Wanting to mix it up a bit (literally), Clint suggested Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. After seeing my selection, an extremely helpful employee said, “I never trust a rum that doesn’t specifically state where it’s made.” Sailor Jerry simply says “Caribbean Rum.” Gun shy after last month’s Tapping House test I gave this great consideration. He guided me toward La Caña Grande Gold Rum from Barbados. “My family uses this as our everyday rum,” he said. At a price point of $10, what the heck.
Upon research, something immediately smelled fishy. Tax and Trade Bureau records show the rum originates in Barbados however, is owned by Distilled Products in Minnesota. This company eerily resembled the model of Tapping House. And guess what? The only distributor we can find is…Total Wine. Since we can’t let a bottle of rum go to waste, we began our tasting.
There is not much substance to this rum straight up. It has a very neutral nose however, once on the tongue the hint of caramel pops then is quickly taken over by subtle spice. We decided to mix two ways.
While watching a thunderstorm dissipate over Cuba, 100 miles to our south, we made a Cuba Libre. In a glass filled with ice, squeeze 1/4 lime, 1 part rum to 2 parts Coke. Normally I don’t like this drink because it’s too sweet. La Caña Grande actually took out the sweetness of the Coke however, I initially didn’t get much of a rum taste. Add another part rum for a refreshing happy hour drink.
On a long layover in St. Maarten I purchased the cheapest bottle of rum I could find and several juices. The St. Maarten Smash was born. In a large glass of ice fill with 1/3 rum, 1/3 pineapple then equal parts orange and mango. The La Caña Grande balances out the sweetness of the juices and you don’t get a bite of rum that kicks back. The first drink will go down so smoothly you’ll be asking for another very quickly. If you decide to indulge don’t say I didn’t warn you. I didn’t name it “Smash” for nothing.
Though we can’t verify where La Caña Grande is made nor even how it’s made, we wouldn’t leave it on the shelf.
Overall rating: 3 out of 5
Mixing Rum Scale
1 – Is there rum in this drink?
2 – Could use some cherries
3 – Great Happy Hour mixer
4 – Worthy of an umbrella
5 – Fine mixer. No umbrella required
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 32 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.