Rum has a long and romantic history. Pirates in the Caribbean spun tales during rum-infused journeys, the British Navy was said to be run on "rum, sodomy, and the lash," and smugglers who satisfied America's thirst during Prohibition were known as "rum runners." Maybe it's because of our ancestors' torrid love affair with rum that we are so quick to hide it in a mojito, Cuba libre, or mai tai.
Andres Garcia Ricard, director of outlets at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami, is eager to dispel all prejudice and introduce more sophisticated sipping rums to his guests. As smooth as his pours, this charming Uruguayan laments that "rum is not taken seriously" and hopes to educate his guests by providing a flight of three, served with house-made chocolates, as an after-dinner option. The rums are selected to show their complexity and depth.
After placing the luscious libations in varying caramel shades on the table, Andres recounts the origins of each and sets the stage for the flavors that are about to hit the palate. Then we make our way through the tasting.
The first to the judging table is the Dos Maderas 3+5, a light sipping rum that has been aged in sherry casks -- the flavor comes through with hints of vanilla. Next up is Zacapa XO, a viscous nectar with hints of marzipan, caramel, nuts, and a smokiness that lingers in your nose but not your mouth. Last but not least is Pyrat Cask 1623, the darkest of the three and also the rarest. Its flavor is complex with hints of orange zest and a smoothness you would expect to find only in the finest brandy.
A quick search on the Internet confirms that at $280 per bottle, the Pyrat Cask 1623 is not only rare but also considered one of the top sipping rums. At these prices, $35 for a flight of three is a great way to see if your taste buds are on trend.
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The flight is available at all outlets of the hotel. However, for the full educational experience, we recommend the bar. Service is solid, and the tasting rums are enjoyed straight up or on the rocks, with a chocolate morsel after each to cleanse the palate.
14Thirty-Five at Four Seasons Hotel Miami
1435 Brickell Ave., Miami