The rum diary

Michael-Karlo-LimMichael Karlo Lim

OF all my genetic imperfections, my allergy to alcoholic ferments is one my mother is actually happy that I have. Unfortunately, she has also instilled in me much tenacity and perseverance to test my limits and push boundaries. Taurean, erm, let’s say steadfastness and a good understanding of the mechanisms of physiology and of antihistamines allow me through particularly reactive bouts of the Asian Flush.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been into the bottle. Fact is I’m a late adapter to the drink and it has come along the pursuit of finer appreciation of food more than anything. I’ll admit getting further along in age, time and having to play more “dodge-bull” on a daily basis has necessitated a little toss back here and there. The attenuation to the more bitter gradients of the drink has also opened up my palate to what used to be imperceptible notes and flavors: epiphanies.

The drink of subject here is the rum, an Asian variant at that — so called as it is produced in the region and with local sugarcane. It’s surprising to note that one local brand thoroughly identified with our hoi polloi is one dark horse on the world rum stage.After a successful international release, the globally clamored for Tanduay Asian Rum is now in store on our own shores. Its partnership with a local celebrity furniture designer “highlights the Philippine’s world class recognition as the two join to demonstrate talent that is crafted to perfection.”

Clockwise from top: Hanga Manga, Eggslut and Tea Time

The Silver variant has a light straw color indicative of its lighter flavor. The silky, medium-bodied liquid teetering to sweet offers a good slate for mixers. Toasted caramel and coconut waft to the nose followed by a silky smooth, medium-bodied texture in the Gold one. Woodsy vanilla and tropical fruit in the taste is finished by nutty flavors with a peppery zing.

As with solids, I’d also much rather be on the consumer end for libations. I offered my Silver and Golds to my friend Jan to play with and he returned the favor with these liquid gems.

Silver Asian Rum hosts a dance off between raspberry and green apple syrup with lime juice both rudely cutting in and joining the sequence.

Bittersweet coffee and buttery flavors from a coffee liqueur offset the fruit and give it a creamy texture. A Maraschino cherry makes for a tasty visual pop on the otherwise dark solution.

The tropical fruit in the Gold Asian Rum is echoed in mango juice and the caramel in hot simple syrup. Club soda brightens the drink while a black pepper, cayenne and salt rim play an interesting flavor enhancement. A roasted chili pepper garnish finishes the cocktail with a smoky extension to the spicy punctuations.

Orange flavors layer on one another from bergamot in the Earl Grey Tea to the darker notes from Grand Marnier on the subtle fruit of the Gold Asian Rum all pushed forward with a splash of lime juice. The woody base flavor of the tea lends it a refinement both in mouthfeel and feels.

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