Cocktail Gardening with Rum

Since I last wrote about cocktail gardening for the SF Chronicle, I have been busy mixing up all kinds of drinks. I recently received samples of a delicious new premium rum, Shellback Caribbean Rum from Barbados. Shellback is a title that a sailor receives after sailing across the equator. Both the silver and spiced versions, or white and dark, are nothing like I have sampled before. I guess it’s time for me to grow up and ditch that Bacardi from ten years ago. Kind of like trading in your Charlie fragrance for Balenciaga.

Taking a more mature, thoughtful approach to cocktails means upgrading your selections to small-batch distillers and carefully crafted spirits that tell a story, and exploring unusual flavors that make up these complex elixirs. By all means, pour yourself a shot of these types of pricy concoctions, but if you do you’ll be missing out on the aromas and subtle characteristics that make them so darn delicious.

By adding herbs, citrus, and other ingredients that have already been infused during the distillation process, these drinks really become special. I can’t wait for tonight when I’ll be learning the proper mixing techniques from Las Vegas-based mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. I’ll also start thinking of ways to use both the silver and spiced versions in cooking. Maybe strawberry mint and spiced rum chocolate truffles, or jerk chicken with spiced rum glaze.