National Rum Day is coming soon, and on August 16, the staff at The Vivant will be celebrating with fruity rum drinks. We recently ran an article featuring some of New York’s best bartenders and their rum recipes, but not to be outdone, mixologists from California responded in droves and demanded equal time. So who’s the best at concocting creative fruity rum drink recipes? California or New York? It’s a close call. Here’s the best of the best from California:
The Blind Tortuga, from The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar
We love this one for the creative mug alone. Who wouldn’t want to drink rum out of a glass shaped like a pig with a wicked smile? The Blind Pig, in Rancho Santa Margarita, has an expansive selection of craft beers and specialty craft cocktails cooked up by bar manager Ryan Autry. The speakeasy-style bar and eatery menus change seasonally with eclectic and imaginative choices, as well as classic mainstays, promising something for everyone. The Blind Pig is expanding north to Yorba Linda and plans to open in early fall 2018.
The Blind Tortuga is a tiki cocktail made with Scarlet Ibis Trinidad Rum, Plantation O.F.T.D., Del Professore Rosso, Petite Shrubb Orange Liqueur, White Creme de Cacao, Sweet & Sour Tropical Bitter, lemon, lime, orange, and nutmeg. The Scarlet Ibis Trinidad Rum is blended from rums aged three to five years and has been bottled at a higher than normal strength of 49%, and the Plantation O.F.T.D is blended with rums from Jamaica, Guyana, and Barbados.
W&M Old Fashioned from Ways Means Oyster House
I can’t resist an Old Fashioned. It’s the only thing we serve at our Mad Men theme parties. Ways & Means is a world-class oyster bar with locations in Huntington Beach, CA and Portland, OR, with fresh, sustainably-caught seafood and seasonal dishes. Guests can sit back and enjoy a glass of champagne on the outdoor dog-friendly patio, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and HB Pier.
The W&M Old Fashioned is a specialty cocktail made with Papa’s Pilar 24 year aged 90 day re-barreled dark rum vermouth (made in partnership with Ways & Means), honey, and fresh oranges. Papa’s Pilar Rum is a rum inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s passion for adventure and a good drink at the end of the day. Papa’s Pilar graciously donates 100% of their proceeds from their rum to various charities of their choice.
Blueberry Serrano Daiquiri from Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen
With locations in Brea and Irvine, Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen offers a modern twist on the culinary heritage of Mexico and Latin America. In the open kitchen, guests can watch savory dishes being prepared in the wood-fired oven, while free-range Jidori chickens roast to perfection. This energetic Mexican restaurant is always bustling with the sounds of its popular happy hour, live Latin bands, and the conversations of friends and family.
We love the little extra “kick” this drink has from the included serrano chili. The Blueberry Serrano Daiquiri cocktail at Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen is with Myers’s Platinum Rum, fresh blueberries, lime, mint, serrano chili, and hibiscus syrup. Filtered through charcoal to smoothen its taste and remove any color gained during the aging process, Myers’s Platinum rum adds flavor and body to cola, juices, and blended drinks.
Strawberry & Mango Mojitos from The Rooftop Lounge
California casual fare, hand-muddled mojitos and the best sunsets in Laguna Beach, with amazing ocean and coastal views visit The Rooftop Lounge. Located on the roof of La Casa Del Camino Hotel, The Rooftop Lounge supplies visitors with a front row seat for spectacular panoramic ocean views as they enjoy a refreshing fruit mojito.
There’s nothing like a little mango to add a tropical flare to an already great drink. For The Strawberry and Mango Mojitos at The Rooftop Lounge are made with Bacardi Superior Rum, fresh mint, fresh lime, muddled and served over ice – which altogether makes the best, refreshing summer cocktail! Bacardi Superior Rum is a smooth, refined white rum that is perfect for mixing classic cocktails such as mojitos.
The Daiquiri 1919 from Bruno’s Italian Kitchen
Voted the best Italian restaurant in Orange County, Bruno’s Italian Kitchen has all the Italian favorites and a great atmosphere, not to mention all the best Italian wines and craft cocktails.
The Daiquiri 1919 at Brunos Italian Kitchen is perfect to imbibe in during the summer and is made with Myers’s Platinum Rum, Aperol Aperitivo, strawberries, slices of jalapeno, lime juice, and sugar cane. Myers’s Platinum Rum is a white Jamaican rum with a rich, authentic flavor a great option for people who prefer a lighter rum drink.
The Bengal Kitty Punch & Mumbai Tai from Mortar & Pestle
Mortar & Pestle is a Bay Area-based craft cocktail bar known putting an imaginative, Indian-inspired twist on their creative libations. Their menu mainstays have gained much notoriety for their exciting flavor profiles and eccentric presentations – think sparks, fire, liquid nitrogen and freshly cracked coconut cups – while their rotating line of seasonal cocktails focus on pairing the season’s freshest ingredients with Indian flavors. Mortar & Pestle operates two locations in San Jose, CA and San Mateo, CA.
The Bengal Kitty Punch is a large format party punch bowl (serves 4-6) made with Doctor Bird Jamaican Rum, Plantation OFTD Rum, Lune D’Abricot, Vermouth Blanc, Demerara, Lemon, Chai, and Bittercube Jamaican #2 Bitters. Mortar & Pestle also offers a rum-based seasonal summer cocktail, Mumbai Tai, that combines Old Port Indian Rum, Dry Curacao, Garam Masala Orgeat, Lime, and Bittercube Jamaican #1 and Blackstrap Bitters. We’re definitely going to re-create this one for our next office party!
Dan Blacharski is editor-in-chief of TheVivant.com.