Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
davidshap

Light or Dark Rum: Which is more versatile?

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

This is my first post in the cocktail forum and I'm just starting up with mixology. I haven't bought a rum yet, and I think it's time to add a bottle and start experimenting with rum cocktails. I want to make some classics- Daiquiris, Mojitos- and find some more obscure drinks to try. Unfortunately, I'm on a tight budget, and can only buy one bottle to start. So my question is, should I go for a light or dark rum? Since I haven't had much experience with rum, I'm not sure which is more versatile for making the most variety of drinks. Can one be easily substituted for the other, or will that ruin the cocktail?

As a side note, I'm in Sydney right now, and the liquor stores here are terrible. There's not much variety, and my choices are pretty much Bacardi, Appleton, Mount Gay, or Havana Club (which I thought would be good to try since I won't be able to get it when I come back to the US). Any recommendation among those brands?

Thanks for the help!

-David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most people make their Daiquiris and Mojitos with white rum, though, and given the dominance of Bacardi white there are thousands of recipes for using it around. However, quality stuff is more than mediocre stuff, so I'd start with the best bottle of rum you can get. From that list, I'd grab one of the aged Appleton Estate products (12 year or V/X).


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From that list, I'd grab one of the aged Appleton Estate products (12 year or V/X).

I'm don't remember off the top of my head which Appleton they had (there was only two kinds), though its probably the cheapest bottle. Also, liquor is so expensive here, almost everything is 50% to twice the price. Given that I can't go too high end unfortunately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are interested in those particular cocktails, like Chris said above, you will need white rum. Appleton white is more flavorful than either Bacardi or Havana Club. These rums are typically called Cuban style, and they are very light in body and flavor. So for a different opinion, I would start with the Appleton white and mix up some classic daiquiris and mojitos, then start mixing them with passionfruit juice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cocktail Rums are most commonly of the 'Cuban Style' as epitomized by brads ranging from Bacardi, Cruzan, Flor de Cana, and of course Havana Club. They are lighter in body and cleaner in flavor than rums of the Jamaican or Agricole traditions. While Appleton is lovely rum, it is best suited to punch-style drinks and would not suit well in traditional Daiquiris or Mojitos. I'm with those recommending the Havana Club, not least because of it's scarcity back here.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I wouldn't put either Cruzan or Flor de Caña in the same class as Bacardi or Havana Club. Cruzan has a heavier molasses flavor, and the Flor de Caña is drier. I like Flor de Caña very much in a daiquiri, but others find they need to add more sugar. I'd still go for the Appleton given those choices, but that pretty much sums up how rum choices are. Each one is a little bit different, and you will find your personal favorite as you explore different brands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing about rums is that there's a ton of variety, even among rums that you might label "light" or "dark." Talking about rum based on color is the best shorthand we've got, but there are lots of different reasons a rum might look like it does and its color doesn't always tell you what you're getting. So you have to learn by tasting and that's the good part. The bad part (for your bank account) is that you have to buy a lot of bottles.

I'd definitely recommend a light rum. I don't think you can sub out a light rum for a dark rum either--you'd be making a different drink if you did. You said you wanted to make Daiquiris and Mojitos so light rum's the way to go. Drinking a perfectly balanced Daiquiri (the likes of which are, sadly in my experience, difficult to find in a bar) is one of life's great pleasures. There are also a lot of drinks that use light rum. Try a Floridita Daiquiri or its cousin the Hemingway Daiquiri. For something very different with your light rum, try this:

El Presidente

1 1/2 oz light rum

3/4 dry vermouth

3/4 orange curacao

1 dash grenadine

stir/strain/up

orange peel garnish


nunc est bibendum...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
^ I wouldn't put either Cruzan or Flor de Caña in the same class as Bacardi or Havana Club.  Cruzan has a heavier molasses flavor, and the Flor de Caña is drier.  I like Flor de Caña very much in a daiquiri, but others find they need to add more sugar.  I'd still go for the Appleton given those choices, but that pretty  much sums up how rum choices are.  Each one is a little bit different, and you will find your personal favorite as you explore different brands.

Sure they are all different, but they still fall under the same category as 'Cuban Style White Rum' in my book. I've not had Havana Club, but Cruzan and FdC are less different than, for example, Old Grand-Dad BIB and Makers Mark, but nobody would argue that they are not both Bourbons.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the store has Flor de Cana, it's so cheap they're practically giving it away at $13 a bottle or $20 for a 1.75L (the equivalent of $8.50 a bottle). I think I'm gonna buy a couple handles and take a bath in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, it sounds like I should go for a light rum. I'll go to the store later and see what they have.

If I can move a little off topic for a moment, in my "liquor cabinet" right now I have Plymouth gin, Cointreau, cheap reposada tequila, Campari, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Higland Park 12yr, Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters (and lemons, limes and oranges). Are there any good cocktails I can make with these ingredients + rum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Havana Club a lot. I'm not a huge Appleton fan. I think it would be a versatile choice for you and would give you some experiences to talk about when you get back home, "Yes, this is a nice drink but I prefer it with Havana Club..."

That being said, I drink more dark rum and you can get great Ginger Beer in Oz for your dark and stormies. I like the Cascade, from Tazzie.

Never mind the alcohol costs, have you checked out the price of limes? :shock:


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like Havana Club a lot.  I'm not a huge Appleton fan.  I think it would be a versatile choice for you and would give you some experiences to talk about when you get back home, "Yes, this is a nice drink but I prefer it with Havana Club..."

That being said, I drink more dark rum and you can get great Ginger Beer in Oz for your dark and stormies.  I like the Cascade, from Tazzie.

Never mind the alcohol costs, have you checked out the price of limes? :shock:

Oh my god lime are over a dollar A PIECE! You'd think there flying them in from Mars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had Havana Club a few times in Montreal, Riyadh (yes, that's right), and Barcelona, and I don't get what the fuss is about. It's better than Bacardi, but shatter your world? Not.

The only problem is that my only other choice for a white rum may be Bacardi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sure they are all different, but they still fall under the same category as 'Cuban Style White Rum' in my book. I've not had Havana Club, but Cruzan and FdC are less different than, for example, Old Grand-Dad BIB and Makers Mark, but nobody would argue that they are not both Bourbons.

And I certainly wouldn't argue that these are not both white rums. :wink: Here is a link that might be helpful in understanding the differences in white rums, and how they will mix with various flavors.

Robert Burr's Guide

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd lean towards the Havana Club 3yo over the Blanco. I find the Blanco can give an undesirable rough edge to some drinks. The 3yo works great in Mojitos, Daiquiris etc, and, over here at least, the difference in price is tiny - typically around the 50p mark. One small downside is that given its light golden colour drinks like Mojitos don't look quite as good as when made with Blanco, but that's a price well worth paying in my opinion.

The 3yo was a bartender's favourite over here for many years, until Pernod-Ricard did their best to stuff it up by telling everyone they were discontinuing it favour of Especial, which is effectively a rebranded 5yo. They were forced to relent pretty quickly but lost some friends in the process.

Mount Gay Eclipse is quite versatile in a blank pallette sort of way, we use lots of it but it's mostly as a base for our own infusions. It also helps that it's a very attractive price.

Cheers,

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had Havana Club a few times in Montreal, Riyadh (yes, that's right), and Barcelona, and I don't get what the fuss is about. It's better than Bacardi, but shatter your world? Not.

If you're talking about the Blanco I'd have to agree with you. As I implied above, I am however a big fan of the 3yo, especially at its price point, and I don't think I could have a bar with the 7yo on it.

The 15yo is absolutely fantastic, although at £110 a bottle it bloomin well should be! I'm trying to get an opportunity to taste the Maximo if I can find someone kind enough, at well over £1000 it's a bit out of my price range and I think I'd be shown the door very quickly if I tried to stock it on the bar...

Cheers,

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wouldn't put either Cruzan or Flor de Caña in the same class as Bacardi or Havana Club.

If you're talking about quality, I couldn't disagree more about the relative merits of Flor de Caña and Bacardi. I don't think Flor de Caña is the greatest spirit in the whole wide world, but it is miles better than Bacardi (which I think is crap, and I wouldn't use).

I've had Havana Club a few times in Montreal, Riyadh (yes, that's right), and Barcelona, and I don't get what the fuss is about. It's better than Bacardi, but shatter your world? Not.

Havana Club 7 is great. The white rum, IMO, is nothing special.

As chance would have it, I was peripherally part of a conversation at Pegu Club some weeks ago where the subject was "Cuban-style" white rums that are drinkable and delicious in their own right. We couldn't think of any.

I'm beginning to think that Brugal white may be as good as there is for a non-agricole white rum.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wouldn't put either Cruzan or Flor de Caña in the same class as Bacardi or Havana Club.

If you're talking about quality, I couldn't disagree more about the relative merits of Flor de Caña and Bacardi. I don't think Flor de Caña is the greatest spirit in the whole wide world, but it is miles better than Bacardi (which I think is crap, and I wouldn't use).

As chance would have it, I was peripherally part of a conversation at Pegu Club some weeks ago where the subject was "Cuban-style" white rums that are drinkable and delicious in their own right. We couldn't think of any.

I'm beginning to think that Brugal white may be as good as there is for a non-agricole white rum.

I meant that I wouldn't put either Cruzan or Flor de Caña in the "Cuban" category.

As for a sipping white rum, if you are able to get any, I really like Cañita Alambique "Extra Fuerte" from Puerto Rico. It is unlike other PR rums, is made by Trigo, and, for reasons that are unknown, seems to be available mainly in the duty free at the San Juan airport. Soft molasses with a grassy botanical top note. Just lovely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does Appleton V/X or Reserve count as a light rum? I know its not white, but it doesn't seem to be a dark rum either. Could it be used in a mojito or daquiri?


Edited by davidshap (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does Appleton V/X or Reserve count as a light rum?  I know its not white, but it doesn't seem to be a dark rum either.  Could it be used in a mojito or daquiri?

There is a spectrum of colors in the rum family from crystal clear to molasses brown. This variety makes things interesting, but can also be confusing. "Light" rum in a drink recipe almost always means white/silver/clear. Appleton V/X and Reserve are very good mixers (some would say the Reserve is a sipper), but if you sub them in for a light rum, you will have a very different drink due to the deep flavor. If you can find drink recipes that call for gold or even dark Jamaican rum, those would be your best bet because the drinks were created to highlight this type of rum. Appleton has a nice website with lots of drink recipes on it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does Appleton V/X or Reserve count as a light rum?  I know its not white, but it doesn't seem to be a dark rum either.  Could it be used in a mojito or daquiri?

There is a spectrum of colors in the rum family from crystal clear to molasses brown. This variety makes things interesting, but can also be confusing. "Light" rum in a drink recipe almost always means white/silver/clear. Appleton V/X and Reserve are very good mixers (some would say the Reserve is a sipper), but if you sub them in for a light rum, you will have a very different drink due to the deep flavor. If you can find drink recipes that call for gold or even dark Jamaican rum, those would be your best bet because the drinks were created to highlight this type of rum. Appleton has a nice website with lots of drink recipes on it here.

OK gotcha. Though its a different drink, is it necessarily a bad drink? Is a mojito made with Appleton inferior to one made with a white rum or just different?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK gotcha.  Though its a different drink, is it necessarily a bad drink?  Is a mojito made with Appleton inferior to one made with a white rum or just different?

It's different, and probably superior (to my palate at least). However, it doesn't look as nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...