Havana Club 7 Restock

I’d like to thank the customs agent who didn’t ask any questions and allowed me to bring this Havana Club 7 Cuban Rum back from Germany with ease. I brought back from 12 year old Santiago rum from Cuba last year but I like the overall flavor and body of the Havana Club 7 better, so I made sure to bring back this bottle before my current one is finished. The current bottle is almost gone, and I’m also not sure when I’ll be out of the country so I had to make sure I stocked up.

Some people seem to pooh-pooh these Havana Club rums as only being desired due to scarcity in the United States, but having tried a lot of rum the Havana Club 3 and Havana Club 7 do stack up quite well and are very nice for these lighter style of column-still rums. The HC3 does make a fabulous crisp daiquiri and the HC7 is a very nice sipping rum that’s perfect when you want great flavor but don’t want the rum to be overly assertive. Sometimes you don’t want cask strength spirits.

One bummer was that the HC3 in Germany was only 37.5% ABV, less than the 40% that I got last year in U.K. I’m all for having a little more HC3 but I do draw the line at rum less than 40%.

Mai Tai Happy Hour Private Event

As part of the silent auction component of the Oakhana Summer Swizzle / two home tiki bar crawl in August, one of the auction items I contributed was a private tasting event with three Mai Tais for up to 8 people and hosted by Jeff Hall at the Dragon’s Den in the Oakland hills. Nav Singh was the high bidder and we had the event this past weekend.

What a great time, thanks to Nav and some of the Sacramento Ohana she brought along for the ride. A few quality questions about the Mai Tai’s ingredients and components and some about its key ingredient (that would be rum, folks). We also had a great vibe at Jeff’s place and some tasty food provided by Jeff. I brought the rum and the cocktail ingredients.

Auction winner Nav Singh

We had three Mai Tais:

  1. First was a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai made with either Khukri rum from Nepal or Santiago aged rum from Cuba. One of these countries has a great reputation as a rum producer, but both are unusual and have a lighter column-still production method. Either one of these produced a fine Mai Tai.

  2. Second was a Mai Tai made with Hampden Great House 2020, a cask strength flavor bomb from Jamaica. The difference between our first Mai Tai and this was greatly evident, and even with a super boozy rum the cocktail is still very approachable. This shows how different rums produce a very different Mai Tai.

  3. We ended with a Blue Mai Tai, made with high quality Giffard Blue Curacao and a rum blend featuring Charley’s JB Overproof rum that’s available only in Jamaica. I’ve done different variants of this over the years and it still impresses; people expect it to be sweet like a Blue Hawaii but the boozy Jamaican rum gives it a good balance.

Thanks again to Jeff for hosting and to Nav for the winning bid.

Additional photos by Robyn Haas and Nav Singh.

Daisy de Santiago

Another Yellow Chartreuse cocktail, though when I looked up the recipe online it varied wildly. This one is basically the Smuggler’s Cove version and I chose to keep this with Cuban roots by using Havana Club 3 as the base rum.

I found this to be light and refreshing, though in the future I probably would up the Chartreuse a bit.

Daisy de Santiago
1 oz Seltzer
1 oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Demerara Syrup
½ oz Yellow Chartreuse
1½ oz Havana Club Rum
Shake with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

No mint, but this was still very nice to drink. I think adding the seltzer before pouring the shaken contents is an improvement from the published recipe.

Ron Santiago de Cuba Rum Extra Añejo 12 Años

I picked up this bottle of Ron Santiago de Cuba in London since I wanted to see how a long-aged Cuban rum would compare to similarly aged rums from countries like Jamaica or Barbados for which I’m more familiar. Cuban rum (“Ron de Cuba”) is a lighter style made with column stills and unlike many Spanish-heritage distilleries there does not appear to be much in the way of added sugar in the finished product. The product is issued at 40% ABV and is quite dark in color.

Indeed Extra Añejo includes typical spicy barrel aging notes but those flavors do not overwhelm. The dry and lighter style means this is very easy to drink. While I find the taste pleasant, there is not a great deal of depth nor is there the lingering finish more common from pot still-based rums. As a point of comparison I find Havana Club 7 to have a richer taste with a longer finish including pleasant toffee notes.

Havana Club Bingo

Last night’s Zoom with the Oakhana turned into Havana Club night. Somehow nearly every one of the Bay Area locals had a bottle of the contraband Havana Club rum on hand.

That’s how you know we’re hardcore rum nerds.

So much fun seeing all the Oakland Ohana. Someday soon, in person.