Rum Review: Ragged Mountain Rum
Rum is one of those things that we usually don’t pay much attention to: if we’re hosting a party and planning on making some piña coladas or daiquiris, we’ll run to the liquor store and pick up a bottle of rum that we are familiar with. We’ll probably pick up a nice bottle of Barcardi, and although there is absolutely nothing wrong with Bacardi rum, the truth is that we are limiting ourselves when we think of rum as a drink to consume in shot form or only in cocktails.
Rum is incredibly varied, and depending on the region where it’s made, it can be a light refreshing drink, or it can be a beverage that can quite possibly put some hair on your chest. The point is that if we only stick with the familiar brands of silver or unaged rum, we are really missing out on a world of flavor. What is doubly tragic is the fact that there are plenty of micro-distilleries in the United States that are making sublime rum that gets ignored on the shelves of alcohol markets.
One American rum that is underappreciated but is quickly gaining fame is Ragged Mountain Rum from the Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Massachusetts. Established only five years ago, this distillery is already producing prize-winning spirits such as gin along with their Ragged Mountain Rum. Like other recent American distillers, the spirits are handcrafted, meaning more flavor and depth remain, and the unique character of their products is attracting legions of fans who are bored of mass-produced, soul-less spirits.
Ragged Mountain Rum is produced only in small batches in traditional pot stills, which further adds depth and complexity to the liquor. According to the website, the over-proof raw spirit is first aged in oak barrels, before any water is added to it. After aging, when water is added, the only water used comes from an on-site spring which is famous for its outstanding levels of purity. The resulting rum is full-bodied, complex, and an absolute delight to drink.
Taste and character
Appearance: The plain, bulge-neck bottle is the first thing one notices; a Spartan label lets the beautiful amber color of the rum speak for itself; no fancy bells and whistles are needed to see this is a rum of quality.
Aroma: One of the biggest complaints that non-rum drinkers have about lower-quality rum is that it smells of old molasses. Ragged Mountain, however, is different; hints of freshly-cut grass, roasted nuts, cinnamon, and oak make for a very pleasant olfactory experience.
Taste: What makes Ragged Mountain Rum a real delight is that rather than having the somewhat flat taste of regular bar rum, it has a taste reminiscent of burnt cane sugar and cinnamon mixed with the brightness of a faint hint of copper. The roasted nut aroma is reflected in the palate as well, and the finish is nice and long, tasting of good quality cinnamon and light-bodied toffee. The taste was much more complex and pleasing than expected.
Tasting and Aroma summary: This is an American rum that is equal to and even surpasses the majority of the Caribbean rums that are on the market. If you’re looking for something different than the traditional Spanish, English, or French versions of rum, then Ragged Mountain Rum will not disappoint and will probably become your favourite.
How to Drink Ragged Mountain Rum
Ragged Mountain Rum works very well as a mixer if you’re a person who finds drinking rum neat to be a little difficult. While rum is traditionally taken by itself and sipped, there are also some fantastic cocktails that feature rum. Because of Ragged Mountain Rum’s hint of cinnamon, it can be taken as an after-dinner digestif, served in an old-fashioned glass with or without a lump of ice; it can also take a cocktail up to the next level. Here are two recipes that are certain to please:
Ragged Mountain Daiquiri
1 cocktail glass or large martini glass
2 ounces Ragged Mountain Rum
¼ teaspoon extra fine white sugar (use more for a sweeter drink)
½ ounce lime juice
Pour the rum, sugar, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, then strain and pour into the glass.
Hot Buttered Rum
1 coffee mug
2 ounces Ragged Mountain Rum
About 4 ounces boiling water
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Squeeze of lemon and 1 inch lemon rind
One teaspoon butter
One or two teaspoons brown sugar
Boil water in a pot along with the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, squeeze of lemon and lemon rind. Boil for two or three minutes until very fragrant. In the coffee mug, mix together the butter and brown sugar in the mug until a paste is formed. Add the boiling spiced water, then stir in the rum and serve. This drink is perfect on a cold day and has also been used as a home cold remedy for centuries.
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