New Booze! Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

MtGayRum.BlackBarrel 2
MtGayRum.BlackBarrel 2

*I love Bourbon. -Hold that thought. It will all come together soon. I promise.

A few days ago I was invited to a semi-secret launch event at The Club Room in The Soho Grand Hotel for Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum. Personally, I’m a huge fan of brown spirits (Bourbon and Whiskey are my first liquid loves), so I was curious how Mount Gay was going to win me over with a’new’ rum. After writing about spirits for the last few years I realized that all I know about Rum could fill a book… a matchbook. My knowledge base for rum starts with these facts:

  1. They use sugar cane to make it.
  2. Bacardi makes 80 different flavors of it.
  3. It’s not Bourbon.

You might ask 'What does the world need with another rum?’ 'Why the name Black Barrel?' and ‘What does this have to do with Bourbon?’ The answers to these three queries are simple.

  • We are in a Golden Age of cocktails, spirit education and imbibing but somehow we have been bombarded with Rainbow Sherbet Vodkas, Honey flavored Whiskeys and girls that yell ‘WOO!’

Thankfully, the distillers at Mount Gay decided to respect our collective taste buds and create something differently delicious. They chose to enhance perfection; they chose to finish their award winning, double distilled Black Gold (Rum) in bourbon barrels. To be completely accurate, American White Oak Bourbon barrels that have been toasted and blackened on the inside. Hence, the name Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum.

The entire process of West Indies distilling practices combined with North American finishing techniques is nothing short of alcohol alchemy. In doing this, Mount Gay managed to add hints of spice and toasted oak to the nose of a spirit that’s usually plagued by hogo or sugar-based flavoring. To put it simply, they added peanut butter to chocolate – enhancing their high end rum with the best qualities of my favorite spirit,* bourbon.

On tasting Black Barrel you will realize something – This is NOT a frat boy Rum. You will not see 2 Chainz or Drake sipping on this in the club. It is made minus any marketing hype. It was conceived to blossom with ice, demonstrate a seasoned palate when served neat and play well with the other ingredients in a cocktail.

Speaking of cocktails, since Black Barrel Rum’s natural sweet flavor has been infused with smoky Oak notes, the possibilities for new takes on cocktail favorites are greatly increased.

For example:

Rum Manhattan:

2 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

1 oz. sweet vermouth

2 dashes bitters

Stir with ice until well chilled and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with 2 brandied cherries.

My other cocktail recommendation is:

The Rum Old Fashioned:

2 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

1 Sugar Cube

2 dashes bitters

Club soda

1 Orange wheel

Muddle the sugar, bitters and splash of soda. Since this is a modern take on the traditional Old Fashioned, I suggest omitting the cherry and use the Orange wheel as a garnish. Though, hey, cherry if you want to.

Black Barrel is my new favorite go-to rum. It has the tasting and finishing notes any good bourbon drinker would recognize as well as the delicate sweetness that Barbadian rum is known for. Buying a bottle will not only increase the number of cocktails you can create, since it covers both rum and some bourbon possibilities, but it also makes for quality sipping.

Till next we drink.

Always remember and never forget:

“Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”

-Frank Sinatra