Care for a Rum Cocktail?

This week marks the 10th anniversary of washingtonpost.com, which means it's probably time for a cocktail. If you're not as excited about this milestone as we are at the Web site, perhaps you can toast to the official beginning of summer (the solstice takes place at 8:26 a.m. tomorrow). But the real question is: Do we really need an excuse for a summery quencher?

(Today's post is laced with alcohol, by the way. For drinks without the hard stuff, take a look at these non-alcoholic ideas. )

For me, summer cocktailing means rum. Gin and tonics are about as old hat as my 20-year-old pair of blue seersucker Bermuda shorts, but that doesn't mean I harbor ill toward the isle of Bermuda. In fact, one of my ultra-favorite sippy-poos (a term coined by my Aunt Ginny) is a Dark'n' Stormy, considered the national drink of Bermuda.

Made famous by Goslings rum, a Dark 'n' Stormy is dark rum spiced up with ginger beer, the forerunner of ginger ale - neither of which should be confused with beer of the Budweiser variety. Ginger beer is a highly effervescent, intensely flavored soda made from fresh ginger.

I like how the drink implies impending doom and the short time I have with my drink is a before-the-storm, appreciation of life.

Here are the details (with a little help from washingtonpost.com Bars & Clubs Editor Fritz Hahn)

Dark N Stormy

2 ounces (1/4 cup) dark rum (Goslings, Myers, Mount Gay, Bacardi)
5 ounces ginger beer (Reed's Ginger Brew is one of my favorite bottled brands)
Lime wedge

Pour the rum over ice in a highball glass, then fill with ginger beer. Squeeze in a lime wedge. Stir to mix.


Recently, I was in Miami with my good pal, Nancy, who had her first experience with the mojito, a Cuban rum cocktail with a limey-minty twist. Ever since our return to reality, Nancy has been pestering me for a recipe. This one is for her.

Mojito

2 ounces white rum (1/4 cup)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
4 sprigs fresh mint, leaves removed from stem

Place mint leaves and syrup (or sugar) in a tall bar glass, and using a pestle or end of a wooden spoon, mash sugar into leaves until sugar is dissolved. Add lime juice, rum and ice. Cover and shake. Top with club soda, if desired. Garnish with mint sprig and lime wedge.

For those of you interested in being more precise in your mint leave mashing, consider the muddle, a handy tool with a gentler touch. (It will also make you look like a pro!)

Cocktail resources:
"Ultimate A-To-Z Bar Guide" by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
"Mambo Mixers" by Arlen Gargagliano

King Cocktail, a Web site from Dale DeGroff, author of "The Craft of a Cocktail," which features an A-to-Z list of 100 recipes.

Got more drinky-drink ideas to share? Join me at noon for What's Cooking, my weekly live chat-fest.

Then at 3, Bill Buford, a writer for The New Yorker, fields questions and comments on "Heat," his new book chronicling his experiences cooking for a year at Babbo, the famed New York restaurant owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 20, 2006; 10:40 AM ET Liquid Diet
Previous: Meet Me at the World Bank Cafe | Next: Name That Fruit

Comments

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Yum! A friend just brought me back two bottles of good rum from the Virgin Islands and I've been wondering what to do with them. Your blog today is full of awesome ideas that I can't wait to try!

Posted by: Laura | June 20, 2006 11:10 AM

I've been experimenting with rum drinks for some time, just mixing to see what works well, and have found that pretty much any fruit flavored soda works well with light Rum, and Dark Rum is great for mixing with darker sodas like Ginger ale, Birch Beer, even Root Beer and of course Coke.

Here's a few drinks I've found to be really good and super easy to put together (no muddling).

Pineapple Juice
Orange Juice
Rum
Shake in Cocktail Shaker

Sprite
Pomegranite Juice
Rum

"Poor Man's Mojito"
Sprite
Sprigs of Mint
Shot of Rum

Posted by: crombie | June 20, 2006 11:57 AM

The Caribbean rum punch recipe is:
1 part sour (lime juice)
2 parts sweet (cane juice)
3 parts strong (Rum and Rhums)
4 parts weak (fruit juices)

The fun is in mixing the flavors of rum and juices to produce your own unique drink.

I would recommend starting with real lime juice, real sugar cane juice, Rhum Agricole from the Fr West Indies, and a mix of Pineapple, OJ, and grapefruit juice.

Posted by: Paul | June 20, 2006 12:46 PM

I have a favorite summer drink -- the Diablo. Similar in concept to the Dark and Stormy, but with Tequila:

Squeeze half a lime into a glass full of ice (Rose's lime works fine here too)

Add a shot and a half of tequila, and half a shot of creme de cassis.

Top with ginger ale.

Posted by: Rita | June 20, 2006 1:13 PM

Most mojito recipies seem to call for use of the mint leaves rather than the stem...You can do that - if you don't want a good drink.

When making a mojito, keep the leaves on the stems and muddle with sugar and a couple lime wedges. The bulk of mint flavor is in the stem (not the leaf), which comes out even more with fresh lime.

Once you master a basic mojito, you can play around with different muddled fruits in the base of the drink (or even flavored rums - which are easy and work well) to create a new favorite.

Posted by: daniel | June 20, 2006 2:36 PM

My girlfriend once suggested I use snow cone syrup in a margarita, and now she has a new favorite drink.

Cherry Margarita:

2 shots tequila
2 shots triple sec
1 shot lime juice
1/2 shot (or less) cherry snow cone syrup

The snow cone syrup came in 3 flavors for 5 bucks at Target. All of them work well.

Posted by: Jeff | June 20, 2006 4:15 PM


Remember the Cuba Libre.

Posted by: Bill | June 20, 2006 4:21 PM

ok, so what's the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale, other than that neither of them contains any booze?? I seem to remember a recipe from a child's cookbook I once had that actually called for creating some kind of fermenty ginger starter in order to make ginger beer, but I assume the amount of alcohol was negligible.

Posted by: nick | June 21, 2006 5:34 AM

For me, nothing says summer like icey cold bubbly. My current summertime fave is the Bellini. Peach nectar works great here and is available year round in the juice aisle. Or, you can puree very ripe peaches later on in the summer. The ratio I like is about 1/3 nectar to 2/3 sparkling wine. Top with a slice of peach or a twist of orange zest.

For a change, try mango juice or nectar instead of peach. Drop a couple of cubed mango pieces in the bottom of the glass and drink in the sunset. Perfect way to kick off an evening picnic or a Sunday brunch. Heck, it's good on any old Tuesday night!

Posted by: JB | June 21, 2006 10:11 AM

Mint grows like a weed in our garden so I make a mint simple syrup by brusing a bunch of leaves and letting them come to a boil with the sugar and syrup. I store this in a glass jar in the fridge and whenever we want a mojito out it comes - I also always add more fresh mint and muddle it with simple syrup. Deelish.

Also a big diff between ginger beer & ginger ale. You can make ginger beer and it is a fermentation process but does not contain alcohol or you can easily buy it already made. It should be spicey! and is so wonderful with rum.

Posted by: Calcutta | June 22, 2006 11:29 AM

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