Drink of the Week: The Bacardí Maestro Collins
It’s great to go out to a really good high-end bar and have drinks made with the bartender’s own personally crafted cumquat-and-cardamon bitters or her special thyme-parsley-and-Meyer-Lemon infused syrup. At the same time, there’s nothing like a super simple drink that you can easily make as home as well, and usually better, than your typical overworked bartender.
That definitely applies to this ridiculously simple and refreshing recapitulation of your basic Rum Collins, which differs from a Tom Collins only in changing the base spirit from gin. The only real difference in this version is the use of Bacardí Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron, a new super-premium expression from the creators of the USA’s most ubiquitous and time honored rum brand.
The super-premium rum scene has actually been one of the most exciting areas in contemporary boozing for some time. So, I was naturally very curious when the Bacardí people came knocking with a free bottle of product. It’s a worthy entry, definitely more flavorful, sweet, and smooth than your typical white rum. It’s very easy drinking and not too high priced, so I can imagine this going over very well on the current market. That’s particularly so as it seems to work very nicely in a number of cocktails. I enjoyed it in a daiquiri, a rum old fashioned, and, naturally, this.
The Bacardí Maestro Collins
2 ounces Bacardí Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron (white rum)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
Seltzer or club soda “to fill”
Lemon wheel or twist (optional garnish)
Cocktail cherry (my suggested optional garnish)
Combine the rum, lemon juice and super-easily dissolving sugar in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake and double strain, using a food strainer to get rid of pulp as well as ice, into a collins or highball-sized glass stocked with fresh ice. Top off with the fizzy water of your choice, I liked adding a very thin lemon wheel and a cocktail cherry for a garnish. Toast anything you like, but try to keep it simple.
The main trick to this drink is not to poo-poo the instruction to double strain/fine strain the drink. I’ve been a skeptic about this practice in the past. In this case, however, I’m here to tell you it can make all the difference. Straining out the lemon pulp also appears to strain out some of the harsher, more tart flavors. The result is a more mellow and finely balanced drink…and a very nifty booze beverage for what promises to be an extra hot summer.
Drink of the Week: The Bacardi Cocktail
In many respects, I’m still just finding my way around the world of cocktails but one thing is now clear to me: you can’t really separate mixology and marketing. As with so many drinks, the precise history of our Labor Day weekend selection, the Bacardi cocktail, remains pretty much a complete mystery, but clearly the manufacturers and promoters of the best known brand of rum must have had some connection to the formulation of this simple and surprisingly delightful concoction, a pretty basic variation on the booze, tart citrus juice, and sweetener formulation of so many fine drinks.
The Bacardi cocktail is nevertheless a special case in the annals of alcohol marketing. In 1936, just three years after the repeal of prohibition, a lawsuit was brought and the New York Supreme Court actually ruled that this drink must be made with Bacardi rum or it’s not a Bacardi cocktail.
The Bacardi Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces of Bacardi light rum (use another brand at your own legal peril!!)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine.
Maraschino cherry (extremely optional garnish)
Combine rum, lime juice, and grenadine in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously, and pour into our old friend, the chilled martini/cocktail glass. Do not be alarmed if the color is a bit more pinkish and cloudy than the picture above. It’s possible the photographer preferred his Bacardis stirred, not shaken. Regardless, throw in a chemically preserved cherry, if you like, and toast the New York State bar (sorry).
Apparently back during the prohibition era, some cocktail classicists insisted that a “real” Bacardi Cocktail was made with sugar or simple syrup and not grenadine. I have no real argument with that except that, if you do that, then you basically have our last DOTW, the Daiquiri. I will say that I strongly recommend sticking to these proportions. A little bit of grenadine, it seems, goes a long way. I tried indulging my sweet tooth by using an entire teaspoon of grenadine per 1.5 ounces of rum, and the result was not at all pleasing. Even such a seemingly still small amount of the very sweet syrup created an unpleasantly saccharine drink. Some prefer to use a very small amount of sugar or simple syrup and just a tiny dash of grenadine for color. That might work as well.
Have a good holiday, everyone. Also, be safe on the roads. There are still some people out there who think they can imbibe whatever they like and get behind the wheel. Don’t be one of them.