By Marsha Fottler –
In the spirits world, infused vodka has been the big trend for the past few years. Recently, gin has made something of a comeback, but the big news right now is rum. Rum for drinking, sipping, evaluating and cooking is the trend of the moment.
This trend is being linked to culinary travel with rum festivals and rum-theme cruises. And there are resorts in Jamaica, Martinique and Barbados that offer a full “rum experience,” meaning you tour rum distilleries and sugar cane facilities, plantations and museums the way you would trek through a winery and vineyard in Napa Valley. You are educated about the history and the shameful slave-culture of rum and you go home with recipes for drinks and foods that are rum delicious. Rum was introduced to the world in the 17th century when molasses (the by-product of sugar production) was transformed by yeast and wood-barrel aging into a marketable alcoholic beverage.
At these rum resorts you are treated to regular tastings which means you have the opportunity to evaluate many kinds of rum from budget to haute. Bottom line, dark rum is generally more flavorful than light for just about anything you end up doing with rum at your house.
Here are a few of our Flavors & More favorite rum recipes.
(from the book Easy Cocktails. Simple to make and popular. This one is made with light rum because you want the color of the drink to remain pale.)
2 measures white rum
¾ measure lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar syrup
Pour the rum, lime juice and sugar syrup over ice and shake vigorously until well frosted. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
(from the book Easy Cocktails)
1 teaspoon sugar syrup
few mint leaves, plus extra to decorate
juice of ½ lime
2 measures of Jamaican rum
dash Angostura bitters
Put the syrup, mint leaves and lime juice in a cocktail glass and crush or muddle the mint leaves. Add ice and rum, then fill with club soda to taste. Finish with a dash of angostura bitters and the mint leaves for garnish.
Figs in Rum
(from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson.)
2 ¼ pounds Black Mission figs (about 18)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¼ cups water
1/3 cup rum, plus tablespoons (and more if needed)
Wash figs and wipe dry. Don’t break the skin. Set aside. Put the sugar and water in a large pan and bring slowly to boil. Let the syrup bubble away for 15 minutes. Take off the heat, add the 1/3 cup rum and the figs. Swill the pan so that the liquid covers the figs and simmer (covered loosely) for about 1 ½ hours. Stir carefully during cooking to keep figs coated with liquid. Remove the figs to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of rum to the pan and stir to combine. Now, pour the liquid over the figs. If there is not
enough syrup to cover them, add more rum. Wonderful over vanilla ice cream.
(from Southern Living Cookbook, 2009 edition)
This bright and piquant sauce is especially nice with firm white fish, shrimp. or scallops.
3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add shallot and garlic and cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until shallot is tender. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in rum and next 4 ingredients and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Serve warm over the seafood.
Rum and Ricotta Fritters
(Makes 3 ½ dozen. From Chef Mario Batali in Food Network Favorites.)
Extra-virgin olive oil
20 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta
5 large eggs, separated, yolks slightly beaten
¼ cup dark rum
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, slowly heat at least 4 inches of olive oil to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the ricotta until it is smooth and creamy. Turn the ricotta out into a large bowl and add the lightly beaten yolks, run and sugar beating we.. Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the ricotta mixture. Beat the whites to still, but not dry peaks and fold them gently into the ricotta mixture. Drop scant tablespoons of the batter into the oil. Cook the fritters until golden and then turn and cook the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately. (Tip: Don’t worry if the batter looks too wet; that’s the secret to these delicious fritters.)
(Makes about 40. From the book Kitchen Classics From The Philharmonic by June LeBell.)
4 cups vanilla wafers
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons water
Cocoa for coating
Place waters in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add walnuts and process until wafers are crumbs and nuts are coarsely chopped. All all remaining ingredients except cocoa for coating and pulse until well combined. With your hands, form into 1-inch balls and roll in cocoa to coat. Arrange on a platter and watch them disappear.