Tag Archives: rum

The Rum Also Rises

Written by Brian Bianco

Like any good (yet slightly irresponsible) 16-21 year old, the apparent virtues of rum were well known to me. Girls love that shit, so it was common practice to make sure someone got a bottle of Malibu for the party or social gathering, and then maybe something better to be mixed with soda for everyone else. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with rum, but as an adult, I’ve mostly narrowed my sights on the brassiest IPAs, whiskeys and bourbons I can find, which means everything is straight, filling and/or easily mixable with soda. This is a narrow and terrible view – especially as there are now dozens of bartenders around Dallas who can easily show you the wonderful possibilities of vodka, gin and all the other “non-bro” spirits being poured today.

Still, when Susie asked me to taste a sample batch from Papa’s Pilar, my first instinct was to outsource this to the first friend I could find from Florida, but after my calls were not returned, I realized it was time to teach myself how to really taste this stuff and see what I could find out. The rum is named for Ernest Hemingway (bet you love that clever title up there now), so I figured if anyone could teach me to give rum a chance, it’s a man who survived multiple plane crashes and was an all around badass who just happened to be pretty damn eloquent.

After doing some quick research, I learned rum tasting works a lot like wine tasting. You check the legs, you use your sense of smell, you swirl and you let it breathe.  I decided I would do both straight tastings and quickly mix a Dark and Stormy to evaluate the two samples and I’ve recorded my notes below. To reset my rum pallet, I tasted a few sips of a third brand of rum to make sure I had a baseline for comparison, and then I dove in.

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate the really interesting packaging. From the wooden box to the ship style bottles, the presentation of even a simple sample was actually exciting to tear into. They provided background literature from their website that focused on their history, the distillery and the solera aging process they use for both types of rum. Even if you’re just a history nerd who plans to never drink a sip, it’s an interesting read. For more on how the rum is made, here’s one of the most direct summaries I found if you don’t feel like poking around the website.

Papa’s Pilar Three Year-Old Blonde Rum


This was very easy to drink, with a wash of fruit tastes on first sip (especially grapefruit), followed by a deeper vanilla flavor. White rum is usually not my thing, but this had just enough going on to make the sipping experience enjoyable – in fact, I ended up drinking double my planned amount after I made it through the tasting process.


I didn’t do anything elaborate – just some Reed’s ginger beer to see how a simple recipe turned out. While I had only made a Dark and Stormy with darker rums in the past, this actually made a nice and refreshing summer drink I would happily revisit as soon as Texas decides to stop having random freezes in April.

Papa’s Pilar Twenty Four Year-Old Dark Rum


First, this rum took a double gold medal at the World Spirits competition in San Francisco (and the blonde also was recognized at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami), so my expectation to be blown away was high. As much as I tried to fight it, once I had the glass poured, my mind kept telling my mouth to get ready for bourbon. However, the first sip was excellent and I actually had that same rush I get from a good sip of the usual stuff, with complex flavors and a smooth finish. It was spicy, but not in an off-putting way and you could tell the impact of the solera-aging process (thanks, bourbon barrels) and the influence of the different casks.


As good as this rum is neat, mixing it in a cocktail almost felt wasteful. I tried to only give it a few splashes of ginger beer, but even that was a waste. If you’re going to drink this one, neat or on the rocks is the way to go.

So, in summary, I enjoyed both of these rums immensely and recommend you start exploring cocktails with the blonde and keep the dark one on hand to be enjoyed by the secret rumelier hidden deep inside you.

To find a bottle in Dallas, just check out http://www.papaspilar.com/#/wheretobuy/store.

Papa’s Pilar Three Year-Old Blonde Rum – ~$30
Papa’s Pilar Twenty Four Year-Old Dark Rum – ~$40

Event Recap: Mount Gay Rum Dinner at Sissy’s Souther Kitchen & Bar

Not a big rum fan? I can understand where you come from… From my earlier drinking days in high school…er… college, rum has always seemed like this girly liquor that was infused with fruity flavors like pineapple then mixed with even sweeter mixers and topped off with a paper umbrella. (Really?!) I am here to help change this bad rep rum has received from said rum experiences we’ve all had.

Mount Gay Rum recently invited me in for an evening of gorgeous cocktails and delicious food at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar. Having gone to the event with an open mind about rum, I was more than enthused to be persuaded to join rum’s team. After receiving the first delicious cocktail from Sissy’s amazing bar staff using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, fresh herb-infused ice, veggies and juices (shown being made in the video above), I was sold! It was extremely refreshing to enjoy rum without the excess amount of sweet or sour flavors.

Throughout the evening, I was honored to try more cocktails of various styles paired with some amazing dishes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, so much so, Sissy’s offered to make an old fashioned-inspired cocktail using it! And yes, it was pretty amazing.

Next time you’re in the market for a new beverage, have your bartender whip something up using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum. You have this bourbon-lover’s word that you won’t be sorry!

GIVEAWAY: Blue Chair Rum

*Guys can totally win this bottle of rum, too.

It’s better to give than to receive, right?  NOT THIS TIME!  SDD is giving away a bottle of Kenney Chesney’s new rum, Blue Chair Bay Rum!  I was sent a bottle to try, which made this giveaway a real delight.  See a few of the recipes I came up with, and learn how to enter to win below.  Good luck!

– 3/4 cup Blue Chair Bay white rum
– 3 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
– 1-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
– 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
– 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp ground cloves
– 2 cups boiling water

Stir brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves together, then add rum.  Split between four mugs and too off with boiling water.  Stir well and garnish with a cinnamon stick.



COOL WEATHER PUNCH, scalable recipe
This recipe is a longtime favorite of mine that I got from a friend.  This tasted great with the white rum, but would also taste good with the spiced coconut rum.

– 1 part Blue Chair Bay white rum
– 1 part ginger ale
– 1 part apple cider (non-alcoholic)
– a heavy of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients, stir, and serve over ice or warm in microwave.  Garnish with a thin slice of apple and cinnamon stick if desired.


PUERTO RICAN COQUITO, serves 4-5 (depending on how heavy-handed the pourer is)
– 1 cup Blue Chair Bay white rum
– 1 12oz can evaporated milk
– 1 14oz can condensed milk
– 1 15oz can coconut milk
– 2 egg yolks
– a TINY pinch of salt (be careful, I added just a little too much with a normal-sized “pinch”
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– Ground cinnamon

Blend all ingredients on high for 2-1/2 minutes, or until frothy.  Serve VERY cold, and garnished with cinnamon.

Enter to win a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Rum of your very own
by doing any (and all) of the following BEFORE NOON on 12/16.  One entry per platform will be accepted.


  • Comment on this post with a recipe you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Rum
  • Tweet me (@drinkdallas) using #BornontheBeach and tell me which recipe you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Rum
  • Write on my Facebook wall (Facebook.com/SusieDrinksDallas) and tell me which recipe you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Rum
  • Comment on my Instagram post (@susiedrinksdallas) and tell me which recipe you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Rum

Kenny Chesney’s new rum, Blue Chair Bay Rum, was launched earlier this year and comes in three varieties: White, Coconut, and Coconut Spiced.  HIs goal was to bottle the feeling of relaxation and ease he had while in the US Virgin Islands while watching a sunset.  Working with a Barbados distillery that has been making rum since 1983, the West Indies Rum Distillery, he came up with this mild, yet flavorful rum.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmJR7qLbBe0?rel=0]

Shellback, Tony, and Me.

I’ve always liked rum in a “I’m beside a body of water and it’s 80°+” kind of way.  However, the event I attended last week changed my tune a little.

Shellback kicked of its US tour of its “All Hands on Deck” mixology class in Dallas*.  Attendees were welcomed by a rum punch with a sprinkle of freshly-grated nutmeg and mingled while noshing on little bites.  After we were decently primed (and our bellies had a base for the deliciousness to come), we made our way into an immaculately laid-out room complete with bar tools, fresh fruit, and (of course) Shellback Rum … a lot of Shellback Rum.


The author of The Modern Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, walked us through three drinks, the aforementioned rum punch, and a couple other extra tidbits.  We learned the proper way to muddle mint to make the Milestone Mojito, just the right mix of citrus and ginger beer for the First Mate, and the real way a daiquiri is made while creating the Deck Hand Daiquiri (recipes below).  Tony was a blast to learn from, and you didn’t always know which meaning he was going for — the innocent or the risqué (it made it a bit more interesting).

I tried played with Vine, so my drinks took (way) longer to make, but I hope you enjoy the videos! (Linked above.)


Milestone Mojito

  • 1.5 oz Shellback Spiced Rum
  • 1 oz ginger syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 12-14 mint leaves
  • 10-12 slices of kumquats or 4 slices of mandarin oranges or nectarines
  • soda water

Muddle lime juice, ginger syrup, kumquats, and mint in highball glass.  Add crushed ice and rum.  Stir with bar spoon until glass begins to frost.  Top with soda water.

First Mate
  • 1.5 oz Shellback Spiced Rum
  • 1 oz cinnamon simple syrup
  • 2 oz apple juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • ginger beer

Shake rum, cinnamon syrup, apple juice, and lemon juice together with ice until blended.  Strain into chilled Collins glass and top with chilled ginger beer.

Deck Hand Daiquiri
  • 2 oz Shellback Silver Rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • seasonal fruits and berries
Muddle fresh fruits with simple syrup.  Add lime juice and rum.  Shake with ice and double strain into  chilled glass.

**DISCLAIMER: I was invited to this event and attended free of charge.**

*Other dates include: San Francisco (April 10), Miami (May 2), Chicago (June 25), NY (July 9), and Los Angeles (August 16).  Tell your friends … bc this was fun!