Certain spirits are for sipping, what you reach for when you are relaxing or have something pleasurable to mull over. Pour me a Jack Daniels on the rocks during a long flight across the Atlantic when I'm leafing through my trip journal or a dollop of Cognac or Armagnac in a retro snifter while I'm at the bar listening to jazz piano after a pleasant, solo dinner or else when I'm reading the latest Vanity Fair in a stuffed chair on a wintry evening as the wind howls outside.
Now add Cruzan 9 spiced rum to make it a trilogy. Rum has always been an occasional drink for me, one that I certainly enjoy by itself or as the lead ingredient in a cocktail, but it isn't a regular on my iPod play list. But the other day, I received a promotional bottle of Cruzan spiced - No. 379 of the first 500 production run it says in the add-on label - and it blew me away. It's perhaps the smoothest full-scale (40% alcohol) flavored spirit I have tasted, and though it boasts nine "heirloom" spices, vanilla is its dominant aroma, both from the spice itself and the toasted wood. The other eight include cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, even a touch of juniper berry. It costs about $16 a bottle.
Although it's a serious drink, the nose immediately says "vanilla-bean ice cream." But I've resisted the temptation to buy some and try the combination. Mostly, I've just been sipping it neat, both at room temperature and chilled. I haven't wanted to weaken it with ice, but sooner or later, I suppose I'll have to try that as well.
It's also a pleasant morning drink - just a taste after some strong Italian-roast coffee, which is what I'm having now at 4:30 a.m. as I'm working on this posting. The day is already rosy, and it isn't even daylight.
Until next time....