August 16th is National Rum Day in the United States so for the rest of us it's International Rum Day - because, let's face it, there's never a bad day to celebrate years of enjoying Daiquiris, holidaying with Piña Coladas and the collective groan of bartenders worldwide when someone orders a round of 15 Mojitos.
One of those spirits that has come a long, long way from its original incarnation, rum appeared on the scene as a hooch sold as "rumbullion" or "kill-devil" around the sugar-growing colonies of the West Indies. So, in honour of a spirit drunk by pirates, slave-traders and of course the British Navy, we've compiled ten cocktails, without a doubt some of the finest invented with rum, to mark the occasion.
Ten of the best rum drinks
1. The Daiquiri
Surely the ultimate rum cocktail and a sure way to test a bartender's skills in balancing drinks. We prefer ours straight up and natural with fresh, fresh lime. For this you can follow our 10:3:2 Daiquiri formula or the popular 6:2:1 Daiquiri formula. Or you may prefer a Daiquiri On-The-Rocks or on hot summer days a blended Frozen Daiquiri.
2. El Presidente
A drink with several versions, we've tried them all and come up with our own El Presidente recipe.
3. Rum Old-Fashioned
Created in 2009 by Goncalo de Sousa Monteiro in Berlin, the
Rum Old-Fashioned is a contemporary riff on a classic cocktail that takes on a new dimension with aged rum replacing of whisky.
4. Hemingway Special
Created by Constantino (Constante) Ribalaigua Vert, the legendary head bartender of La Floridita, Havana, Cuba for Ernest Hemingway, after the great man wandered into the bar to use the toilet. When Hemingway tried the Floridita's standard frozen Daiquiri, he is quoted as saying, "That's good but I prefer it without sugar and with double rum" - so the Hemingway Special was born.
5. Rum Punch
The classic proportions of a Rum Punch are "one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak."
The Hotel Nacional Special is an apricot twist on a Daiquiri, named after the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba, where it was created.
One of the best-known drinks of our day, and when well-made, one of the most refreshing. There are several versions way ways to make this cocktail. We like our Mojito but not as much as a Champagne Mojito.
9. Dark 'N' Stormy
The Dark 'n' Stormy is the national drink of Bermuda, where both ginger beer and dark rum are produced.
10. Brass Rail
Today is also the day Elvis died
The King of Rock 'n' Roll - or, simply, "The King" - Elvis Presley passed away on this day in 1977.
It was not what you'd call an elegant demise. The beautiful youth who had inspired millions and transformed a sterile, anodyne music scene died hugely overweight, drug-addicted and bloated from a diet that included deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. He had fallen from his toilet onto the bathroom floor.
On autopsy, ten different prescription drugs were found in Elvis' system, all in epic quantities. Like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley's death sparked a career revival, and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., continues to churn out the profits even now. We would prefer to remember The King as, well, simply "The King", so we are enjoying a King's Jubilee.