drink tank

TROPICAL TAKEOVER

Rum makes waves on Reno bar scene.

WRITTEN BY HEIDI BETHEL
PHOTOS BY CANDICE VIVIEN

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Loren DiVincenzi mixes a cocktail at Rum Sugar Lime in Midtown

For the past five years, Loren DeVincenzi, general manager and co-owner of Rum Sugar Lime in Midtown, has traveled to many major cities seeking the next drink trend to bring to Reno. Turns out, the craze has been around for centuries: rum. With a plethora of Caribbean-inspired bottles lining the shelves of some new and upcoming establishments, local bartenders are embracing the versatile liquor that's making a big comeback.

"Rum is beautiful in the sense that it's so multifaceted. It doesn't have to be used in a crazy sweet drink, and it can taste good with anything, whether it's citrus, boozy spirits, or more savory ingredients. We're really getting a little more creative because rum truly pairs with everything," DeVincenzi says.

Ivan Fontana, co-owner of Reno's Death & Taxes, Midtown Eats, and the upcoming Curse of Cane tiki bar in Midtown, agrees that the resurgence of rum is here in a big way.

"We're seeing this evolution of tropical, tiki-esque cocktails," Fontana says. "We're trying to find different ways to add layers with fresh juices and tropical fruits with delicious rums for really fun cocktails."

Daiquiri-tastic

According to DeVincenzi, the daiquiri is the holy trinity of tropical cocktails, but perhaps not for the reason most may think.

"When you hear the word daiquiri, you think of this giant frozen drink that's super sugary and flavored with strawberry," he says. "The daiquiri is the oldest rum drink known in history and is made with rum, sugar, and lime. We serve our version in a coupe cocktail glass, and it's delectable. There's really nothing better than how complex it is yet so simple."

Larry DeVincenzi, Loren's father and co-owner and marketing manager of RSL, agrees.

"It's the freshness and types of ingredients you use that make the perfect daiquiri," Larry says. "Loren has experimented with many rums, and we've found the perfect mix."

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The Maelstrom at Rum Sugar Lime

Alternatively awesome

All the delicious and fruity concoctions aside, rum can be used as the base spirit in nearly any classic cocktail for an interesting twist on the flavor profile. Fontana suggests substituting dark rum for whiskey in a traditional Manhattan.

"It's hard to narrow down the ingredients that pair well with rum; the most important thing is rum is hot right now, and if you're into classic cocktails, definitely try using rum," Fontana adds.

Flavor-infused rums also pair well with unexpected elements. RSL's Rum Tum Tum combines Malahat Spirits Co. Ginger Rum with lychee, ginger, honey, and lemon juice for a zingy creation.

"You can have a stirred cocktail with very little citrus make a very complex drink," Loren says.

If a little more citrus is appealing, try rum and lemonade! They make a refreshing summer combo. (Click here to see a recipe for making lemonade from scratch!)

From spirit forward to traditional tropical, rum is fresh on the scene this season and sipping quite nicely indeed.

Having been to her fair share of tiki bars, Heidi Bethel enjoys a good rum cocktail and loves to fawn over the elaborate drinks with her husband and friends.

Recipies

Daiquiri RSL
(courtesy of Loren DeVincenzi, general manager and co-owner, Rum Sugar Lime in Midtown. Serves 1)

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1 ounce Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco rum
1 ounce Smith & Cross Jamaica rum
1 ounce cane syrup
1 ounce lime juice

Combine all ingredients in shaker filled with ice. Shake and double strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lime wheel propped on side of glass.

Rum Tum Tum
(courtesy of Loren DeVincenzi, general manager and co-owner, Rum Sugar Lime in Midtown. Serves 1)

1½ ounces El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged rum
½ ounce Malahat Spirits Co. Ginger Rum
1 ounce lychee purée
¾ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce honey syrup (recipe to follow)
¼ ounce ginger syrup (recipe to follow)
Splash of soda water

Combine all ingredients (except for soda water) in shaker filled with ice. Shake and double strain into highball glass filled with ice cubes. Add splash of soda and garnish with lemon wheel.

For ginger syrup
2 cups freshly juiced ginger
3 cups unrefined sugar
Pinch of salt

Add juice and sugar in blender; blend on high until emulsified. Add small portions of water until thick syrup consistency is achieved.

For honey syrup
Combine equal parts raw, local honey and water with a pinch of salt in saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, and cook until emulsified, stirring occasionally.

Rum and Lemonade
(courtesy of Ivan Fontana, co-owner, Death & Taxes, Midtown Eats, and the upcoming Curse of Cane in Midtown. Serves 1)
2 ounces of your favorite rum
3 ounces fresh lemonade
Mix together and serve in Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

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