Friday, July 13, 2012

The Rum Collective's 9th Meeting: Rhum Dzama at Liberty

I heard someone say, "There is rum in Madagascar? Yes, and more specifically, rhum, the French spelling, denoting the primary language spoken there. Exotic in origin and delightful to the senses, this African Rhum made its Washington debut in our meeting at Liberty. Not unfamiliar to The Rum Collective, this Capital Hill favorite is often admired for its amiable private room, devotion to quality cocktails and spirit enthusiast hosts with the most, Andrew Friedman and Keith Waldbauer.

Dzama Rhum Punch
Prepared by Keith Waldbauer
Keith, co-owner of Liberty, is notorious for his impromptu-style cocktail recipes. He adds a little of this, a little of that, tastes and repeats and voilĂ ! A friendly greeting cocktail of rhum punch featuring one of Rhum Dzama's "evolving" expressions is ready in minutes. Yum!! In Dzama's Vanilla Rhum, a whole vanilla bean pod from Madagascar is added in during bottling, imparting its character and changing the rhum's flavor profile over time in the bottle. This concept, although not new, is uncommon in the world of rum today, offering an all-natural advantage over many flavored or synthetic products on the market and slowly maturing with time. Not to mention, it looks cool! (see photo)

Dzama Rhum Punch
Muddled orange
Domaine Bernier Unoaked Chardonnay
House Cardamom Tincture

The rhum punch aroused the taste buds and soon after, the formal tasting ensued. The small size of the group at this meeting allowed for more intimate discussion and an interactive tasting experience. Five different Dzama Rhums were tasted from light to dark in the following order; Cuvee Blanche Prestige, Blanc Nosy-Be 42% (whites), Cuvee Noire Prestige, Ambre Nosy-Be 52% (aged) and the Vanilla Rhum Ambre. Dzama Rhum originates from Nosy-Be, the island just northwest of Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel. Ironically, Nosy-Be means big island in Malagasy language, despite being fairly small in size compared to Madagascar. More significant than the island's size is the terrior in which the sugar cane is grown. It is grown on volcanic soil and surrounded by areas full of highly aromatic plants, such as Ylang-ylang vines, cloves, vanilla and pepper plants. These plants proximity to the sugar cane and their influence on the ground water is an important distinction. Ylang-ylang vines are famous for their essential oils, used in many famous perfumes such as Chanel No. 5. It is reported that these oils give this rhum its beautiful bouquet of aromas. Not surprisingly, Nosy-Be was given the nickname "scented island" centuries ago. Many present at the meeting found the fragrant nature of the white rhums brilliantly floral and lovely; enough to dab a bit on the wrists as perfume. These rhums are unique and prompted the interest of many present. Questions surrounding the readily apparent differences between the Cuvee Prestige and Nosy-Be in both the white and aged rhums provoked some in-depth technical conversation and more rum drinking of course. The differences between the Cuvee Prestige and Nosy-Be aromas, flavor profiles and finishes seemed to be unexplained, even considering the differences in ABV. Note, these rhums are molasses-based and the aged products have seen the insides of French Limousin Oak and Johnny Walker Scotch barrels or some variation of that for between three and six months. At The Rum Collective meetings, we encourage questions involving rhum. We also encourage finding the answers. Nothing like the satisfaction of getting to the bottom of it, literally. Let the research continue!

The final cocktail was served in style...Liberty style. Orange peals were individually hand-carved into octopi garnishes. Yes and if you have been to Liberty, you will understand. Keith left this piece of art untitled.
Any suggestions?

Prepared by Keith Waldbauer

 1oz Dzama Rhum Cuvee Blanche
0.5oz Lemon juice (fresh pressed)
0.5oz Grapefruit juice (fresh pressed)

shake, strain and layer top with...
Garnish - Orange peal Octopus

Cheers to Keith and the staff at Liberty for their hospitality and some delicious cocktails!

A big thank you to Rhum Dzama for their support!

Addendum: Questions from members at the meeting were relayed to Rhum Dzama for clarification. Once we know the answers, we will share them here. Until then...stay calm and drink rhum.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure the world's best bars have them stocked up somewhere, just opened up when customers ask for it (because I don't remember seeing one on display anywhere).