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By Wayne Curtis

One spirit, Ten cocktails, and 4 Centuries of yankee History

And a Bottle of Rum tells the raucously pleasing tale of the USA as obvious during the backside of a consuming glass. With a bankruptcy for every of ten cocktails—from the grog sailors drank at the excessive seas within the 1700s to the mojitos of contemporary membership hoppers—Wayne Curtis finds that the homely spirit as soon as distilled from the economic waste of the exploding sugar exchange has controlled to infiltrate each stratum of recent international society.

Curtis takes us from the taverns of the yank colonies, the place rum brought either an inexpensive wallop and money for the Revolution, to the plundering pirate ships off the coast of critical the United States, to the watering holes of pre-Castro Cuba, and to the kitsch-laden tiki bars of Fifties the USA. listed below are sugar barons and their armies conquering the Caribbean, Paul Revere preventing for a nip in the course of his recognized trip, Prohibitionists marching opposed to “demon rum,” Hemingway fattening his liver with Havana daiquiris, and today’s bartenders reviving previous favorites like Planter’s Punch. In an age of microbrewed beer and single-malt whiskeys, rum—once the swill of the typical man—has discovered its method into the tasting rooms of the main discriminating drinkers.

Awash with neighborhood colour and wry humor, And a Bottle of Rum is an affectionate toast to this so much American of liquors, a chameleon spirit that has been regularly reinvented over the centuries by means of tavern keepers, bootleggers, living room lizards, and advertising specialists. whole with cocktail recipes for would-be epicurean time-travelers, this is often background at its such a lot intoxicating.

From the Hardcover edition.

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A DRAM OF RUM sits ahead of me. approximately dozen years in the past, it got here out of a nonetheless within the lowland tropics now not faraway from Guatemala's Pacific Coast. It used to be transparent as water while it used to be decanted into charred oak barrels, then it was once trucked to the mountains and elderly in warehouses at 7,650 ft. The makers hire the solera process used to make sherry, because of this rum misplaced to common evaporation is changed by way of rum from the subsequent year's distillation. (For example, rum in a cask elderly ten years is crowned off with rum from the nine-year cask. ) refined chemical interactions among alcohol, oak, and oxygen take off the tough edges, the charred barrel supplies the rum its exciting hue, and the various elevations provide it …well, i am not precisely definite. The mountain coolness slows evaporation from the casks, without doubt, yet no matter what else occurs is a alternate mystery of the los angeles Nacional, the corporate that has made Zacapa rum for many years and is related to have one of many greatest reserves of well-aged rum on this planet. The casks have been deemed prepared for intake while the typical age of the rum used to be twenty-three years previous, after which the rum begun one other trip. It was once bottled, and the bottle used to be decorated with tightly woven dried royal palm leaves. The rum used to be boxed and wear pallets and shipped north, and finally it seemed at the desk the place we sat, a few twenty people, in a ground-floor assembly room of a giant and sleek inn at the Canadian island of Newfoundland. With pencils in hand and bland crackers prior to us, we readied ourselves to sip. The 2003 overseas Rum competition used to be half kaffee klatch, half public debauch (sampling compartments have been open to the general public for 2 days out of the four), and half festival. An island that retains shut corporation with icebergs could seem a strange selection for a rum conclave—where are the palm bushes? —but now not for those who be aware of a bit concerning the early heritage of the Atlantic exchange. within the 17th and eighteenth centuries, salt cod was once shipped to the West Indies to feed the slaves operating the sugar plantations the place rum used to be made. The cod was once usually bought with rum, which used to be despatched north and eagerly fed on via fishermen to maintain hot as they hauled nets within the chilly north Atlantic. Newfoundland shipped its most cost-effective, nastiest salt cod to the West Indies, because it was once used normally to feed slaves. Returning the want, the West Indies planters shipped its least expensive, nastiest rum north. Newfoundlanders constructed a keenness for rum typically, and undesirable rum specifically. a kind of evidence that implies the chronic effect of the prior is that this: Rum bills for approximately 1/2 all spirits bought in Newfoundland this present day, in comparison to approximately thirteen percentage throughout Canada and 12 percentage within the usa. Newfoundland's affection for scarcely potable rum advanced right into a lasting fling with a rum referred to as Screech, which used to be made within the West Indies and bottled in the neighborhood. (The transaction now consists of funds instead of cod. ) Newfoundland Screech was well-known for being all yet undrinkable—strident and overproofed adequate to reason a hasty imbiber to involuntarily emit the sound and then it was once named.

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