I see a fair amount of liquor in my average day. I work in a bar and am surrounded by 200+ bottles of the stuff for ten hours a day. Liquor reps drop by the bar and leave me samples of new products on a regular basis. I get press releases, forwarded emails, RSS feeds, swag, and sometimes full-bottle liquor samples in the mail. And it seems to me that everyone wants to talk about the versatility of their product.
“Try this new absinthe! It’s $80 a bottle and doesn’t taste like anything. It’s very versatile, great in cocktails.”
“This vodka is different than all the others. It retails for $49.95, it’s distilled eight times from fresh organic kiwifruit. It’s very versatile.”
“The latest berry liqueur! It’s made from six types of berry and was developed by three out-of-work cocaine addicts. And it’s only $14.99 a bottle! It’s super versatile!”
Let me tell you something about a truly versatile liquor, the kind you reach for every day. The real beauty doesn’t come from the fact that it’s cheap. It isn’t brilliant because it mixes well with every kind of fruit juice you can throw at it. Versatility doesn’t happen when a liquor doesn’t taste like anything.
The greatest, most versatile products out there find themselves in my hands more often than not because they’re simply perfect and are priced with a tag we all can afford.
When I received this bottle of Matusalem Gran Reserva, I was naturally skeptical. But after blowing through an entire fifth of the stuff over the course of the past week, I can honestly recommend it – not just because it tastes great, and not because the price point is exactly where it should be, but because it is truly a versatile rum.
I poured it straight, I poured it on the rocks with a dash of orange bitters. I made mai tais, I made daiquiris, I mixed it with cane-sugar Coca-Cola from Mexico and fresh key limes. It was sensational in a Beauty Beneath, and it shined in a rum old-fashioned. It took everything I threw at it and asked for more. It’s got butter and vanilla up front, an understated mid-palate without a lot of heaviness, and a nice, quiet finish that begs for another sip.
I’m lucky: I get to buy bottles every week with someone else’s money. But I have this thing, this horrible, horrible thing that kicks in when I feel like I’m ripping someone off. And it won’t let me sell you a $10 shot that’s only worth $3, I just can’t do it. So finding new products in this sea of PR is kind of a nightmare for me.
And that’s why this rum is so versatile: it’s 35 bucks! You can buy it, you can use it, and you can pick up another bottle when you’re done. You don’t have to horde it, you don’t have to keep in hidden in the back of the liquor cabinet. It’s a truly versatile rum because you can actually use it.
And that’s my review. Thanks for reading.