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Rum Curious: The Indispensable Tasting Guide to the World's Spirit Hardcover – June 1, 2017
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From the Publisher
Sugarcane was first discovered over five thousand years ago. It remains an important crop to the world (especially since it’s used for rum). Today, sugarcane competes against corn and sugar beets for sweetener products. Rum, however, can only be made from sugarcane. These are sugarcane fields in Haiti.
Library of Congress
In 1907, Jamaican rum received a special designation in the United States. The Customs office issued an order to ensure that anything called 'Jamaican Rum' was indeed from Jamaica. 'The Board direct that rums imported from Jamaica or admitted as being of Jamaica origin, are to be entered in the accounts and on all relative documents, including permits as ‘Rum from Jamaica.’ Care is to be taken that this description is not applied to rum from Jamaica which has been blended with rum of other origin.' This shows the value and importance of Jamaican rum at a time when the category was losing major market share to whiskey. In the early 1900s, the Mona Sugar Estate distillery (Jamaica) was thriving with state-of-the-art mixing cisterns and pumps. Unfortunately, the Mona Sugar Estate closed long ago.
Ernest Hemingway loved to drink, and this is his grapefruit-forward self in drink form.
It probably doesn’t take you long to figure out this cocktail was named after booze-loving and brilliant author Ernest Hemingway, who once said, 'I drink to make other people more interesting.' While in Cuba, Hemingway drank a cocktail called the El Papa Doble, which consisted of 3¾ ounces of Bacardi, two limes, half a grapefruit, and six drops of maraschino, mixed in an electric mixer, and served over shaved ice. The Hemingway Daiquiri was created in his honor and with a little less booze.
Shake all ingredients and serve with a grapefruit twist.
- 2 oz. unaged rum
- ¾ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
- ½ oz. lime juice
- ¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- ¼ oz. simple syrup
"A superbly illustrated book, fascinating and informed"
"A spirited look at history"
About the Author
Fred Minnick is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and the writer of the award-winning Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey. Minnick writes about whiskey for Covey Rise, Whisky Advocate, and Whisky magazine. He is the "bourbon authority" for the Kentucky Derby Museum and regularly appears in the mainstream media, including CBS This Morning, Esquire, Forbes, and NPR.
Martin Cate is the author of Smuggler’s Cove and owner of the San Francisco bar of the same name.
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Top customer reviews
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The author starts with rum history. Interesting, but quite the hodgepodge of facts. Writing is very dull and dry. And almost seemed like it might have been accumulated from a quick read of a variety of other history books. Just a regurgitation, without thoughtful contemplation. Without any effort to put the facts in a semblance of order via contemplation. Bottom line: This is not a gift-able book. This is not a book that a rum enthusiast would pick up while sitting in their favorite armchair, sipping and contemplating and reading while glancing at the fire in the fireplace.
With a topic so artisanal and artistic and with such variety in tastes, I was surprised and more than a bit perturbed to see how opinionated this author is. And he gives no leeway, nor is he does he have any sense of diplomacy. I felt like he was trying to force his opinions down my throat. Way too political, way too much regarding governmental control. Hey, I just wanted to learn more about rum and how to taste it and which bottles I could put on my wish list for Santa!
Is this book helpful? Maybe yes, maybe no. It will help you pick out a rum from Appleton, as the author conspicuously shows his fondness for all the Appleton rums. It won't tell you much of anything about rums from producers he thinks are getting "too" much help from government subsidies. And so far, while several large liquor stores within a hundred miles of where I live carry an aisle-full of interesting looking rums, I can't find many of them in this book.
*I received a temporary download of this book from the publisher.
Given his concentration on additives, one area I was surprised Minnick doesn't cover in the book is the role and impact of independent bottlers, and Scotch bottlers in particular, in popularizing additive-free rums. There's no mention of Velier, Cadenhead or Hunter Laing's Kill Devil, all of which did a huge amount to popularize unsweetened rum, though, to be fair, this is an American book and very few such bottlings have made it to the U.S. In any case, as someone who knows a bit about rum but is far from an expert, I found this book extremely informative and would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in learning about rum.
Rum Curious starts with a heft confirming that this is not a side-show book, continues with gorgeous images pulling the reader into an “island mentality,” and then delivers with Fred’s signature style of storytelling through a blend of history, politics, and regulation that conveys the real story and embraces controversy. The addition of tasting notes and cocktail recipes rounds out Rum Curious enabling the reader to make an informed decision when selecting rum. I wouldn’t have known where to begin without this assistance.
I also didn’t know about the use (let alone the controversy) of additives and sweeteners, I hadn’t appreciated how dominantly sugar influenced the developing world, and I never knew how politics helped push rum aside, favoring whiskey. I came in knowing plenty about whiskey regulations, so the contrast with the wild-west approach to rum regulation was particularly fascinating to me.
I simply devoured Rum Curious, and I’ll bring it on my next beach vacation to enjoy again with a Mai Tai or one of Fred’s suggestions for sipping neat. I wholeheartedly recommend Rum Curious to anyone interested in spirits or Caribbean history, or to anyone just looking for a summer book.