Posts Tagged With: molasses

National Rum Day

Good news: despite the lack of recent posts, I am happy to report we are still alive. Better news: today we are walking around say “yo ho ho” a lot. Not because Christmas is right around the corner – it isn’t, and that first H is a Y, thank you very much – but because August 16 is dedicated to probably the tastiest liquor around. It’s National Rum Day!

Yo ho ho and a bottle of yum is more like it.

The word rum is believed to be derived from the last syllable of the Latin word for sugar, saccharumOr it might come from the Romanian word rum, meaning “strong” or “potent.” Both explanations make sense to me. Interestingly enough, rum was originally a byproduct of sugar cane; it’s actually fermented molasses, which occurs during the sugar refining process. Nobody knew what to do with molasses initially, and viewed it as nothing more than industrial waste. Until some whip-smart plantation slaves in the Caribbean during the 17th century discovered the molasses could be fermented and turned into a tasty alcoholic beverage. Goodbye industrial waste, hello industrial wasted! It quickly gained popularity in Colonial North America, where the first rum distillery was opened in 1664 on Staten Island. In fact, rum became so highly prized, for a while it was accepted as currency – alongside gold – in Europe. Liquid gold, if we’re getting technical.

I’ve long been a fan of rum. Maybe not as big a fan as some people…


But I have my moments.

To celebrate, I had a rum and Coke. And also a shot of the rum, straight up. Bottoms up!

National Rum Day


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39/365: National Molasses Bar Day

February 8 is National Molasses Bar Day! If your first reaction is “What the heck is a molasses bar?!,” you are not alone. Tara and I wondered the same thing. Turns out it’s sort of like a brownie, only without the chocolate. Which makes for a pretty pointless brownie, if you ask me.

One website describes molasses bars as “a vintage favorite brought back to life” and mentions visits to grandma’s house. Neither of my grandmothers ever made molasses bars, so I was really in the dark on what they were, but there are enough recipe links online to be able to cobble something together, which is exactly what my sweet cobbler-slash-baker, Tara, did.

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919.

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919.

Molasses is really good when it’s turned into rum, but is too richly flavored to slurp right out of the bottle by itself. Trust me on this. When sugar cane or sugar beets are processed, the sugar crystallizes and turns into a thick syrup. This is molasses. The word comes from melaco, Portugese for honey. Christopher Columbus introduced molasses to the Americas when he brought sugar cane to the West Indies in 1493, and it quickly became an important trade item for the early Colonists, who used it to bake gingerbread and taffy when they weren’t getting plastered on rum. Molasses may be sweet and sticky, but it is also deadly: in 1919 a tank of molasses at the Purity Baking Company in Boston exploded, generating an 8′ high sticky flood of hot molasses that traveled through the north end of town at 35 mph. Known as the Great Molasses Flood, it ended up killing 21 people and injuring 150. What a horrible disas-tah. Local residents claim they can still catch a hint of molasses in the air on warm and windy days. Now, that’s morbid. And what a horrible way to go, smothered by thick, hot syrup. Kinda makes you feel bad for pancakes.

As tragic as this was, we have to remember: molasses doesn’t kill people, people kill people. Only, in this case, molasses did kill people…

Anyway. Molasses bars! Tara made them last night, and we enjoyed them with coffee this morning. But “enjoyed” is a strong word, because honestly, neither of us were blown away. They taste sort of like spice cake, and were awfully crumbly. And neither of us is particularly keen on the flavor of molasses anyway. But hey, that’s another one in the books!

Molasses Bar

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

17/365: National Hot Buttered Rum Day

Jack Sparrow would approve of today’s holiday: January 17th is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. Of all the various liquors, I think rum has the best flavor, so even though we recently celebrated a hot alcoholic beverage and didn’t care for it, I had high hopes for this drink.

In fact, hot buttered rum is closely related to the hot toddy. Both drinks are popular in the winter months (duh). But where the hot toddy is traditionally made with whiskey and honey, hot buttered rum is made with rum and butter (duh again). Plus brown sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The drink was a big hit in Colonial America, and was created in the 1650s after colonists began importing molasses from Jamaica. They quickly learned this byproduct of sugarcane could be turned into rum, and a series of distilleries opened up across New England. (Similar attempts to turn maple syrup into bourbon, honey into wine, and the tears of Pocahontas into absinthe failed miserably). Soon they were adding rum to everything, including toddies and eggnogs.

Over the holidays, Tara and I saw containers of hot buttered rum mix for sale in area grocery stores. “Perfect,” we said. “We’ll pick some up later.” Only once later rolled around, the product had disappeared from grocer’s shelves. Oops. Had we not learned our own lesson about planning ahead? Fortunately, the internet yielded recipes for making your own hot buttered rum batter. It’s amazingly easy – here’s the one I used:

Recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Batter

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate in a sealed air-tight container for up to two months. This mixture can also be frozen for up to one year before using. Makes eight servings.

Preparing a Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail

  • 2 Tbsp refrigerated hot buttered rum batter
  • 6 oz boiling water
  • 1 1/2 oz dark rum
  • 1 Tbsp light cream (optional)
  • nutmeg for garnish

In a hot beverage mug, combine hot buttered rum batter with boiling water, stirring well until dissolved. Add in rum and cream, if using. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serves one.

Remember how we didn’t like those hot toddies? Well, the hot buttered rum was…drumroll, please…DELICIOUS! Really, really good stuff. We were both impressed. I think we’ll have to make these an annual holiday tradition!

Hot buttered awesomeness is more like it!

Hot buttered awesomeness is more like it!

Categories: Alcohol, Beverages | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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