It’s been a good year for rum drinkers. Store shelves are now brimming with tasty bottles of the liquor, and bar menus across the country are full of cocktails featuring it. Give your favorite drinker a taste of the Caribbean this holiday season with one of these five spirits recommended by Allan Katz, general manager of Los Angeles’ renowned Caña Rum Bar.
This new brand makes just one product: a delicious blend of small-batch Dominican rums that are aged as long as 25 years. “Toffee and dried tropical fruits are kept in check by a pleasantly off-dry finish,” Katz says. “This is the rum you use to convert the nonbelievers.”
There’s spiced rum, and then there’s the Guatemalan Montecristo. It “favors cloves and baking spices over the usual vanilla, corn syrup and suntan lotion wallop that dominates other rums in the spiced category,” Katz says.
Mount Gay has been producing rum since 1703, and its Extra Old is a favorite of Katz’s. “This is an uncompromising expression of Bajan distilling,” he says. “The grassy funk of molasses wafts above rich notes of coffee and cacao bean with the oak lending it an undeniably cognac-like base note.”
The elegant spirit from Barbados comes to us via France and the Cognac Ferrand brand. And for the $20 pricetag, you’ll want to buy all your friends and family a bottle. “Papaya, fermented molasses and grapefruit peel politely vie for attention thanks to a transcontinental aging process that ends in the Cognac region,” Katz says.
“Pot-distilled rums from Jamaica and Guyana travel far from their balmy points of origin to pick up some briny goodness on the way to being blended and bottled in Scotland,” Katz says. “It’s not for everyone, but any whiskey lover on your list will get their wig flipped by this one.”