Rum Boon: 2013

For years, mixologists and spirits experts have been trumpeting the return of rum. And its popularity and status in the world of cocktails is now without question. Just as with Scotch, there are bars devoted to the liquor and an ever-growing selection of bottlings. So we asked Martin Cate, all-star bartender and owner of acclaimed San Francisco establishment Smuggler’s Cove, to share with us the five new rums he thinks you should try this winter. Enjoy!

Kirk and Sweeney ($40):

This recently released spirit (pictured above) hails from the Dominican Republic and was matured for 12 years in American-oak barrels. It’s named for a Prohibition-era rum-smuggling schooner and is bottled in California. “Light in body, but long on character,” Cate says. “A subtly complex charmer.”

Caña Brava Rum ($36 for 1 liter):

“Caña Brava is dry but bright and lively,” Cate says of the alcohol co-created by advisory board members Simon Ford and Dushan Zaric. “This lightly aged Panamanian rum comes with gentle fruit notes on the nose and the right proof to make it pop in a perfect Daiquiri.”

Mount Gilboa Aged ($35):

Have you heard of Mount Gilboa? “It’s from one of the oldest distilleries in Barbados,” Cate says. “This triple-distilled, 100-percent-pot-still molasses rum brings plenty of ripe fruit and baking-spice notes and is a gorgeously versatile (and long-awaited) treat.”

Clément 6 Year Old Grande Reserve Très Vieux ($55):

Cate suggests this rhum agricole from Martinique. “Clément 6 Year beautifully balances deep French-oak notes with bright, classic agricole herbaceous and grassy aromas,” he says. “An elegant sipper to enjoy neat or on a rock.”

Banks 7 Golden Age ($30):

Banks 7 Golden Age was introduced a few months ago, and Cate strongly recommends you taste it. “A blend of rums from six islands and arrack from Indonesia makes for an elaborate and intriguing mélange of flavors that ends up having more applications than you would have imagined,” he says. The brand was developed with the help of award-winning barman and advisory board member Jim Meehan.

From our Friends



  • Mal posted 5 years ago

    Nobody respects Martin Cate (and his opinions on rum) more than I do. And I certainly didn't mean to imply that he was on the take. After all, the rums written about are all quality spirits. No problem there.

    The only issue issue here is that with Simon Ford and Dushan Zaric on your advisory board, and with a number of mentions of their new liquor company on here lately, it just casts a bit of doubt on editorial independence. The 86 Company makes great products, but let fully independent voices praise them.

    I love this site, and it is great resource. Just hoping to keep it that way.

  • posted 5 years ago

    According to the brand's where to buy page (, it's not available in Georgia yet, but it is in Florida and South Carolina, which means it should be coming soon! You might try contacting the brand directly to find out.

  • Bill Simmons posted 5 years ago

    Where in the Atlanta area can you find the Kirk and Sweeney Rum?

  • Martin Cate posted 5 years ago

    Nobody from any of these rums or gave me a dime for this list. They asked me for a list of new brands that I thought were quality products. Simple as that.

  • posted 5 years ago

    We pride ourselves on maintaining editorial independence at No advertiser may purchase placement in any editorial content, and all sponsored content is clearly labeled as such. The rums in this story were selected independently by Martin Cate without influence from us or from any advertisers. And for the record, The 86 Co. is not currently and has never in the past been a advertiser.

  • Mal posted 5 years ago

    The line between straight content and paid advertisements has been seriously blurred here lately. I love the 86 Co. spirits as much as anyone, but it's just become too much, too often. It is a credibility issue, fellas.

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