Historical Tales of Flavoured Rum…
FIRST USA TASTING: Tales of the Cocktail, Plantation Tasting Room: Sat, July 19, Bonnet Carre Room, Hotel Monteleone.
Press Release: In nineteenth-century England, a country that knew its spirits, one of the most prized was a thing called “pineapple rum,” a sipping spirit par excellence. Unfortunately, like many good things from the past, it eventually fell out of use and over the years its memory has faded - unless, of course, you’re a reader of Charles Dickens’ immortal Pickwick Papers, in which it features prominently as the favoured drink of the esteemed Reverend Stiggins.
Well, perhaps “esteemed” is too strong a word. It would take a perverse reader indeed to consider the Rev. Stiggins as anything but a hypocrite for preaching temperance all the while largely existing on a diet of free drinks at Mrs. Weller’s Marquis of Granby pub. But it would take a reader just as perverse to deny his connoisseurship and expertise in the matter of those drinks, or Charles Dickens’. Their endorsement of Mrs. Weller’s pineapple rum is good enough for us. (The Reverend, by the way, preferred to take his “warm [i.e., with a splash of boiling water], with three lumps of sugar to the tumbler”)
We Say: TheFloatingRumShack.com had been sworn to secrecy over Stiggins Fancy ever since we visited Cognac Ferrand at the beginning of June this year. With more luck than we deserve, we also carried away an unmarked bottle of the rum, drawn specially from the barrel for us. Yes… I know… We are pretty jammy at times and can honestly say that Stiggins Fancy is an amazing flavoured rum – the integration between the pineapple and the Trinidadian rum is really excellent. Who knows if this tasted anything like the rums that the likes of Charles Dickens might have sipped, but I’m 100% sure that he would have enjoyed it.
Press Release Continues: Alexandre Gabriel, proprietor of Cognac Ferrand, with help from the spirits and cocktail historian David Wondrich, have tried to revive this forgotten nectar and have produced Plantation Pineapple Rum Stiggins Fancy. It will launch at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans (July 16-20) and its first official tasting will take place at the Plantation Tasting Room on Sat, July 19 from 3pm – 5pm in the Bonnet Carre Room at the Hotel Monteleone. There, guests can take a ‘Daiquiri Time Out” - or DTO - and taste Plantation Pineapple, Plantation 3 Stars White and Plantation Original Dark rums in a trio of very special daiquiris. Only 1000 bottles of this rum have been produced. The suggested retail price is $29.99/750ml [We do not believe that this rum will be released for sale, unless the Ferrand team have been convinced otherwise since we saw them about six weeks ago – Pete]
Gabriel and Wondrich relied on several ancient recipes to recreate it, and added a few traditional techniques from their own bag of tricks. The 1824 English Journal of Patent and Inventions and the 1844 Journal of Agricultural Society were their main sources of inspiration—along, of course, with Mr. Dickens. They infused ripe Queen Victoria pineapples* in rich, aged PLANTATION ORIGINAL DARK RUM for 3 months. Meanwhile, they macerated, also in rum, the bare rind of the fruit (where the pineapple’s essential oil chiefly resides) and then distilled it, creating a bright pineapple essence to blend with the lushness of the infused Plantation rum.
*A note on Queen Victoria pineapples: Before the European arrival in the Americas, the pineapple, an American native, was cultivated by the Guarani people of the Caribbean. The Queen Victoria variety was first introduced in 1668 on Reunion Island; it is considered the best in the world due to its rich, juicy flesh and sweet taste. It works beautifully with rum.
Alexandre Gabriel says, “David and I did this project in part out of sheer curiosity. Mostly, however, we did it because the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality and also the symbol of the Tales of the Cocktail Apprentice program. Stiggins Fancy is our liquid “thank you” to the Tales Apprentices who do so much for all of us. We hope you all enjoy drinking it as much as we did making it. The 1824 Journal of Patent Inventions notes that it was customary in the West Indies to offer pineapple rum to visiting European friends. Following the West Indian tradition, Plantation Pineapple Rum is our gift to you”
I’ve always said that rum is for drinking, but if I were presented with a branded bottle of this, I’d be in two minds about opening it!
Serves: We’ve enjoyed sipping this neat, but we’ve also made a daiquiri (running quite light with the sugar) and also stirred it Manhattan style in equal measures with Koko Kanu (a coconut rum) to create a drink that tastes for all the world like a piña colada!
Rum Databank: Plantation Pineapple Rum Stiggins Fancy