When I was asked if I’d sample and review a spiced rum I said yes, obviously. I soon found out it was from the Domaine Pinnacle orchard in the Eastern Townships of Québec and was made with all natural Canadian ingredients. Quoi? When I think of spiced rum, what usually comes to mind is sunny beaches, crystal clear water, and a warm Caribbean breeze (and maybe pirates) — not mountaineering and bears, which is what the bottle would suggest. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable Chic Choc spiced rum was to drink. I decided to increase the fun (and decrease the hangover) by enlisting the help of some friends, Lena, Alex and Tom.
We started classy. A shot of rum in a rock glass, neat. We noted colour, aroma and the so-important first taste. The rum’s description mentions that the rum “[takes] its flavour from Peppery Green Alder, Pine Forest Spikenard, Witherod Berries, Lovage Root, Sweet Gale Seeds and Wild Angelica, Chic Choc Spiced Rum is unlike any other spiced rum on the market”. Honestly, I have never heard of any of those spices. Sounds fancy. Some of our feedback was that we tasted maple syrup and cinnamon. One of my tasters said it was “the only rum she liked drinking straight” and another said it was “smooth and well rounded” and would recommend it on the rocks.
Dark and Stormy
According to Charles Crawford, President of the company that produces Chic Choc Spiced Rum, “the notes of ginger and Nordic spices make this a fantastic rum to sip on its own, or as the star in an amazing cocktail, such as a Dark & Stormy.” After having a dark and stormy for the first time only the night before, I somehow expertly made four.
- 1 1/2 oz spiced rum
- ginger beer
- lemon/lime soda
- dash of bitters
- grated fresh ginger
- lime to garnish
This drink was amazing! Without the real ginger the drink was almost too spicy, but a little grated ginger really made the drink come alive and taste fresh. Lena loved it and wanted more bitters and ginger, noting that the rum wasn’t that sweet to start. Tom thought the drink was excellent and extremely smooth, noting that the dryness allows for latitude in choosing sweet mixers. Alex called it the best D & S she’s ever had. This was only the second time having it myself, but I would have to agree.
Rum and Cola (duh)
I decided to mix up this standard combo by being a little hipster and buying natural cane and cherry colas. We all agreed that the rum and cola was delicious. The rum is so smooth and subtle, we almost wondered if I had poured enough rum in the glass. The real winner though was the cherry cola. From my notes, verbatim:
Alex: “Cherry cola is awesome! We’re oh so drunk!”
Tom: “Our ability to objectively taste is, admittedly, compromised. That said, wow!”
So, yeah, Chic Choc spiced rum goes incredibly well with cherry cola.
Probably not what would come to mind when thinking of drinks to go with spiced rum, but the rum did have a bourbon-esque quality to it. So why not, right? Also, we had been drinking, need I remind you.
- 1 1/2 oz spiced rum
- a bunch of mint leaves
- 2 tsp simple syrup
- cherry juice
General consensus after having such great drinks before hand: meh. This was not the fault of the spiced rum, however. We were able to save the one-dimensional drink by adding some crushed cherry juice. In hindsight, I should have made us another dark and stormy round. Live and learn.
We finished the bottle in five drinks. This was an excellent spiced rum. Delicious, but not overpowering. I don’t usually drink rum, let alone spiced rum, but I would definitely recommend stocking your bar with a bottle of Chic Choc now that it is available at the LCBO. To use a Québequois saying, “tiguidou, l’affaire est ketchup!” It’s all good (and something about ketchup)!
Overall score: A