If you're a regular On the Sauce reader, you may have noticed I'm a big fan of good bourbon. When coming up with new cocktails, I tend to think bourbon first. Need a winter drink? Bourbon. A summer cocktail? Bourbon.
Talking spirits with Sea Salt general manager Philip Bryan, I quickly discovered this is something we have in common. He drew inspiration for his Rhum Noir cocktail from none other than a bourbon classic: the Black Manhattan.
"I was going to do a Black Manhattan," Bryan says. "I wanted to do something with bourbon, but I wanted something new."
He chose Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole Vieux, a rum that's aged a minimum of four years in oak barrels, then aged it further in his own oak barrels.
"I wanted to add a touch more oak flavor, and roundness," he says.
Bryan also notes that when people think of rum, they think Bacardi. Clément is not that rum. As mentioned, it's aged in re-charred bourbon casks and made with fresh sugar cane juice, and Rhum Noir showcases that the spirit can be used for more than sugary tiki drinks.
Downtown St. Pete's Sea Salt has a $20 tasting of Rhum Clément's portfolio scheduled for 4 p.m. April 23. Alongside rum samples, the event will have special guest Tracie Franklin on site.
Beginning with a welcome cocktail and brief introduction to the French rhum category, attendees will try four neat expressions alongside small bites. The tasting will include Clément Canne Bleue, Clément 125th Anniversary Edition JonOne V.S.O.P., and the Clément six- and 10-year bottling.
Though Rhum Noir will serve as the event's specialty drink, patrons may order it at for a limited time at the restaurant, which does a good job of keeping its cocktail menu updated. Check out Bryan's recipe below.
Sea Salt's Rhum Noir
2 ounces Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole Vieux
1/2 ounce Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb
1/2 ounce Amaro Averna
Dash of Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and add all ingredients. Stir with a bar spoon until fully chilled.
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