Rum's Back, and It's Better This Time

Anthony Dominic
Island Riddims at Curio

The dark days of rum are, at last, behind us. Over the last year, our liquor-control state has allowed a slew of trendy molasses- and sugar cane-based spirits into local bars and liquor stores. Think rum's not for you? Think again. Rum can be funky, earthy, nutty, spicy, sipped neat, aged in barrels-the list goes on. Here are three ways to get on the rum train.

Start slow with a visit to Curio, and order the Island Riddims ($12). Think of it as an adult pina colada mixed with coconut-washed scotch. It's boozy on the nose, milky on the tongue from cream of coconut and smoky on the finish, not just from the whiskey but from a half-ounce of Batavia-Arrack, a centuries-old aromatic spirit distillled from sugar cane and fermented red rice.

Denmark's Martinique 75 ($10) is a play on the bubbly French 75. Gin is swapped for barrique-aged agricole Rhum JM Gold and mixed with pineapple juice, falernum, turbinado syrup and a head of dry Champagne. "It's slightly sweet with spiced nut and tropical notes," says assistant manager James DeFrance. This drink has become a favorite among Denmark staff, he says, and will remain available all summer long.

Seeking something funkier? Order Curio's Orange Blossom Trail ($12), made with agricole-style Rhum JM Blanc, tangerine cordial, vanilla and a mist of absinthe. Rhum JM is dry with floral, fruity and warm biscuit notes (think raspberries and lilies). Last Word and Corpse Reviver drinkers will love it.