Warm your body and soothe your soul with the sweet heat of rum

The snow is falling, ice crystals are in the air, hibernation is imminent, but for some – thoughts of skiing, skating and/or snowshoeing exhilarate and excite. I shiver just thinking of it. During the winter months we tend to gravitate to sweeter, richer flavours that bring us a sense of warmth and comfort.

Thoughts of a crackling fire, a good book in hand, a warm mug of hot chocolate, or a snifter filled with soothing spirits like Cognac or a fine whisky in reach, are sure to bring a satisfied smile to your face.

In the past three to five years, brown spirits have definitely grown in popularity; bourbon stole the show this past year for sure, but what about rum? Sipping rum might appeal to those who find Armagnac or Cognac overwhelming or too intense. The sweet nature of this spirit, particularly of quality, aged, dark rum, can take you on an aromatic journey while experiencing robust and intriguing flavours on the palate.

The history of rum is fascinating, dating back to the 1600s with distillation taking place on the sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean. Enjoyed locally, it was also sold to naval officers to sip on to better endure the harsh conditions of life at sea – later part of the rum ration for sailors – but also used for medicinal purposes, rum soon became a valuable commodity in worldwide trade. Rich in influence, politics, rebellion, acquisition, prohibition and celebration, the stories of rum and its producers are passionate and unique, not unlike the flavours found in each bottle.

The majority of rum production worldwide is still in the Caribbean. Rum is made by distilling fermented sugar and water. This sugar came from sugar cane initially, but more recently sugar beets are used. Molasses, incidentally, is the sweet, sticky residue that remains after sugar cane juice is boiled and the crystallized sugar is extracted.

The history of rum in cocktails is as rich and romantic as the exotic places from where the spirit is known, so for the holiday season try these versions of classic holiday cocktails to warm your body and soothe your soul!

Hot Rum Toddy (Classic)

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Optional spices to taste: cinnamon,
  • ground nutmeg, allspice
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • Hot water

Place the butter, sugar and spices at the bottom of a coffee glass or mug. Mix well or muddle, then pour in the rum and hot water. Stir.
…or you can make a large batch of the “base mix” and keep it in the fridge.

Hot Rum Toddy Base Mix (Classic)
Approximately 25 servings

  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs rum extract
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix the ingredients using a beater until everything is blended together. Store in a well-sealed jar in the refrigerator until needed.

To use in a “Hot Toddy”: Pour 1½ oz of dark rum into a coffee glass or mug. Add a heaping spoonful of the hot buttered rum mix. Fill with hot water (not boiling) and stir well.

Egg Nog (Festive)
If you are not up for making this yourself, stop in at the Ship & Anchor, asthey have been serving their infamous Eggnog for over 18 years!

  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup of berry sugar
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1½ cups light cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Nutmeg

1. Separate the eggs. Beat sugar into egg yolks at high speed until thick and sugar has dissolved.
2. Stir in rum, brandy and light cream. Chill for several hours (3 hours at least).
3. Beat egg whites until stiff, beat heavy cream until stiff. Fold egg whites and the whipped cream into the yolk mixture. Pour into a punch bowl and sprinkle over fresh ground nutmeg.

Bacardi Nocturno (Sipping)

  • 1½ oz of dark rum
  • ½ oz of coffee liqueur
  • Orange peel

Fill a tumbler glass with ice cubes and pour in the coffee liqueur. Then slowly pour in the dark rum and stir briefly. Cut a round “coin” of orange peel and hold a lighted match just above the drink. Then hold the orange peel (coloured side down) above the lighted match and squeeze the peel over the flame. Finish up by dropping the twist into the drink.

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