Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cask-Aged Rums

Both gold and dark (or black) rums gain their color from aging in wooden casks, and this separates them from light rum which may be aged in stainless steel. Gold rum is usually aged in an oak cask and may have caramel color and/or spices added to it. Dark rum is usually aged longer than gold rum, and in charred barrels. In many bars, any rum that is not clear is referred to as "dark rum" even though it actually may be gold rum.

Dark rum has a stronger taste than gold rum, and may have a bitter note to some people. Because of this, I tend to use gold rum more frequently and often substitute it for dark rum in recipes like the Hurricane where the bitterness may be perceived as unpleasant in contrast to the overall sweetness of the drink. Although I personally like the taste of dark rum (and it certainly is traditionally called for in a Hurricane), I've found that guests are more likely to enjoy a drink made with gold rum.

Cask-aged rums, both gold and dark, are experiencing a surge in popularity similar to that recently enjoyed by high-end Tequila. It is becoming more common to offer quality rum straight on the rocks, or even neat. When you find a bar that serves well-crafted, cask-aged rums, take the time to sample a few and find out what you enjoy. Then have fun customizing your favorite rum cocktail recipes to match your taste.

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