Iced coffee spiked with rum. It’s a match made in heaven. Rum tastes better iced because cold temps. bring out richer more nuanced flavors. Top quality coffee results from selective terroir sourcing matched with optimal roasting uniquely suited to a particular bean’s flavor profile.
Wow-inducing pairings of coffee and rum depend entirely on your palate. You’re going to have to experiment a bit. I find it helps to have some knowledge of a rum’s origin and production methods. After doing a bit of my own due diligence, I’ve settled on Zacapa 23 Rum as a reliable standby.
First out of the gate, Zacapa uses only virgin sugar cane honey (concentrated first press cane sugar) instead of molasses. This alone kicks it into being a rarity among many bigger brand rums. And it’s harvested on the volcanic plains of Retalhuleu 1148ft above sea level in southwestern Guatemala. Add to this a slow fermentation using their own yeast strain extracted from pineapples.
Actually a blend of 6-23 year Zacapa rums, Zacapa 23 is aged 7544ft above sea level at The House Above the Clouds in Guatemala’s Quetzaltenango highlands. Cool mountain temps. slow the ageing process while the thinner air and lower atmospheric pressure also intensify the flavor infusion. Zacapa uses the Sistema Solera process, a 500 year old Spanish tradition, using casks that once held American whiskey, and delicate Pedro Ximenez sherries.
Beyond the liquor, each of Zacapa 23’s bottles are enrobed in local Mayan art, in this case a local artist’s recreation of an 3,000 year-old royal petate (hand woven straw) band representing unity of time, space, earth, and sky.
My tasting experience: Sipping this rum reveals a soft start quickly unfolding into sweet caramel, vanilla, cacao, and butterscotch aromas. Mixes most excellently with the insouciant richness of Acatenango Valley grown coffee.
Photo courtesy of Zacapa Rum. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored tasting.