Tuesday, December 20, 2011

“I would rather be in a boat with a drink on the rocks than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.”

There is a saying here in the Keys, “I would rather be in a boat with a drink on the rocks than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.”  Whether you are on a boat or just in your own living room, “on the rocks” is the simplest way to enjoy
a premium liquor. 

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, we are partial to rum.  After years of extensive taste testing, we have settled on what we deem to be, in our experience, the best rum in the world.

Funny story about how we came to find this particular rum.  Our brother Ken shares our love of fine rum, and when he visits us in the Keys, we normally consume mass quantities.  On a visit years ago, he picked up a bottle of Anniversario Pampero at one of our local Key Largo liquor stores, and we all agreed that it was, quite possibly, the best we had ever tasted (and it is still our 2nd favorite.)  Upon returning home, Ken was unable to find it in Tennessee.  A few months later, Suzi’s parents were visiting, and Ken asked if they would pick up a bottle for him.  So, one day, we went to the liquor store where he had originally bought it and they were sold out of it.  Not to be daunted, we went to another store.  They were also sold out.  At the third liquor store to be sold out, we finally asked, jokingly, “Has there been a run on Anniversario rum this week?”  To which the store clerk replied, “Funny you should ask that.  As a matter of fact, there has been.”  It seems that John Travolta was in town (he keeps a place at a resort in north Key Largo) and apparently he always buys everyone on his staff a bottle of Anniversario rum when he’s here.  Apparently, he buys every bottle on the island!

We were very disappointed and feeling bad about letting Ken down, when the store clerk pointed out another bottle of rum that was just a little bit more expensive and said that for his money he thought it was the best rum out there.  On this recommendation, we bought two bottles, one for Ken and one to keep.  And so we were introduced to Ron Zacapa 23 Anos Rum from Guatemala, the best rum in the world.

Ron Zacapa On The Rocks

Half fill a high-ball rocks glass with ice
Free pour Ron Zacapa 23 Anos Rum, enough to cover about half of the ice
Gently shake glass

This rum is far too good for a lime, and friends would never ever under any circumstances let friends mix Zacapa with Coke.  But, if you are ever in Key West with Suzi, don’t be surprised if she splurges for a Zacapa Mojito at El Meson de Pepe’s outside bar on the way to Mallory Square for the sunset celebration.  They make the best mojitos and they have Ron Zacapa on the bar…sometimes you just have to do it.

If you want to spend the money, the Ron Zacapa XO is also a wonderful rum.  It is more than twice the price of the 23 year old, and for our money, we say buy it once to taste it and to get the pretty decanter, then go back to the 23 anos.

As mentioned, Anniversario Pampero is our second favorite rum.  Considering it's only two years old compared to 23 year old Zacapa, it has amazing character.  It also has a nice bite, in contrast to Zacapa's incredible smoothness.  But, sometimes you want the bite! 

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