Maybe I’m a romantic who read Treasure Island too young, but I think Rum should taste like Rum. I think light rum should be smooth, clear, and fresh, and I think dark rum should be black, spiced, sweet, and strong. It should taste like something made from sugar, it should taste a little exotic.
A few weeks ago, this mysterious-and cheap-rum appeared at the liquor store:
I bought it on a whim, and it was everything I wanted. Black, strong, and with hints of coffee and vanilla, immediately it became my favorite dark rum, and almost as immediately I wanted to make a drink out of it.
It was strong enough to Reed’s Ginger brew. The fillers in a drink often don’t get enough attention, but Reed’s deserves special mention. A ginger ale made in the traditional Caribbean style, from when people brewed ginger beer at home, with 16 grams of throat burning ginger per bottle. Everyone I’ve had try it loves it, and most can’t go back to Canada Dry, normal ginger ale seems boring by comparison.
But Rum and ginger ale, even a fantastic one like Reed’s, is nothing new. I wanted something to make it unique. I asked our head instructor Cecelia, who used to work in a Caribbean bar, what I should use. We decided on adding passionfruit juice.
There was only one problem. Goya passionfruit tastes pretty terrible. There are so many preservatives, I could only taste an echo of what must have once tasted really good. I put the drink on hold for a while and hoped I would figure something out.
When I was in Montreal, I found Intrigue liqueur, a French passionfruit liqueur with a vodka and cognac, with a stronger flavor and more fruit forward than hypnotic. I thought it might work as an alternative to the actual juice. I was also worried about the delicate flavors of fresh passionfruit and their ability to stand up to such dominant ingredients, and I thought this may work better.
Turns out I was right. Everyone on the staff loved the new drink, it went down smooth and sharp, and everything balanced out. Good thing too! I was so jetlagged from coming back from Canada, that I made the drink for the first time for the staff meeting. Through a combination of luck, international travel, and treasure island, the Kraken’s Rum was born.
- 1 Part Kraken Rum
- 2 Parts Reed’s Ginger Brew
- 1/3 Part Intrigue Liqueur