Updated: March 7, 2014 1:23PM
In the mid-seventeenth century, the West Indies sent their sugar and molasses to the British colonies in the north. With such raw materials, hardy New England colonists set to work making rum.
In the tragic “triangle trade” that developed among the colonists, the West Indies and Africa, rum actually was used as a kind of currency. New Englanders bought sugar from the West Indies, turned it into rum, which they sent to Africa to buy slaves, many of whom were sent to the West Indies to harvest sugar.
Today, there are a number of fine rums on the market. Some are good by themselves without adding fruit juice or other mixers.
Ron Zacapa is super-premium rum that, though it may not possess the complexity of a fine Scotch, is suited to a contemplative sip. Ron Zacapa XO Solera Gran Reserva Rum ($99 at Binny’s) is rum you can serve with dinner. We’ve found that the sweetness of rum pairs well with some fish and seafood, like lobster, and cheese-based dishes.
Most rum usually is mixed. Simply adding rum to Coke, for instance, and dressing it with a lime slice, yields the exotic-sounding Cuba Libre.
This time of year, though, what you probably want is hot buttered rum. For this cold weather beverage, don’t use sophisticated rum; the subtlety would be lost under all the spices. For hot buttered rum, any rum will do, and dark rum is usually preferred.
There are many recipes for hot-buttered rum; here’s a super-easy one:
1. Prepare big cup of black tea.
2. Dissolve into tea 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.
3. Add shot of rum; cheers! — David Hammond