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In the world of spirits, rum has long been the poor cousin, consigned to bad fruit punches and syrupy cocktails--until now, that is.
A clutch of rum distilleries in the Caribbean have caught on to the tricks of the whiskey industry, experimenting with sherry and bourbon barrels, double aging, and triple distilling to jump onto the premium spirits bandwagon. Does it work?
Our favorite recipe comes from cocktail wizard Dave Wondrich:
16 oz. Mount Gay Rum Extra Old
8 oz. Ruby Port (or dry red wine)
4 oz. Superfine sugar
The peel of two lemons, each cut into a half-inch-wide spiral
4 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
16 oz. cold water
In a gallon-sized punch- or mixing-bowl, muddle the lemon peels and the sugar together and let sit for at least 90 minutes. Juice the lemons and enough more to yield 4 oz. of strained juice. Muddle the peels again and add the lemon juice, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rum, the wine and the water and stir again. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
To serve, add a one-quart block of ice to punch bowl (or add large ice cubes to individual glasses) and grate 1/4 of a whole nutmeg over the top. Ladle into small cups.