Arrr Matie

by Jeanne


After consistent days of listening to the sound of a foghorn through the gray, wet fog that seems to have dampened everyone’s spirits here in the City by the Bay I started to think of an antidote for the summer blues. Fruity umbrella cocktails of an island nature were on my mind.

Rum, a spirit initially made by Spanish colonists from the juice of sugar cane plants in Puerto Rico in the 1500’s is one of the leading alcoholic beverages sold in the world. Bacardi, with the signature bat on the neck is by far one of the frequently recognized brands. It’s also been one of the largest producers and distributors since 1862.

The center of the rum producing world is the Caribbean but Barbados, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, and other warmly suited climates also produce unique blends and styles.

There are white, golden, dark, spiced and aged rums. Rum is created by distilling the by products of sugar making with water. Fermented sugarcane juice or molasses, a by-product of sugar-making is most commonly employed. It’s often aged in barrels that previously contained bourbon or cognac. Caramel is often added to aged rums. Flavored rums such as, Bacardi Limon (citrus), Cruzan flavored rums, Captain Morgan Spiced (vanilla) and Malibu (coconut) account for roughly 39% (2002) of total rum sales. I had a surprisingly tasty vanilla mojito here in the City at the new hipster spot LIME.

White rum is clear, typically light-bodied, and is perfect for mixed drinks. Today white rum is experiencing a bit of a rebirth as manufacturers are aging it in used oak barrels that once held whiskey or Bourbon, giving it a more elegant taste and a golden color which is eventually removed before bottling. Pyrat Superio Blanco, which is on my shelf, was introduced in 1998. This new line boasts of being artisan and handcrafted in the Caribbean island of Anguilla. The nine-pot distilled rum is barrel-aged from seven distillers.

In the last half of the 20th century rum sales have increased due to traveling Europeans and Americans to these rum-producing areas. In Brazil a twin to rum, a cane spirit, similar in flavor profile to light rums known as Cachaca, or Aguardente, is a central ingredient in the making of caipirinha and batidas. However a white rum can easily fill in as it does in this batida recipe that has lifted my spirits. You can add more or less sugar. And although white sugar is listed here I used raw sugar for taste.

Enjoy, matie!

Mango Batida

Makes two drinks

1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks, (1 cup)
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup whole or low-fat milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup white rum
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon superfine sugar

Decorate glasses: Rub lime wedge around outer rims of two (or four smaller) glasses. Spread sugar in a saucer; dip glasses in sugar to coating rims.

Blend batida ingredients in a blender until smooth and thick, about 1 minute. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.