ROCKVILLE, MD, October 6, 2015 – Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar is helping island rums find stateside popularity with Rum Appreciation Month and a special menu that features rum inspired appetizers and entrees.
Paladar offers patrons over fifty types of rum ranging from fermented to distilled and including plenty of unique options such as the flavorful and multi layered Dark Rums like Cruzan Black Strap out of St. Croix or one of the fragrantly smooth aged rums that are as unique as the islands from which they come.
Making it easy to sample a variety of rums, and in honor of their Rum Appreciation Month, Paladar is offering three one-ounce pours in their Rum Flight ($10). The flights offer a choice from a menu that features Spiced, Aged, Premium Aged, Super Aged and /or Presidential rums.
And it is completely worth your time to stop by (with a designated driver) and give rum a renewed try. You might find, as did I, that rum pairs very well with food, offering an enhancement in much the same way as the right wine can boost the flavors of a dish.
But it takes a little Rum 101 which Paladar’s helpful staff is ready to share (along with helpful cards and booklets).
Rum comes from sugar – or sugar cane that has been transformed into molasses, to be exact. And it is the fermentation of sugars in sour mash that makes whisky and bourbon, in the agave that gives us tequila or the wheat that becomes vodka.
Rhum (note the h), rums that come from France, are usually made from 100% sugarcane juice, instead of the molasses that forms after sugar cane is boiled to a crystalline state.
Like wine and whiskey, rum benefits from aging, most often in oak barrels that once held whiskey and like the whiskey aging process the rum picks up flavors from the barrel, that the past occupant left behind, the climate during its aging process and of course time.
Explaining that my personal taste profile is heavily weighted to bourbons and hearty Cabernet Sauvignons, the flight that Bar Manager Chelsea Messick (Paladar Kitchens, Rockville, MD) chose for my experience included two super aged rums, the Ron Atlantico Private Cask and the Ron Zacapa RSV, and a premium aged variety Zaya Gran Reserva which, I must admit, was my favorite due to the strong notes of sweet vanilla, chocolate and the slightest hint of coffee enriched by a light smoky flavor in the finish.
Choosing from the short lived Rum Appreciation Month menu (I warn you – only through October) a Rhum Barbancourt spiced barbecue sauce is the layered over Asian inspired Crispy Duck Wings – seven large wings over a red cabbage slaw sided by a jalapeño buttermilk dipping sauce perfect with the Ron Zacapa RSV, a deeply mahogany hued rum that features a brisk finish after notes of chocolate, caramelized nuts, candies, and dried citrus.
Pairing the Ron Zacapa RSV with the Crispy Duck Wings works as the intense flavors of the wings drizzled with the buttermilk jalapeño dressing needs a crisp rum that will stand alongside the dish without being overwhelmed and that will not linger on the tongue too long.
A lesser rum might also deconstruct making it too alcohol forward with the buttermilk dressing and when challenged by the wing dishes strong flavors.
An incredible dish, the Blackstrap Braised Short Ribs are a savory, umami treat that has just the right amount of sweet and sour thanks to the Salvadorian slaw and pickled red onion.
Presentation of the dish has the boneless beef rib laying over Mofongo (sweet potato cakes) sided with the slaw and onion. A Blackstrap rum au jus surrounds the dish finishing it with a deeply flavored sauce that has been artfully crafted to not burn off the Blackstrap rum, leaving just a hint of the rum’s warmth present.
The sweet potato cake, or Mofongo, is a dish whose heritage is Afro Puerto Rican, closely resembling the West African dish FuFu that is fashioned from starchy vegetables, most often with plantain.
Corporate Chef Tis’ use of sweet potato gave a hearty base to the beef that, remarkably, held up to the au jus, retaining its shape even as the dish elements were melded together, creating a perfect vehicle for the sauce to travel to the eager diner.
I can only imagine the potatoes were coarsely ground, bound with egg and seared to keep the juice from breaking the cakes down.
Adding the tart pickled onion and slaw popped the sweet and savory flavors.
The Blackstrap Braised Short Ribs cried out for Zaya Gran Reserva that is as sweet and smooth as the entree. The vanilla and smoke worked so very well with the sweet and sour elements of the Braised Short Ribs.
The meal finishes with our third choice, the Ron Atlantico PRVT Cask from the Dominican. An interest trivia note, share by Ms. Messick, is that this is the rum of Enrique Iglesias who has partnered with Atlantico Rum:
“I was introduced to Atlantico by friends in Miami, quickly became a fan, and followed its development over the last couple of years. I was recently introduced to its co-founders, Brandon Lieb and Aleco Azqueta, and was immediately drawn to their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for developing a world-class product. I am now delighted to be a partner in this top-quality rum.” – Enrique Iglesias
An aged dark rum, the Ron Atlantico PRVT Cask marries a blend of aged rums together in bourbon casks where they rest for 10-12 years creating a smooth, vibrant rum filled with notes of tropical fruits, caramel and molasses and chocolate making it a perfect rum with Coconut Caramel Flan in caramel sauce that finished our Latin journey.
Rum Appreciation Month at Paladar Latin Kitchen lasts until November 1, giving you plenty of time to sample, and pair rums and unique foods. Creating a fun date night, head over on Monday nights for Happy Hour featuring mojitos and appetizers starting at 4pm, then stick around for some Latin Dance lessons before settling down to a robust dinner that brings the flavors of melded Latin cuisines, and rum, to the table.
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