Move over, Sailor Jerry -- there's a new rum in town. Made right here in Florida, it's a new super-premium spirit inspired by Ernest Hemingway and developed in conjunction with his estate in Key West. The rum, which was released last month in South Florida markets, is currently available only in the Sunshine State.
To put it to the test, Clean Plate Charlie took Papa's Pilar to Dada in Delray Beach, where bartender Manny Alayeto is known for making some damn good mojitos.
The Papa's Pilar team of master blenders -- including founder and rum importer Jay Maltby, Richard Seale of Seale rums, and Angel's Envy bourbon creator Lincoln Henderson -- has established a unique aging and blending process using American oak bourbon barrels, port wine casks, and Spanish sherry casks.
Offering an inaugural dark and blonde variety -- both solera-aged and hand-selected from ports-of-call throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and the States -- each rum has a unique flavor profile and finish. Papa's Pilar dark is a spicy, complex rum that is both pot- and column-stilled and boasts hand-selected rums up to 24 years old. Papa's Pilar blonde has a bit more snap, made from aged rums three to five years old, but is equally smooth and possessing a layered and exceptionally easy finish.
Alayeto said he often uses classic Conch Republic rum to make the bar's signature mojitos, so we handed him a few bottles of Papa's Pilar to see if it made a difference. It did.
"[These rums] are a little sweeter -- very smooth, very easy on the finish. There's none of that alcohol burn that most rums have," Alayetosaid. "It's going to help make these [mojitos] go down even easier. Very dangerous."
To make his mojitos, which can be concocted with a variety of flavored rums and fresh fruit for any taste, Alayeto begins by gently breaking the mint -- not overmuddling -- to release the plant oils. He also makes his own mint-infused simple syrup, the key to adding an extra layer of flavor. Here, he gives us his recipe for a classic ginger mojito using Papa's Pilar blonde and dark rum.
Dada's Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch (about 2 cups) of fresh mint, cleaned and rinsed
Directions: In a saucepan heat water to a boil. Stir in sugar until dissolves completely, then turn off the heat and remove from stove. Add mint directly to saucepan and let steep for 1 hour. Strain out the mint and store in the fridge to cool before using.
Dada's Classic Mojito
4-5 sprigs of mint
1/2 fresh lime, cut and quartered
1 ounce of Dada's housemade, mint-infused simple syrup
1.5 ounce Papa's Pilar blonde rum
Directions: Shake ingredients well, empty into a pint glass, top with soda water and garnish with a sugar cane stick.
Dada's Ginger Mojito
4-5 sprigs of mint
1/2 fresh lime, cut and quartered
1-inch of fresh ginger, cut and cubed
1 ounce of Dada's housemade, mint infused simple syrup
1.5 ounce Papa's Pilar dark rum
Directions: Shake ingredients well, empty into a pint glass, top with soda water, and garnish with a sugarcane stick.
In addition to making amazing mojitos, Papa's Pilar is also working to preserve Hemingway's legacy of adventure, literacy and conservation. To do so, the Hemingway family has pledged to donate 100 percent of their royalty profits to organizations that embody the causes dear to Hemingway and his heirs.
Last month, for example, the family made a $30,000 donation to the International Game Fish Association in Dania, an organization that embodies many of Ernest Hemingway's core values, including the protection of natural resources. Papa's Pilar will also work with local charitable foundations that serve Hemingway's legacy and underscore the true spirit of adventure.
"We worked closely with the Hemingway family to ensure the brand and product captured Hemingway's true essence," said Papa's Pilar brand manager, Lindsey Kops. "Today, we raise a glass to this exciting new adventure and to arguably the world's greatest adventurer who inspired us all to never be a spectator."
Papa's Pilar rums is available in 750ml bottles throughout Florida, including Key West, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. Both bottles sell for $29.99 to $39.99, but prices may vary. For more information, visit the website and Facebook page.
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