So, two thousand odd years ago Christ was born and as a roundabout result, a bottle of Bacardi Oakheart found its way into my kitchen this weekend. I have to admit, despite how much the screechy 80’s Essex stereotype upsets me, I’ve put away a fair few normal Bacardi n Cokes over the years. Though oddly enough, never at home. By home I actually mean England’s green and pleasant land as opposed to the ground floor one bed flat I type these words from. It’s always been a summer drink to me, for summers better than those I tend to enjoy at home. Maybe it just goes so well with a pool and a Gozitan sunset that any other setting would now spoil it somehow, who knows, but domestic consumption just never happens.
I first noticed dark rum getting trendy a few years ago when I worked in an off licence to bolster my bank balance. I seemed to be constantly filling up the little slot on the shelf between the Smirnoff and the Lamb’s Navy which should be inhabited by Sailor Jerry’s Rum. Never heard of it, but boy did we shift it in that cruddy little shop. And not just to scratchy looking bearded old men with grumbly voices and red noses as I had expected. Well presented, about town, trendy types under the age of 30 seemed to be the standard purchaser. The mind boggled. Briefly. Then I sort of forgot about it, because I don’t really do trendy and even if I did, I certainly don’t drink dark rum.
Flash forward to the more recent past and a bottle was gifted from a friend of the Mr, and there it was on Friday night. Hmm. Will I try some? Yes, I should. But there wasn’t any coke. Now, the man is working his way to becoming a seasoned whiskey drinker so I wasn’t entirely surprised that he would be taking it straight but that kind of thing tends to hurt my face. I don’t like (most) straight spirits, I think it’s the abrasive whiff of fumes scouring your nostrils just before you take a sip that is the worst part. But there is a school of thought that when you’re mixing, you’re not really tasting the core product. So does that mean you’re just sweetening it up to get smashed without any kind of actual enjoyment? Maybe, maybe not, does it really matter oh bloody fine then I’ll try it but I want some ice.
Bacardi tell us that this product is: a bold, spiced rum that gets its robust flavor by fermenting in charred oak barrels. Rich and oaky on the nose, with hints of smoke and dried fruit, this exceptional spiced rum has a robust flavor that stands up to any challenge.
But why listen to them, when they can’t even spell flavour properly? The initial boozy whiff was there to start with, but there was also a sweet aroma that I might call buttery rather than smokey, and it helped me get to the first swallow. It was actually rather nice, rich and almost thick tasting, I don’t know about oaky or any of that but there was definitely a non-descript essence of warm, spicy things. It was almost like a mixture of Glenlivet and Jack Daniels Honey- both of which I have sampled straight up and enjoyed much less than this. I drank the whole glass, which was probably about a standard double, over the course of the next hour or so. I didn’t have another one, but I did savour every mouthful and once the ice started to melt it a little I didn’t make that little winky-ouch-booze-burn face after each swallow.
The real result came on Saturday though, when I refused to fight my inner girliness any further and decided I wanted a mixer. I’m just not made to take it straight. I want tonic with my gin, OJ with my vodka, chocolate in my martini!!!! I resolved to dilute, but with what? Coke is the obvious choice, but I think Mr would have confiscated the bottle if I went down that road, and I object to your standard Coca Pespi kind of cola drinks anyway due to the masses of sugar and evil sweeteners in them, and their general global dominance of tooth decay. When I couldn’t find any old curiosity cola, I thought again. Sweet, sticky, slightly buttery and rich with spice. If it was a dessert, it would be a sticky toffee pudding. What can a sticky toffee pudding handle? Ginger. Perfect. Coupled up at home with a big splash of M&S Firey Ginger Beer, this was a winner indeed and something I plan to enjoy more often. Probably.