Rum 101: Six Summer Cocktails

by Matt Robold on August 6, 2009

Rum 101Rum 101 is a continuing series of posts on rum and rum cocktails

Beating the summer heat is one of the top priorities for any person living outside of the Arctic Circle when the sun begins its months-long crusade to bake every person on the face of the planet.  While we’re half-way through summer here in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemispherists are still waiting for their summer, it seemed like a good idea to talk about six summer rum drinks to keep you cool and refreshed while in your bathing suit.

daiquiri_boxed Daiquiri

2 oz White Rum
.75 oz Lime Juice
.25 oz Simple Syrup or Sugar

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass

An all-time classic and often improperly-made drink (I’ve been nearly thrown out of several bars for arguing that a daiquiri does not require the use of a blender), the Daiquiri uses the most common of all rum combinations: rum, sugar, and lime juice.  The British Navy used it in Grog to keep its Navy going.  The French use it for their ‘ti punches.  The Cubans use it for their Daiquiris.  Light and refreshing, this drink will never do you any wrong when the mercury starts rising.

caipirinha_boxed Caipirinha

2 oz Cachaca
1 oz Simple Syrup
Half of a lime, quartered or sliced

Mix cachaca, sugar, and limes in a glass and muddle well.  Fill the glass with ice and give it a good stir until the glass is chilled.

Did I mention that rum, lime, and sugar work well together?  While there are a good number of people arguing that cachaca is not rum, it is not in dispute that cachaca – like rum – is a sugarcane-based spirit that mixes wonderfully in the gold-standard of rum mixers.  This national drink of Brazil will keep you cool all day and let you samba your way through the night.

maitai_boxed Mai Tai

1 oz Jamaican Rum
1 oz Rhum Agricole Vieux
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Orange Curacao
.5 oz Orgeat
.25 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with a lime shell and a sprig of mint

I have something of an obsession with Mai Tais.  The classic Trader Vic concoction simply cannot be beaten when it comes to fun and refreshing.  No pineapples, no grenadine, no coconut rum – the classic Mai Tai is still refreshing and fun with endless ways to tinker.  If you prefer lighter rums, you can make that work.  If you prefer a little more depth, swap out one of the rums for a Demerara rum such as El Dorado 15.  You like a little more “funk” to your Mai Tai?  Try using Scarlet Ibis or Pusser’s Navy Rum in place of the Jamaican for something with a strong navy flavor.

darknsueme_boxed Jamaican Mule

2 oz Rum
3 oz Ginger Beer

Pour ginger beer into a glass with ice, float rum on top.  Add a twist of lime and garnish with a lime wedge.

This drink is often known by another name, but that name is trademarked by a rum company based out of Bermuda (see Cocktailians’ “Chilling Effects” or Jacob Grier’s excellent “Dark ‘n’ Sue Me”).  Rum and ginger beer is one of my absolute favorite highballs.  Ginger and rum play together almost as perfectly as rum and lime, and with such a wide variety of both rums and ginger beers out there, the possible tasty combinations are endless.

mojito_boxed Mojito

2 oz White Rum
.75 oz Simple Syrup
.75 oz Lime Juice
Fresh Mint
Soda

Take the leaves off of one of the sprigs of mint and put them in your mixing tin along with the simple syrup and the lime juice.  Muddle the mint gently.  Add the rum and some ice and shake well.  Strain (you should double-strain) into a glass filled with cracked ice.  Top with soda, garnish with the remaining mint.

It had been a whole drink since we talked about rum, lime, and sugar, so we now return to our well-proven mixture, but with the added twist of mint.  The Mojito is one of the most iconic rum drinks.  Coming to us from Cuba, this libation is custom-tailored to help you beat the heat.

queensparkswizzle_boxed Queen’s Park Swizzle

3 oz Demerara Rum
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Simple Syrup
3 Heavy Dashes
Angostura Bitters
Fresh Mint

Add ingredients and shell of the lime you just juiced into a tall glass.  Fill the glass with crushed ice and swizzle until the glass frosts over.  Garnish with a large sprig of mint.  Serve with a straw.

Rum?  Check.  Lime?  Check.  Sugar?  Check.  Our basics in place, we’ve added bitters and mint and instead of shaking, we’re swizzling.  If you don’t have a swizzle stick (or have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “swizzle”), there is still hope.  Take a long barspoon and place it in the glass and then spin the spoon between your two hands by rubbing them back and forth with the spoon handle between them.  This should get the drink well-mixed and ice cold so that you can enjoy the sunshine without bursting into flames.

Of course, rum was born in the tropics, so there are quite a few more rum drinks that are wonderful for a hot summer day.  What are some of your favorite rum cocktails for sitting by the pool?

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