This blog was originally published at on 12/03/2014

Hello everyone!

I am very happy to announce for this inaugural post that I'm launching my first rum category class at Astor Center this Friday December 5th! I've done rum category seminars before, but this will be the first with both a comparative tasting portion as well as a cocktail portion.

As always with the curriculum development process, I start getting excited when I make the 'pull list,' which indicates what spirits we'll be tasting and what cocktails we'll be making. The biggest challenge in the case of the rum category is that there are so many diverse products on the market, and so many ways to use them as tools to explain history, production, etc.

In this case I'm using Denizen, Mt Gay, Facundo Eximo, and Cruzan Black Strap in the neat pours to illustrate the breadth of flavor available in the category, and we'll be making a Hemmingway Daiquiri (contemporary riff on a Papa Doble) with Bacardi Superior, a Mai Tai with Smith & Cross and Rhum JM Blanc, and an El Presidente (Machado) with El Dorado 8.

The intention with the cocktails is threefold-

1) To showcase classic rum cocktails with relevance in the development of the category

2) To expose students to the major obvious rum styles- between neat pours and cocktails we hit Carta Blanca, Jamaican, Demerara, Agricole, and Blackstrap... I am including Mt Gay Black Barrel as an obvious example of how a specific production decision (to age in heavily charred Bourbon barrels) affects flavor. I'm also including Facundo Eximo not as a unique category like spiced or blackstrap rum, but as what I would consider to be the only true 'sipping rum' of the lot.

3) To provide a range in cocktail styles showcasing the versatility of the category

Excellent. I'll keep you posted on how it goes! So much to cover, so little time. :):)