The Joys of Rum, Part 1


Rum needs better publicity representation. How can a spirit so outstanding and enjoyable not be a part of every drinking person’s daily program?

If nothing else, on historic value alone, rum certainly makes for a better story than vodka. Rum was an important part of America’s ongoing troubles with our masters, Great Britain, and was likely one of the causes of revolution.

It was a time when the American colonists were not tolerating the madness of King George III. The King needed money and taxing subjects so far away for tea and rum did not seem like a stretch. To say it was a mis-read of the situation is an understatement of epic and historic proportions.

But our love of rum somehow waned over the years since we whipped Great Britain’s butt. Vodka in more recent times moved into the catbird seat and, for a while during Prohibition, gin became an alcoholic beverage of choice. Now we are enamored with whiskey.

However, rum is making a comeback and given our heat and humidity during more than half the year, rum is an ideal spirit. Versatile, tasty, refreshing, and clean.

Particularly around New Orleans, rum should be a premier spirit. Several of the rums that are now distilled in our city and area are made from Louisiana sugar cane. And why not? Here is a crop that literally grows just outside our front doors.

The cane is pressed and the resulting liquid, molasses, is fermented with added yeast and water then distilled. This all usually happens close to the cane’s origin and so rum production is done mainly in the Caribbean Basin islands and Brazil. Much of the quality of a rum is determined by the quality of the cane and that varies from one growing region to another. Even neighboring islands can turn out noticeably different rum styles.

Rum grades are often determined by the final color of the product: Dark, Amber, Clear, or Gold. Or the rum can be defined by added spices, overproof, and flavored. Most rums are blended and then manipulated with water to achieve the desired alcohol level. The color of rum is determined by the aging time and age of the oak casks in which rum is stored. Clear rums may also be blended and placed into stainless steel vats, not spending any time in oak.

Okay, enough with the education. Let’s get to the best part: drinking rum in classic cocktails.


Classic Mojito

Will not take you more than 5 minutes to make

  • 2 oz White rum
  • 3 Mint leaves
  • 3/4 oz Fresh lime juice 1/2 oz Simple syrup
  • Club soda, to top
  • Garnish: Mint sprig
  • Garnish: Lime wheel

Lightly muddle the mint in a shaker. Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup and ice and give it a brief shake. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Top with the club soda.

Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.

As suggested by


Dark ‘n’ Stormy

Takes less time to make than the Mojito

(All to taste)

  • Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Add Gosling’s Dark Seal rum.
  • Pour in ginger beer and fresh-squeezed lime juice.
  • Stir with a bar spoon.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge.

Thank you,


Planter’s Punch

There are bars that want to fill your glass with all manner of citrus and fruits for this delightful concoction. Do not cheapen the experience or the enjoyment. If you want a Tiki drink or a fruit salad, go in another direction.

  • 3 ounces dark rum. Old New Orleans Amber is genuinely nice, or a fine Jamaican Rum.
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2-ounce grenadine
  • 1/4 teaspoon superfine sugar

Stir well with cracked ice, then strain into a Collins glass full of cracked ice

Dave Wondrich can be trusted with your cocktail life. Thanks, Dave.



There you have Part 1 of our Rum exploration. If you are thirsty for more, there are two choices. Hang tight for two weeks when we post Part 2, or purchase Wayne Curtis’ And a Bottle of Rum, the finest rum volume ever penned by a New Orleanian.





Read Happy Hour here on on Thursdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.



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