Posts Tagged With: Rum

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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263/365: National Rum Punch Day

Avast, ye scurvy dog! I might just make you walk the plank if ye don’t be participatin’ in today’s food holiday. September 20 is National Rum Punch Day!

20130920_184628I’m not sure why pirates are so closely linked with rum. Actually, now I do. (Be careful if you click on the link, though – the skull and crossbones wallpaper might give you a headache and/or make you dizzy).  Rum punches date back centuries, to around the time of Christ; archaeological excavations in Pakistan have uncovered distilleries and “grog shops” where, it is presumed, ancient Pakistanis danced around with many a lampshade on their heads. The word is derived from the Hindi panch, and traditionally referred to a beverage made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices. The British East India Company (those guys again!) brought rum punch to England in the 17th century. From there, it spread throughout Europe and beyond. By the 18th century, most American taverns specialized in rum punch; during Colonial times, it was the most popular drink around. In fact, Benjamin Franklin even printed a recipe for rum punch in his 1737 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack. Some of the oldest rum punches are Planter’s Punch and Bajan Rum Punch; the latter even inspired a national rhyme that helped bartenders remember the key ingredients: “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.” Which translates to one part lime juice, two parts sweetener, three parts rum, and four parts water. A 1908 recipe for Planter’s Punch appearing in The New York Times reads,

This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

I think it’s great how bartenders long ago came up with clever little poems to describe their drinks. They were a talented lot back then, that’s for sure! In honor of National Rum Punch Day, Tara and I decided to hit up our favorite Portland tiki bar, Hale Pele. After all, they’re known for their rum concoctions. All I can say is: holy cow, these packed a wallop!

Hi, there.  Tara here.  Yes, those rum punches do pack quite the wallop.  So much so that Mark is now sprawled out on the couch and mumbling about feeling ‘spinny’.  Oh, I do love that husband of mine.  🙂

National Rum Punch Day

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191/365: National Piña Colada Day*

If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, then put away your umbrella and “escape” to the tropics to enjoy today’s food holiday. July 10 is National Piña Colada Day!

It’s also National Pick Blueberries Day, but we’re working. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Besides, we’ll pay homage to blueberries tomorrow.

Before I continue, let’s go ahead and get this over with. If you’re like me, whenever you think of piña coladas, you end up with this Rupert Holmes song stuck in your head. So go ahead and indulge while reading on.

If you’re interested in a post where I dissect this song and offer some interesting information about it, feel free to check out my personal blog.

The piña colada (gotta get that squiggly line in there to make it official) is a tasty blend of rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut. It’s also the national drink of Puerto Rico. It’s name means “strained pineapple” and, while the first reference to mixing fresh pineapple juice with rum dates back to 1922, the drink itself wasn’t invented until 1952-ish. I say “ish” because, like many of the drinks we’ve celebrated this year, multiple people claim to have invented it. Depending on whom you believe, credit goes to either Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero Pérez at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 15, 1952. Ricardo Garcia, who worked at the same bar, says HE invented the drink. And Ramón Portas Mingot says sorry lads, I am the one who came up with the drink at the Barrachina Restaurant in San Juan in 1963. To this day, the restaurant backs up Mingot’s claim.

While those guys are busy duking it out over ownership rights, I’m content to settle back and whip up a fresh and tasty piña colada. They’re easy to make: just use equal parts rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut (we had no problem finding this in the mixed drink section of the grocery store). Blend with ice, add a tiny folding umbrella if you’ve got one, and sip away. You’ll be transported to paradise!

National Pina Colada Day

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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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