September 21, 2007

5 Things to Do With a Bottle Of Rum

I am pleased as punch to introduce the newest Pink of Perfection Correspondent, the inimitable Katy McColl. You may remember Katy from her guacamole instruction, her awesomely helpful career book for creative people with big dreams, or her killer writing chops as the Lifestyle Editor of Jane (RIP). Impressive pedigree aside, she is also my beloved sister, a fellow redhead with a penchant for cocktail hours (word to the wise, we like ’em strong), whittle-waisted skirts, flea markets, Designing Women, and blue cheese. I could not be happier that she is here, and I hope you are too.

Your summer, like my summer, may have felt a bit thin on vacations, but I don’t think that means we should skip straight to Cotswolds-style back to school fantasies just yet. Instead, let us dedicate these last warm days to the redemptive powers of rum drinks.

There’s a lot of crappy rum out there. In fact, if you had been with me at the liquor store, you might have made a quip about this whole rum experiment being doomed from the start, because I was doing my shopping alongside three women debating whether or not to get the pineapple, the coconut and the melon-flavored rums or if two bottles (rum and coconut) would suffice.

Now, cocktails that require you to buy $60 worth of ingredients in order for you to tie one on don’t interest me in the least. Nor are they very POP. So here’s the deal: you buy bottle of rum (the darker the color, the more it will taste like a vacation–pardon the use of brand names here, but Gosling’s Black Seal is my favorite) and I’ll help you finish it off.

pina colada
#1 Pina Colada
I don’t want to inspire a rash of agoraphobia or anything, but there are some drinks you have to make at home, and one of them is the pina colada.

1 part cream of coconut (heat it up a little first; it congeals when it’s cold)
1 part pineapple juice
2 parts Goslings
Twist of lime

Shake up the whole shebang in a cocktail shaker, or, frankly, a glass jar with a lid. Serve with something salty, like banana chips, while reading Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish“.

#2 Rum and Tonic
My father-in-law first prepared this drink for me in Maine, on Somes Sound, in August, so I associate it with tennis skirts, Triscuits and library books. But Rum & Tonics needn’t be the exclusive domain of the WASPs, so feel free to enjoy under the Brooklyn Bridge and whatnot. Goes nicely with mystery novels, like P.D. James’ The Skull Beneath the Skin.

1 part Goslings
1-2 parts tonic
Twist of lime

rum and tonic

#3 Watermelon Cocktail
Fruit syrups are one of those things that sound like a total pain in the ass, but are quite easy. The basic premise is to boil a cup of honey or sugar with a cup of water and mash in fruit (blueberries, watermelon, raspberries, etc). Then you can store it, as a suspension, in the fridge for easy refills. Without further ado, I give you watermelon cocktails.

2 parts Goslings
1 part watermelon syrup
club soda and basil leaves, to taste

Have you actually read Valley of the Dolls? It’s fabulous.

rum and watermelon cocktail

#4 Dark & Stormy
I’ll be honest, they’re not my favorite, but that’s only because I find ginger beer to be…aggressive. Instead of a book recommendation, let’s all take a Myers-Briggs test online, shall we?

2 parts Ginger Beer
1 part Goslings

#5 The Cuba Libre
The Rum Diary inspired a great affinity in me for expat newspapermen in Havana who spend their days crunching the ice cubes in their Cuba Libres. Unfortunately, it also made me feel woefully unaccomplished (Hunter S. Thompson wrote it when he was 22.) Read it now while you can still think of it as a lovely novella written by the man who once asked me if I had any girl-on-girl action at Smith College and not as a movie starring Johnny Depp.

1 part Goslings
1 part Coke (Have you tried Coke Zero? Why not?)
Copious amount of lime

Also, I may have neglected some crucial rum drinks here, and as such, hope that you’ll add your favorites in the comments section. Then we can move on to…whiskey?

Update: Okay, wow, I was kind of curious where the name Dark ‘n Stormy came from:

“Here’s the Dark ‘n Stormy story (and we’re sticking to it):
The Dark ‘n Stormy originated in the ginger beer factory, run as a
subsidiary to the Royal Navy Officer’s Club. It was soon discovered
that a splash of the local black rum was just what the ginger beer
was missing.

The name is said to have originated when an old salt observed that
the drink was the “color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would
sail under.” Probably followed by, “Barman, I’ll have another Dark
‘n Stormy.”


Edward Bottone
Marketing Director/Chef
Gosling’s Rums/Gosling’s Gourmet”

Always nice to know the provenance of things straight from the horse’s mouth, ain’t it?

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  • Miquette: this posting was such a treasure chest of rummy goodness! i must remember the watermelon for those balmy indian summer afternoons we get in san francisco. the literary references totally fed my inner english nerd, too :) if any readers, sarah or katy (yay! i get to read katy articles again!) are ever in sf, check this place out, it’s the best, if not just for the library:
    8 years ago

  • Mom: Katy, very yummy sounding list! The Myers Briggs is a great recommendation to make but the link will not work because it is spelled wrong. Need to facilitate as much self awareness as possible!
    I am so proud of you two beautiful, spirited sisters!! XOX MOM
    8 years ago

  • pbg: i like dark and stormies, but then again, I’m an ENFP
    8 years ago

  • Sarah: Alright MSSW Mom, I fixed the spelling. And I’m an ENFJ.

    PBG, You slay me.
    8 years ago

  • MissPrism: Mojito! Mojito mojito mojito!
    8 years ago

  • Samantha: Oh yay! Katy McColl was my favorite writer at Jane *sniffles*, and what I am really going to miss about Jane is the writers I liked the most. So glad I’ll still get to read her writing on occasion on this awesome blog. Best of luck in your other endeavors, Katy!
    8 years ago

  • Sebastian: The McColl girls really know how to make an entrance. I should know — I’m marrying one.

    We’re so delighted to have you as a guest writer, Katy! I hope you’ll consider pop a second home– just as there’s always a comfy futon and stale champagne awaiting you in Park Slope.

    Please come back often and stay longer!!
    8 years ago

  • Julietta: My favourite rum cocktail is Strawberry Daiquiri (with fresh strawberry), preferably combined with a F. Scott Fitzgerald short story.

    A word of warning: I wouldn’t recommend drinking diet coke with alcohol. I had a very bad night after drinking just one diet cocktail. Just thinking about it upsets my stomach.
    8 years ago

  • kristin: Oh, if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question about Smith… I could spend $60 on the ingredients every time I wanted a drink!!
    8 years ago

  • Katy McColl: How sweet! And good call on the daquiris. I should write everyone a thank-you note. I’m just glad they let me post here.

    Oh, and Coke Zero isn’t Diet Coke, it’s…magic. I think that’s just a superstition about sugar-free headaches. xk
    8 years ago

  • jen: Thanks for the drinks- I made a mango version of your watermelon cocktail and it was delicious! Next time (probably tomorrow) I don’t know if I’ll be able to limit myself to just one.

    The lethal combination of fruit and rum is as magical as the two McColl sisters in one place!
    8 years ago

  • Victoria: Yipee! Although we disagree on Dark ‘n Stormies (I love em), I will try every one of these recipes because I LOVE Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. Yum – ola.
    8 years ago

  • sarah: the key to a good Dark ‘n Stormy is the _right_ ginger beer… many are too spicy for me, too. try a bermudan style one (barretts, if you can find it, or your local microbrew)… voila! best with a squeeze of lime.
    8 years ago

  • Kate Harding: Sarah, I’ve been meaning to ask since I met you if Katy McColl was your sister! Squee!

    Katy, I’ve been a fan of yours for ages. And not just because I’m a fan of anyone who spells Katy with a Y.

    8 years ago

  • Sarah: Hi Kate! Yeah, that’s my sis! I’ve been a fan of hers for ages, too, at least since we stopped terrorizing each other. 😉
    8 years ago

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- Henry David Thoreau