Tag Archives: Entertaining

Your Next Get-Together: A Rum Tasting


By Guest Contributor, Regina Gwynn

Rum TastingAfter a tour of the Bacardi Factory in San Juan, PR a few years ago, I began to develop a deeper appreciation for the lovely molasses-based beverage called rum! Its history dates back to the 14th century however its current iteration gained popularity on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean. And while premium vodkas often rule the nightclubs, rum is smoother, holds a better flavor and is actually preferred by bartenders for those delicious raspberry martinis.

But there’s more than just Bacardi & Cruzan out there folks! Rum can range from light to dark depending on the aging and/or blending process and offer a variety of sweet, spicy flavors that don’t need anything other than a couple of ice cubes and good company.

So, what better way to become a rum connoisseur than to invite some friends over for a rum tasting!

The Materials:

  • Wine or Tasting glasses
  • Bottled water to cleanse the palate between flights
  • Appetizers to enjoy (once the tasting is over)
  • Mixers to try out new recipes with the remaining rum
  • A variety of rums. Here are some personal recommendations to get you started:
•    Appleton Estate Extra: If you like dark spirits, this 12 year old Jamaican rum is a good choice for a spicy, full bodied flavor.
•    Ron del Barrilito: This rum is definitely my favorite! They use a unique blending process to create a sweet and rich flavor that can be served on the rocks or in a tasty tropical cocktail.
•    Havana Club Anejo Blanco : This Cuban rum is super smooth and will make the best mojito. Period.
•    10 Cane: A premium offering that is not as sweet as other light rums, but also very smooth and clean.

Regardless of your rum selections, variety is definitely key – try to mix up rums by regional designation*, age or light/dark grade.

Tasting Instructions:
As for conducting the actual tasting, Joy Spence, a master rum blender for Appleton Estate, recommends the following 5-step process:
1.    Examine the color of the rum. Hold the glass up to the light and look through it to see the molasses shade.
2.    Look at the clarity. The liquid should be clear, but richly colored.
3.    Tilt the glass to the side to check out the olive green ring along the rim of the rum in the glass. This demonstrates the age of the rum.
4.    Note the legs. They should be thick.
5.    Finally, take a sip!

*Rums from the French speaking Caribbean islands supposedly the BEST (and most expensive) rums in the world

Have Fun! Come back and tell us which rum you liked the best!

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Easy Entertaining: Gourmet Potluck


droke0320_potluck01_food_500We’re both huge fans of potlucks. Not only are they a way to avoid having to cook an entire meal while entertaining, but they are also a great way to enjoy your friends’ culinary expertise! Do you have a few friends who are great cooks? Do you want a way to partake of their delectables? Have an “iron chef” dinner party! Here’s the skinny:

  1. Select a few friends who like to cook and are good at it (you may want to limit it to the number of courses you want to eat).
  2. Every month, select a special ingredient that can be included in each course (sometimes dessert doesn’t count, but all main and side dishes should have the ingredient). Ideas: shallots, prosciutto, orange, etc.
  3. Assign someone to cook each course/dish and rotate each month.
  4. You can even rotate who hosts each dinner.
  5. ENJOY!

You would be surprised how creative and excited people get about their dishes. This is not only a great money saving way to enjoy a divine meal but it also allows people to put all their focus on one dish instead of three or four!

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