Bacardi Spiced or old Oakheart in a new jacket.

Spiced rum is on the rise, slowly but steadily over the last couple of years. And that’s wonderful, because it’s really a category in itself, a playground without rules. And there’s a new kid on the playground…or well, it looks a lot like that older kid we knew, but this time with a new jacket and a bit of a makeover: Bacardi Spiced. Read on below for an excellent serving suggestion and some more info on spiced rum.

Spiced rum isn’t new. The practice of putting spices and other stuff in spirits is as old as any alcoholic drink or spirits themselves. Think of the history of vermouth and spiced wines for instance. There have always been “spiced” rums, since there was rum. Mainly because rum originally was a very, very rough drink and they used spices and other things to break and alter the flavour. ‘Hot and hellish’ was one of its earliest flavour descriptions. Kill Devil it was called among various Caribbean islands… because it could kill you, but it was also believed to kill diseases. It was a special drink, one that could alter your state of being (and that it really did). Soon they were adding certain spices not exactly for flavour, but to alter your state of being. The bark of Bois Bandé comes to mind (a Caribbean aphrodisiac).

The gift pack we received

Over hundreds of years, the quality of rum improved and spiced rum wasn’t envisioned as something you could employ commercially. That is until the last two decades when the rum market exploded and 3/4s of the Globe start drinking rum and Coke. A handful of spiced rums enter the scene, specifically made to go with Coke. After that the rumworld kept expanding, but the number of commercial spiced rums stays more or less the same. Then all of a sudden the world gets reintroduced to ginger ale/beer and bam! Spiced rums start popping into existence everywhere! And it’s a good thing, because it remains a category on itself, it’s not rum, it’s spiced rum. And you can have fun with it! Also, the quality of the spiced rums – in case of taste – is rising, indeed some are quaffable neat or on the rocks!

So today we try the Bacardi Spiced for you. Well, it’s vanilla forward, it’s that kind of spiced rum. Somebody once said you have two kinds of spiced rums: 1. predominantly vanilla and 2. all the rest. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a subcategory of spiced rum. After the vanilla you get nutmeg, pepper, some clove and ginger. And that spicy aftertaste lasts quite long, it tickles the tongue and gives you that Caribbean feel. So, if you’re fond of vanilla and you like sugar an’ spice, this is your bottle.

Serving suggestions

If you like Cuba Libres, try one with Bacardi Spiced. The vanilla makes it go well with Coke and Bacardi Spiced just loves lime. The peppery, ginger notes finish it off. Also definitely try it with some of the new Coca Cola Mixers (Herbal, Spiced, Woody or Smoky), it’s a blast. Of course, you have to order Spicy Libres when the weather has been a steady 35°C the whole day in a country where the crickets aren’t scared of the sound of icecubes being poured in a glass. Sun is setting, you feel the first evening breeze, you had a light meal an hour ago and now you wanna dance. In fact you just made the drink at home, on your wooden porch. At the small, round, chipped table next to the rocking chair who is still waving you goodbye as you carry your drink into town. The ice cubes in your glass applauding every step you take towards that square drenched in the multi coloured hue of a hundred lightbulbs. And the local band, solely made out of senior citizens aged 104 and more, test their instruments playing the first 18 seconds of Chan Chan over and over again. God I miss Cuba!

Next the Spiced & Stormy, a Bacardi serving suggestion. So there’s: – 50ml Bacardi Spiced – 10ml sugar syrup – 25ml lime juice – three dashes of Angostura Bitters – top up with Ginger Beer – garnish with slice of ginger. Now, this is nice, but it’s a little bit safe too. Let’s tweak it a bit.

First, take 60ml of Bacardi Spiced (American standard), loose the sugar syrup (it’s sweet enough already), 25ml lime juice is good (it loves lime, you can even go to 30ml), two or three dashes Angostura is ok ( take two dashes and if you have it add one dash of Peychaud Bitters), top up with Ginger Beer (if you think it’s too much ginger, take Ginger Ale instead), garnish with slice of ginger, ok, but put the spent lime shell in there too, it adds a certain cavalier suaveness to it, you know, a ‘f*** it, I’m on a holiday‘ kinda feeling.

Another suggestion which goes quite well is to make a Ti Punch with it. Just chill a glass, throw away the ice, pour 60ml of Bacardi Spiced, squeeze a quarter of a lime into it, drop the shell in it. Kick back and enjoy!

Bacardi Spiced is a summer crowd pleaser, I think. There’s just two things that bother me: 1. why 35% ABV? Make it 40%, you know, like rum, not rum spirit. 2. Loose the caramel colouring, it doesn’t need it. Apart from that it’s a great party drink.

Cheers!

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