Life is hard for lovers of rum. Nine times out of ten, all they can expect to find at the local watering hole is Bacardi, Captain Morgan and Malibu, while their whiskey-swilling compadres can count on a wide selection of bourbons, ryes, single malts and so on, whether the walls of said watering hole are lined with flat screens or “reclaimed wood”. Is there no place for connoisseurs of whiskey’s older sibling? Whither dwell the single-estate rums? The agricoles? The demeraras? The soleras? The black straps?
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The answer, it turns out, is just beside the blinding billboards of Times Square. Down the street from the heart of the neon mess is The Rum House, an innocuous little rum and cocktail bar connected to the lobby of the Edison hotel. Owned by Kenneth McCoy (who also owns Ward III in downtown Manhattan), the bar renews the Prohibition-era rum cocktail while offering an extensive tasting menu for the appreciation of aged and rare rums on their own merits.
Naturally we jumped at the chance to take a globe-trotting tour of rums with the expert by way of an extended tasting session. With a notebook and a pen between us, we jotted down our tasting notes as we ventured, bottle by bottle, from Brooklyn to Barbados, then hopped along from Antigua to Cuba; we ventured to Scotland by way of Guyana, and had a brief stay in Mauritius. Those of you still sipping Bacardi (like it’s your birthday) ought to disembark from the cruise ship; there’s a lot to see — and taste.