Thursday, November 17, 2005

A New Favorite

You find the oddest things on the shelves on Maine supermarkets. While strolling through our local branch of Hannaford the other day, I somehow found myself in the liquor aisle (strange, that) staring at the dark rums and pondering another visit with Dr. Dark and Mr. Stormy. I was umming and ahhing between the the Meyers and the Goslings when a new bottle caught my eye; Newfoundland Screech rum.

One wouldn't normally associate cold, bleak, and northern Newfoundland with the tropical thunder water but if you think for a moment it really makes sense. As an outpost of the British Empire Newfoundland's true value was as a comodity trading post- Atlantic cod ultimately meant that the triangle trade was really a rhomboid (cf. the use of salt cod in Jamaican cooking).

Despite the unhappy and cruel antecedents of Newfoundland rum (and indeed, that liquor in general), Newfies have kept up the rum making tradition and over time have come to create an uncommonly smooth dark rum. Screech is not as sulphurous as Goslings or as treacly as Meyers, which in my book is a good thing. It has a subtle but distinct taste of molasses, but also a fair degree of citrus and honey to lighten the flavour. Most importantly, it is just the right side of boozy- not to heavy on fumes but not as cloying as a liquer. I have to confess too to a fondness of it being Canadian; despite the cutesy name and back story that fact cuts through a lot of the annoying Jimmy Buffettish, Pirates of the Caribbean style promotion of rums (especially of the spiced variety) that makes the drink seem like a cartoonish cousin of the more serious vodkas and single malts.

A nice (if vaguely uninformative) review of Screech can be found here. And while on the subject, I'd like to commend Mrs. Mondale for combining warmed apple cider with spiced rum during my visit to Brooklyn for a drink that tasted like apple pie with a healthy kick.


mactechwitch said...

I haven't profiled a rum drink yet. You've given me the push I needed.

weasel said...

Dark and Stormy or Dark and Dirty are my best bets.

jamie said...

i'm way late on this, but if you're in the mood to try new brands, i recommend Russian Shot Vodka. endorsed by the Russian guy who works at my liquor store (who told me "no hangover"), it's pretty smooth and cheaper than your Stolis or Absoluts (like $14 a bottle).

also, just about any liquor in warm apple cider is a winner. rum, whisky, vodka - all winners.

weasel said...

I will look for it, but the chances of tracking it down here might be remote. And any liquor in apple cider? Like Bols peppermint schnapps? I dare ya- it would taste like New Hampshire mouthwash.