Friday, June 11, 2010

Moonlighting: June '10


Once again it's time to point you to other places where you can get a fat dose of cocktail-related foolishness rendered in words and pictures...

Bachelor Pad Magazine continues to bring it's bi-monthly cavalcade of retro-centric lifestyle goodies to your town! In the new issue I check out a classic cocktail that has me wishing the postal service would make some serious upgrades...


Wouldn't it be great if your mail was delivered by perky gals in jetpacks?

Also, the swell gang over at continues to flout sound editorial policy by running my column each month...


I don't know if this book actually exists, but if it does, I want it.


Sometimes I wish a had a crystal ball I could use to determine my next drink.


If anyone out there actually has a grill shaped like a cocktail glass, call me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Un-Review: Spiced Rum Summit (Pt. 3)


It' s been a while since the last post, but rest assured that during that interval I was not idle. In fact, I was furiously crisscrossing the globe via my custom-designed jetpack. Why was I doing this? To scrounge up several more spiced rums to sample and evaluate, just like I did in part one and part two.

But enough chatter. On with the booze...

- Blackheart Spiced Rum -


Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Yes (pirate, scroll)

Overall Packaging Coolness: Medium/High. Ordinary clear glass bottle with a very cool parchment-type label depicting a sexy lady pirate painted in a retro pin-up style. It's a nice, fun design that puts a cheeky twist on the pirate theme that has become the standard for many spiced rums.

Proof: 93

Spice-itude: Low/Medium. Mostly vanilla with a bit of caramel and an odd artificial taste that is hard to identify.

Coke Compatibility: Medium. Works somewhat well with Coke, and mixing it takes some of the edge off. The overall impression is that it's tasty initially, but the drink ends up being a tad too sweet and artificial-tasting.

Flamboyant Badass Quotient: Low/Medium. The label gets cred for the vintage pin-up, but the rum itself is lacking.

Another Round Likelihood: Medium. (But only with Coke or another mixer)

Overall Assessment: Aside from the label it's not terribly noteworthy, but you could do worse. Comparable to a mid-level rum dosed with vanilla extract. If you happen to trip across some, throw a splash in some Coke and call it even.

- RedRum VooDoo Spiced Rum -


Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: No

Overall Packaging Coolness: Medium. Wide-shouldered, vaguely coffin-shaped clear bottle with label bearing a bamboo motif and stylized tiki in gold foil (And as we've established, gold foil equals class) Setting aside the fact that there isn't a direct relationship between tiki and Voodoo (as far as I can tell), the general impression is one of nonthreatening exotica, so it follows suit with most other spiced rums' packaging.

Proof: 70

Spice-itude: Low. Faint hints of vanilla, butterscotch and cherry, but not much spice bite to speak of. It's borderline over-sweet but startlingly smooth and can be easily sipped on its own.

Coke Compatibility: Low. Much like some other spiced rums, VooDoo seems to make the Coke simply taste like a flavored variety (in this case, cherry/butterscotch) when mixed. It also leaves a stubborn aftertaste.

Flamboyant Badass Quotient: Low. The "party time!" bottle design plus the lack of edge and flavor would make it more at home in a frat guy's backpack than in the grimy mitts of a flamboyant badass.

Another Round Likelihood: Low/Medium. If I was specifically in the mood for a rum without an aggressive alcohol OR spice zing AND on the sweeter end of the spectrum, then I might opt for a second round.

Overall Assessment: A rum with training wheels? The perfect brand for someone who doesn't like rum? A good choice for those who find Captain Morgan too demanding? All are probably true.

Speaking of the good captain...

- Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum -


Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Sure. This is the iconic label design that launched the whole idea that pirates = spiced rum. It also launched a whole slew of imitators. I guess if a mischievous-looking, brightly-attired pirate can sell one rum, it can sell a bunch of other ones too.

Overall Packaging Coolness: Medium. Standard clear bottle with a label showing a jolly pirate standin- oh, screw it. You all know what it looks like.

Proof: 70

Spice-itude: Low/Medium. For being arguably the best-known example of the category, it's surprisingly mild spice-wise. Not bad...just not remarkable in any way. The Budweiser of spiced rum.

Coke Compatibility: Since there are approximately 18,000,000 Rum & Cokes made with Captain Morgan every day, I think we can all agree that it works and move on.

Flamboyant Badass Quotient: I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner, but I'm wondering if a flamboyant badass presented with his/her likeness on a bottle of booze would think it to be the Ultimate Expression of Badassery or merely a corny, pitiful transgression. I'll get back to you after I've given this some more thought.

Another Round Likelihood: Okay, why not? (But only with Coke)

Overall Assessment: Honestly, it really doesn't matter what I write here. If you currently buy the Captain, you'll keep buying it. If you don't currently buy it, you're probably not gonna start.

- Barbarossa Spiced Rum -


(I should note here that this product is identical to "Calico Jack's Bonney's Best Spiced Rum" except for a minor change to the label and a lower proof.)

Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Yes (scroll, boat)

Overall Packaging Coolness: Same as the "Bonney's Best" (reviewed here.).

Proof: 42

Spice-itude: Same as Bonney's, but even less so (if that's possible)

Coke Compatability: Making a Rum & Coke with this is not so much, "I'm having a Rum & Coke" as it is, "My glass of Coke tastes funny."

Flamboyant Badass Quotient: You've gotta be kidding.

Another Round Likelihood: Nope.

Overall Assessment: I'm not sure which is the case, but either Anne Bonney found some weak-ass rum and beefed it up, or this Barbarossa guy watered down an already underpowered product.

- Whaler's Spiced Rum -


Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Yes (boat)

Overall Packaging Coolness: Low. Squat, clear bottle with minimal label showing an old-time sailing ship (presumably a whaling vessel). Combined with the bright orange neck wrapper, the overall effect is akin to a glass bowling pin on a hunting trip.

Proof: 70

Spice-itude: Low. Difficult to pick out any specific spice flavors, but there is an unsettling taste I would describe as "buttery plastic" that tends to linger.

Coke Compatibility: Medium. Works surprisingly well in a Rum & Coke, but I wish it would cut through a bit tends to get lost. Also, it imparts a strange, vaguely orange flavor, which is a plus if you like orange in your Rum & Cokes.

Flamboyant Badass Quotient: Low. Although the bottle shape makes it ideal to grab in a bar fight and break over someone's head.

Another Round Likelihood: Medium (But only mixed. And I'd want a heckuva lot of lime juice.)

Overall Assessment: Not the worst rum I've had, but I doubt I'd make a point of seeking it out.

Bonus item: There is a recipe on the back of the bottle for a drink called "Whale's Breath." I'm still undecided as to whether including a drink with that name will help or hinder sales.