Rum Cocktail – Recipe below from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’ 1951

Mix exactly the same as the Old Fashioned but using gold label rum instead of the whisky.

Put one medium-sized lump of sugar in the Old-Fashioned glass and add enough lukewarm water to cover it completely. Watch carefully until the sugar starts to dissolve and then pour off all the water. Add 5 dashes of Angostura, crush the sugar with a muddler, and blend sugar and bitters thoroughly. Add a small quantity of whisky and stir with a small spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved and blended with the liquor. Then, and then only, complete the cocktail. It takes about twenty minutes to make a satisfactory Old-Fashioned starting with dry sugar; it takes about two minutes starting with sugar syrup. Also, the sugar syrup makes a smoother, better drink. Therefore’ let’s make our Old-Fashioned’s this way.

I was worrying a little about a drink on this day, trying to remember a rum based drink that was from one of the books, that I had the recipe for, and was fool proof. This seemed perfect, with Mount Gay XO as the base.

One thing I learned from the master distiller at Mount Gay was despite how much I want to like the older rums, I really like the younger ones, with the XO as an exception. It to me seems like the perfect balance between both styles and was fitting as a third to last drink in Barbados while looking at ‘that’ view.

Now Embury above I find interesting as when I was much (much) younger I remember being scolded by a ‘better’ bartender for using sugar syrup instead of a sugar cube for the sweetness, and it never really made sense. I kind of feel that using granulated sugar or sugar cubes in drinks is what you do if you don’t have access to a syrup, despite how easy it is to make. I feel that when you finish making a drink for someone and give it to them, the drink should be finished, and you should aspire to get that drink to them as swiftly as possible. Cubes and granulated fail on both counts, there always seems to be a lump of two at the bottom, and the drink gets sweeter the longer you drink it, which is the last thing you want when finishing a drink. If I’d had Embury to quote back in 1998 I was just the kind of person that would’ve and knowing them she still wouldn’t have forgiven me by now.

This was probably the best drink I had while in Barbados, aside from a lot of straight rum. And it was a perfect drink to finish while gazing at the horizon.

It wasn’t my last though, what followed was two enormous Mango Colada’s, as I was in the Caribbean, the only socially acceptable place in the world to drink these, and I wasn’t going to deprive myself.