I wasn't expecting much from the Sailor Jerry's National Rum Day celebration at Mother's Ruin. They weren't launching a new product, just promoting some punches for the back end of Summer, and having a nice get-together for a few of their closest friends.
Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins was a tattoo artist who served in the South Pacific before and during the second World War, where he developed his artistic style. He also played saxophone in various bands, hosted radio shows and gave lectures on tattoo art, and extended his tattoo brand into all kinds of ventures, most importantly (to us, anyway) to spiced rum.
Rum was one of the earliest distilled spirits to be grown in North America, and in the 17th and 18th century was drank by rich and poor alike, not just pirates and hoodlums. But when prohibition hit, bootleggers turned primarily to whiskey and gin to keep underground America lubricated. Rum managed to thrive as a niche drink from the Caribbean, that had developed a foothold in Cuba and the Antilles, but it's taken much of the last 75 years to regain a serious foothold in American cocktail culture.
That said, on to the cocktails themselves. My main use of Sailor Jerry is in Dark & Stormys, so while the rest of the world is used to citrusy rum concoctions, I was coming to this with a relatively clear palate.
Two of the samples really stood out. The Rowes Wharf Punch refreshes on a hot day the way a good punch should.
- 1 part blackberry grapefruit tea oleo syrup
- 1 part grapefruit juice
- 1/2 part lime juice
- 2 parts spiced rum
- 1/8 part Angostura bitters (or to taste; we like more)
- 2-3 parts ginger beer
Combine everything except the ginger beer into a bowl, add ice and stir, then add the ginger beer. serve over ice. Once you have the ingredients assembled, you can make these all day & night.
But the centerpiece of the evening was clearly the Wahine Pina Colada, a surprise to me as I have never been a big pina colada fan. Maybe people making them were trying to be too cute with the ingredients. This is a brute-force recipe that came out fantastic. Then again, I do love pineapple.
- 1 part fresh pineapple juice
- 1 part cream of coconut (two cans coconut milk + 2 oz. lime juice)
- 1 part spiced rum
Pour it into a hollowed-out pineapple, if you have one, and garnish it with coconut flakes, an orchid, or an umbrella, if you have them.
A Wahine is a Hawaiian female goddess, though my first thought whenever I see the term is the first song in this montage. Happy National Rum Day, everyone. If you missed it, make it up this weekend. Stay cool.
 or, in my case, friends of friends.
 One of Sailor Jerry's proteges was a young Ed Hardy, who learned some of the master's lessons very well, though his vodka is a stylistic mess.
 To make the oleo syrup: Brew a strong cup of English tea, and (separately) muddle a grapefruit peel and a handful of blackberries into a cup of cane sugar. (You can swap out other rinds and berries if you have them, as long as you have both.) This is a useful fruity syrup that works in a lot of other cocktails.