President Obama recently relaxed the restrictions imposed upon Cuba by the United States. This is good news for those who have been patiently waiting to be allowed to buy Cuban rum and cigars in the United States. Well, kind of. At the moment, it is still illegal to sell these products in the US. So for the time being, we have compiled a list of the five best rum cocktails to make this holiday season, so you can savor the national drink of Cuba and celebrate our newfound relationship.
The Daiquiri – The daiquiri, while not the most interesting or unique rum-based cocktail, is still a classic. One of Ernest Hemingway’s favorites, the daiquiri is the perfect drink for relaxing in the sun, or after a long day when you just need to unwind. Here are the ingredients/recipe for our favorite iteration:
- 2 oz. white rum
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice
Crush ice, combine ingredients in shaker. Shake well, then pour contents into chilled cocktail glass.
The Mojito – Again, not the most interesting, but another essential. In addition, they are easy to make, and refreshing as hell.
1. 10 fresh mint leaves
2. ½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
3. 2 tablespoons white sugar
4. 1 cup ice cubes
5. 1 ½ oz. white rum
6. ½ cup club soda
Place mint leaves and 2 limes into glass. Muddle together at bottom of glass. Add 2 more limes and sugar, muddle again. Fill the glass with cubed ice. Pour rum into glass, adding club soda to taste. Stir, taste, and mix in more sugar and lime to your preference.
Hot Buttered Rum – This classic drink is great for colder nights when you’re curled up on the couch by the fire with your significant other, trying to keep warm. While not tropical like most rum-based cocktails, it’s still delicious and a must-try.
1. 1 small slice soft butter
2. 1 tsp brown sugar
3. Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice
4. Vanilla extract
5. 2 oz. dark rum
6. Hot water
Place butter, sugar, and spices at bottom of mug. Muddle ingredients. Pour in rum and hot water. Stir together. (For those of you feeling adventurous, slowly place a red-hot poker into your mug, being careful not to touch the sides/bottom of the mug. Use this as a way to heat the drink).
Añejo Highball – The Añejo is a much newer cocktail, but it has become a modern classic. Dale DeGroff created the drink in 2000 as a tribute to the Cuban bartenders of the early 1900s. The quality of the rum used to make this drink is of utmost importance, so make sure not to skimp!
1. 1 ½ oz. Añejo rum
2. ½ oz. orange curaçao
3. ½ oz. lime juice
4. 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
5. 2 oz. ginger beer
6. Lime wheel for garnish
7. Orange slice for garnish
Combine the rum, caraçao, lime juice, and bitters in highball glass with ice. Add ginger beer. Garnish drink with orange and lime.
The Jean Harlow – This cocktail is named after the blonde, classic Hollywood actress whose career was unfortunately cut short at the age of 26, narrowly missing out on playing the lead female role in King Kong. Toast to her memory with this delicious cocktail, which was known to be a favorite of hers.
1. 2 oz. white rum
2. 2 oz. sweet vermouth
3. Lemon peel for garnish
Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish drink with lemon peel.
Here at DOWNTOWN, we feel that rum is a delicious, essential, and often, underappreciated spirit to use while making cocktails. We hope you enjoy these recipes and grow to love rum just as much as we do. With our new-found relationship with Cuba, hopefully we will soon be able to enjoy delicious Cuban rum purchased simply from your corner store. Until that day comes, we hope you enjoy toasting to our new friends in the Caribbean with these great drinks.