The Bottom Line
- Enlightening, lighthearted history of rum.
- Very thorough on coverage of major events and personalities.
- It is fun to realize the differences in the culture surrounding rum from grogs to tikis and mojitos.
- The guide to rums appendix is a great exploration of common brands you may not know.
- And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
- Written by Wayne Curtis
- Published by Three Rivers Press
- ISBN: 9781400051670
- Released, July 2006
- 320 pages - hardcover and paperback
Guide Review - And a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis
The tales start somewhere in the Caribbean or, possibly South American in the 1600's, or so it goes. Curtis attempts to quell the question of rums origins by admits:
The thing is, no one really knows when rum first appeared. If you want to know about the history of sugar, overflowing archives provide enough information to lead to mental obesity. But for rum, it's a starvation diet.
Curtis' expertise on such a singular subject continues on the travel through time past the British sailors' daily grog to Planter's Punch for which he notes: "If rum is the archetypal New World drink - protean, varied, inconsistent - planter's punch is its cocktail equivalent." Then its on to the hard luck times of Prohibition and shortly after, a period during which rum held strong and was often one of the few reliable spirits available while the rest of the liquor industry struggled. In more recent times, Curtis explains the tiki revolution and the new appreciation for fine drinks like the Mojito. He successfully illustrates that rum is all about refreshing itself through time:
Rum doesn't like endings. And for a good reason: Rum is nothing but a series of fresh beginnings.
As a bonus to this tale of one of the oldest spirits, And a Bottle of Rum includes two useful appendices: "A Thumbnail Guide to Rum" and "When It's Cocktail Time." The former of which highlights some of the best rums which are widely available.