Cranberry Juice and Rum Drink Lab

We’re having fun with a new cocktail recipe book called The Home Bartender: 175+ Cocktails with Four Ingredients or Less by Shane Carley. If you have a particular bottle that you’d like to use for a cocktail, the organization of content by main alcohol ingredient such as vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and whiskey makes it easy to find a recipe. I like that the recipes use common fruit juices and sodas as mixers. By contrast, I also have Easy Tiki by Chloe Frechette in my library and although I enjoy perusing the book, I haven’t made any of the drinks due to the complicated, exotic mixers and syrups it requires. For testing, I’ve selected two drinks that use cranberry juice and rum from The Home Bartender: Logan’s Rum and Caribbean Cranberry Twist.

First, a little primer on the making of rum. The process begins with squeezing the juices from sugar cane to create molasses. Alcohol is created by adding yeast and water to the molasses. Fermented liquid is heated and condensed in column stills. Darker rums are aged in charred oak barrels that impart color and flavor to the rum while white rums are not typically oak aged. The final step to making rum is blending, where additives such as fruit juice, sugar, spices, and other flavorings give the rum its own unique personality.

While I was selecting wines during our recent trip to the liquor store, my drinking buddy returned to the cart with Captain Morgan Caribbean White Rum in hand. Although this product has been available since 2015, this is our first time trying it. Before mixing cocktails, we taste the Captain neat. There are citrus notes on the nose and coriander and clove spice flavors on the palate. The finish is slightly sweet with lingering spicy notes. At 40% ABV, the overall impression is smooth rather than hot. And now on to the cocktails!

Logan’s Rum

  • 1 Captain Morgan White Rum
  • 1 Malibu Coconut Rum
  • 3 cranberry juice
  • Dash of lime juice

Typically served in a martini glass with a lime garnish. (We’re using our test-size glasses for drink lab.)

With 3 parts cranberry juice, this drink is juice-heavy and I would picture it working well for a party. The cranberry and lime blend nicely and there’s just a hint of coconut from the Malibu.

Caribbean Cranberry Twist

  • 1 Malibu Coconut Rum
  • 1 orange juice
  • 1 cranberry juice
  • Splash of triple sec

Typically served in a highball glass with an orange garnish.

I love the salmon color of this drink! If I was given this drink without knowing what is in it, I would guess grapefruit juice. Somehow the combination of orange, cranberry, and coconut tastes like grapefruit. Delicious, refreshing, and pleasing to the eye.

Most drinks we test during drink lab go through tweaking for personal taste, but both of these recipes were very good right out of the gate. I suspect we’ll be getting lots of use out of Shane Carley’s Home Bartender book.

Published by J Reilly

Boozy Lifestyle: Elevate The Everyday With Booze As Your Muse by Julia Stacey Reilly is available on Follow J Reilly @boozy_lifestyle on Twitter and Instagram.

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