Yo Ho Ho

It was just this past January that I published an article called What To Drink (Booze Edition), purporting to advise readers as to what liquors they should keep stocked in their houses at all times. One of the things I said was that, unless you had a specific need for it, you could easily get by without a bottle of rum.

I stand by that statement. But in the interests of better living through chemistry, allow me to share two recipes that will give you the specific need for a bottle of rum.

Since today was a particularly beautiful autumn day here in Pittsburgh, I’ll give you one recipe suited for a nice summer day, and one more suitable for the darkest winters. Making a drink with rum that tastes bad is easy. The omnipresent favorite of irritating chicks at frat parties everywhere, the rum and coke, is a great example. It’s a simple drink that manages to make both of its ingredients taste worse. I’m not interested in giving you bad-tasting drink recipes. So here are two good ones.

The Real Daiquiri

“Daiquiri” has become a dirty word in the modern lexicon, having become associated solely with frou-frou strawberry milkshakes from Chi-Chis. Generally, if you say “Daiquiri” to someone, they’ll envision a big glass of frozen ice and strawberry slush which has some amount of rum in it, generally not enough to actually taste.

The real daiquiri is a strong drink. The real daiquiri will make a grown man fall over and forget where he left his brains. Here’s how to make one.

You need: limes, rum, and sugar. And some ice cubes. That’s it.

Squeeze the juice of one lime, and put it into a glass with some sugar (use simple syrup if you have it, but my life is too short to spend making simple syrup). The sugar is “to taste” – I use no more than a teaspoon or so, but you might like more. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Into this, add a shotglass-sized amount of gold or white rum. There are two rules of thumb here. First, you want to add as much or more rum than lime juice. The traditional recipe calls for half again as much rum. Second, don’t use dark rum. It will just ruin the drink and make it taste bad.

Add a couple of ice cubes to the glass. Swish them around, and drink. If you drink it fast, it’s probably a good idea to have something soft nearby to land on when you fall over.

That’s the perfect summer drink. Here’s the perfect winter one.

Hot Toddy

The first step is to develop seasonal affective disorder from not seeing the sun in 2 months because it’s dark when you wake up and dark when you go to bed. Then develop a head cold. When all that prep work has been done, make a hot toddy.

Make a pot of good tea. Fill a teacup about half full. Into this, squeeze half a lemon. If you’re motivated enough, you can cut off the outer peel (which will be bitter and have pesticide on it) and drop the lemon in the cup, but don’t feel like you have to. Add a tablespoon of molasses (or, if you’re me, more), and then a generous tot of rum. Sit near a fire and enjoy.

Those are the recipes that I’m giving to you. But now I need you to give one to me.

A Drink I Don’t Understand

Some years ago I read a certain American magical-realist book that takes place in a mythical fin de siecle New York. One of the protagonists, in the coldest months, frequently finds himself at certain bars where they are serving roast oysters and hot buttered rum.

“Hot buttered rum.” It sounds so intriguing, doesn’t it? What could it possibly be? It sounds all spicy and Christmasy and elegant. So, armed with a search engine and a will to expand my horizons, I found a recipe for the drink, and made it. It tasted exactly as foul as butter and rum mixed together could possibly taste, which it turns out is extremely foul.

So either I simply don’t like the drink – which is certainly a real possibility – or the recipe I got for it was terrible, or the most pernicious option: really, no one in the entire world actually likes this stuff, it’s just talked about because it sounds all old-timey. My challenge to you is to give me a hot buttered rum recipe that you yourself have actually made and enjoyed. If you haven’t personally made it, tasted it, and liked it, don’t bother sharing your recipe here. If you have made, tasted, and liked it yourself, then tell me your secret. So that I can try it too.

I’ll follow up in this space with the results of my attempt to try your recipe.