Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Rum Lifestyle

When we think of rum, what do we think? I know I think pirates, fruity tiki drinks, and daiquiris. I see rum as a spirit meant to represent an escapist philosophy.

If we look at the daiquiri cocktail, you might know it was invented in the Cuban mining town of Daiquiri. It is widely agreed that the drink was invented by the mining engineer, Jennings Cox. If we look at the origins of a cocktail like this it can probably be agreed that miners were looking for an escape. The United States military was occupying Cuba and the economy was poor. They took what they had around, sugar, limes, and rum, and created a delicious cocktail. I, of course, cannot talk about the daiquiri without talking about Hemingway.

Hemingway was a massive daiquiri, cocktail, and rum drinker. Hemingway traveled the globe never settling too long in a place he didn't like. Born in Illinois, he joined the red cross during world war one and was sent to Paris as it was under bombardment. The war provided a lot of material for his writing. Arguably his most famous piece, The Old Man and the Sea, which he wrote in his later days when he settled in Cuba, reflected the great escape from the harsh tolls of reality that is the sea. And, of course, the author's tragic demise being his ultimate escape. That said, the author's favorite style of daiquiri was the papa doble, double rum, no sugar.

The daiquiri eventually became synonymous with the dream of sitting on a hot beach with a hot partner and a cold drink to seal the deal. In short, that's the tiki dream. Tiki, in general, has had a bit of an escapist lifestyle. The first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber in Los Angeles, provided a tropical home away from home for those unable to live on the beach year-round. Tiki bars are usually decked out with idols, fish, boats, and other Caribbean artifacts.

And finally, when we think rum we think of pirates and our favorite absent-minded captain asking "Why is the rum gone?" Pirates historical have been cowards and deserters. Piracy extends from medieval times to this very day. When reminiscing of the pirate era, we think of cannons and muskets. Many pirates were old naval military men who decided they didn't want to fight for the state. They fled to the sea, fulfilling that escapist rum philosophy, taking and doing what they liked.

Rum is a sweet spirit. It goes hand in hand with fruits and sugars. Unlike other spirits that are very harsh and grounding, rum takes us away from reality. Rum is an escape. When you want to escape your strenuous job, forget the horrors of war, or just run away into the open sea, rum is the spirit to help you do that.

This is going to be a part of a series I'm doing about how different spirits appeal to different cultures and personalities. Check out my other Posts on Whiskey (Whisky), Tequila, Gin, and other liquors and liqueurs. Much of what I'm posting has been opinion, much of it generalized and is not meant to be thought of as fact.

"I drink to make other people more interesting"
-Ernest Hemingway

Photo Credit: pxfuel, needpix

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