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ChrisTaylor

Black rum

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Tri2Cook   

I guess I just don't know enough to not like Cruzan Blackstrap. Without giving it any serious thought, just off the top of my head, I very much enjoy the Dirt 'n' Diesel (blackstrap rum, fernet branca, demerara syrup, cynar, lime), the Corn 'n' Oil (blackstrap rum, falernum, lime, angostura), the Black Snake (blackstrap rum, cynar, lime, cola), the Penguin In Bondage (blackstrap rum, fernet branca, falernum, lime, angostura, ginger beer) and The Getaway (blackstrap rum, cynar, lemon, simple). I've tried all of the above with Cruzan Blackstrap and with Gosling's Black Seal and I definitely prefer the Cruzan versions.

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Tri2Cook   

I suspect you like Fernet and Cynar more.

Yep... but I like them better (in these particular drinks) with the Cruzan than the Goslings.

 

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abenc85   
On 30/04/2014 at 5:31 PM, Rafa said:

Agreed with both above re: price. It's good in blends with other rums (like The Dead Rabbit's equal parts house mix of Blackstrap, Smith & Cross, and Banks 7), and in a few drinks that call for large amounts of it but balance against other strong flavors (Campari, pineapple, passion fruit, etc). 

 

Having learnt a lesson from my recent posts I thought I'd opt for thread revival instead of starting a whole new topic, so apologies if it seems a bit odd to quote a post from 2014! 

 

I am based in the UK and find myself in something of a predicament. On the one hand we have a great selection of rums available to us, but on the other, we don't have the same selection of rums available as the major cocktail writers and bars that push out materials based in the US. As such I often see adages wrapped around niche products like Cruzan Blackstrap and Coruba Dark suggesting 'only this will do' and offering no insight into how I might be able to substitute it with a product available to me in the UK. 

 

I have had this discussion with others including your own @FrogPrincesse on the subject of dark rums; in particular Coruba Dark, and I'm reasonably happy that I am not missing too much as I am quite happy to use Appleton 12 in its place. I then heard about Cruzan Blackstrap, which again, gets a mixed bag of praise and condemnation from various aficionados of the trade. 

 

I'm currently building a staple rum collection working with 3 main books; Beachbum Berry Remixed, Smugger's Cove and Death & Co. There's a common list of rums here either available or with viable substitutions but there is still the odd recipe calling for these 2 specific rums mentioned above and having recently stumbled across this idea from Dead Rabbit I wonder if there is merit to developing a couple of clever 'blends' to work in place of these rums to create comparable, or possibly even superior options to use in these drinks.

 

I'm trying to be as Draconian as I can be about my cabinet real-estate and so I've tried to nail down as narrow a list as possible of rums to own to achieve this. I thought I'd put to you what I have and what modifiers I've considered and see if I can use the collective mixology genius here to come up with some good options for blends.

 

Definite bottles will be: Appleton Extra (12), Smith & Cross, Appleton Signature or Reserve (haven't decided which and can't justify both), Bacardi 8, Gosling's Black Seal, Flor de Cana dry, El Dorado 12 +/or 3/5/8 (haven't decided what combination again), JM Blanc/La Favorite, Scarlet Ibis.

 

Potential modifiers I've considered are: Clement VSOP, Barbancourt 8 (though struggling to find many recipes using it), Banks 7 Island, Skippers Demerara, Wood's 100 Demerara, Old Salt English rum (pure pot still molasses). 

 

My other consideration has been the Molasses syrup as per the Smuggler's cove recipe; from what I've read the Cruzan Blackstrap is more or less a liqueur of sorts as it's got molasses added back in; surely there's scope here to use the syrup to create my own Blackstrap molasses rum? 

 

I'm loathed to add in modifiers unless they can bring a lot of utility to the table, but I am open to it!

 

So my (rather long-winded) question is: How can I best utilise what is available to me to recreate what isn't available to me, as highlighted above? 

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Not sure it answers your question but Smith & Cross and Appleton 12 are nothing like a black rum.

 

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abenc85   
1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Not sure it answers your question but Smith & Cross and Appleton 12 are nothing like a black rum.

 

 


I am aware the only black rums I've referenced by definition are Goslings, Skippers and Wood's. Unfortunately I don't know what I don't know and that is how they compare 2 major black rums used in the states that I've not had the opportunity to try nor am likely to. I am basing the sub of Appleton 12 for Coruba on a recommendation put forward by Jeff Berry, and I'm basing the idea of Smith & Cross possibly forming part of a 'home blend black rum' on the idea put forward by Dead Rabbit. What would you suggest? 

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Been awhile since I had either the Goslings Black Seal or the Cruzan Blackstrap (I have both in the liquor cabinet but don't really care for either that much and relegate them to use in the occasional specific cocktail).  

 

I presume you don't have access to the Hamilton Pot Still Black rum? It is presumably all pot still as the name suggests and supposedly is more like what Coruba Dark used to be but isn't so much anymore (and as you no doubt know about the only recommendation in Smugglers Cove for that style). As for a good Black Jamaican rum substitute blend I think that will be tough to recreate. 

 

Maybe the Gosling with a bit of molasses added will get you to Cruzan Blackstrap? Cruzan also has a touch of anise to me as well. Can't recall if Gosling has that but I think it did as it is a bit more spice heavy. Maybe Gosling, Smith & Cross and a bit of molasses in some blend?

 

Of course it is a wee bit tricky to create a blend to substitute if you haven't tried the original! Have you got a US friend that could send you samples of each if sending a full bottle isn't practical? Can't be too hard to send a couple of 2 or 4 oz boston round sample bottles to the UK.

 

 

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abenc85   
46 minutes ago, tanstaafl2 said:

Been awhile since I had either the Goslings Black Seal or the Cruzan Blackstrap (I have both in the liquor cabinet but don't really care for either that much and relegate them to use in the occasional specific cocktail).  

 

I presume you don't have access to the Hamilton Pot Still Black rum? It is presumably all pot still as the name suggests and supposedly is more like what Coruba Dark used to be but isn't so much anymore (and as you no doubt know about the only recommendation in Smugglers Cove for that style). As for a good Black Jamaican rum substitute blend I think that will be tough to recreate. 

 

Maybe the Gosling with a bit of molasses added will get you to Cruzan Blackstrap? Cruzan also has a touch of anise to me as well. Can't recall if Gosling has that but I think it did as it is a bit more spice heavy. Maybe Gosling, Smith & Cross and a bit of molasses in some blend?

 

Of course it is a wee bit tricky to create a blend to substitute if you haven't tried the original! Have you got a US friend that could send you samples of each if sending a full bottle isn't practical? Can't be too hard to send a couple of 2 or 4 oz boston round sample bottles to the UK.

 

 

 

Sadly the Hamilton one is another I've looked up and not available to us over here (well actually I asked Ed Hamilton himself and got a none-too-helpful reply).

 

I have one friend who just moved over to California I could potentially ask, however I thought customs were hot on that sort of thing so had avoided it.

 

If it makes any difference, I can get Blackwell Black Gold and Plantation Original Dark (Trinidad and Jamaica) over here at about £20 each if they compare to the black Jamaican.

 

On the Gosling's, it certainly has what is widely described as a 'root beer note'; this might be similar to an anise note? If not, molasses itself I think has an anise flavour to it, if I'm adding that to Gosling's to up the punch?

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Moto   

If you want samples of a range of mixing rums we could work something out.  I could send you a bunch of samples such as Coruba, Hamilton, and many many more in exchange for you forwarding a bottle of UK rum of commensurate cost. 

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, abenc85 said:

If it makes any difference, I can get Blackwell Black Gold and Plantation Original Dark (Trinidad and Jamaica) over here at about £20 each if they compare to the black Jamaican.

 

Although I haven't tried the Blackwell, Kevin at 5 Minutes of Rum, whom I trust, feels that it is an acceptable option for dark Jamaican rum.

He even has a full episode on the Blackwell rum.

 


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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abenc85   
9 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

 

Although I haven't tried the Blackwell, Kevin at 5 Minutes of Rum, whom I trust, feels that it is an acceptable option for dark Jamaican rum.

He even has a full episode on the Blackwell rum.

 

 

 

Did he change his mind somewhere along the way? As in the episode he clearly states this isn't interchangeable with Jamaican Dark rums like Coruba!

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abenc85   
9 hours ago, Moto said:

If you want samples of a range of mixing rums we could work something out.  I could send you a bunch of samples such as Coruba, Hamilton, and many many more in exchange for you forwarding a bottle of UK rum of commensurate cost. 

 

I will drop you a message :D

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5 hours ago, abenc85 said:

 

Did he change his mind somewhere along the way? As in the episode he clearly states this isn't interchangeable with Jamaican Dark rums like Coruba!

I guess you could ask him directly! ;)

 

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abenc85   
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, FrogPrincesse said:

I guess you could ask him directly! ;)

 

 

I would say I'm adverse to pestering bloggers but you know that would be a lie 9_9.

 

In the meantime I think I'm just not going to get the kind of answer I am after (as people are familiar with one thing or the other depending on which side of the Atlantic they sit) so I might be brave and undertake a taste-off. I will of course share the results in case there's anyone else sad enough out there to obsessively agonise over such a 1st world problem! I will trawl the books for ideas but if you or anyone else has suggestions for some good mixed drinks calling for dark rum/dark jamaican that would serve a comparison, I'd love to hear them. I'm going to make a day of it and look at demerara as well (and a bit of crossover). Based on what I've read elsewhere I'm going to try:

 

In the dark category:

Gosling's Black Seal
Blackwell Jamaican Rum
A 4:1 mix of Appleton Extra : Smith & Cross
A 3:1 mix of Wood's 100 Old Navy Rum : Smith & Cross OR Wray & Nephew Overproof OR try both combos

(The last 2 are  based on a reddit thread asking about a sub for Coruba dark, one person suggested that the Appleton/S&C blend is the closest they've got, another person suggested Wood's on it's own but I think it needs a bit of Jamaican funk from the S&C or W&N)

 

I'm totally aware Gosling's is the odd one out but according to Martin Cate it fits and I think it'll be the closest sub to Cruzan Blackstrap I have if I top it up with some molasses syrup. 

 

In Demerara:

El Dorado 8 yr

Lemon Hart 80

El Dorado 12 yr and/or 15  yr

Wood's 100

Skipper

 

I think the obvious choice for Demerara is a Queen's park swizzle? According to Martin Cate, again, LH 80 is supposedly more in keeping with a dark, so I may pit it into both taste-offs. 

 

Does this sound ridiculous and overblown?? Does anyone fancy a trip over from the States to provide a reference for the comparison xD

 

 

Side note: cocktails + mild autism is a great combo

 

 


Edited by abenc85 Typo (log)
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Posted (edited)

Myer's should also be available to you in the UK.

 

Why not try something super simple with your black rum like Steve Remsberg's version of the Planter's Punch, and decide which rum you prefer in that application?

 

Or go to your favorite rum-oriented bar, see what they use, ask them questions, maybe score a few samples in the process... :)

 


Edited by FrogPrincesse \ (log)
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58 minutes ago, abenc85 said:

In Demerara:

El Dorado 8 yr

Lemon Hart 80

El Dorado 12 yr and/or 15  yr

Wood's 100

Skipper

 

I think the obvious choice for Demerara is a Queen's park swizzle?

With the demerara rums, I agree that a Queen's Park Swizzle is a great place to start.

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Rafa   

Black rums (as a commercial category) are usually lightly or minimally aged, with flavorings and colorings thst give them their distinct effect in mixed drinks.

 

Gosling's or Meyer's should work fine in most recipes that call for black rum as a category, though the rums/flavored spirits in this category tend to be distinctive among themselves and a given black rum may not work in all situations.

 

The Dead Rabbit (as well as several other bars, mine included) uses Cruzan Blackstrap because it has a heavy molasses note which exceeds that of most commercially available honest rums.

 

A fun trick is to take a run-of-the-mill medium- or heavy-bodied rum and infuse it with molasses. 

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abenc85   
2 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

Myer's should also be available to you in the UK.

 

Why not try something super simple with your black rum like Steve Remsberg's version of the Planter's Punch, and decide which rum you prefer in that application?

 

Or go to your favorite rum-oriented bar, see what they use, ask them questions, maybe score a few samples in the process... :)

 

I think a planter's punch is an excellent idea and so simple I can't believe I didn't think of it! Thank you!

We can indeed get Myer's. Whereas Blackwell has a bit of a marmite feel in the review community (it really is quite divisive), there seems to be a common consensus of no love for Myer's, so I had avoided it. Would you say it's worth considering? 

As to the final point there, to spin a tragic tale short; I really need to get out more. I haven't yet found my favourite rum bar, in fact I don't think I've visited a rum bar in this country! I would say we don't have many but I just make that assumption and we probably have loads! xD

 

1 hour ago, FrogPrincesse said:

With the demerara rums, I agree that a Queen's Park Swizzle is a great place to start.

 

I think I have my 2 main cocktails decided!

 

1 hour ago, Rafa said:

Black rums (as a commercial category) are usually lightly or minimally aged, with flavorings and colorings thst give them their distinct effect in mixed drinks.

 

Gosling's or Meyer's should work fine in most recipes that call for black rum as a category, though the rums/flavored spirits in this category tend to be distinctive among themselves and a given black rum may not work in all situations.

 

The Dead Rabbit (as well as several other bars, mine included) uses Cruzan Blackstrap because it has a heavy molasses note which exceeds that of most commercially available honest rums.

 

A fun trick is to take a run-of-the-mill medium- or heavy-bodied rum and infuse it with molasses. 

 

I am happy to embrace that learning curve, I just want to make sure I am in the best starting position possible. I'm more than happy to carry 2 or more black rums in my rotation if it makes for some fantastic libations.

 

I think I actually prefer the infusion idea to actually trying out Cruzan Blackstrap. Reading back through the thread I think there's merit to a molasses-laced rum but I am confident I could make something better at home. Have you tried this yourself? I trust it'd be more of a liqueur-making process than an infusion, in that you'd leave the molasses in the rum at the end? 

 

Which bar are you based at if you don't mind me asking? 

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Rafa   
Posted (edited)

Molasses will add some sugar (and acid), though less than you'd think. The final product won't be liqueur-sweet, just pungent with molasses flavor.

 

i think last time I started with ten parts rum to one part baking molasses and found that extremely flavorful and had to rum it down.

 

I currently work at Covina and the Roof at Park South in NYC.


Edited by Rafa (log)

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abenc85   
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Rafa said:

Molasses will add some sugar (and acid), though less than you'd think. The final product won't be liqueur-sweet, just pungent with molasses flavor.

 

i think last time I started with ten parts rum to one part baking molasses and found that extremely flavorful and had to rum it down.

 

I currently work at Covina and the Roof at Park South in NYC.

 

 

Do you think, in that case, a ratio of 1:15 might work? What Gosling's be a good base rum, or do you think something else?

 

The menus look lovely, wish I had known on my last trip to NYC!


Edited by abenc85 (log)

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2 hours ago, abenc85 said:

 

I think a planter's punch is an excellent idea and so simple I can't believe I didn't think of it! Thank you!

We can indeed get Myer's. Whereas Blackwell has a bit of a marmite feel in the review community (it really is quite divisive), there seems to be a common consensus of no love for Myer's, so I had avoided it. Would you say it's worth considering? 

You are welcome. I would include Myer's too. I think it's the same ballpark as Gosling as far as how it's regarded for its use in mixed drinks.

Did you get a chance to read Josh's review of dark rums at Inuakena? (There is a link upthread but here it is again.) He gives similar ratings to both (and rates Coruba higher). His tasting notes are very detailed and helpful. He tried them neat and used a rum mule (aka Dark & Stormy when made with Gosling...) as his test drink.

 

2 hours ago, abenc85 said:

As to the final point there, to spin a tragic tale short; I really need to get out more. I haven't yet found my favourite rum bar, in fact I don't think I've visited a rum bar in this country! I would say we don't have many but I just make that assumption and we probably have loads! xD

If you manage to get out more, Trailer Happiness in London is a well regarded rum/tiki bar. I've always wanted to go there... It's a much shorter distance for you!

 

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abenc85   
16 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

You are welcome. I would include Myer's too. I think it's the same ballpark as Gosling as far as how it's regarded for its use in mixed drinks.

Did you get a chance to read Josh's review of dark rums at Inuakena? (There is a link upthread but here it is again.) He gives similar ratings to both (and rates Coruba higher). His tasting notes are very detailed and helpful. He tried them neat and used a rum mule (aka Dark & Stormy when made with Gosling...) as his test drink.

 

You are not helping my case of looking hard-done-by with a lack of selection here xD. I will add a Myer's sample to round out the trial and make it fairer (glad you avoided the copyright lawyers with your addendum there).

 

16 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

If you manage to get out more, Trailer Happiness in London is a well regarded rum/tiki bar. I've always wanted to go there... It's a much shorter distance for you!

 

I am actually currently working my way through the London cocktails bars with a group of friends and I will add this to the list for my next excursion. The only thing that slightly puts me off is they seem to throw Bacardi in almost all their drinks but I'll go in with an open mind!

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