When Martin Cate opened Smuggler's Cove in December 2009, he initiated the Rumbustion Society, a master class in rum. Rumbustion is to rum what Julio Bermejo's Blue Agave Club at Tommy's Mexican is to tequila. Finishing the third level (200 different rums, quite a feat!) brings not only glory, but also a free trip to a rum distillery to make their own.
What Rumbustion's first three grads (Ron Roumas, Mark Holt, and John Boatwright) came up with at Portland's House Spirits is Triumvirate.
Made from 100-percent organic molasses and aged in used French oak barrels for five months, Triumvirate is a surprisingly light and sweet rum with delicate floral and vegetal aromatics. That's unusual for molasses rums, typically borderline-bitter, like a lot of Jamaican rums. It's made with a type of molasses called first boil, the lightest grade, which contributes fresh cane flavor. Since it was bottled at 105 proof, there's alcohol heat up front. Still, Triumvirate is remarkably easy to drink neat.
If you're a fan of rare and unusual rums, then get over to Cask
tomorrow, May 14, at noon, when a limited amount of Triumvirate goes on sale. There's a one bottle limit, so don't expect to show up late and score one. As of publication time, Cask couldn't tell us the price or the number of bottles they're expecting (we've heard it's less than two dozen).
How does Triumvirate work in cocktails? Roumas, Holt, and Boatwright tell SFoodie that as distillation was taking place they determined what part of the run to keep not only by tasting the 130-proof spirit out of the still, but also by making a daiquiri with it every 10 minutes.
Not surprisingly, a Triumvirate daiquiri is being featured on a special drinks menu at Smuggler's Cove for the next few weeks, or until the rum sells out.
Triumvirate Rum Drink Specials (all $12)
The Classic: Daiquiri (rum, lime juice, sugar)
The Legend: Mai Tai (rum, lime juice, rock candy syrup, orgeat, curacao)
The Exotic: Rum, lime juice, honey, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Herbsaint, bitters, and nutmeg
Another trip for the next three Rumbustion grads is scheduled for June or July, but Cate warns that not all trips will yield a rum as delicious as Triumvirate. Meanwhile, Holt and Roumas have started on a new, so-called secret level of 100 additional rums, accessible only by finishing the normal tasting and moving a daiquiri on the bar up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, and pressing B, A, start
Cask: 17 Third St. (at Market), 281-6486
Smuggler's Cove: 650 Gough (at McAllister), 869-1900