In case you’re wondering, preparing for a rum tasting and a dinner with a raging hangover is neither the easiest nor the most fun thing in the world. But apparently a raging hangover is what you get for helping Dunkel wait for the train, as detailed in my last post. As a result, most preparations for Saturday’s big Caribbean dinner/rum tasting event was done in the short period between around 4 PM when I started to feel well enough to move about to 6 PM when Tina had scheduled her arrival. It went rather slowly, and I’m not gonna lie to you, there was some groaning, but it all got done in time.
When Tina arrived, shortly after 6 PM, it quickly became clear that she too, may well have been hell-bent for trouble on the night before. For starters, she was swaying slightly from side to side the minute she got in the door.. Secondly, she wore what I’ve come to describe as her hangover hoodie, a large over-sized purple specimen we’d picked out at a mens’ store once while shopping for me. When we hugged, we didn’t so much hug as we just grabbed hold of one another, leaned into one another and both tried to apply enough force and guidance as to not topple over. “I don’t feel so good,” she said – “Me neither, babe,” I replied, “there was trains and Dunkel and waiting and brandy..” – “What?,” she demanded, after which I tried to explain, causing her to laugh, cough and nearly fall over again.. Indeed, we were a pretty miserable bunch as we kicked off the evening.. Which is why I decided to kick things off with a drink!
The concept of the evening was pretty simple: Tina had asked me to introduce her to rum. I figured we’d start with some classic rum drinks, have dinner, then have a go at tasting some sipping rums and see what happened. For the first drink of the evening I’d chosen the most classic and simplest of all rum drinks, the original Daiquiri.. And I don’t mean that girlish pink shit with berries, fruit and whatever the fuck have you. I mean just classic white, semi-aged Cuban rum, fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup.. Simple, fresh, tasty and a perfect cure for the hangover.. And a perfect way to win over Tina because, well, the girl loves her some Havana Club 3 year old and is absolutely obsessed with lime juice..
So the hangover was quickly forgotten and we were quickly chatting about the night before, a peaceful activity which lasted for all of five minutes or so before the fighting broke out. It started innocently with Tina telling me about this hot little outfit she’d been wearing the night before and it ended rather horribly when I remarked that she never wore anything nice for me anymore but rather showed up hung over in her work clothes or an old, oversized hoodie with tales of how fucking nice she’d looked the day before. Tina responded with a slur of profanities, pointing out that I myself was in a five year old band shirt and, in case I hadn’t noticed, was hung over myself.. It all sorta escalated from there until I decided to bring the argument to a halt with more alcohol.. Consequently a pair of Cuba Libres were had, as well as two different Mai Tais, all in miniature versions as to not have people off their feet before dinner.
Speaking of dinner, it was a complete success. In keeping with the Caribbean theme of the evening, I’d made Jamaican jerk chicken, served with rice and beans cooked with coconut milk, garlic and spring onions
The whole thing was served up with Jamaican Red Stripe beer
and consumed in a very laid back manner
Which got even more relaxed once dinner had been consumed and poor Tina got completely knocked out by the weight of the food and just sorta collapsed over a row of chairs.. The good friend in me wanted to pick her up and carry her to the couch to rest a bit, however, the fucking idiot friend in me was busy taking pictures and poking her in the stomach until she started looking at me with big, sad, puppy dog eyes and quivery lips and going “Please.. Don’t..”
at which point I let her retreat to the couch and cleared the table, only to return to her with the only thing I know am certain to ALWAYS make her feel better.. Mojitos!
Once again in miniature versions and this time around made with my pricy Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof rum.. Not only did that wake her up, it made her absolutely. positively ecstatic and giddy. “Y’know,” she beamed, “I think we’ve found our new go-to Mojito rum!” – “Honestly,” I said, turning to look at her with a serious face.. Which was instantly met with Tina’s usual offense of soft smiles, ever-widening deep blue eyes and batting eyelashes.. “Oh c’mon,” I muttered, “fine, whatever, but then you’re paying the extra DKK 300 a bottle out of your own little pockets!” … And with that, Tina’s face froze for a little. “Fine,” she smiled softly, “the 3 year old might do the trick for now.”
In the end, though, it proved nearly impossible to get the poor girl to abandon the thought of the Barrel Proof.. Or even to get her to part with the bottle for that matter, and since I’m a sucker for pretty blondes, I eventually suggested that we make it our very special occasion Mojito rum, a suggestion which was met with more big smiles.
Having thusly survived both dinner and a small onslaught of rum drinks – or drink tapas as I came to call them due to the smaller servings, we moved up to the big boys, the sipping rums. We kicked things off with one of my personal favorites, English Harbor 5 year old which is stupidly good for such a relatively young and inexpensive rum as it is. We then moved up through the 8, 12 and 15 year olds until we eventually ended with two of the best, if not THE best rums in the world. The Santa Teresa 1796 15 year old and the Ron Zacapa 23 year old. Both absolutely marvelous rums! Tina has had the Zacapa 23 once before and to this day swears it’s the best spirit she’s ever tasted. Me, I’m not too sure, I want to say the Zacapa 23 because it’s just so damn smooth and friendly, yet the Santa Teresa is clearly better balanced and more versatile.. Gah, I can’t say. Parts of me wanted to try both rums over again to maybe be able to make up my mind, but parts of me knew that was a pretty silly idea. For one thing because it’d end up a fucking expensive rum tasting and for another because after some 12 rums in an evening, details get a little blurred, even when only sampling very small portions..
So instead of doing that, I did the second stupidest thing I could do which was to mix up more Mojitos.. This time simply to see what would happen if we used a 15 year old Cuban styled rum as the mixer.. Which turned out to be nothing good, really. The more subdued softness of the aged rum made it drown completely in the mix, creating a slightly expensive yet utterly characterless Mojito.. Oh well, that was that plan tried. We washed down the failed Mojito with a more standard one and then, not wanting to face another day of hangovers, decided to call it a night.. By the time you’re mixing 15 year old rums, it’s probably about time to call it a night anyways.. But what a good night it was.
“You know,” Tina told me in the end before her knight in shiny.. fashionable clothes came to carry her away on.. in.. his white.. Toyota Aygo, “I feel almost bad that despite all the awesome rums you tried on me, my favorite is still the Zacapa 23 and your standard Mojito.. – “Don’t, sweetie,” I told her, “at least you have good taste and at least your favorite thing in the world is still something I make.. That’s not too bad, really.”