“Rum is a natural fit for a lot of frozen tropical drinks, and we use several different types,” says Alan Dodds. He’s the owner of Tropical Liqueurs, a chain of frozen-drink bars headquartered in Columbia, MO.
Inspired by Daiquiri bars in Louisiana, the first unit opened 33 years ago. He now operates four locations, with a fifth opening soon. Each Tropical Liqueurs bar offers 15 different flavors of boozy slushy drinks, as well as selection of standard cocktails.
Rum is the second-most-popular spirit in the drinks, after vodka, and many of the concoctions call for two or more base spirits. The Brain Freeze, for example, is a frozen blend of tequila, Puerto Rican rum, gin, blue curaçao and lemonade.
The ’57 Chevy combines Puerto Rican rum, gin, vodka, sloe gin and a Mai Tai blend. And the Rum Runner mixes silver and gold rums with fruit.
“I would guess that around one-third of our drinks contain rum at any given time at each location,” says Dodds, adding that flavors change up several times a year. The most popular is the powerful Tiger Paw, packing a punch with Bacardi 151 rum, peach schnapps, and pineapple and orange juices.
Besides the rum used for the frozen drinks, each location stocks several different rums, due to the explosion in flavored rums in recent years, says Dodds. He is also developing a selection of lesser-known Caribbean rums to do tasting flights, including Blackwell rum from Jamaica.
Dodds has also been developing a Coconut Mojito recipe to release this summer: “We got the idea from a recent trip to Belize where that drink was very popular,” he notes.