Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
That’s right, it’s September 19, which means it is International Talk Like a Pirate Day once again. In fact, it is the 10th annual Talk Like a Pirate Day, which was brought to the world's attention by a Dave Barry column published a decade ago and which has been gaining followers ever since.
And a fine idea it is, too. A world full of people walking around and saying things like “Arrrrrrrrr!” and “Avast, ye ill-bred offspring of a sea hag and a kipper” would certainly be an interesting state of affairs, and, more to the point, we’d all be standing around drinking rum.
White rum is excellent as a mixer, especially in a classic daiquiri. (A cocktail I’ve been drinking all summer: 2 ounces white rum, 1 teaspoon sugar, juice from one-half of a juicy lime; dissolve sugar in lime juice, add rum, shake over ice, serve up. Avoid blenders.) As with margaritas and tequila, the quality of the spirit does make a huge difference in the cocktail. Then there are dark, aged rums, which are strangely underpriced compared to single malt Scotch, say, and ideal served neat, or with a single ice cube.
Here are some top choices:
Plantation 3 Stars White ($25/1 liter)
The first white rum from a company that made its name with long-aged rums from a range of sources, this lightly fruity white rum is ideal in a daiquiri—if ye can ignore the fact that it was filtered through the bones of dead men. Of course.
Brugal Especial Extra Dry ($20)
There’s a light vanilla note from the oak barrels it was aged in, but overall this is a clean, appealingly straightforward rum, excellent for a rum punch or similar.
Flor de Caña Extra Dry White 4-Year-Old ($15)
A little more substance than the Brugal and a touch of that appealing, somewhat undefinable sugarcane funk (a good thing) make this rum another good daiquiri option. Go buy a bottle, then change your Facebook language settings to “English (Pirate).” Seriously: You can do this.
Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 ($40)
From Guatemala rather than the islands, this is one of the best sipping rums out there - luscious and dark, with complex aromas of citrus peel, toffee and vanilla, full-bodied and slightly sweet. The “23,” by the way, does not mean that it’s 23 years old; instead it’s a blend of rums that are six to 23 years old.
Pyrat Rum XO Reserve ($25)
First, this amber-colored blend of aged rums (up to 15 years old) is impressively complex, with citrus and honey notes and a long finish. Second, it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day. I mean, come on—what are you going to drink instead? Law Abiding Citizen Rum? Arrrrrrr.
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