We do have a little collection of rum bottles in the house, as it is expected to be on offer if you are entertaining Panamanian gentleman. It is the drink of choice for gentlemen here and usually it is taken with Coke. Not Pepsi, Coke, I have learned through my own mistakes and been corrected in no uncertain terms. It must then be served with a generous helping of ice.
Rum tasting and food pairing however was quite new to me. I was coaxed into getting a babysitter and going out on a Saturday night for a number of reasons. Company promised to be great. However, the winning card was one of Panama's top chefs Charlie Collins. Charlie was to be cooking the tasting menu with his team in his home restaurant the Panamonte. This was something not to be missed.
Last night, for the first time ever, I drank the rum mostly straight. We did enjoy a couple of rum and fruit juice cocktails, I particularly enjoyed it with pineapple, but the real point was to taste the different vintages all on their own with food.
Wow, it was amazing. In my amateurish opinion, rum has notes of butter, caramel, almonds, plum, raisins and a sort of alcohol nose. The different vintages show case different balances of the flavors and strengths, the tasting menu exaggerated these.
We started with a grape and almond calzone in a balsamic vinegar reduction, this really helped bring out the sweet as well as almond and raisin notes in the Abuelo anejo a smooth but light rum.
Next up was a 7 yr vintage served with calamari and a mango and plumb chutney with a micro-green salad. The 7 yr was a darker rum and the tasting menu exaggerated the lovely plumy flavors that are in this mature drink.
Third was the Centuria vintage. This was paired with steak, in buttered potatoes a strong jalapeno sauce and mushrooms. The vintage is dark and rich and stands up very well to strong flavors. The buttery flavors of the potatoes really helped round off the alcohol nose which is pretty strong in this drink.
Lastly, we had the 12 yr vintage, this is my favorite we stock it at home and is the vintage in the photograph. Worth mentioning that this excellent vintage stockpiled in my own drinks cupboard was purchased in Price Mart for around $7-8. Why drink whisky when you can drink rum? Yes friends, you can have about a dozen bottles 12yr old vintage rum for every half decent bottle of whisky.
Better still, it was paired with a chocolate risotto and blue cheese ice cream. This is an excellent rum with caramel, almonds and substance that both complimented and stood up to these desserts. The chocolate risotto was fabulous, the blue cheese ice cream not much to my liking but did not spoil the rum.
So, cheers to you all and hope your weekend drinking was as fun as mine.