Should I mistakenly mention dark rum in a recipe, one of my rum enthusiast friends will correct me immediately. "You mean aged rum, and that's kind of a pet peeve," he might say.
Many dark-colored rums (as well as other spirits) are darkened with caramel to make them appear to be older, or just aesthetically pleasing. Spiced rums in particular are usually dark in color but very few spend much time aging in a barrel. Rum experts would rather you not confuse color with age.
On the other hand, many white rums (that are really clear, rather than white) are actually barrel aged for a couple years, then they are filtered to remove the color. But my rum-loving friends complain less about that.
There are very few rules in the rum category (except that it must be distilled from a sugarcane derivative), but when folks refer to aged rums they're usually talking about rums four or more years old. Longer-aged rums can be subsituted for whisky in some recipes- try a Rum Old-Fashioned sometime- or used like a weightier white rum in the recipe below.
I like the Lime Bumboo by sometimes-bartender John Deragon because it takes a typical white rum format- highball glass, lime, a splash of orange liqueur- and gives it depth with Zacapa rum (a blend of rums six to 23 years old) and a unique aged lime brown sugar syrup.
It is both refreshing and worthy of contemplation. Sip slowly while you try to remember how to describe the rum.
By John Deragon
1.5 fl. oz. Zacapa 23 Rum
.5 fl. oz. orange liqueur
1 fl. oz. lime brown sugar syrup*
1 fl. oz. water
Lime wedge for garnish
Nutmeg for garnish
Add all ingredients to a highball glass with ice. Stir and garnish with nutmeg and lime wedge.
*Lime Brown Sugar Syrup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup fresh lime juice
Combine fresh lime juice and brown sugar. Let mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator.