The Caribbean is the world's leading rum supplier, with distilleries that have been in operation since 1663. Rum is a distillation of sugar and water, and while the molasses is typically used for sugar distillation, cane juice can be substituted. Europeans first discovered rum during the Crusades, when Crusaders sampled the rum that Arab travelers had brought back to the Middle East and North Africa. Today, Caribbean rum is a mainstay of classic cocktails, typically enjoyed in sweet, fruity tropical drinks.
The Bahama Mama, a potent concoction made with three types of Caribbean rum, is a perennial favorite in the Bahamas. The recipe calls for .50 oz. dark rum, .50 oz. light rum, .50 oz. 151-proof rum, .25 oz. Kahlua, 1 oz. lemon juice and 2 oz. pineapple juice. Pour the ingredients into a shaker, stir well and pour the contents into a chilled highball glass that's garnished with a maraschino cherry.
The Cuba Libre, the quintessential rum and Coke blend, was a favorite drink of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. Supposedly, the members would add the then-new soft drink Coca-Cola to their rum and toast eachother with shouts of "Cuba libre," Spanish for "Free Cuba." Rum was one of the most inexpensive spirits available in America during the final years of the 19th century, so the drink quickly caught on. The Cuba Libre gained further popularity in America during World War II when European spirits were scarce and expensive, and was immortalized in the Andrews Sisters' 1945 hit, "Rum and Coca-Cola." A Cuba Libre calls for 2 oz. of rum, 4 oz. Coke and .50 oz. lime juice. Pour the ingredients into a highball glass with ice, stir and garnish with a lime slice.
The Hurricane is the signature drink of the bar Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans' French Quarter. The cocktail was created during World War II when liquor wholesalers required their customers to buy large quantities of rum before the wholesalers would offer to sell any whiskey. The Hurricane consists of 2 oz. dark rum, 2 oz. light rum and 4 oz. passion fruit syrup. Pour the ingredients into a shaker, shake vigorously and pour into a chilled glass garnished with a lime slice and maraschino cherry.
The Pina Colada's creation is most commonly attributed to Ramon "Monchito" Merrero Perez while he worked at the Caribe Hilton during the 1950s. It was a relatively obscure cocktail in America until Rupert Holmes' 1979 "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" became a hit and prompted listeners nationwide to request Pina Coladas in bars and restaurants. The drink calls for 3 oz. light rum, 1.5 oz. coconut cream and 4 oz. pineapple juice. Pour the contents into a blender with crushed ice and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the contents into a chilled glass that's garnished with a maraschino cherry.
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