Mixing spirits vs. sipping spirits for cocktails
Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:10 AM
I regularly also make a lot of rum drinks, but given my lack of cheaper rums (I've got some FdC white, some Kraken, and some Cruzan Blackstrap, but that's it on the under $15 front), and the dominating character of Kraken and the Cruzan, I typically use the more expensive stuff for mixing.
Is this all a waste? Could I easily make do with MG Eclipse instead of XO, or El Dorado 5 instead of the 12? I would think that after a certain point, viz. after the sugar, lime juice, cointreau, etc, are added, the subtleties of the higher end stuff would be lost.
If I'm on to something here, what rums would you recommend for making cocktails?
Off the top of my head, I know I can get the following pretty cheaply: Appleton V/X and Reserve, MG Eclipse and Eclipse Black, FdC 4 and 7, Brugal Añejo, Barbancourt 4 star, El Dorado 5.
Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:31 AM
The long answer is, of course more complicated. Diminishing returns actually kicks in at a relatively high price with even molasses-based rums. And I guess it's all about what you're willing to accept to save money. Sure, you could make all your Mai Tais with Flor de Cana 4 yr gold, and you could make all your Martinis with Gordon's. Neither will be offensive. But when you can get some truly world-class products for an extra $10/btl (or, to put it another way, 40 cents/oz), why bother? You save 80 cents per Mai Tai and have an ok drink, or spend the extra money and have a transcendental experience with every sip.
Many rum cocktails, especially the older Tiki drinks, are designed to make good use of the qualities of "sipping" grade spirits. Which is not to say there isn't a place for FdC white or Cruzan Blackstrap. Just because these are modestly priced does not mean they are not excellent--to my mind Flor de Cana Extra Dry is every bit a premium spirit, it just happens to cost $11/btl. It has a place that cannot be taken by Appleton Extra or Smith & Cross, just as you would be foolish to substitute it where those brands are called for. Unlike Gin or Bourbon, substituting one brand or type of rum for another is no guarantee of a successful drink.
Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:26 PM
You're just going to have to find more room for bottles. ;)
Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:07 PM
I agree with Andy, but I might add that you're not wasting your energy on inexpensive "mixable" rum, either. Many cocktails benefit from rougher ingredients than one might prefer to sip neat. A great example is Laird's BIB Apple Brandy. It would be a pretty rough sip, even with a touch of water.
Pfft, likes no sugar in his cocktails but can't handle a little punch in his booze
Edited by thirtyoneknots, 09 May 2012 - 02:07 PM.
Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:05 PM
Look at it this way, in the US you can buy really good rum for the price of plonk here.