I’m not a rum expert, I’m not a rum connoisseur, I am a rum drinker. When I drink, it usually involves rum. However, I’m also endlessly fascinated with religious practices and various observances of spirituality around the globe. When you combine these two you get one obvious result.
I needed to own a Haitian rum. Haiti is one of the legendary lands of Voodoo (or Vodou, or Vodoun), and I wanted to try a rum fit for both man and loa (the spirits of the Voodoo religion). Fortunately for me, research into this matter was quick. There is only one distillery in Haiti that makes rum, Rhum Barbancourt.
In fact, a Los Angeles Times article published on February 9, 2010 by Scott Kraft had this to say about Rhum Barbancourt, “And every voodoo priest and priestess in Haiti knows that soaking the ground with the golden rum — not the three-star version, mind you, but the five-star, aged twice as long — can raise the spirits of the dead. ‘It’s what they drink,’ Markendy Jean Batiste, a Voodoo priest, said with a shrug as if explaining the obvious. ‘You’ve got to keep the spirits happy.'”
That’s I how I ended up owning the most expensive bottle of rum I’ve purchased to date; Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve Aged 15 Years. Soon after, it also became a source of great embarrassment.
Look, I tried to be respectful. I know what it is I own. It’s like a big ol’ bottle of Haiti’s history, a source of pride for her people, and an internationally respected beverage. I enjoyed it as a sipping rum, with a splash of water, okay? I even busted out my crystal tumblers for it. See, respectful. But one day I was alone, looking at my pint glass filled with ice. I knew I should have been reaching for the bottle of Captain Morgan’s Private Stock to pour in the bottom of my glass, yet I couldn’t resist, instead I grabbed the bottle of Rhum Barbancourt. Quickly, as if I’d be caught in the act, I poured a shot glass worth of it into the glass and immediately filled it to the top with Coca Cola.
Yes, I know. Seriously, I know. What I did was wrong. It was an insult to Haiti and to true rum connoisseurs everywhere. I made a freakin’ rum and Coke using the finest rum I’ll likely ever own! You know what? It was the best damn rum and Coke I’d ever had in my life. Suck it experts, I’m drinking what I like, how I like it.
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