Cheap Excellentness

One thing I am notoriously a fan of, is a bargain. I'd rather have the 2nd best if it offered 95% of the quality of the very best for 5% of the price. I like things that punch WAY above their weight. So -- and I'll be brief here -- I have two suggestions in the liquor cabinet department. First, rumwise. One of the very trendiest things are the various types of rhum agricole from Martinique or Guadaloupe. These are French territory and get the coveted AOC designation. These rums' favor spectrum runs to, um, a funk. They are distilled from fresh cane juice and, therefore, are grassy and earthy. Sometimes oppressively so.

But!

A FORMER French territory also produces such rums (but can't legally use the rhum agricole descriptor) and I speak of Haiti. The blanc is an in-all-but-designation rhum agricole. It has that earthy/grassy/funky thing going on but not in an off-putting way as some of its separated Gallic brethren. Oh, and if you're unfortunate enough to have to pay full-on MSRP you're looking at ma-a-a-a-aybe $17. There is no better choice for a 'Ti Punch, period.

The other choice (borne of a Twitter exchange with the estimable Doug, whose Tiki Month is an interweb staple, and which is the genesis of this post) is my go-to bourbon when I have to get bourbonic with the masses. Say, if you're having a Derby party for 8392 of your beloved's closest friends and their enormous hats. This steal, pals, is Old Forester. Not any fancy-pants super-duper single-shotglass version. Plain old, Old F.

It goes for +/-$30...for -- get this -- a handle*. If you need to crank out a ton of bourbon based drinks for people with decent (but not exasperating) tastebuds, who will appreciate the good stuff but not necessarily the rarefied stuff...this is your choice.

 -J.

 *1.75L to you civilians.

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