Drinksterologist Sarah Parniak from Cold Tea grasps a Havana  Club mojito.

Drinksterologist Sarah Parniak from Cold Tea grasps a Havana Club mojito.

Because our Great Benevolent Government Liquor Monopoly has decided that the citizens of Ontario would do well to drink more rum this month and are doing us the favour of spending our tax dollars to raise our consciousness of the delicious sugar cane-based drink, there have been quite a few rum events going on around Toronto in the last few days. I went to two last week that were as different as the two products they showcased.

Havana Club 3 Year OldFirst up was a Mojito workshop, or some such thing dreamed up by Havana Club’s PR people. I shouldn’t disparage, because it was fun and all my hard work was rewarded with a drink. I sat next to City Bites editrix Natalie Goldenberg-Fife at the bar at THR & Co., the new Harbord Room venture that we both were eager to check out, while Havana Club’s brand ambassador Ryan Powell, assisted by Appleton Estate 21 Year Old RumCold Tea drinksterologist Sarah Parniak, showed us, and a mostly restaurant and bar industry crowd, how to muddle through, while dispensing vital rum-related information, most of which I have completely forgotten. (It’s hard to make notes when you’re fixing yourself a drink.) What I do remember is enjoying the 3 year old Havana Club, which spends just enough time in old Bourbon barrels to catch the slightest tinge of yellow, but comes across relatively clean and crisp and did very well with mint and lime. Mojitotastic.

Joy Spence is the world’s first woman Master Blender, and she plies her craft at Jamaica’s Appleton Estate, and she led me through a private tasting of her 12 and 21 year old blends recently at one of Toronto’s boutique hotels. Unlike the Cuban 3 year old, these older, full bodied, barrel aged rums, are made more for drinking out of a snifter with cigars and chocolate than in a highball with ice, herbs and fruit. Both were super smooth, and showed orange peel and clove notes – the 12 year old was somehow a little sweeter, but both went down alarmingly well. Spence told me all about the rum making process and there’s even an element of terroir in the Appleton story which she explained, along with other things like what makes an ‘olive green shadow’, in the video below.

Two rums: one for before dinner, one for after.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/68104473 w=560&h=315]
Can’t see the video? Click here.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley