THIS ISLAND LIBATION IS WINNING OVER COCKTAIL CONNOISSEURS AND LIQUOR ENTHUSIASTS ONE SIP AT A TIME .
BY JENNIFER WALKER-JOURNEY
The first time Jono Tapp stepped foot on the grounds of Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa , he could practically taste the rum on his tongue . With the lush palm trees , waterfall spilling into a koi-filled pond and relaxed island vibe , “ it just really felt like I had transcended somewhere tropical ,” recalls Tapp , the property ’ s director of outlets , “ The Polynesian theme , it just screamed ‘ rum ’ to me .”
The Barrel-Aged Mai Tai is made with Catamaran Spiced Rum .
CARIBBEAN ROOTS Island culture is certainly intertwined with rum , which has roots deeply imbedded in centuries-old sugar cane plantations throughout the West Indies .
Rum ’ s origins can be traced back to the 17th century , when a waste product plagued Caribbean sugar cane farmers . Sugar was processed by crushing stalks of sugar cane , boiling the residual juices and pouring that juice into clay pots to cure . Gooey liquid would seep out of the pots , leaving behind the highly soughtafter sweetener . Unsure of what to do with the excess muck that oozed from the pots — a product we now call molasses — some farmers would just dump it en masse into the sea .
Eventually , it was discovered that molasses could be fermented . Suddenly , instead of disposing of it , people started distilling it . The process was refined through the years in the distilleries that sprang up throughout the Caribbean and Latin America .
The liquid distillate is either filtered to remove impurities , which creates a light rum with a sweet but subtle flavor , or it is aged in charred oak or wooden barrels , creating a golden or dark rum with a bolder essence . Typically , the longer the rum ages , the darker its color .
Lighter rums are often mixed into cocktails while the darker , more distinctive rums are generally served neat or on the rocks to allow the subtle notes of espresso , vanilla or burnt orange to be discerned . However , that doesn ’ t mean dark rums don ’ t blend well in cocktails .
MISSION : BEACH ! 35