in Barbados,” Cate says. “This triple-distilled, 100-percent-pot-still molasses rum brings plenty of ripe fruit and baking-spice notes and is a gorgeously versatile (and long-awaited) treat.”
Clément 6 Year Old Grande Reserve Très Vieux ($55):
Cate suggests this rhum agricole from Martinique. “Clément 6 Year beautifully balances deep French-oak notes with bright, classic agricole herbaceous and grassy aromas,” he says. “An elegant sipper to enjoy neat or on a rock.”
Banks 7 Golden Age ($30):
Banks 7 Golden Age was introduced a few months ago, and Cate strongly recommends you taste it. “A blend of rums from six islands and arrack from Indonesia makes for an elaborate and intriguing mélange of flavors that ends up having more applications than you would have imagined,” he says. The brand was developed with the help of award-winning barman and Liquor.com advisory board member Jim Meehan.