Monday, May 12, 2008

MxMo: Rum


Jamaica Mule

2 oz. White rum
1 oz. Dark rum
1 oz. Gold rum
1 oz. Falernum
1 oz. Lime juice
Ginger beer

Shake everything except ginger beer with ice and strain into a large tumbler (at least 12 ounces…preferably larger) over ice. Fill with ginger beer and garnish with pineapple chunks and crystallized ginger.

Adapted from 1001 Cocktails by Alex Barker


Sometimes I seriously consider renaming this blog “I drink crappy cocktails so you don’t have to.”

By and large, the majority of recipes I dredge up are perfectly fine. There’s only been a been a few where I only took a sip or two before making a cartoon face and dumping it. But recently I seem to be finding myself selecting recipes that look promising on paper, but reveal themselves to be significantly flawed upon tasting. However, these drinks aren’t bad enough to abandon altogether, so I end up trying to salvage them somehow. They look like they should work in principle, so I begin fiddling with proportions and swapping ingredients around.

Such is the case with the Jamaica Mule. In 1001 Cocktails it’s listed as a variation on the classic Moscow Mule, using rum as the base spirit rather than vodka. Since rum obviously plays well with both lime and ginger beer, I figured this was a sure bet.

The big snag wasn’t the concept of the drink, but rather what specific ingredients to use. The recipe only states white, gold and dark rums, but offers no hint as to what styles or brands might be good choices. I began rummaging through my liquor closet, pulling out various rums and looking for possible candidates. (At this point the Bamboo Babe began heaping good-natured abuse upon me as she feels I own far too much rum)

Anyway, I love to experiment and tinker with recipes. However, I hate to waste good booze. So I made a pact with myself that I would give this drink 3 attempts, and if I couldn’t find a configuration I was happy with by then, I’d consign it to my personal cocktail graveyard. Onward I stumbled…

First stab:

2 oz. Havana Club Anejo Blanco
1 oz. Myers’s
1 oz. Pyrat XO
1 oz. Falernum (Fee Bros.)
1 oz. Lime juice
Ginger beer to fill

My thinking here was that using a decent quality light rum would set up a good base for the rest of the drink, and the Pyrat’s strong orange character would complement the lime flavors. Unfortunately, I underestimated just how strong the orange in the Pyrat was, and it came to the top in every sip. Plus, the falernum was way too evident. The whole thing ended up with a harsh, abrasive texture and was really unbalanced.

Second stab:

2 oz. Cruzan light
1 oz. Lemon Hart Demerara
1 oz Appleton V/X
½ oz. Falernum
1 oz. Lime juice
Ginger beer to fill

For this attempt, I cut back on the falernum, but it was irrelevant. This combination of rums is awful (at least in these proportions), and the less said about it the better.

Third stab:

2 oz. Havana Club Anejo Blanco
1 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal
1 oz. Appleton’s V/X
½ oz. Falernum
1 oz. Lime juice
Ginger beer to fill

Third time’s a charm? I’ll tentatively call this one a success (How’s that for confidence?). This is definitely the smoothest of the three, and it’s the easiest on the tongue. There’s no burn…just some pleasant tingle on the finish from the ginger beer, which in this configuration settles in much better with the rums.

Also, this recipe is the only one of the three that seems to truly echo the Moscow Mule and tastes faithful to the original idea. It has the vibe that I believe the creator(s) intended.

One important note: This recipe needs a spicy, somewhat bitey ginger beer. The brand I used was Jamaica’s Finest, a zippy, not-too-sweet locally-made brand. Marleigh managed to find it in her neck of the woods, so it may be widely available. It’s really good…get it if you can.

And if you haven't done so already, head on over to Trader Tiki's and check out all the other glorious rum concoctions!


Colonel Tiki said...

Stupid, quick, funny (ymmv) story: I first thought of a Moscow Mule as a vodka Dark 'n' Stormy. :)

Anonymous said...

"she feels I own far too much rum"

Too much rum? UNPOSSIBLE!!!

Dr. Bamboo said...

Craig- Well, it *is* pretty much a vodka Dark n' Stormy. It's all a matter of perspective!

Dood- Indeed. There is no such thing as too much rum...just not enough limes. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with most version of the drink you tried is more with your proportions than with your rum selections. Fee's Falernum is basicly colored simple syrup, without too much spice to bring to the table. So the large portion of rum to sugar is, well, just boring. Cut the rum pours in half and try it, or better get a better falernum (or make your own), use a spicey ginger beer like Barrets or Bundaberg and pull back just a little.

Kaiser Penguin said...


You simply must make your own falernum. I may have to excommunicate you (from what I'm not sure) otherwise!

Dr. Bamboo said...

Neyah & Rick- I know, I know, I bring shame on my family for relying on prepackaged falernum.

I've managed to make several infused syrups without catastrophe, so it's clearly time to make the leap!

Anonymous said...

Or give Agave nectar a shot instead of falernum. Sweeter (use less) and mixes more easily (very soluble) - plus it's low on cholesterol. Ok i'll stop sounding like a salesperson now

Dr. Bamboo said...

Hey, that's a good tip...except I don't have a clue where to get agave nectar around here. It'll be a special order item for sure!