A Night for the Ages

We had a gathering last night, and by “gathering,” I mean we had a friend over and we practiced social distancing and wore masks because that’s the Way of Things these days.

We enjoyed a bottle of Spanish red drinking vermoth gifted by this friend from his visit to Spain. Little did my sheltered American mind know that vermouth in other places is made to be drunk by itself as opposed to simply a cocktail additive. According to this friend, it is normal in Spain before going out for the evening with friends, to gather and enjoy a glass of vermouth. It is generally serves poured over ice and an orange slice. This particular vermouth, Olave Roja, Formula Original, was a tasty, very drinkable mildly spiced red wine. Sadly, good ol friend in question, mentioned he thought it tasted like a “flat Dr Pepper,” and I could no longer not think of that. Because, it actually kind of did. But, in an incredibly enjoyable way, to be sure! It was a lovely way to start the evening.

And so the night “aged” from the Old World to a New World aged rum. I wanted to get another bottle of the Cruzan Diamond Estate Dark Rum I wrote about some days ago, but alas, the spiritmonger did not have that particular one available. So I took a chance on yet another I was unfamiliar with, but, seemed like it might be similar at least: Cruzan Aged Rum . . . if there’s some other demarcation to separate it from their other “aged rums,” I’m not seeing it.

From this spirit I made rum Old Fashioneds, which is new for me as I have made many many many rye whisky Old Fashioneds, but never with rum. Really not much different, except I used orange bitters and orange peel instead of regular bitters and black cocktail cherries, and just a splash of seltzer water instead of the .5 ounce of soda water I generally use in rye whiskey O.F.s (for 2oz of spirit). I only had a sip of this new rum so I knew what I was working with before I started making cocktails for the night, and it was incredibly smooth, very light on the palate, not overwhelming with a definite bit of spice and citrus. I imagine it would be good neat, or on ice (maybe I’ll find out tonight when I relax for the evening with a drink), but I do know it made great Old Fashioneds and I didn’t have to feel bad about “wasting” any quality or complexity on a cocktail.

And so, because of the evening of wine and rum, I feel I cannot properly review the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato cigar I enjoyed at the end of the night. Oh, and also because of the many jalapeno potato chips I also enjoyed not too long beforehand. Yeah, that probably had a significant effect on my taste buds.

I say this because this particular cigar is advertised as rich, medium-to-full-bodied (which I generally don’t care for); however, what I got from it was a very mild, smooth experience that I was able to smoke down to the last 1 1/2 to 2 inches before it got bitter and ashy tasting. I have to imagine my tastebuds were jacked. Kind of a shame, really, that I could not appreciate this award winning, Cigar Aficionado’s #1 Blend for its true character. Sadly, I’m just going to have to try another one when my palate is more clear, oh dear. *smirk* However, if it actually is as good as I believed it to be last night, this will most definitely be my go-to “special” cigar! (I’m afraid its $12 price is just too much for it to be my “regular” cigar.)

All in all, a very lovely night!

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