[:en]All the secrets of Rum: interview with Leonardo Pinto, “The Rum Searcher”[:]



In the common imagination, Rum recalls exotic scenarios and adventures experienced sailing the oceans: the favorite drink of Caribbean pirates, it is inextricably linked to the suggestions of distant and tropical lands.

Distillate obtained from the juice or molasses of sugar cane, it is a product with ancient origins: we owe the arrival of sugar cane to the Caribbean to Christopher Columbus, who brought it there from the Azores. Since then, the history of Rum has been nebulous, and its birth disputed between the French, the Spanish and the English.

It's easy to say Rum, there are many types: white, dark, aged; there are industrial ones and agricultural ones. In short, many variations for a product that can have substantial differences, not only due to the processing but also the area of origin: the Caribbean Sea area is undoubtedly the most suitable of all.

And we talked about Caribbean mixing with Leonardo Pinto, one of the greatest rum experts in all of Europe. Leonardo, "The Rum Searcher", has been carrying out research in the field of rum since the 1990s, when the culture of this distillate was still non-existent in Italy. In 2004 he opened the blog Isle of Rum, which quickly became a point of reference in the sector and a real company. Consultant and trainer for the rum market, he is also the founder of ShowRUM – Italian Rum Festival, the first and only national festival dedicated to rum.

Here's what he told us.

Leonardo, tell us something about Caribbean mixing.

I like to define popular Caribbean mixing as mixing in which rum and something are used, and this something is very often nothing more than a legacy of an older mixing. Punch, considered by many to be the father of all drinks, was ultimately nothing more than a way of drinking alcohol, often with healing purposes.

What are the rules behind rum punch?

The rules behind rum punch are always the same, rum, a sweet part, an acidic part and a little dilution. One of the punches best known to the general public is undoubtedly the punch of the privateer Sir Francis Drake, also known at the time as el Draque. Using the gastrointestinal properties of mint, Sir Francis Drake's punch was an excellent medicinal remedy for relieving the symptoms of cholera and scurvy. Rum, lime, water, sugar and mint. Does it remind you of anything?

The Mojito! Are there other drinks that have the same principle?

Yes, we can find the same principle in the Brazilian national drink, the Caipirinha, in which we add cachaca, or pure juice rum made in Brazil, to a mixture of sugar and lime, ice and shake everything vigorously. And again, the daiquiri, in which we shake and dilute the mixture of Cuban ron, lime and sugar.

Is dilution always done?

Sometimes dilution becomes an option, as in the case of Ti'Punch, the typical convivial drink of the French Antilles. A generous portion of agricultural rhum in which everyone can dose sugar and lime to their liking. By replacing sugar with honey you get another of the great Cuban classics, canchanchara.

And the famous Cuba Libre?

With the advent of soda drinks, with their residual sugar, dilution and sweet part have been concentrated in a single ingredient, just as in the case of Cuba Libre, in which a portion of Cuban ron and a little lime marry the cola , or the more classic Rum Buck, where ginger ale or ginger beer dominate instead of cola. In short, many different recipes, deriving from a much older tradition, that of punch, and declined locally in the most varied ways.

At this time when we have to stay at home, what advice can you give to our readers?

In this period of forced domiciliation, if you have a rum at home, just follow your taste and four simple rules to create our punch; one part rum, a little sweet, a little acid and a good dilution.

Good fun![:]


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